Happy weekend to our Estate Weddings and Events community!
We hope you are as excited as us to gather round the table for Thanksgiving or any upcoming holiday you will be celebrating.
This week our blog posts include seasonal event tips such as nature inspired wedding ideas and how to consider lighting for your wedding or event.
We also would like to recognize the San Diego Fine Arts scene for filling our calendar with a diverse array of sophisticated events as you can see below. Lastly be sure to read our destination wedding gift guide to make packing an easier task for you.
Nancy is Community Manager for Estate Weddings and Events. When not typing away, she enjoys discovering new wedding trends and attending weddings and events to see all the people and private estates get dressed up! You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Taking a trip to an exotic location with a gorgeous venue to teach open air yoga to your followers might sound idyllic, but most yoga instructors are far from blissful on retreat.
Planning an executing a yoga retreat requires a lot of time and hard work, which is why you need to ensure you lay the proper groundwork from the word go.
To help you along the way we’ve put together a list of all the key secrets of running a successful local and international getaway…
Know Your Retreat Venue and Do Your Homework
The venue you choose for your yoga retreat represents you in the eyes of your students. Do your homework to find the perfect venue that will contribute towards that once in a lifetime experience that your attendees are paying for. You need to be passionate about your location, so be sure to look for something that connects with you and your teaching ethos.
Other key points to consider include:
– Visit the retreat venue yourself if possible
– Take tons of pictures and ask plenty of questions
– Interact with the onsite staff to ensure excellent customer service
– Check out onsite facilities and local amenities and give them a try yourself before suggesting them to students
– Ask for references and make sure you follow up
– Only teach site unseen if the venue has a solid reputation or if a trusted friend has been before
Create a Solid Curriculum
Your clients are paying serious money to learn, relax, transform, try new things, see new places, meet new friends and enrich their lives, and you need to keep this is mind during the planning process. Creating a solid curriculum is absolutely essential to the success of your yoga retreat.
Each stage of the retreat should build upon the last with coordinated exercises that will help your clients growth and transformation beyond the classroom. From the moment they arrive to the moment they leave, you will be their contact point for everything, from where to shop to how to access the wifi, so try to make sure you cover all bases and have a strategic plan to keep the retreat running on track.
From last minute rain to a stifling heatwave you never know what might scruple your plans at the last minute. Even in the most predicable locations, unexpected weather can send your retreat spiraling out of control if you don’t have a plan B. Yes you can normally get something sorted on the fly, but a solid back up plan that can be implemented swiftly and hassle free is always preferable.
Depending on your schedule your plan B could mean anything from switching to indoor yoga sessions as opposed to outdoor, alternative extra curricular activities that aren’t dependent on the elements, or even on call instructors in case of an emergency cancellation. The most important thing to remember is to be open to change and to embrace new circumstances, and then hopefully your students will follow suit.
Manage Your Students Expectations Before and During the Retreat
Even if you’ve got a pretty resourceful and flexible group of people attending your yoga retreat, when something doesn’t go as expected it can be hard for students to accept. Most of your clients will have been dreaming of this retreat for months and in doing so they’ll have built up a picture in their mind of exactly how things will play out, they’ll also have made a significant investment of both time and money to make those dreams a reality.
Managing expectations before and during the retreat will help your students better deal with any changes as they will be prepared. Express in all your communications, be it emails, verbal or marketing promotions, that activities and time frames are subject to change, this way you have covered yourself and won’t end up leaving anyone feeling let down. Having the freedom to switch things up if they’re not working out as planned will give you peace of mind and will lead to a better experience all round.
Small acts of kindness will have a profound effect on the entire tone of your retreat, as well as how your attendees feel when they walk away at the end of the trip. Nothing beats loving, caring and thoughtful customer service which is why you should strive to treat your followers like you would your own friends and family.
Perhaps one of your students had to deal with flight cancellations or delays and arrived hours after everybody else. Being there to greet them or reminding them that they were in your thoughts with a welcome note could provide them with the pick me up they need. For anyone that falls ill during their stay why not send them a soothing herbal tea to their room to help them feel better about being under the weather? Having a natural first aid kit complete with tinctures, supplements and other herbal remedies is also a nice touch for any minor ailments that may occur.
In all the excitement of planning the perfect yoga retreat it’s easy for the marketing to fly under the radar and end up at the bottom of your list of priorities, but it needs to be at the top. It’s far easier to market something that people have already indicated they’re interested in so before you even book the venue create a simple web page on your site where people can sign up if they think they would like to go. This way once you’ve drilled down all the details you’ll already have a list of prospects to reach out to and hopefully turn into actual clients.
