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9 Reasons to Go on a Yoga Retreat

by
author image Dashama Gordon
Dashama is the founder of Pranashama Yoga Institute, certifying yoga teachers internationally, and the pioneer credited with starting the paddleboard yoga trend. She is also the producer of more than 25 yoga instructional DVDs, author of "Journey to Joyful" and several other health and yoga related books. One of the first yoga teachers on Youtube, Dashama's 30 Day Yoga Challenge went viral in 2009 reaching millions of people world wide and started the online social media yoga challenge trend.

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9 Reasons to Go on a Yoga Retreat
Courtesy of Dashama Gordon

Each year thousands of people travel to exotic locales to experience the benefits of attending a yoga retreat. If you’ve ever considered going on a yoga retreat but need a little extra convincing, keep reading to learn what you can get out of one if you do go. There are many great reasons you should look in to this type of transformational vacation option rather than the typical aimless sightseeing that most vacations can become. So if you want to let go of stress, meet open-minded, worldly and loving people -- all while getting fit -- then you’ll definitely want to consider a yoga retreat.

1. Because You Need “You” Time
Courtesy of Dashama Gordon

1 BECAUSE YOU NEED “YOU” TIME

Taking a break and focusing on your self-care is a big part of staying healthy. When you leave your worries, to-do lists and stresses behind, suddenly you have 24 hours a day to pamper yourself, dive deep into your mind and emotions and see where you stand in the life-work-relationship-health-harmony continuum. You may just discover some deep personal truths from this inner journey that allow you to create more space for what’s truly important when you get back home. Insights are plentiful and abundant when on a yoga retreat -- just be sure to keep your pen and journal handy to write them down so they are not soon forgotten.

Related: 15 Secrets to Better Work-Life Balance

2. You’ll Gain a Sense of Mindfulness
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2 YOU’LL GAIN A SENSE OF MINDFULNESS

Being mindful means witnessing what's happening and what you're doing. It expands your awareness of the impact your actions have on the environment and people around you. When you travel to an exotic location for a yoga retreat, you commit to becoming more mindful. You can’t help it. There are other people with you, and what you do and say will be noticed. The more you focus on being positive, the more you will notice others respond. These experiences help you see how mindful you really are and the many ways you are not. From there, you can choose to improve yourself every day. That is part of the benefit and the process you undergo. It is very transformational.

Related: 8 Easy Mindful-Meditation Techniques

3. Everyone Could Use a Fresh Start
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3 EVERYONE COULD USE A FRESH START

We all have things that we need to let go of. It’s part of living. When we choose to better ourselves, we choose to let go of the past. That includes letting go of guilt, shame, fear or any negative emotion you are holding on to from the past. When you let go of the past, you free up a tremendous amount of energy to create an even more amazing life. This is one of the greatest benefits of attending a yoga retreat. You can start anew and choose to live in the present moment thereafter.

Related: Honor Your “Human Experience”

4. You’ll Push Yourself to New Heights
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4 YOU’LL PUSH YOURSELF TO NEW HEIGHTS

Pushing yourself to find your potential in yoga may encourage you to embrace and conquer other goals and aspirations when you return from your retreat. It’s beautiful how much a simple retreat can change your life. You may even set some new goals and aspirations when you find yourself surrounded by so many inspiring people who are also committed to bettering themselves. When you push past the edge of your comfort zone, you break through limitations and can achieve some truly great things. This is how you access your highest potential and eventually enter into a state of self-actualization.

Related: 30-Day Meditation Challenge

5. So You Can Learn Balance
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5 SO YOU CAN LEARN BALANCE

Focusing on your “yoga self” brings the reality of life back into hopeful perspective. Embrace the good and release the stress. You likely have many things back at home that require your attention. But when you go on a yoga retreat you get to take a break from those obligations and focus solely on your own personal development. This will make you a more well-rounded person when you return to your regular routine. You’ll find that the practices you learn while on the retreat can help you prioritize in times of stress and regain your inner peace and personal sense of balance.

Related: 12 Amazing Paddleboard Yoga Poses (and How to Do Them)

6. You’ll Become More Loving and Compassionate
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6 YOU’LL BECOME MORE LOVING AND COMPASSIONATE

A yoga retreat keeps you grounded while stretching you to expand your mind and body to hold more love and understanding. Yoga stretches your capacity in every way. Physically it stretches your muscles so you can see a visible increase in flexibility as a result of your practice. But it also stretches your capacity for love and compassion. You can start to experience a deeper sense of compassion for yourself and for others. When guided with care and proper instruction from a well-trained teacher, the journey opens your heart. This allows you to hold it all together in challenging situations and is an invaluable benefit for the rest of your life.

Related: The 3-2-1 Method for Tackling Life’s Challenges and Winning

7. Beautiful Locations -- Enough Said
Courtesy of Dashama Gordon

7 BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS -- ENOUGH SAID

When you travel to a yoga retreat, you're not only signing up to practice yoga every day for a week, you're also committing to an adventure. Choose a yoga retreat in a location you’ve always wanted to visit so you can combine travel and personal development. The journey itself will change you in so many positive ways. You will get stronger, more tolerant and open-minded when you experience new cultures. The landscape, the natural environment and everything surrounding you will enhance your experience and leave an imprint on your heart that will last a lifetime. The photos and the friends are added bonuses you get to keep with you forever when you leave.

Related: 18 Dream Fitness Vacations

8. Make Lifelong Friends
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8 MAKE LIFELONG FRIENDS

Clearly, you already share a love of yoga and healthy living with your retreat buddies. And spending essentially 24/7 with the same group of people for a week (or more) means you'll have plenty of time to find even more common interests and develop deep friendships. Whether you find someone that lives near you or a long-distance yoga buddy, yoga retreats foster the kind of deep and open relationships that are the basis for strong friendships.

Related: 8 Surprising Ways Your Social Life Impacts Your Health

9. You'll Expand Your Asana Practice
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9 YOU'LL EXPAND YOUR ASANA PRACTICE

In the Western world, the physical yoga practice is the primary definition of yoga. So while it's important to get away to focus on all the other internal and spiritual aspects of yoga, one of the benefits of doing at least one asana practice a day is that you'll deepen your physical yoga practice. As you let go and surrender to your surroundings, you'll find yourself becoming stronger and more flexible. And hopefully that encourages you to take your daily practice back with you into your "real life."

Related: 11 Yoga Poses to Detoxify Your Body

How to Plan Your Next Yoga Retreat
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HOW TO PLAN YOUR NEXT YOGA RETREAT

A yoga retreat is truly the kind of thing you have to experience for yourself to fully understand. When you arrive at the resort and begin to experience paradise with the rest of your group -- practicing yoga and looking out at the beautiful blue ocean and sunset while sipping from a fresh baby coconut -- it all starts to make sense. Bali, Costa Rica, Hawaii and Thailand are great places to start. It all depends on your preference and where you live. For convenience, Costa Rica and Hawaii are closest to the United States. For culture and spirituality, Bali and Thailand can’t be topped. Whatever you choose, keep an open mind and remember: Life is a journey, not a destination.

Related: Find out more about the yoga retreats that Dashama leads

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Have you ever been on a yoga retreat? Why did you go? What did you get out of it? Have you ever wanted to go on a yoga retreat? What’s holding you back? If you could go one place on earth for a retreat, where would it be? Share your thoughts, suggestions and stories in the comments section below!

Related: 13 Reasons to Start Yoga

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