My Best Retreat Advice: Start Small, But Dream Big

You know when you get inspired by a new idea or new project you’re working on, and you have all this excitement bubbling up inside?

But then that little voice inside your head pops up and says:

“Yeah right, but can you really do it? How are you going to make that happen?”

And within seconds you go from excitement and possibility to feeling completely deflated.

That little voice of doubt and question has the potential to squash your big ideas before you even get a chance to explore them.

I hear a lot of teachers say:

“Yeah, I’d like to plan a retreat someday, but it seems like a lot of work. Is it really worth it? Can I really do it?”

And you know what? Those are great questions! There’s a lot of time, energy and commitment that goes into making a retreat happen. 

Guiding your students through a retreat experience is not a role to be taken lightly. 

But even with all the effort and responsibility of leading a retreat, it can be so fulfilling to guide your students through a life-changing travel and yoga experience.

Leading retreats can allow you to:

  • Offer a transformational experience for your students

  • Help your students to deepen and re-inspire their practice, beyond their weekly routines

  • Expand your teaching and grow as a leader, both on and off the mat

  • Create an additional income stream and elevate your yoga business

  • Deepen your relationships with your students and grow your dream yoga tribe

  • Travel while doing what you love - this is a BIG one right?!!

  • If all that sounds good to you, then YES, it’s worth your while to explore leading retreats.

If you feel like you want to plan a retreat but the thought is exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time, I have some advice from all my years planning retreats and helping others make their retreat dreams happen.

Start SMALL, but dream BIG.

I just love this quote: “Have big dreams. You’ll grow into them.”

Having big dreams doesn’t mean you have to act on your dreams all at the same time.

You can take it step by step.

When it comes to retreats, "start small but dream big" means that:

1. You put your students first 

Take the time to figure out what your students really want and need in a retreat experience. It means you focus on doing some initial research to get the feel of your community. 

Creating retreats that align with the needs of your students is really the foundation of your retreat success. It's the only guarantee you have to make sure your retreat fills-up and sell-out.  

So take your time in the beginning to figure out what your students want, need and like when it comes to retreats. Do they prefer staying local? Do they want restorative retreats? DO they want lots of activities and adventures added? 

Then, you can start off with a day event or a local overnight retreat to test your theme and retreat ideas. This will allow you to do the market research needed for future international and longer retreats. 

2. You build trust with your students 

It takes a lot more trust from your students to go on a week-long retreat in Sri Lanka with you than to get away with you to a cabin in the woods an hour driving distance.

Starting with a shorter and smaller retreat means that you can build up trust with your students and give them an opportunity to get to know you as a retreat leader.  

3. You take the time to learn 

There is a lot that goes into planning a retreat, from creating a solid retreat theme, budgeting and pricing your retreat right, marketing and selling your retreat.

I see many teachers over and over make mistakes in the initial retreat planning process; these mistakes often cost them either having to cancel the retreat or losing money because they are unable to get enough people to register for it. 

It's so important to take the time to learn how to do it right. Starting with a smaller and shorter retreat will allow you to gain the experience and confidence to lead a longer international retreat.  

4. You practice holding space

Holding space for a 60-90 minute yoga class is very different than holding space for days at a retreat. 

Starting small means that you allow yourself the time to practice how to lead your students through a balanced and beautiful experience by learning how to:

  • move through the retreat schedule smoothly, 
  • how to be of service when your students need you without interfering with their experience, 
  • how to take care of situations that surface in a calm and effective way,
  • how to set necessary boundaries (very important!)
  • how to create an exceptional experience that wows your students

Ultimately, starting small but dreaming big means that you have a long-term vision and create retreats that you can grow and expand on.

Consider retreats NOT just as a one-time event, but something you can build and grow your yoga business with.

It's an investment of time and money that will pay off if you have the patience to see it through and take the time to gain the knowledge you need.

Think about it. You spend months planning and promoting, gaining lots of experience, knowledge, and confidence along the way.  

After your retreat, you’ll be more prepared for the next one! It’s like doing a whole teacher training, prepping for your first class, then deciding “That’s it. I’m done.”

You’d be robbing yourself the gift of becoming a more seasoned teacher, and denying your students the opportunity to continue learning and growing with you.

The same thing goes for retreats.

After each retreat, you’ll know SO much more about how to lead a retreat. You’ll have a way better understanding of what your students really want in a retreat.

You’ll have created the foundation of your retreat tribe of students who will want to retreat with you again!


 
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