Yoga retreats are hot stuff which is why you need to ensure yours is distinguishable from everyone else’s. Focus on creating a theme that capitalizes on your unique skills, passions and experiences. Always be specific and let people know what value and results they can hope to receive. A gorgeous venue and location adds massive appeal too, so don’t sacrifice on quality in efforts to plump up your profit margins. Advertising is everything when it comes to filling those spots for your yoga retreat and although there are a million and one ways to get the word out here are some of my favorite tips:
– Your email list is your best resource
– Your existing followers are most likely to attend and they make great advocates for further bookings
– Never miss an opportunity to announce your retreat
– Make sure your testimonials are prominent on your retreat web pages
– Create a beautiful PDF that people can download and explore in depth later on
– Consider Facebook advertising (Adore Yoga generated $30,000 revenue from a $300 Facebook ad campaign)
– Make it easy for people to share your retreat and encourage them to do so
Are you planning a yoga retreat? Do you have any questions or tips to share? Let us know in the comments below…
About the Author
If you need to know about Weddings or Social Events, Abigail’s your gal, blogging away at Estate Weddings and Events! Sharing her passion for the environment, arts and crafts, and frugality, she enjoys adding a chic twist to anything DIY. Never seen without camera in hand, Abigail is completely and utterly in love with love! You can follow Abigail on Google+ here.
Sometimes vacations need to go beyond simply relaxing in a lounge chair on the beach with a cocktail in one hand and a book in the other.
Don’t get us wrong; sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed to relax for a week.
But sometimes you need to discover yourself in order to relax.
There’s nothing more powerful than a spiritual yoga retreat to help you center in your life and clear your mind of the hustle and bustle of the real world.
Thankfully there are plenty of amazing destinations to choose from for a stunning yoga retreat.
1. Mallorca, Spain
Mallorca is Spain’s exclusive island and the perfect destination for a luxurious yoga retreat.
This weeklong retreat is more than about practicing Yoga.
It’s also about cleansing your body from all of its bad toxins.
“Our philosophy is to provide you with relaxation, offering holistic care and discovering a new vision of life,” says Mallorca Retreats’ website. “Yoga, meditation and Ayurveda are our tools.”
Mallorca retreats offers four different types of retreats:
Deluxe Yoga & Massage Week:
This week is all about leaving your stress behind and immersing yourself in nature at a holistic, luxury eco-retreat where you can rejuvenate your spirit.
Mallorca is surrounded by pristine white sand that says good morning to gorgeous sunsets each day, making for a perfect week of yoga.
Detox & Rejuvenation Week:
This 100-percent organic detox process combines natural juice-fasting and raw food, in addition to yoga, hiking, medicinal herbs and complete nutritional consultation to cleanse your body from all of its toxins and parasites that can build up in the colon and digestive system.
Zen Yoga Silence Retreat:
While this program is built around yoga and meditation, its main focus is on quiet contemplation.
No matter your religion — Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism, you’ll discover your inner self on this retreat.
Exclusive Rejuvenation Week:
This is Mallorca Retreat’s top package.
You’ll enjoy six nights in luxury accommodations, daily yoga classes — including daily facial yoga, health and nutrition counseling and more.
2. Bozeman, Montana
Montana may be a little-known state, but it offers some of the most beautiful mountainous scenes in all of America.
While some of these yoga retreats are more designed for intermediate to advance yoga participants, the Ashram offers classes and programs designed for all levels.
For newbies, take the “Beginner’s Yoga Immersion Week,” which is designed for the person who has absolutely zero yoga experience.
For the more seasoned yogis, you’ll enjoy the class titled, “Deeper into the 5 points of Yoga,” which reemphasizes what you already know about the art of yoga, and makes you hone in your focus even more.
If you want to do yoga on the beach while the ocean breeze tickles your skin, Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas is the retreat for you.
5. Sao Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil
This Brazilian countryside yoga retreat offers various types of yoga, in addition to the meditation, silent walks and sacred dances.
At times, you’ll find yourself in hours of silence, allowing yourself to clear your mind and focus on relaxing and finding yourself.
You’ll enjoy exquisite vegetarian meals, complete with homemade cheese, bread and yogurt.
Now more than a decade in business, this Brazilian yoga retreat will connect you with Mother Nature and will cleanse your spirit — especially after visiting the nearby sacred waterfall.
