If you’ve already managed to choose which yoga retreat is right for you then congratulations because that’s no easy task but now you’re probably facing the next hurdle… what to pack? That’s where my Yoga Retreat Packing Guide comes into play.
There are so many incredible yoga retreats available to visit around the world, from Ashrams in India to luxury yoga retreats nestled within the jungles, forests and mountains of dreamy destinations like Mexico, Costa Rica and the Bahamas. Whether you’re a beginner who’s main aim is to relax and unwind in a tranquil setting while taking an occasional class with an instagram celeb yoga teacher or you’re a devoted yogi studying with a well-known Guru… we all need to pack and plan!
What Do I Pack For A Yoga Retreat?
I’ve been lucky enough to practice yoga all over the world, with many different yoga teachers. Believe me I know the feeling of wishing I’d packed something that would have made the experience so much easier or more enjoyable. Some yoga retreats and ashrams are in the middle of nowhere which is great for peace and tranquility but not so great if you forget something that you really need. There’s nothing worse than being miles away from a shop or wifi and not being able to get hold of a phone charger, a warm shawl because grrrr the evenings are colder than expected or just basic toiletries.
I created this Yoga Retreat Packing Guide so you can be fully prepared to get your yoga retreat zen on from the moment you arrive. No one should be feeling stressed out upon arrival especially if you’ve forked out some big bucks for a yoga vacation that’s supposed to be relaxing.
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Essential Yoga Gear
Yoga Retreat Packing Guide: Yoga Mats
I imagine you have a yoga mat already if you’re visiting a yoga retreat but just in case you don’t here are my current favorites. Most yoga retreats and ashrams should have a shop on site that allows you to buy or rent a yoga mat. Double check with the yoga retreat you’re going to and see if you need to bring your own. It does take up a lot of room in your backpack unless you’re able to clip your mat to the outside of your backpack.
Yoga Retreat Packing Guide: Yoga Hand & Foot Grips
I hate slipping all over the yoga mat when I’m trying to do asanas. If you’re visiting a yoga retreat somewhere hot then chances are you’ll be doing a lot of classes outdoors (think a fan on low they like you to sweat these yogi folk and no air conditioning) …you will be hot and sweaty. Hand and feet grips are essential for focus and well… not breaking your neck.
Yoga Retreat Packing Guide: Luggage
Whether you take a backpack or a suitcase really depends on the yoga retreat you’re visiting. If it’s in India or South America and not super expensive (example the Sivananda Vedanta Ashram) then I recommend a backpack. Often there are a lot of steps, the ground isn’t exactly concreted over and you may need to dodge a few cows or chickens on the way in. If you’re going on a luxury yoga vacation and the retreat is clearly quite glamorous, by all means take a suitcase.
Deciding what type of luggage to take also depends on how long you’re going for too. If I’m just doing a weekend or a few days somewhere not too far away then a light weight carry on is all I need. I’ve written a detailed post which includes advice on choosing the perfect women’s backpack for you and also my top recommendations for the top 3 best travel backpacks for female travelers for shorter trips and longer trips.
Read it here: Best Backpacks For Women Travelers
Yoga Retreat Packing Tip: Pack Lightly
I always try to pack lightly wherever I go because I hate being weighed down (literally) and I only pack what I need, prioritizing comfort over being stylish every time. The great thing about going on a yoga vacation is that it’s all about how you feel not how you look. That said, I’m a girly girl and if I don’t look good I usually don’t feel good. If we can fly to the moon we can manage to look good, be comfortable and dress appropriately on a yoga retreat all at once, am I right ladies? Click To Tweet
Packing cubes are an excellent way to squeeze more in and keep luggage light. I use the Eagle Creek Pack It Compression Cubes for clothes and underwear every time I travel and I can vouch for the quality.
Daytime Clothing For Yoga Retreats
Yoga Retreat Packing Guide: Yoga Pants
I do yoga in leggings because I can’t stand baggy clothing flapping around while I’m trying to do asanas. My fave yoga pants right now are Ndoobiy Leggings from Amazon I have about 20 pairs (yes in the most insane colorful patterns known to man) and I can’t get enough of them. They’re soft, stretchy and sooo cute. I also love Onzie and have their leopard print leggings which fit like a dream and ok they’re better quality than my Amazon leggings but a lot more expensive.
Yoga Retreat Packing Guide: Yoga Tops
Tighter the better so they don’t ride up in a head stand. I wear 90 Degree By Reflex which are a great price and great quality. I have their leggings too which are thicker and better quality than Ndoobiy but I prefer my leggings to be thin (not see through thin) but I prefer light and airy as I’m not in a cold country.
Ideal Evening Clothing To Pack
TIP: Choose neutral colors so you can team with anything.
Breathable t-shirt – Choose a smart casual t-shirt that you can dress up or down.
Leggings – I live in leggings but if you’re somewhere conservative do wear a top that covers your butt.
Lightweight tunic – Throw over your t-shirt or wear alone depending on the weather.
Shawl – Use this to add some glamour to your outfit or warm yourself up in the evening or early morning. This could come in handy to cover your hair with if in Asia while visiting temples.
Yoga Retreat Footwear
Slip on shoes – Usually you need to remove shoes before entering any building especially in Asia and practically always in Yoga Retreats and Ashrams so don’t bring sandals that have straps or buckles because it will get really tedious having to take them on and off ten times a day.
Comfortable walking and trekking shoes – Most yoga retreats offer day trips and as most are based in beautiful locations be prepared for trekking jungles, mountains and forests. I think I’m the only person that attempted to do a trek in Chiang Mai in flip flops.
Tip: You can’t do yoga with two broken ankles.
Bring hair ties, head bands, sweat towels, deodorant (I use an all-natural deodorant made in Bali and you should too to avoid nasty toxic chemicals), a high SPF and if you wear makeup make sure it has an SPF too.
- A phone charger with the right adapter for the country you’re in.
- A rain coat in case of monsoon season.
- A kindle for down time or the odd day off.
- A note pad and pen just in case you are doing a course that requires note taking or you just want to swap emails with someone.
Most yoga retreats will have their own shop or boutique where you can buy things like yoga mats, yoga blocks, blankets, shawls and usually you can pick up the basics too like mosquito repellent, sunscreen and shampoo. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
For ashram stays I would bring the following too: Dry shampoo, hand cleaner gel that doesn’t require water, laundry soap & don’t forget your toothbrush (& paste).
I hope you found my yoga retreat packing list useful! If you’re a yoga retreat regular yourself and have your own packing list recommendation then please feel free to share in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!