So you’ve completed your teacher training, started teaching and your dream is to teach yoga retreats? This can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do but you need to be prepared as they can also seem daunting and you may be unsure how to start. Here, Kirsty Gallagher gives you 10 must-knows for yoga teachers thinking about putting together a yoga retreat…
1) DIY or call in your team?
This is one of the first questions to ask – do you want to do it all yourself and find a villa, chef, team of people to assist and sort out all your own logistics? Or would you rather use an already established retreat centre or work for a retreat company who will take care of some of this work for you? The earning potential differs greatly, but so does the workload.
2) Yoga retreat or yoga holiday?
Will this be a more ‘full on’ retreat with early starts and workshops throughout the day, or more of a relaxed yoga holiday vibe? Do you want to include extras such as meditation, chanting, workshops and excursions, or just keep it simple and offer one or two yoga classes a day?
3) Your offering as a teacher
At the end of the day what ultimately differentiates one retreat from another is YOU. It helps before embarking on teaching retreats to get extremely clear about what your offering is as a teacher and to be strong, centered and comfortable in not only your teaching but who you are as a person. Are you able to offer workshops and ‘extras’ or will this take you straight out of your comfort zone? Will this be a fun retreat which also combines days out and possibly wine, or do you want to keep things more sacred and contained and delve into the more ancient teachings of yoga? Make sure you know what you want to offer and offer it from your heart.
4) Where will you get your client base?
Do you already have an existing following of people who will come on a retreat with you? Or a large social media following through which you can promote your retreat? Teaching retreats are a dream but filling them , especially with so many others on the market can turn into a nightmare! Be clear about where your people will come from and how you can promote your retreat.
5) Preparing for all levels
On your retreat you may have other teachers and people who have never stepped foot on a yoga mat before. People who have been practicing for years and those who dip in and out. Does your previous teaching experience allow you to feel comfortable with that? It really helps to have a whole range of modifications and variations to poses that you can offer to ensure that everyone gets something out of the practices.
6) Holding the space
Teaching retreats is very different to teaching a few weekly classes. There is a large energetic demand on you as a teacher and it is up to you to create the container for the retreat and hold that the whole way through. Do you feel strong and confident enough in your teaching to be able to do this? Do you have enough experience of teaching a number of classes in one day? As this is what it will feel like when you spend a huge proportion of your day with students and their questions. You need to ensure that your space holding is strong.
7) To theme or not to theme
That is the question! With so many retreats out there it may help to theme your retreat to allow a different focus each day, this can also be a great help in forward planning your classes and ensures that you don’t run out of material for your classes. You could also run with a theme that isn’t just yoga and therefore combine something else, such as nutrition or cooking, which takes the emphasis and focus slightly off the yoga and gives people other things to fill their time with.
8) Handling difficulties that arise
There may be meltdowns. There may be people that completely freestyle and do their own practice throughout. You may get people who don’t like each other. Although rare, all of this and so much more are very real possibilities on a retreat. Do you feel confident enough to be able to deal with these things that may arise? Have you had experience of dealing with this in a class environment so you are prepared?
9) Being prepared in yourself
One of the most important things about teaching retreats is self-care, not only during the retreat but before and after too. You need to have something that fills you up and keeps you together so you have the energy to give to everyone else. Make sure that your physical and spiritual practices are supporting you on every level. When you feel centered, aware, strong and in your own truth and power you can deal with anything that comes along.
10) Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
Teaching yoga retreats is one of the most rewarding, fulfilling life-changing things you will ever do so enjoy not only the retreats but also the journey. You will learn so much about yourself and so many skills as a person, space holder and a teacher through teaching retreats. If you want to delve into this and so much more join Kirsty Gallagher and Yogacampus on the 29th September for Demystifying Yoga Retreats: Practical Realities, Tangible Advice and Preservation Tools for Teachers