Running yoga retreats: Have you got what it takes?

By Hannah Moss

Profitable yoga business - yoga retreats

Retreats offer a sacred space for yoga students to go deeper. Have you got what it takes to run successful yoga retreats? Read on to find out...!

So far, in our Running a successful yoga business series, we’ve explored group classes, private classes and workshops. These are the bread-and-butter offerings for most yoga teachers. Now, let’s turn our attention to one of the ‘big ticket’ items – retreats.   

Yoga retreats are about creating a deeper, more sacred space to explore yoga practice. They allow participants to get away from everyday life, retreat into themselves and become immersed in their practice, away from the usual stressors. As a yoga teacher or studio, running retreats can be an incredibly rewarding way to connect with your community and enhance your students' practice. But they also require a lot of commitment, planning, organising and marketing to make them a success. Have you got what it takes? Let’s dive in.

The beauty of variety: Types of yoga retreats

One of the wonderful things about yoga retreats is that they come in many shapes and sizes. Whether you’d prefer to offer something very structured and disciplined or something more relaxed, with a holiday vibe, there’s a style to suit everyone. 

  • Structured retreats: These often involve a strict schedule, with early morning meditations, multiple daily yoga sessions, and perhaps workshops on asana, philosophy or pranayama. They’re great for those looking to deepen their practice in a disciplined environment. Think: yoga intensive.
  • Relaxed retreats: These retreats might have fewer scheduled activities, allowing more free time for relaxation, exploration and personal practice. They’re perfect for those looking to unwind and rejuvenate while enjoying some yoga. Think: yoga holiday.
  • Specialised retreats: Focused on specific aspects of yoga such as meditation, yoga nidra or advanced asanas, these retreats cater to those wanting to dive deep into particular practices. Think: deepening retreat.

The duration of yoga retreats can also vary widely. You might want to host a weekend mini-retreat, a week-long yoga retreat or even a month-long meditation retreat. This variety allows you to cater to different schedules and commitments, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

The benefits of hosting yoga retreats

Hosting retreats offers plenty of benefits for both teachers and participants. Let’s explore some of the key advantages.

1. Dive deep, drop in and let go

Retreats provide a unique opportunity for students to dive deeper into their yoga practice. Away from the distractions of daily life, participants can fully immerse themselves in yoga, meditation and self-reflection, so they can really drop in and let go. A weekend or longer retreat can feel incredibly nourishing and revitalising. We think everyone should go on retreat at least once or twice a year if they can!

2. So much to choose from

Retreats offer the chance to explore various aspects of yoga, from asana and meditation to philosophy and pranayama. This comprehensive approach can enrich participants' understanding and appreciation of yoga, providing them with new tools and insights to incorporate into their daily practice. This variety also provides you, the teacher, with a wealth of topics to explore and offer on your retreats. 

3. Nurture your community

One of the most beautiful aspects of retreats is the sense of community they create. Spending several days or weeks with like-minded individuals creates strong bonds and a supportive environment. It’s a wonderful opportunity for participants to discuss their practice, share experiences and learn from each other, as well as from you.

As a teacher, a retreat allows you to deepen your connection with your students too. The extended time together creates a more intimate setting, enabling you to get to know your students better and tailor your teaching to their needs.

4. Change of scene and perspective

Retreats often take place in beautiful, tranquil locations, offering a refreshing change of scene. Whether it's a beachside resort, a mountain retreat or a countryside hideaway, the new environment can inspire and rejuvenate both teachers and students alike.

5. Added extras

Many retreats offer additional activities such as hiking, swimming or cultural excursions, as well as services like massage or Reiki. These extras enhance the retreat experience, providing participants with opportunities to explore the local area and culture, or simply pamper themselves.

6. Get collaborative

Retreats are a great way to collaborate with other teachers and practitioners. Whether you’re co-hosting with another yoga teacher or bringing in experts in fields like nutrition, wellness or fitness, collaboration can add a unique flavour to your retreat and offer something different to your community.

Wildheart Founder, Guy Anderson

“Over the years, I’ve taken part in many yoga, meditation and psychedelic retreats. For me, the great value of going on retreat a couple of times a year is the break from daily routines, which allows for refreshing insights and time for reflection. This helps me to realign and recalibrate with my purpose and values.” – Guy 

The challenges of hosting yoga retreats

While the benefits are substantial, it’s important to also acknowledge the challenges involved in organising yoga retreats.

1. Planning and organisation

Hosting a retreat, especially in an exotic or far-flung location, requires a significant amount of planning and organisation. From booking accommodation and organising food, to arranging travel and scheduling activities, the logistics can be complex and time-consuming.

2. High costs

The costs of running a retreat can be high, covering everything from accommodation and food to marketing and travel. It’s crucial to budget carefully and ensure that your pricing reflects the quality and value of the retreat experience on offer.

3. Marketing and promotion

Attracting participants to your retreat requires good marketing and promotion. A strong sales page (more on this below), compelling content and a well-thought-out marketing strategy are essential to draw in your target audience. This can be challenging, especially if you’re new to hosting retreats or don’t have a large following.

Pro tip: To overcome these challenges, it’s essential to be crystal clear about your offering. Whether you’re aiming for a luxury spa retreat or a more rustic, back-to-basics experience, be proud and clear about what you’re providing. Transparency helps attract the right participants and sets the right expectations. If organisational skills aren’t your forte, consider partnering with someone who excels in this area. A well-organised retreat not only runs more smoothly but also leaves participants with a positive, lasting impression.

