It’s happened quite a bit. Too many times to count actually. I’ll be introduced to someone new; we’ll exchange platitudes for a short while before the individual will lean in close, as if letting me in on a big secret, and whisper “You know…I’ve been thinking of holding a yoga retreat of my own one of these days.”
Most people’s vision never surpasses that initial bold statement. Their desire to hold a yoga retreat of their own is, well, just a desire. That’s the trouble with continuing the conversation; people don’t want to hear that it’s going to be hard, that you’re going to fail more times than you can count, or that things are inevitably going to go wrong. No, they don’t want that. All they want to hear is “Well I bet it’s going to be great!” So usually, I just nod and maneuver the conversation into more agreeable territory.
The harsh reality is that 95% of the people who initially expressed an interest in holding their own retreat will never make anything come to fruition. This article isn’t for those people. No, this is an article for the minority, the 5%. If it sounds like I’m being harsh, I am. There are far more brutal forces out there than me just waiting to sink their claws into your fairy-tale project. But if you’ve read this far, then you may just have that “it” factor. So let’s continue and we can find out.
First and foremost, an honest self-appraisal is necessary. Is this a little project that might be fun to conjure up or is this something you’re passionate about seeing through?
Ask yourself,“Just how important is this project to me?”
If the answer is anything less than “very” then you should abandon ship while you still can. Holding a yoga retreat isn’t for the feeble and fickle. It requires full-fledged devotion and an unwillingness to accept failure. Fortunately, when you’re passionate about something that mentality is intrinsic.
I dissuade 95% of the people at this point in the conversation, and I do so intentionally. It’s not that I don’t want people to follow their dreams, in fact, it’s quite the opposite, but I feel an obligation to educate them on the sacrifices involved. So, ask yourself this question: Will I accept anything less than success?
If you answered “no” to this question then congratulations, you’re part of the 5%. And guess what? We’re just beginning. I’m going to walk you through not only how to setup your very own yoga retreat but how to make your dreams a reality.
Now, you might feel a bit of hostility towards me at this point.
“Who is this guy to be telling me how to follow my dreams?”
And to that, I say, “Fair point.” But I’m a man who had a vision, followed it with a ruthless pursuit, and because of that I get to wake up every day and live my dream. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, far from it actually, but I will share with you how I achieved what I did. The following is a list of what I found to be important when manifesting your dream yoga retreat.
How to Start Your Own Yoga Retreat
Set a Date
First off, Set a date. This date can be months or years in advance, but either way, you should have a concrete time frame for when you want to hold your yoga retreat. Having a date makes your goal palpable and therefore forces you into action. It is also helpful to break your time frame into a series of task-orientated deadlines. For example, by this date, I want to have a set location. By this date, I want to have a list of potential customers, by this date I want to have established a formal invitation, etc. By breaking your goal down into a series of manageable actions the whole process begins to take shape. It is very easy to lose focus and become stressed when you concentrate solely on an end result.
Find a Location
Step two: Find a location. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this step. Your location has the ability to make or break your retreat so be thorough in your research. As a rule of thumb, I like to visit the intended location beforehand to survey the area. Be meticulous in your approach. Try to envision your retreat in the surrounding setting and take note of any concerns that may arise. Your location should inspire you, so if you find yourself not completely satisfied, I suggest moving on. If you’re looking for a location, I’ve heard of a nice place in Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula that is simply stunning.
Capital is absolutely crucial. You need to be able to finance your project so find a way to budget your money. Always allocate some capital for a contingency fund because when an unanticipated charge arises – which it most certainly will – you will have a nest egg to dip into. Also, don’t count on any favors. When I was bringing my own project to life, and building my yoga studio, I took note that a lot of people who said they would offer support backed out. People make a lot of empty promises where money is concerned so be prepared to tackle this project on your own.
Never lose sight of your vision. It may be subjected to constant tinkering and tweaking, but always be asking yourself, “How does this tie into my end goal?” If it doesn’t, scrap it, and devote your time and resources to something that does. You’d be surprised at how often something may appear to be relevant but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a waste of your time. So constantly check in.
The Audible and Your Plan B
Hurdles will surface and things will go wrong, of this I am certain. So how do you circumnavigate these setbacks? Well, this is what I like to call The Audible, your response to failure. When things don’t go as expected how do you respond? We can’t all have the composure and astuteness of someone like Peyton Manning, but fortunately, we can be prepared for said setbacks. How so? Well, with a Plan B. Try to anticipate some potential problems and work to find a solution. You can fold or you can adopt the yogi mindset that everything happens for a reason, and because of a certain issue, your retreat is going to be better and stronger than ever.
Your Target Market
People. Without them, you cannot have a retreat. So start generating awareness of your retreat early and identify your target market. Use social media, pester your friends, and tell anyone who will listen about your upcoming retreat. Every conversation is a business opportunity and if people aren’t informed they won’t come, it’s as simple as that.
Passion and Planning
How important is your retreat to you? When you’re passionate about something it should encompass your entire being. So, plan, plan, plan and plan. I can’t teach you how to care about something, but if this is a dream of yours then go hard or go home. When I was first starting up my studio, every waking minute was spent in a reverie. I was dreaming and conjuring up ideas around the clock. Not because it’s all I wanted to think about, but because it’s all I could think about.
A Final Note
I know I have been a bit of a drill sergeant in regards to this post, so I would like to leave you with one last tip that’s a bit less scrupulous and demanding. Enjoy the process. There exists a romanticism in chasing your dreams and don’t let that escape you. Sometimes you get so caught up in the end goal that you forget to step back and appreciate the beauty of the journey. You’d be surprised to learn that I look back with a misty-eyed fondness on my adolescent struggles. They are what shaped and prepared me for success.
Maybe your retreat will come to be, maybe it won’t, and that’s okay too. The important thing is that you commend yourself for following a dream, because for the majority of people in this world a dream is just what it sounds like, a dream.
Taking that leap and pursuing something bigger is more of a gift than you will know. I’ve learned that. I’ve failed more times than I can count, but I never stopped trying, and that’s why my dream became my reality. So, dream big and chase that dream with a reckless abandon. Your project might fail, but you will forever soar.