6. Yellowstone National Park
A three-night stay in beautiful Yellowstone while performing various types of yoga is what you get through this other yoga retreat with Big Sky Yoga Retreats.
(Remember, they also run a retreat in Bozeman, Montana, listed about)
Yellowstone’s natural harmony almost makes yoga easier.
It helps weave your body into the various positions through Mother Nature’s influence.
Unlike some of the other yoga retreats on this list, it’s not all about silence and self-reflection.
In addition to Yoga, the staff at Big Sky Yoga Retreats also wants you to go animal spotting and hiking, to explore the beautiful national park.
You’ll also stay in stellar A-frame cabins.
When your retreat is over, your soul will be completely soothed and you’ll leave with the personal commitment of supporting a more sustainable lifestyle.
7. Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada
Salt Spring Island offers a true sanctuary for your body and soul.
Founded in 1981 by the Dharma Sara Satsang Society, the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga is a yoga community motivated to help you find center, with breathtaking views serving as the perfect backdrop.
Take a personal retreat here and practice yoga individually and with the help of the center’s master yogi.
You’ll deepen your relaxation and sense of well being by treating yourself to an Ayurveda or bodywork session at the wellness center, ensuring that you’ll return home well nourished and spiritually rejuvenated.
You’ll stay in rustic accommodations, but will enjoy the freshest of food, which you will help pick from the garden.
That’s accomplished through traditional yoga and meditation.
The idea of the retreats are simple: “Provide a supportive environment, allowing you to begin or deepened practices, to shed light on habituated patterns of behavior, to take personal time for digesting life experience and to recognize the ease and peace of our true nature.”
Maine is obviously a beautiful state, but listen to these testimonials:
“I will never forget this wonderful experience,” said one Vancouver participant. “The environment lent itself to honest self-reflection.”
“Much thanks from the bottom of my heart for your spiritual guidance and hospitality in sharing and opening your home,” a Florida participant said. “My heart has been opened and warmed by both of you… Rolling Meadows is truly a hidden gem and one that I am fortunate to have found.”
The retreats are designed for up to 10 participants, so you won’t be alone while working toward improving your physical, spiritual and mental health.
Additionally, retreats are designed for novices and intermediate yoga participants.
Having a basic knowledge of yoga will certainly help coming in to the retreat.
11. Sedona, Arizona
Welcome to 7 Centers Yoga Arts — the very first yoga studio established in beautiful Sedona, Arizona.
You’ll work with some of the top master yogis on one of the four offered retreats.
Yoga Bliss Signature Package:
This retreat includes 5 classes plus three private classes.
Additionally, you’ll go on a two-hour yoga hike and practice meditation.
The 3 sister Sciences: Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedic Astrology:
On this retreat, you’ll not only get 5 yoga classes and private yoga classes, but also an Abhyanga Oil Massage and cooking class.
Transformation and Clearing:
Along with your yoga classes, you’ll go through a yogic cleansing, mediation and spiritual counseling.
You’ll also have a Vedic astrology reading, massage and private health consultation.
This is the premiere package, which offers everything that the three other programs offer combined.
You’ll have plenty of choices for your accommodations, as there are many fancy hotels and private estates to rent located in Sedona.
12. Helena, Montana
Nestled in the northern Rocky Mountains in Helena, Montana, the Feathered Pipe Ranch hosts premier thinkers and visionaries of our time in a pristine and peaceful mountain sanctuary.
A retreat here will leave you feeling completely rejuvenated, refreshed and spiritually cleansed.
The Feathered Pipe’s signature retreats are their personal/private yoga retreats.
Your private retreat is crafted with a mix of yoga, meditation and the healing arts — all of this while being immersed in the best that nature has to offer.
According to the organization’s website, participants don’t see the retreat as a vacation getaway, rather, it’s a homecoming to something deeply familiar — a place that resonates with your soul.
You’ll enjoy home-cooked meals made with the finest of organic ingredients that are locally sourced.
At day’s end, soak away in a hot tub as the sun sets behind the mountains.
While this is described as a “homecoming” type experience, it certainly feels like the relaxing elements of a true vacation.
13. Tulum, Qunintana Roo, Mexico
The Maya Yulum Resort offers an unbelievable yoga experience on the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
This resort is dedicated to seaside wellness and offers some of the most luxurious scenery you’ll ever set your eyes on.
Because of the weather.
The peninsula offers an ideal climate for yoga and the sun shines year-round.
Right when you think it’s too hot, a fresh breeze rolls off the ocean.
How do these classes sound?
