Have you thought about getting away for a little while? Taking a retreat to help reset your mind and body to something healthier and more relaxed?
Holistic and healing retreats have exploded with popularity. Nearly anyone who can host one of these events is trying for it.
Some of them can be quite intimate, only ranging from three to six people, or they can host dozens and even hundreds at a time.
But, are they as good as what they're promoted as?
What's The Goal Of A Holistic Retreat?
Most holistic retreats help you to relax and be more in touch with your body and emotions. They're going to focus on specific things such as yoga, meditation, hiking and activities, or other emotional and mental exercises for self-discovery.
Every single one of them is good and can help you achieve more and feel better about yourself.
The hard part is discovering exactly what you want. For example, if you're looking for something more relaxing, then a retreat that involves a lot of physical activity will not give you the results you're looking for.
Maybe you want to focus on meditation. What type of meditations are they using? How long are the sessions? Some retreats might focus on different types of meditations for the entire day, which can be incredibly boring or distressing if you aren't used to that.
Whatever retreat you start looking at, be sure to read the fine details and know what you are getting into.
What's Usually Involved When You Go On A Holistic Retreat?
Nearly all retreats require you to visit a location you normally don't. Some are nearby, just a few miles away, while others may require you to travel hundreds of miles. Whichever you choose, travel expenses and time need to be factored in.
Because you are away, your shelter is the next priority. Does the retreat come with a specific location and accommodations? Is it a resort, with very comfortable beds and private rooms? Or do you need to bring your own tent and sleeping bag?
And then there's food. Most offer meals, but not all. Additionally, if you have dietary restrictions, you may need to clear that with the host before you go. Finally, some retreats focus on specific lifestyles, such as vegetarianism or low carb. A great example of this is Buddhist Meditation Retreats that usually only offer vegetarian fare.
After this, it gets a little varied. You'll have to look at a specific itinerary to know exactly what you're getting into. Some retreats might be freeform, where you can come and go to different activities and educational experiences as you please. Others are very strict with timetables and schedules.
Most are willing to share what you'll be able to do before going on the retreat.
Why You Need To Be Very Thorough and Careful When You Book
As wonderful as holistic retreats sound, many people are left disappointed.
A combination of unrealistically high expectations and vague descriptions lead to this.
Being able to temper your expectations can lead to a better experience as you enter into the retreat. Many times, you do get what you pay for. Retreats that you can attend for just a few hundred dollars may have adequate food and lodging but few other amenities.
Be sure to know everything involved with getting to your retreat and getting home. A conference retreat I had attended a few years ago did not sync up well with traveling easily. Although shuttle service provided easy access to the retreat and airport, the flights to get back home were very limited. As a result, I had to leave the retreat nearly three hours early or be stuck waiting for the next flight for nearly 12 hours.
All the relaxation you did can be wiped away with a similar experience.
And finally, before you pay for your retreat, do some research. If the retreat claims to have happened before and helped other people, seek out testimonials. A common theme among holistic coaches is over-inflating the number of people they helped and how long they have been in business. If you can't find any information on a retreat that supposedly had occurred before, take that as a red flag.
Of course, that doesn't mean that first-time retreats are bad. On the contrary, taking a chance on one can be an amazing experience, as many organizers try to go over the top to make an excellent impression.
So, what's our final say?
Holistic retreats can be an amazing experience, helping you relax and achieve your health goals in a very focused manner. However, to make the experience truly memorable, be sure you do your research. Know what you're getting into and what to expect and that can help reduce your stress over all.