A yoga retreat is going to be different from other retreats out there. In a yoga retreat, the goal is more than just taking a break to relax and deepening your yoga practice. That’s why packing for a yoga retreat is different.
Here are the 14 things you should pack in your suitcase when going for a yoga retreat.
Yoga Clothing and Layers
If it’s in a tropical location, wearing full-length yoga pants might be too uncomfortable for the climate. But you can use them at night when it’s a bit cooler. Just to be safe, though, bring cropped and full-length yoga pants.
You can just mix and match based on the weather. If it’s a weekend retreat, only bring a pair of yoga pants. Yoga pants can be worn twice before washing. If you are going to stay longer than that, bring at least two.
Sports Bra and Tops
For your tops, bring your usual sports bra and lightweight tops that you can layer. This way, you can just layer your tops when it gets cooler or when you’re going to visit temples that don’t allow women to show their shoulders. Bring at least one regular bra that you can use when wearing casual clothes for dinner or a formal gathering.
Shawl and Jacket
You should also bring a shawl that will keep you warm during the night and you can use to make your outfit look a little formal when going out for dinner. You should also bring a jacket if you’re going somewhere cold.
If the yoga retreat has a swimming pool or is at a beach resort, don’t forget to bring your swimsuit.
Undies, Socks, and Pajamas
Of course, don’t forget to bring your underwear. Bring two for each day and a couple of extras, in case you go swimming and take extra showers. If it’s a winter retreat, bring a dressing gown with you to not feel cold at night. Bring socks for when you’re going out and a pair for practicing Yoga Nidra or restorative yoga at night.
Yoga Mat and Props
On a yoga retreat, you will be practicing yoga more than usual. It’s best to bring a yoga mat with you, so you don’t have to rely on borrowing from the supplies of the host. It’s more hygienic to use your own mat than to use one that’s for public use.
If your yoga mat at home is heavy, get a travel yoga mat. Travel yoga mats are lightweight, and you can check them in quickly. Make sure you bring a yoga mat carrier as well so you can just carry it on your shoulders and get moving.
Most yoga retreats include hiking or walking to areas close to your retreat center or resort. Make sure to pack shoes for hiking. If the retreat doesn’t include hiking, check the location for the possible need for walking or hiking shoes.
If the retreat is at a beach resort or center that has a pool, you will need flip-flops for when you’re relaxing on the sand or by the poolside.
You should also bring casual day shoes or sandals that you can wear on the plane or when you’re going out and about at the retreat center.
A Small Towel
A small towel has many purposes on a yoga retreat. You can use it to serve its primary purpose, which is to dry your body. If you are going to practice yoga on the sand, you can use your towel as a yoga mat. It’s lightweight and easy to carry.
Basic toiletries like body soap, shampoo, toothbrush, and toothpaste may not be necessary to pack. But always check in with your retreat host or center about what toiletries they will provide. If it’s a donation-based retreat, bring your own toiletries so you don’t have to use their supplies.
Make sure to keep your bottles less than 100 ml if you only have carry-on luggage. Also, don’t bring too many toiletries to avoid throwing them and letting them go to waste. Lastly, bring lots of sunscreens.
Passport and Visa
If your yoga retreat is outside the country, make sure you check if you need a visa to enter first. Of course, if it’s an overseas yoga retreat, you need to bring your passport with you. It’s your main identification proof. Get photocopies of your passport and your visa, or at least photos, so you have backup copies if you lose the original copies of your documents.
Plane Tickets, Boarding Pass, and Travel Insurance
You can get most plane tickets electronically these days. Just to be safe, print out your plane tickets and boarding pass. Download the digital versions on your phone as well, in case there’s no wi-fi wherever you’re going.
If the retreat is somewhere abroad, make sure to have travel insurance as your current insurance may not cover trips overseas.
Other Handy Items
Yoga retreats focus on yoga, but you will have some downtime. You will likely spend it exploring the retreat center or surrounding areas. It helps to pack these handy items in your luggage:
If your yoga retreat is outside the US, it’s best to bring local currency with you, so you don’t have to go around the area to find a money changer. There are money changers at the airport. Before you board your flight, exchange your US dollars for the local currency.
The local currency will be handy in case you explore the surrounding areas of the retreat center.
Mobile Phone Charger and Adapter
Make sure you don’t forget your mobile phone charger and bring the correct plug adapter for it.
Yoga retreats don’t mean you will only be staying inside the retreat center to practice yoga. You will be going outdoors, exploring the local area, and maybe even doing some hiking. Make sure you bring insect repellent with you to protect yourself from insect bites.
If you’re sharing a room with other yoga retreat participants, bring earplugs. You don’t know if you’re going to be roomies with a snorer. Earplugs also help when you’re meditating on your own.
What Not to Pack
A yoga retreat is a way to relax, restore your energy, and enjoy the present moment. Don’t pack things that will cause you stress and keep you away from enjoying the retreat. You can bring your laptop and gadgets for work.
But if you know that you can’t enjoy the retreat because these gadgets are at your arm’s reach, keep them home.
Tips on How to Pack for a Yoga Retreat
Packing for a yoga retreat is different because you have extras to bring, such as your yoga mat and yoga props. These gears can be bulky and heavy, so it’s best to plan how to pack accordingly. Here are some tips for you:
Make a List
Make a list of all the things you have to bring. Ensure the essentials are on top of the list, your visa, passport, IDs, and wallet. This way, you don’t forget them. Always put your essentials in your carry-on bag.
Don’t Bring a Big Suitcase
If you have a big suitcase, you will bring more than you need to bring. A hard-sided bag that is 22 inches tall is a good size. It can work as a carry-on, but you can also check it in. Since it is hard-sided, you can’t squeeze in extras that you don’t really need, anyway.
Fill All Spaces
Use all the spaces you have in your luggage. For example, stuff your shoes with socks, then bring the shoes’ heel to toe together. Rolling your clothes is also an excellent way to fill all the spaces of your suitcase, especially when your clothes are lightweight.
Using packing cubes will also help in organizing your clothes and keeping them compact.
Bring Travel-Friendly Yoga Props
Yoga mats are heavy and bulky. If you can afford to buy a travel yoga mat that is lightweight, buy one. If not, use a yoga mat from the retreat center and put a yoga towel on top.
Yoga towels are multi-purpose. You can use them as a cover-up and to dry yourself off as well. You can also use them as a bolster.
If you plan to bring books with you, don’t bring yoga blocks. You can use books in place of blocks.
Choose Toiletries in Solid Form
Liquid toiletries such as body wash, shampoo, and lotion can spill into your bag. Bring a soap bar, shampoo bar, and lotion bar instead. They don’t spill and are more eco-friendly since they are not in plastic bottles.
A yoga retreat is a way to connect with your true self, with nature, and with new people. It’s a way to unload your baggage. So, don’t bring things that will add more load to your baggage, literally and figuratively.