“A weekend of Peace and Gratitude,”
“Autumn Yoga and Pranayama Retreat,”
“The Art of Letting Go,” and
“Strengthening the Essential Self: A 2012 Rite of Passage.”
You’ll participate in yoga classes designed for all levels, enjoy eco-tours and stay in luxurious accommodations.
And in addition to your yoga classes, you’ll also enjoy spa treatments.
Think of this as an opportunity to not only reflect on yourself and your spirituality, but also an opportunity to treat yourself.
14. South Africa
South Africa has plenty of yoga retreats to explore.
Thank goodness for SouthAfricaYoga.com — the top site for discovering your next yoga retreat in the African country.
Many of the retreats across South Africa not only help you help yourself, but also help others.
One of the components of yoga — selflessness — is a key focus in South Africa.
Here, it’s known as Seva and it’s an important yoga lifestyle.
You’ll have an opportunity to help our struggling villages through community projects.
You’ll meet the cutest children and help make their lives even better.
15. Tuscany, Italy
Eat.Pray.Move is a series of yoga retreats scattered across Italy.
The one we’re ending this top 15 list with is located in Tuscany.
You’ll enjoy daily meditation and yoga classes that are designed to relax, stimulate and help grow in your own personal practice.
These classes are designed for all levels.
You’ll study under master yogis who received their certifications across Italy and have strong followings.
There’s more to this retreat than just yoga, however.
It’s a whole vacation, actually.
You’ll reside in luxurious villas, eat healthy, vegetarian meals and enjoy the breathtaking views of Tuscany’s rolling hills and earthy vineyards.
Do you have a favorite?
Share your thoughts in the comments below…
About the Author
Andrew is the luxury travel consultant for Estate Weddings and Events, offering readers the latest trends when it comes to high-end travel. When it comes to travel, he credits his expertise to his wife Erin, who has quite the understanding of the finer things in life. Living in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, he enjoys the fresh mountain air, Colorado craft brews and relaxing with his cat Franklin.
Luckily, some rental estates offer services and facilities that can help guests have a truly relaxing vacation experience.
These havens for relaxation boast features like in-home yoga studios, spa services, pools, steam rooms, saunas, and jacuzzis.
These places make it possible to have both the privacy and
sense of quiet that comes from renting an estate for a vacation as well as the spa, health, and wellness services that would be offered at a resort.
When it comes to the basics – massage, manicure, or facials – most vacation rental villas are able to arrange for high quality services.
At some estates, however, the focus is primarily on relaxation and wellness features.
Here are some of the amenities that people can expect from this type of estate.
Yoga with a view
Yoga aficionados like to claim that their practice is one of the most relaxing and beneficial in the world.
Some estates take the yoga experience to another level by placing their studios in rooms that offer some of the most scenic views on their property.
The Wind and Sea Big Sur, on California’s amazingly scenic Central Coast, actually has its yoga studio on an open air deck that overlooks the Pacific, so guests can enjoy both views and fresh ocean breezes while practicing.
The Saint John Villa, in the US Virgin Islands, does not have a dedicated yoga studio, but it does have plenty of open air space overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches and bays on the island of Saint John’s.
So while estates that are focused on health, wellness, and spa-like features might seem attractive, other vacation rentals can offer more informal, but equally attractive, settings for yoga practice and other wellness activities.
Jacuzzis are actually a pretty standard feature for luxury vacation estates.
These warm baths with their massaging water jets are virtually a requirement for any high end estate (and any luxury hotel, for that matter).
Most luxury estates have at least one jacuzzi tub. The master bedroom is usually equipped with a jacuzzi that is big enough for two people.
Many estates in warm weather destinations have larger outdoor whirlpools sitting next to a pool area or sunk into the patio.
These features can bring relaxation after a long day on the tourist trail.
Peace and quiet
For some vacationers, the extra health and wellness features aren’t the main attraction.
They simply want some peace and quiet.
Even the best bed and breakfast or the most luxurious hotel, inn, or resort can’t provide the same sense of privacy and quiet that people can find at a high-end vacation rental estate.
The most private estates are often located in more-rural areas and have extensive grounds that further buffer guests from the outside world.
Southern Mississippi’s Desert Plantation is one such place. Its 1,000 acres of classic Southern landscape provide plenty of peaceful places for guests to walk though nature while on their vacation.
A vacation is supposed to be about relaxation.
Rental estates that focus on wellness, health, spa services, and peace-and-quiet can make the ultimate relaxation vacation possible.