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Investing your time and money in a yoga holiday is a big deal — especially if you’ve never done anything like it before. A lot of first-timers wonder if they’re going to be able to handle two classes a day, or if they’ll get along with their fellow yogis, or about the food, or whatever. After several years experience, these are my top tips for getting the most out of a yoga retreat, whether it is your first or your fifteenth!

1. No Expectations, No Judgement

Going into the retreat with anticipation for positive change is great, but don’t approach it with a checklist mentality, e.g. “I will do every posture in every class”, “I’ll finally fix my standing-head-to-knee pose” or whatever. Approach the holiday just as you would a yoga class: with mindful acceptance of your body and practice, and the determination to do your best. Don’t feel like because it’s a holiday you have to be “better” or work “harder” — all you need is your honest effort, every day.

2. Be Open

The whole point of a yoga holiday is to step outside of your comfort zone and learn something new. To fully experience this you need to be open to the people around you. In my years of leading the Yoga Holiday with Paul retreat we’ve been blessed to have amazing groups that formed strong friendships, and that is down to students being open. Yoga can be a solitary practice. Take this opportunity to enjoy and explore the community aspect of yoga.

3. Explore New Routines
For a lot of you, yoga is part of a strict routine. I know, because I see you in the same classes, at the same spot in the studio, working your hardest. On a yoga retreat, give yourself the opportunity to create new routines. What can you do when you don’t have to rush to the changing room and get to work? How about meditating for 20 minutes after class? Or setting aside half an hour every day to write in your journal? Or getting a massage every other day? Create a routine of self-care during the holiday and see if you can continue it when you get back to the “real world”!

4. Eat Differently
A catered holiday like Yoga Holiday with Paul is the perfect chance to reinforce positive eating habits and explore new foods. With a delicious array of vegetarian and vegan treats, you get to detox, try new foods, and see what works for you. Your digestive system will appreciate the break and you might just find you don’t miss your morning mocha or afternoon chocolate bar!

5. Ask Questions
The more you know about yoga, the stronger you get. With twice-daily classes and lots of down time there is abundant opportunity for you to ask questions about postures, corrections, diet, hydration, what to wear, or… anything really. And don’t just ask me! Talk to your fellow yogis. Everyone has a different journey and experience. One of the great things about the retreat is the chance to hear where other people have come from and what they’ve learned on the way.

To reserve your place on the Yoga Holiday With Paul retreat, or for more information email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com