How To Create A Custom Yoga Retreat You Can Actually Afford

Optometrist By Danielle Richardson, O.D.
Danielle Richardson, O.D. is an optometrist and yoga teacher living and practicing in Los Angeles.l

Photo by Courtesy of Danielle Richardson

Nothing is more grounding, centering, and fulfilling than taking some personal time to recharge and reconnect via yoga. Unfortunately, the cost of all-inclusive yoga retreats can keep some aspiring yogis from taking the leap. This month marks one year since I graduated from optometry school and embarked on a 30-day yoga and self-discovery program in Bali. Thanks to some creative planning, I was able to create this magical and transformative yoga retreat while still being a student. Here are some budget-friendly tips I learned for creating the yoga retreat of your dreams:

1. Choose a location where your money will stretch.

Location is the most important decision to consider when creating your yoga retreat. The world is full of amazing yoga studios and retreat centers, but pricing varies based on location and currency exchange rate. You’ll want to pick a location where your money can stretch. I picked Bali, Indonesia, for this reason. In addition to doing daily yoga, I was able to treat myself to massages, colonics, and other spa services for one-quarter of the cost in the U.S. Picking a location where the currency exchange rate is in your favor drastically improves the quality of your experience.

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2. Opt for an unlimited class pass.

Yoga retreats can be expensive, but studios typically offer monthly and weekly unlimited class passes. Depending on the length of your trip, you can buy a pass that allows you to attend as many classes as you’d like. For my retreat, I picked The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali, and purchased the 30-day unlimited pass for about $200 U.S. Picking a studio that aligns with you is imperative for a good retreat experience. Researching pricing and studios before you leave will allow you to design your perfect yoga holiday.

3. Stay near (not at) the studio.

Accommodations are a big part of the yoga-retreat price tag. You’ll save more money finding your own lodging, but it will cost you in time. For my yoga retreat, I opted to decide on my accommodations once I was local in Ubud, Bali. Upon arrival, I asked other yogis and staff at The Yoga Barn for lodging recommendations. After viewing a few places, I decided on a one-bedroom bungalow half a mile from the studio. By not staying at the studio, I saved about $60 a night, had my own room, and was able to more wholly immerse myself in the local culture.

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4. Don't plan too much in advance.

If you’re planning a yoga retreat, chances are you’re looking to unwind. One of the best parts about planning your solo yoga retreat is your days are completely your own. You can create a routine that includes a sunrise practice followed by breakfast at a local cafe. If you tire of that routine, the freedom is yours to add midday meditation or an evening flow to your schedule. The beauty of a yoga retreat is the immersive quality of the experience. You’ll want to leave space to connect with your intuition and allow it to guide you through your days. A bit of loose structure is great, but don’t schedule a tourist activity for every waking moment. Take some time to breathe and mindfully enjoy meals or reconnect with nature.

5. Log on sparingly.

Leaving behind day-to-day stressors is mandatory for a relaxing vacation. During your yoga retreat, you can be disconnected from your usual social media world while still keeping your friends and family updated. A great way to keep in contact and remain unplugged is to use the photo stream feature on your phone. You can enable and share an album with only your family and friends and post photos similar to Instagram but without the unwanted noise. I took my month-long retreat alone, and the photo stream feature allowed me to show loved ones I was safe and enjoying myself. If photos aren't your thing, consider a daily email update or publishing new content to your blog. And, of course, not buying an international phone or texting plan will save you another expense while you're abroad, as well. Take advantage of free Wi-Fi where you're staying or at local cafes instead.

Planning a personal yoga retreat can seem daunting, but it’s easy once broken down into its more manageable components. Don’t let the price tag hold you back if a yoga retreat is something you’ve always wanted to do. No excuses! It’s time to get up and plan the yoga retreat of your dreams. Namaste.

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