Congratulations on hosting your first yoga retreat! Aside from teaching yoga, there are 101 things you’ll need to get organized. Here are the top five things we see retreat hosts forget about most often. Get these items on your to-do list for a retreat that makes you money, pleases your guests, and doesn’t leave you exhausted and depleted.
Budget for ALL THE THINGS!
The most common thing that happens to first-time retreat hosts? They lose money. Creating a successful budget and pricing your retreat correctly is not an art form, it’s science. If you budget for everything, you won’t be surprised by the numbers, because math doesn’t lie. The hard part rests in knowing what everything is. The first time through, unless you work with a professional, you’re likely to forget something. All retreats have a combination of fixed and variable expenses. It’s those variable expenses that can surprise you in the end if you’re not properly prepared. A variable expense could be a small thing, such as purchasing extra water, or it could be a big thing, like a contract saying you owe for that last room that went unsold. Read the fine print, make a list, check it twice, and better yet, get help.
Props, Mats and More
Most beach-front property owners understand the value of renting their homes for yoga retreats. Most boutique hotels have lovely poolside covered pavilions perfect for a yoga class. You’ve spent hours online looking at photographs of yoga studios and imagining how many bodies the space can hold. What you forgot to ask was, how set up are they for yoga? Most, especially private homeowners, will not have invested in a full set of yoga accessories and props, and it’s tough to ask your students to pack their own bolsters, blankets, blocks and straps. Many people don’t own these accessories, and checked baggage fees for international flights can be as high as $65 USD for the second bag. How many blocks do you need again? Time to go back to the drawing board and reconsider your classes and workshops, or…work with a partner that will help you plan for all this ahead of time.
The Yoga Back-Up Plan
Speaking of the yoga plan…know before you go! If your retreat is an owner-operated show, god bless you! Get ready to be overwhelmed and extremely busy by the afternoon on day 1. It will be tough to slip off to your room and prepare your classes. After all, even during down time, the group paid to hang out with YOU. Have a plan for each class and workshop before you go, and have it tight. That said, be ready to abandon plan A for plan B. There’s a good chance many of the students on your retreat already know you and you know them. That’s how they found out about traveling with you! But what happens when you’ve planned a one-arm handstand workshop and your group is full of beginners? What happens when there’s one beginner and the rest of the group is ready for one-armed handstands? Have a yoga plan for when things do not go according to the yoga plan.
The Everything Else Back-Up Plan
Did someone say plan to abandon the plan? What’s true for yoga is true for life. In a perfect world, everything would go according to expectations on our retreat. But what if it doesn’t? Who is your fixer? If the problem solver is you, do you have time for that? What happens if someone’s arriving flight is delayed. Does the whole group wait at the airport, or can someone pick them up later? What happens if your hiking guide is a no-show, your dinner reservation went missing, someone’s baggage got lost, or there was an injury? The best emergency plan is the one you never have to use. If you not only have an emergency plan, but you have a partner in operations, it’s possible that when things go wrong no-one will notice.
Schedule Your Own Enjoyment
You’re ambitious, heck – you’re hosting a retreat! You’ve done your planning, you’re teaching twice daily, you’re entertaining your guests, you are exhausted. When you imagined traveling the world as a yoga instructor and retreat leader, you didn’t imagine that it would feel like this. You opted out of surfing because someone has to take photos, you skipped hammock nap time because you had to run to the store, you were the first to wake up, and you’re the last to get sleep. Wouldn’t it have been amazing if all you had to do was teach?
Remember to block off a few hours of each day to rest, restore, and enjoy that wonderful vacation you’ve so carefully planned for others.
Want even more detailed assistance? Contact us. At Baja Surf Yoga we provide retreat planning consulting services to guide your through each step of the process. Why not outsource the tough parts, so you can enjoy the fun parts? We’d be honored to help.