Whether to welcome in the new year, or to recharge mid-year, an at home yoga retreat is the perfect solution for your mental health and well-being.
Although it won’t be exactly like a ten day getaway to Bali or some other faraway location, you can still reap the benefits while hanging out in your own home.
In this post, I’ll cover:
- Benefits of an at home retreat
- What to do during a yoga retreat
- How to prepare for your DIY retreat
- Sample home retreat schedule
- Other ideas (besides yoga) for home retreats
- Final tips for the best experience
at home yoga retreat benefits
Sometimes you need a little more quiet, reflective time than your one-hour yoga asana class provides, but you can’t commit to a week or ten days. Or the traveling costs break your bank.
The number one benefit to an at home yoga retreat is that you can get the immersive quality you’re seeking in an away retreat without the hefty budget or limited ability to travel.
Plus when you opt for an at-home retreat you can indulge in them more frequently. Schedule one quarterly or even monthly to reduce the negative effects of constant stress.
Another benefit is you can customize an at home yoga retreat to your liking. Create an itinerary that works best for you. Only have one or two days (like the weekend) to commit to a retreat?
No problem. Select the activities that will fit best into the time frame.
Which leads to a secondary benefit for customization: a schedule filled with only the activities you want to do (see below for ideas).
Whether at home or traveling, one day or a week, a yoga retreat extends the benefits a regular yoga class:
- Unplugging from social media
- Resetting mentally and physically
- Fully relaxing
- Reconnecting with yourself
- Practicing self-care
What to do during a yoga retreat
Remember you can customize an at home yoga retreat to exactly what you want. But maybe you’re scratching your head trying to think of some activities.
Here are ten ideas for your own DIY retreat:
1 | Get some rest. In the crazy, hectic world, rest is oftentimes overlooked and underrated. Like a battery, you need to recharge. Build in time to nap, sit quietly, or lay on a lounger in the sun.
2 | Journal. Writing down and writing out your deepest thoughts and feelings helps you to process them. If you have a issue nagging you, spend some time putting it on the page.
3 | Read. If you love reading, but have difficulty making time for it, a retreat is the perfect space to give yourself permission. Put aside the work reports and get lost in reading for pleasure.
4 | Healthy meals. Part of the appeal of a getaway retreat is someone else cooking healthy, energizing meals. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can have a refrigerator full of meals ready for your retreat.
Or maybe cooking is something you’d like to do during your DIY retreat. Instead of preparing food ahead of time, cook your favorite healthy and/or comforting meals as part of your self-care.
5 | Yoga asanas. Your body craves movement and the right movement can be incredibly nourishing. Search for gentle, slow, yin, or restorative yoga classes to meet this need.
6 | Meditation. All of the activities listed complement quiet, reflective time or meditation. Plan several shorter meditations, practiced after each activity. Or opt for longer ones as their own stand alone endeavors.
7 | Nature. Walking, hiking, gardening, or sitting in the grass reconnects you with the earth and the cycles of life. Spending time in nature increases your physical and mental energy.
8 | Vision board. This is a fun, mindful activity to do at the beginning of the year. Find images, quotes, and affirmations to create your intention-filled year.
9 | Mindful activities. Use this time to color, paint, draw, do a craft, practice a hobby like crocheting, deep breathing, or start a gratitude journal.
10 | Ayurveda. You can incorporate some simple Ayurveda practices like tongue scraping, dry skin brushing, and dosha-specific foods and activities.
Prepare for your at home retreat
Give your at home yoga retreat as much priority as you would if you were traveling to one out of town. Spend some time and thoughtfulness in planning it.
Retreat centers are usually located away from the hustle and bustle of life. This distance allows for more of a distraction-free environment.
Scope out your home and choose a room that will provide a similar detachment from the outside world. Set up the area to provide for the best rest, relaxation, and recharging. Don’t by shy about moving stuff out or bringing in a favorite plant.
Minimize technology. Put your phone on airplane mode, or put it in another room. If you plan to use online resources for your yoga classes, make sure your internet connection is solid.
Also select your classes ahead of time. Cue them up, or download them, so all you have to do is click play. Then close your device down again.
Make a list of everything you’ll need for your retreat and purchase or gather everything ahead of time. Here are some items for you to consider including:
- Journal, books, mandalas
- Pens, markers, colors
- Poster board, magazines, scissors for vision board
- Mat, blankets, blocks, strap, other yoga props
- Food, tea, water
- Essential oils
- Laptop or other device for playing yoga classes and/or relaxing music
sample home retreat morning schedule
Before the retreat. Get all of your shopping completed. Let family and friends know what you’re doing. Take care of work, emails, and as many distractions as possible.
