One of the benefits of the rise in popularity in yoga is that there are many options to travel the world to enjoy the practice. There’s everything from austere little ashrams to intensive trainings with top-notch teachers, to ultra-luxe spa retreats. You can go nearly anywhere for yoga retreats.
In a few weeks I’ll be heading to Azulfit in Fuerteventura to relax, renew and improve my yoga and wellbeing. I’ve been to many yoga retreats before but only for a weekend and always in the UK. In addition to this, after taking a few outside classes in Jamaica and realising yoga in the sun has a few challenges, so I need to think this through in terms of what to pack.
Part of my ambition to minimise my anxiety is found in preparation. This packing list means I can get everything I need ahead of time. Furthermore, I won’t be sitting on a plane thinking ‘did I remember…’ for hours and will instead sit back and chill out.
I’ll be travelling with just hand luggage. Owing to most short haul airlines charging extra for baggage, I’ll buy any additional toiletries I might need at the airport after security and donate them when I leave – much cheaper than £20 each way to check in a bag. A retreat is way of retreating from ALL of life’s pressures so you won’t need a bulging make up bag, potions, lotions and multiple electronic items – this is an opportunity to leave as many ‘things’ behind and look after your inner self.
Packing lightly helps relieve travel stress (no waiting around for bags and overpacking temptations) and sets you up for a relaxing retreat. You might want to check with the location you’ll be visiting and find out what they provide in terms of yoga equipment and amenities so you have the option of leaving some gear at home. Furthermore, most yoga retreats are basic in terms of what they provide in the accommodation so check is you need towels, soaps etc. One thing to remember, if you’re going alone you might be sharing a room with a stranger so if you’re normally a naked sleeper, pack a nightie!
When it comes to traveling for a yoga break, my number one priority is comfort. Layers are good to keep off the chill when you’re sitting and relaxing before or after practice. I am a devoted yogini, but I hate being casual, so I try to bring nicer yoga clothes and some nice kaftans/t shirt dresses to wander around when ‘off duty’. I got this lovely embroidered kaftan from Primark which I can’t wait to wear.
One mistake I have made in the past is to not pack any semi dressy evening clothes. Many people dress for dinner as it makes a nice change from being casual all day. Also, it’s common for groups to go to restaurants at least once so keep something floaty and pretty to wear like this dress from asos.
Remember you won’t be doing yoga 24/7 so plan for the down time. See what is around the local area and plan what you fancy doing when you’re not practicing. I’ve already looked at the volcano walk; oh and the nearby tapas bar that does a lovely glass of Rioja….
I have this bag from Amazon. It’s the maximum size for a carry on and perfect for a week away. Lots of handy pockets for paperwork and it can be used as a rucksack or pulled on wheels.
3 pairs of yoga bottoms. I find that I prefer short leggings or even lycra shorts when doing yoga in the heat of the day. These can be used as day wear too.
2 sports bras. One to wash, one to wear.
1 regular bra.
3 tank tops. Take at least one top that isn’t super sporty, so it can be worn while sightseeing or out on the town.
3 pairs undies, or more if you’re not up to doing some laundry in the sink.
3 pairs socks. Even if you’re wearing only flip-flops, feet can get cold in the yoga studio!
2 kaftans. kaftans can be accessorized with fab jewelry and gladiator flats to look fab in the evening
2 dress or skirt for days off and dressing up.
1 cardigan or hoodie for layering in yoga practice or chilly evenings.
1 shawl for sitting in meditation and for dressing up.
1 swimsuit. A must if you’re attending a retreat in the tropics! Many yoga schools have hot tubs or saunas on the premises.
Sleep gear – nightie, ear plugs, blindfold
Day bag – soft linen shopper that can be easily packed
Flip flops or other slip on shoes. If you’re staying at an ashram or yoga school, you’ll be taking your shoes on and off constantly because you can’t wear shoes in yoga studios. Rather than trainers I always bring flossys or Toms as they are so comfortable.
Comfortable walking shoes for sight seeing
Protection from the Elements
Lightweight long sleeved cotton top if you’re headed somewhere sunny.
Disposable rain poncho
Sunscreen and a hat – recommend a baseball hat if doing beach yoga
Yoga mat. A travel mat and/or a mat sized yoga towel is perfect! I bought this one for on £12 which I use all the time to put on top of class mats as well as when travelling. In addition to this, it’s non slip, thin and really light.
Hand towel. A microfiber towel will keep you from slipping on your mat, and can also be used to mop off sweat.
Mat wipes. These can also be used to clean off dirty barefoot yoga feet or freshening up after class.
Buy all of these at the airport/local supermarket
in mini size if travelling with hand luggage:
Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower gel. If you’re staying at an ashram, there is a chance that you’ll have to bring everything.
Laundry soap for quick laundry in the sink.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Minimal makeup: Tinted moisturizer, eyebrow crayon and a lip gloss is all I take. Also take some basic make up wipes rather than liquid cleansers especially if only taking hand luggage thus preserving your liquid allowance.
Hair brush + ties and/or headband to keep your hair out of your face while practicing yoga
Ipad/phone/local adapters – I know we like to think we won’t use these but logically you may need to contact someone in an emergency
Cheap watch – this is so you can put your phone away during the day and concentrate on yoga and YOU