What to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat?
I recently went to my first yoga retreat and thought it would be a great idea to report back.
So if you are also wondering what to expect from your first ever yoga retreat, you’re in luck.
In this blog post I will tell you all about my first yoga retreat experience.
Furthermore, we will go over a few details as in what to bring and what to wear and how to get the most from your own experience.
What exactly is a yoga retreat?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, retreats are the whole rage lately.
As a matter of fact, wellness retreats are trendy all around the world and rightfully so.
People are overworked, stressed out from work and craving human interaction and connections.
This created the perfect environment for wellness retreats to thrive. Which brings us to our yoga retreat.
They can last a couple of days to a week. Some even run much longer. Yoga retreats happen all around the world.
You are bound to find one in your own city or choose to attend an international one and turn it into a grand adventure.
Which yoga retreat should you attend as a first timer?
Like I said earlier, there are tons of yoga retreats. And to make things even more fun, they are held in all sorts of places.
You could attend a retreat held in a mountain scenery, within your hometown limits or even on a yacht.
Right? Absolutely bunkers! 🙂
If you are unsure or undecided, I recommend testing the waters with a weekend yoga retreat like the one I attended.
So my first retreat was hosted by my lovely friend Shahad Labelle. She is honestly one of the most beautiful soul I’ve been blessed to meet in this lifetime.
She has been a yoga instructor for a very long time now. The thing about Shahad is that she leads her retreats from her heart and makes sure everything is aligned with her vision and values.
Shahad started doing her own retreats and I yours truly could not miss on that fun. I had quite a few closed friends watching my Instagram live stories and practically dying of envy.
But this doesn’t have to be you. You can always reach out to the beautiful Shahad to go on a soulful adventure with her.
And no this isn’t a sponsored post and I am not getting commission either. I genuinely vouch for the quality of Shahad’s retreats along with her attention to details.
I believe in what she does so much that I want to share it with as many people as possible. So if you choose to attend one of her retreats in the future, tell her that I sent you 🙂
Our weekend Yoga Retreat’s Location
I also love the fact that Shahad carefully selects her retreats locations.
The one I attended was held in an absolutely out of this world resort in the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE are composed of 7 Emirates and this one was hosted in the culture capital of UAE, Sharjah, approximately 30 km away from the world famous Dubai.
The Chedi Al Bait heritage hotel was the perfect place for us to connect to ourselves and with others.
What to expect as a first timer?
Let me begin by saying that I know absolutely nothing about yoga. I’m a total beginner. I really wanted to add this for context.
That said, I felt that the retreat did an amazing job in guiding me. So if you are a complete newbie, don’t worry.
We had a dedicated schedule. So after arriving in Sharjah, we checked into our room.
Shahad had a lovely welcome bag for us.It’s funny how these little details can elevate the experience. So check in was on a Friday
The Chedi Al Bait Sharjah Hotel & Sharjah Old Town
Like I said before, our yoga retreat was held in what is probably the best resort in Sharjah.
Moreover, it is also a heritage resort and a very important part of Sharjah’s culture. This is all part of old Sharjah that was integrated with the hotel.
I also liked the fact that there was so much to do. I did not expect to have a museum and a local library on site.
If you happen to be staying at the The Chedi Al Bait Sharjah Hotel, don’t forget to check it out.
There is a wealth of information on the history of Sharjah and important activities on the pearl industry.
I particularly liked the beautiful door that was imported all the way from India by the original owner.
What it’s like staying in a dry hotel?
The Chedi Al Bait is a dry hotel and this was my first time staying in such an environment.
Not only was this the perfect set up for our yoga retreat but it was a pleasant surprise as I was in my first dry month challenge.
Staying at this hotel made it such a walk in the park.
I really appreciated not having the option to order a glass of wine at night 🙂
There were so many other things to do to keep us occupied anyways.
From the beautiful pool, to the spa and heavenly massages, to the on site souk. All this on top of the yoga activities.
The hotel rooms were decorated in the Arabian style which really felt warm and authentic. That said everything was very luxurious and I would like to do a special mention for the hotel staff. Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming.
What else happens at a yoga retreat?
At first, I thought it would only be yoga but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes of course, we did some yoga with lots of variety.
On the first day, arrival day, which was a Friday, we had an opening ceremony, a “Restorative flow & Yoga Nidra”.
Then it was time for a healthy dinner.
Throughout the weekend, we did some morning meditation, energizing flow, some free time, sound healing, brunch and dinner.
My all time favorite was the workshop we had which allowed us to do some deep internal exploring whilst providing guidance.
The retreat was gently pushing us out of our comfort zone but without ever being intimidating.
I really felt like it was the perfect container for us to dive deeper within ourselves.
And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, we were spoiled rotten with the sound healing right before bedtime.
Oh my goodness, this was so relaxing.
What Should You Wear?
You should strive to be as comfortable as possible. So that means that you should pack your usual clothes that you wear to the gym.
Then you could get a little bit fancy and make it fun. I also brought some cue colorful dresses to wear for dinner and brunch.
Of course, you don’t have to dress up if you don’t want to.
I just believe that these are the little things that spice up our lives and can make life so much more fun.
Lastly, don’t forget your toiletries, electronics and chargers.
Yours truly is a very fancy minimalist light packer and likes to keep things as lightweight as possible 🙂 .
That said, I think that pretty much sums it up.
One last thing, make sure to bring a scarf and a hoodie for those evenings when the sun sets and the weather cools up a bit.
The food was amazing. It was the perfect blend of healthy, exciting and tasty.
I love how they used fresh ingredients and honored local food.
Shahad also made sure that we had a wide variety when it comes to the food.
The chefs at The Chedi makes eating healthy the most enriching experience.
Benefits of doing a Yoga retreat
Now that I have finally experienced a weekend yoga retreat for myself, I am glad to say that I am finally starting to get the hype.
This is honestly the perfect way for you to disconnect from the daily stress of life and take time for yourself.
I see it as the ultimate form of self care.
It is also a great reminder about the things that are truly important in life, such as our health and wellbeing.
A yoga retreat is the perfect way to slow down, take a deep breath and embrace staying still and being present in the moment.
Should you go on a yoga retreat?
In this “what to expect on your first yoga retreat” blog I took you down memory lane for so you can be in the known.
Since you are most likely considering to attend a retreat for yourself, I absolutely recommend it . It’s definitely not the sort of things you will regret.
Besides, I’m all for investing in our health and wellness.
You can go over to my friend Shahad’s Instagram @shahadlabelle to see her upcoming retreats. So far the goal is to host a few retreats per year. Who else loves to have a great time? 🙂
Weekend Yoga Retreat Video
Watch my YouTube video to experience the retreat with me.
It’s a collage of all my Instagram stories I did while attending the retreat. I love making these so much, for memory sake.
It’s another creative passion and a fun way to share and also immortalize those moments.
Yes, I’m super cheesy like that 🙂
Not into yoga? Other wellness alternatives
Yes all this sounds quite amazing but what if you’re just not that into yoga?
Well, lucky you, there are tons of wellness retreats you attend.
I also invite you to join my women only dance retreat where the goal is to help you dive deep into your divine femininity.
Join me and a small group of ladies in a super intimate feminine dance retreat in Bali, Portugal, Costa Rica, Mexico or anywhere else my crazy creative mind takes us 🙂 .
Follow me on my Instagram @stefbarti to be the first to know about the retreat dates and other dance training.
I always strive for us to have the most memorable times.
Lastly, tune in my women podcast where it’s all about self improvement ” She Thrives with Stef Barti”.