Yoga Retreats and Yoga Workshops: What to Teach

Leading a Yoga Retreat and Yoga Workshop for the first time? Need ideas on what to instruct on the mat?

Whether it's your first time or tenth time leading a yoga retreat, congrats! It's such an amazing feeling to be able to travel, explore another part of the world, and be paid your worth during that entire week! It's the place where you get to teach yoga how YOU want to teach (not how your studio owner wants), you get to share so much more of your passion for yoga, and you get to connect with your students on such an intimate level that doesn't happen in the normal environment.

Leading a yoga retreat offers you the opportunity to take more time to teach the philosophy and technicality of various aspects of the practice. That's why it's great to consider including a yoga workshop in the midst of your week! 

Why a workshop? Because YOGA WORKSHOP! :) 

Seriously though. Including a yoga workshop during your retreat is great because you don't have to feel compelled to move through an entire sequence if you want your students to stop for a moment to understand some nuances. They can practice some breathing or strength-building drills to help them deepen into specific parts of the practice. 

Think of it more like a "call and response" type of interaction for the 1.5-2 hours. Your students will get to ask the questions they didn't get to during their normal class. You get to really geek out on the topic, shine in your authority on the subject, and give everyone so much more than they expected to get. 

I love leading the workshop in the middle of the retreat because it gives a nice break between teaching my Yin and Yang sessions. I'll usually choose the evening timeslot in the middle of the week because my students have already done their day-time activities, taken their personal time to chill, and get to stay relaxed as they learn in a loosely-structured format. 

Things you can consider teaching:
-The other aspects of Yoga (instead of the physical parts, you can talk about the forefathers of yoga, how they practiced, the focus on mainly meditation, the philosophy of living a peaceful life)
-An in-depth pranayama/breathwork session
-How to strive towards Crow Pose, Side Crow and other arm balances
-How to strive towards a tripod and a traditional headstand

Yoga Retreat Protip:
Don't teach anything you haven't practiced yourself on the mat for at least 1 year. Seriously. It's just like teaching in any normal class. It's a huge lack of integrity to try to teach something you haven't internalized with your own mind and body. Not only is it a huge risk for injury, but it can be a buzz-kill for your students when they sense that you're not sure how to get into a pose safely. 

Remember that you're a student first and foremost. It's ok if you can't achieve a handstand, yet. You don't have to know everything right now, and it's a good service to your retreat attendees to be real and authentic with what you DO know. 

Yoga Retreat Protip #2:
A week before your retreat, do a "dry run" of your workshop (and every single yoga class you intend to teach during that week). Do it with your neighbor, friends, significant other that's tagging along for the trip, your pet, or even just by yourself! Get a sense of how the classes and workshop topics will flow. You may even find that you have too much content for the workshop, so you can leave out a few poses. When you've gone through it and rehearsed it, then you'll feel much more confident and comfortable when the time comes. 

Congrats again on leading a yoga retreat! Have fun with this! It's such a blessing that we get to make a living doing something we love, something that helps other people become stronger in the mind, body and spirit!

For my upcoming retreats, hit up my RE:TREAT page!