Choosing Your First Yoga Retreat

13/09/2011 14:42 BST | Updated 13/11/2011 10:12 GMT

You feel tired, de-energised and exhausted from a stressful job. You need to go on holiday. Your gut instinct tells you, it needs to be a "healthy" one this time round. Solution: you want a yoga retreat.

The good news is, there's a massive market of yoga holidays out there catering for everyone, so you have plenty to choose from.

A couple of myths that need to be debunked before we go any further.

1. I can't go on my own

It's perfectly normal to go on a yoga retreat on your own. There are plenty of single people (mainly women though!) coming on retreats. In fact it might even be more beneficial to be there on your own and you don't even have to try too hard to make friends on your day one! The whole purpose of the retreat is to relax, unwind, let go, reflect and just be on your own, while the retreat organisers are looking after the rejuvenation of your body and mind. And soul.

2. I can't do yoga

Most yoga holidays and retreats are suitable for beginners including those who never tried yoga before. Being introduced to yoga on a yoga retreat is a beautiful way to start this journey. Just make sure you check the daily itinerary; as long as there are no more than two yoga classes daily, you should be fine. There is always an option to skip a class occasionally if you feel it's too much.

3. It will be too boring

A lot of yoga retreats offer more than just yoga. Holistic therapies, massages, healthy food workshops, lectures on various aspects of wellbeing, walks, and excursions can all make part of your itinerary. But you can choose not to get involved in any activity if you are there to relax and do the bare minimum. Good yoga retreats respect your choice and will never force you into anything.

What to expect:

Accommodation can be as basic as tipis, or as luxury as a king's palace. This is usually the key influencing factor when it comes to the price.

Food in the majority of cases is vegetarian. Often locally sourced, food can become one of the unique factors of a particular place, and certain retreats become renowned for their delicious healthy food.

Yoga classes usually happen once to twice daily. Yoga is sometimes accompanied by meditation, pranayama and chanting sessions throughout the retreat.

You can start with a weekend yoga getaway somewhere in the UK to give it a try. Or you can go and enjoy yoga under the sun in Europe for a week, in the mountains, on the coast or hidden in rural villages. If you want to experience yoga in an authentic environment, then India and South East Asia is your destination.

Finally, your yoga wear. You want it to be simple, preferably made of organic fabric, not too bulky or baggy, fitting nicely. And it can still be stylish and fun to wear.

The outcome? You will feel re-energised more than usual, lighter and healthier, potentially stronger and more flexible in your body. You will feel calmer and find it easier to concentrate.

But just to warn you: you can get addicted to yoga retreats and might not want to go back to your busy life. You can always take the retreat back home with you though, introducing regular yoga practice and healthy food into your daily life.