Creating a compelling retreat sales page

Your retreat sales page (or landing page) is a crucial tool for attracting participants and converting interest into bookings. Here’s how to create a compelling, informative and effective landing page.

1. Start with the WHY

Begin your landing page by focusing on the benefits of the retreat. Why should someone attend? What can they expect to gain? Highlight the opportunity to deepen their practice, retreat from everyday life and connect with a like-minded community. Make the benefits clear and compelling.

2. What to expect

Next, provide detailed information on what participants can expect from their retreat experience. Outline the retreat's format, structure, location and duration. Include specifics about accommodation, food and any optional extras available. This transparency helps set clear expectations and build trust with potential participants.

3. Daily schedule and menu

Including sample daily schedules and menus gives potential participants a clearer idea of what their days will look like. It helps them visualise the experience and feel more confident about what they’re signing up for.

4. Transparent pricing

Offer various price options to accommodate different budgets. This could include a deposit to secure a spot, early bird discounts and payment plans to spread the cost. Flexible payment options can make your retreat more accessible and attractive to a broader audience. As always, be clear and transparent about your pricing, and be sure to state what’s not included (e.g. flights, transfers, insurance, optional extras, etc.). 

5. Booking options

Decide whether you’ll use a third-party booking system or handle payments manually. Third-party systems can streamline the process and provide additional security, but they usually come with fees. Manual payments give you more control but can be more time-consuming to manage. We looked at these options in more detail in How to successfully grow your group yoga classes.

6. Genuine testimonials

Adding reviews and testimonials from past participants – known as social proof – to your landing page can significantly enhance its credibility and appeal. Positive feedback and personal stories offer participants a glimpse into the transformative experiences others have had on your retreats. It helps build trust and reassures them of the value they’ll receive. Our recommendation is to feature these strategically throughout the page. And always include them one at a time – never use sliders or carousels!

7. Don’t forget about SEO 

Just like we saw in Yoga workshops: A comprehensive guide for teachers, retreat landing pages are also vital for SEO (search engine optimisation). Make sure your page is optimised to attract organic traffic, using relevant, high-performing keywords. And be sure to include the local area, region or country of the retreat too, to help the page appear in searches for yoga retreats in specific locations. 

Pro tip: If you offer an annual retreat in the same location, make sure you reuse the same URL each year so that its SEO value increases over time.

8. Get sharing

A well-crafted landing page provides excellent content to share via email marketing and social media. Use your contact list to promote the retreat, highlighting the benefits and unique features to generate interest and drive bookings.

Pro tip: Always seek feedback from participants and look for ways to improve future retreats. Whether it’s tweaking the schedule, enhancing the food offerings or improving the booking process, continuous improvement ensures that each retreat is better than the last. Don’t forget to add new testimonials to your sales page, or replace the old ones from time to time to keep them fresh. 

Examples of our clients’ retreat pages 

In this section, we highlight the different ways some of our clients display retreats on their websites. They all have one thing in common, though – the all-important sales page. 

Please note: we’ve included only partial screenshots of these pages to save space! 

Purple Valley

Purple Valley’s business revolves around running Ashtanga yoga retreats in both Goa (India) and Tenerife (Spain). Each location has a listings page displaying all the key details of upcoming retreats:

Purple Valley Retreats Archive Page

Each individual retreat then has an in-depth landing page detailing the content, duration, prices and booking options. We custom built a booking system for them based on their Goa retreat centre to help streamline their booking process. Because they’re an actual retreat centre, information about the accommodation, food, etc. are found on other pages of the website.   

Purple Valley Single Retreats Page

Ravi Yoga

As well as an overall sales page for Ravi Yoga’s retreats generally, plus an events listings page for their ‘Retreats’ category of events, each retreat on their website also has an extensive sales page, outlining all the benefits and important information, including lots of compelling imagery, testimonials and tabs to divide the key details at the bottom of the page. They use manual payments for their retreat bookings, so the final CTA (call-to-action) for each retreat page is to contact them.   

Ravi Yoga Retreat page #1
Ravi Yoga Retreat page #2
Ravi Yoga Retreat page #3

SPACE Yoga Studio

SPACE also features a ‘Retreats’ category in their events listing, but this links through to a special Retreats landing page: 

Space Retreats Archive Page

Each individual retreat then has an extensive sales page detailing all the relevant information, reasons why you’d want to book, plenty of images, testimonials and various booking buttons. SPACE uses Acuity Scheduling for their retreat bookings and each accommodation type is set up as a different option in the booking system.     

Space Single Retreats Page #1
Space Single Retreats Page #2

A deeply fulfilling experience

Running yoga retreats can be a deeply fulfilling experience for both teachers and participants. While they do require significant planning, organisation and marketing, the rewards of creating a sacred space for your community to deepen their practice, connect with others and retreat from everyday life are immense. 

By being clear about your offering, creating a compelling sales page and continuously seeking ways to improve, you can ensure your yoga retreats are successful, memorable and transformative experiences for everyone involved. So, why not take the plunge and start planning your next yoga retreat today? Your community will thank you for it.

What’s next?

Next up in this series, we’ll be exploring the biggest revenue earner of them all – teacher trainings. These aren’t for everyone, but if you’re thinking of offering a teacher training, you’ll want to read this article first! Watch this space to find out more…

In the meantime, if you need help running and marketing your yoga retreats, get in touch. We’d love to help.  

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