The night before. Check internet connection, pull up the videos you’ll use. Go to bed at a decent hour.
8:00 a.m. Upon waking, spend some quiet time as you prepare for the day. Grab some fruit-infused water or a cup of tea, your journal, and set an intention. What is your reason for doing the retreat? What do you hope to get out of it?
8:30 a.m. Incorporate some movement into your morning with some yoga asanas. Go for gentle stretching like Mellow Monday or Midweek Magic in the Yoga Teacher’s Resource Library👇 .
9:30 a.m. Continue your mindfulness as you prepare breakfast. What brings you the most vitality? Maybe it’s a green smoothie or a bowl of fruit and grains.
10:00 a.m. You time. Read. Do a craft. Maybe you have a (fun!) course you haven’t had time to finish. Start your vision board. Keep up hydration with plenty of water and have your favorite healthy snack on hand when you get the munchies.
11:30 a.m. Before lunch, spend some time journaling again. Note anything that may have come up during your retreat morning.
sample home retreat afternoon schedule
12:00 p.m. Prepare your lunch. Choose a green salad with lots of vibrant vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Grilled chicken or salmon with quinoa and veggies. Or a nourishing soup.
1:00 p.m. Connect with nature. Sit in the sunshine, go on a nature trek or find a walking path near you. Let the sights and sounds be your music.
2:00 p.m. More You Time. Worked on your vision board in the morning? Do some reading in the afternoon. Or vice versa. Feel your eyelids getting heavy? Take a much deserved nap.
3:30 p.m. Continue your relaxation and recharging with a combo yoga asana class and yoga nidra practice. An hour and half of total bliss. When you complete your yoga nidra session, come out of it slowly and allow yourself time to linger in that state.
5:00 p.m. While you’re still in a state of being from yoga nidra, take some time to journal again. Let whatever bubbles to the surface out and onto the page.
6:00 p.m. Prepare and enjoy your dinner. Maybe treat yourself with a sweet treat like fruit and nuts dipped in dark chocolate or during the summer try these yogurt parfait popsicles.
7:30 p.m. Wind down with Ayurvedic dry brushing then prepare for a long soak in a bath. You can use epsom salts, bath bombs, and/or essential oils (if they don’t irritate your skin). Maybe try an herbal bath like one of these. Light a candle and play soothing music.
When you get out of the bath, pat dry and moisturize your entire body with your favorite moisturizing cream. Take your time and enjoy the added benefit of self-massage.
9:00 p.m. Don your favorite, coziest pajamas and slip between the covers. Finish out your retreat day with five things you’re grateful for, then turn out the lights and go to sleep.
Keep the electronics out of your bedroom. Not only will you be less tempted to “check in,” your sleep cycle won’t be impacted by the light emitted from the electronics.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, listen to a guided meditation. You can find several in the resource library.
other ideas for an at home retreat
- Create a spiritual or religious retreat by including spiritual texts, studying the Bible or a devotional book. Use quiet time for prayer and reflection. Listen to spiritual or worship music.
- Turn it into a writing retreat by using the blocks of time for writing sprints. Include creative writing prompts, watch TedTalks on creativity and writing, and read craft books.
- Make it a couple’s retreat by packing off the kids to grandma’s. Practice beginner’s partner yoga, incorporate couple’s activities and games, use a journal to write letters of gratitude to each other. Give each other massages.
- Plan a spa retreat by including pampering rituals like manicures, a sheet mask facial, deep conditioning treatment for your hair, and exfoliating body and foot scrubs.
final tips for an at home yoga retreat
Clean your house, or at least get it tidy. Do your laundry and put some clean sheets on your bed. A retreat is not the time for household chores.
If your budget allows, rent a local hotel room or an Airbnb. This can give you the feel of travel and being away from it all. Plus the space is already clean and you won’t be tempted to do housework.
Finally, whether your retreat is one day, a weekend, or longer, finish it out with as much thoughtfulness as you started. Perhaps journal one more time, recording your takeaways, what you enjoyed, or what you found challenging.
The idea for this post came after I hosted a virtual chakra yoga retreat for my advanced teachers in training. You can design and host your own virtual retreat with the Teach Chakra Yoga Now online course.