Wondering what to pack for a Yoga Retreat Abroad? Here’s my Yoga Retreat Packing List
If you’re looking to deepen your yoga practice, or simply want to take some time away to reconnect with yourself, a yoga retreat is the perfect break. As always, careful packing is key to an enjoyable and stress free trip but if you’re unsure what to pack for a yoga retreat here’s my top tips and my own yoga retreat packing list to help you.
I’m a strong believer that yoga retreats make the best getaway. Anyone who practices yoga knows the benefits it brings to mind, body and soul and when combined with a trip to warmer climes or being immersed in a different culture you’ve got the perfect relaxing and rejuvenating escape.
If you haven’t already chosen and booked your perfect retreat check out www.bookyogaretreats.com where you can search for yoga retreats all over the world and read reviews from previous guests.
Yoga retreats are also the ideal vacation for solo female travellers, as you’ll be busy with activities in a fun and safe environment, with plenty of healthy food and meeting like minded people so there’s no risk of feeling lonely. Many retreats also offer local sightseeing excursions so you can see the best sights a destination has to offer while also having a relaxing and healing retreat experience.
Yoga retreats are so varied nowadays, from yoga and surf camps in Hawaii, Bali and Portugal, to yoga, meditation and hiking adventures in Nepal, shamanic healing retreats in Mexico or Peru and even wine tasting and yoga retreats in Italy and France.
My yoga retreat packing list
The nature of your chosen retreat will inform your yoga retreat packing list to an extent. However, the essentials remain the same and as always, overpacking is a sure fire way to add more hassle and cost to your trip, plus you won’t have space left for any local delights, souvenirs or presents that you want to take home.
To help get you started, I’ve put together my essential yoga retreat packing list. Read on to discover what you really need to take on your next yoga retreat or skip to the end to find a quick yoga retreat packing checklist.
What to wear on a yoga retreat
Your yoga retreat is an opportunity to step away from the pressures of daily life and really connect with yourself, your body and your yoga practice. While you may don your favourite fashionable activewear for your yoga classes at home, on your retreat you can prioritise comfort and ease of movement.
Comfort will, of course, depend on where you’re heading for your retreat! If you’ve opted for a yoga retreat abroad, or to practice your sun salutations in the sun, you may need to adjust your usual yoga class clothing for the warmer environment. Consider shorts rather than long leggings, and lightweight vests instead of t-shirts. Tops with a bra included are also a good way to stay cool when practicing in warm environments.
A yoga retreat is your moment to receive customised attention from your yoga teacher, with more hands-on adjustments to get deeper into the proper alignment of the asanas. For your teacher to see the subtle nuances of your posture, they’ll need to be able to make out your silhouette. For this reason, super low-crotch harem pants might not be the best call! More fitted clothing will help your teacher to help you into the correct posture.
However, if your retreat is taking place at a traditional ashram, shala, or place of spiritual worship in somewhere conservative like India there may be clothing requirements to adhere to as well. Cultural and spiritual dress codes vary, so check with the retreat organiser before your visit, many yoga teacher training courses require you to wear all white for opening and closing ceremonies and it’s always a good idea to bring a shawl to cover up with.
Your yoga mat
Yoga retreat centres used to provide all the essential yoga equipment you’ll need for your asana practices but, due to the pandemic, many now require you to bring your own mat for hygiene purposes.
So check with your retreat if you need to bring your own yoga mat and props like blocks and straps. Even if they do, if ever there was a good excuse to upgrade your yoga mat – a yoga retreat is it, and it just feels more hygienic to have your own.
Not all yoga mats are equal and the last thing you want is to be slipping around during your downward dog so take time to choose a good quality yoga mat with a good grip and cushioning so that you feel comfortable. If you’re fairly new to yoga, consider a mat with alignment marks to help you find your perfect warrior pose.
There are so many eco-friendly yoga mats these days that you’re spoilt for choice. Consider natural rubber, hemp, or cork options to reduce your impact on the environment.
Other activity clothing
Depending on the type of retreat you’re attending, you’ll probably also need something other than yoga wear! Your itinerary may include sightseeing excursions or other sports, like surfing, hiking or outdoor activity, in which case you may need clothing and equipment specific to that activity.
If you’re combining surfing with yoga, most retreats provide board and wet suit hire if required, but for hiking retreats you’ll definitely need to bring comfortable and sturdy footwear and a jacket suitable to the climate. Even if you’re visiting a warm, tropical destination it could rain so take a lightweight waterproof jacket.
If you have an evening social workshop or dinner, a comfortable dress or lightweight trousers and top will help you transition from zen to social mode. If you’re heading out to a wine tasting with your retreat group, you may prefer to pop on a sundress to keep you chic and cool as you explore the local vineyards.
A large scarf or lightweight shawl is also bound to come in handy, whether keeping you warm on chilly morning walks, as a cover up for visiting temples or churches, or doubling as a sarong for beach visits. If your retreat centre has a pool or spa or is near the beach, don’t forget to pack a couple of swimsuits!
Finally, consider packing a pair of long, thick socks, ideally yoga socks with grip. If your accommodation is cooler than expected at night, or if you have evening or early morning workshops or meditation to attend, flip flops or bare feet might feel too chilly.
You might also want to take a yoga towel if you’re practicing hot yoga or ashtanga or visiting a warm country to keep you feeling comfortable while you sweat, and a blanket to keep you feeling cosy in savasana or in early morning or evening meditation. I also like to take a comfy fleece top (without a hood because it falls over your head in downward dog) – even in places like India I feel chilly in the mornings, especially in Rishikesh.
Other essential items to pack for a yoga retreat
If you’re lucky enough to be jetting off to a sunny country and exploring the great outdoors on your retreat, don’t skimp on the sun protection and mosquito spray. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable during shoulder stand because you’ve burnt your shoulders or have itchy bites.
Leave the make up at home if you can – it will only slide off in the heat and a retreat is a great opportunity to embrace yourself au naturale. But of course, make sure you don’t forget to pack any essential medicines you might need. Taking them with the packaging and a copy of your prescription is a good idea as some common medicines can be illegal in other countries.
As well as a high SPF sun screen, pack sunglasses and a wide-brim sun hat to keep you protected while out on your adventures. If you’re going in the water opt for eco friendly reef safe sunscreen too! You can also opt for eco friendly toiletries and menstrual solutions. Period pants are the most comfortable to practice in.
Your retreat itinerary will probably include a variety of activities in addition to yoga classes. Throughout all of these, from meditation workshops to mountain walks, you’ll need to stay hydrated. A good sized refillable water bottle will be your best friend on your retreat experience, and is also friendly to the environment. You can’t go wrong with stainless steel or glass to reduce unnecessary plastic waste and the retreat should have somewhere to fill up your bottle with fresh, safe, drinking water.
If you sometimes struggle to sleep in a new environment or the sound of the jungle keeps you awake then packing an eye mask and some ear plugs will guarantee you a good night’s sleep.
A yoga retreat can be a life changing experience so you might also want to take a notebook or journal to record your journey. A small tote bag or lightweight rucksack is a smart idea for packing the essentials to take to yoga workshops or on excursions.
Also, if you’re a glasses wearer, consider using contacts for your retreat if you can as it as wearing glasses during yoga practice can be awkward.
My Quick Yoga Retreat Packing Checklist
On the basis that you’re heading for a one-week yoga retreat in a warm environment, with no special dress code, here’s your yoga packing checklist:
- 3 pairs yoga shorts/cropped leggings
- 4 yoga vests
- 3 sports bras
- 8 pairs underwear (always pack a spare!)
- Outdoor activity sandals/trainers
- 2 lightweight casual/social outfits
- Large scarf or lightweight shawl
- Warm fleece top
- Long socks
- Yoga mat
- Sun protection
- Sun hat
- Water bottle
- Eye mask
- Ear plugs
- Tote bag/lightweight rucksack
- Contact lenses
- Essential toiletries and medicines
- Passport, visa (if required) travel insurance, cards and local money
With this yoga retreat packing list you’re ready for your yoga holiday. Now all you need to do is set off on your adventure.
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What do you pack for a yoga retreat?
Do you have any yoga retreat packing list suggestions to add to the list?
Let me know in the comments.