ARE YOU WONDERING WHAT TO PACK FOR A YOGA RETREAT?!
Planning to attend a yoga retreat soon, but aren’t exactly sure how you should pack? No problem, I’ll cover all of the essential items as well as the nice-to-have items in this ultimate yoga retreat packing list.
From yoga mats and comfortable clothing to toiletries and “luxury items”. Use this list to ensure that you have everything you need to make the most of your experience and be confident about what’s in your suitcase!
Haven’t picked your retreat yet? Find the perfect retreat at BookYogaRetreats, the largest and most trusted yoga retreat booking platform with retreats worldwide!
What to Pack for a Yoga Retreat
When packing for a yoga retreat, it’s important to keep in mind that you will likely be spending most of your time practicing yoga, relaxing, and engaging in other wellness activities. Unlike other types of trips, you’ll want to focus on comfortable clothing and basic self-care items, and less on fancy outfits, makeup, or hair tools. Let this be an opportunity to be au-naturale!
The type and location of your yoga retreat will dictate your packing list to an extent. Below I have included yoga retreat essentials as well as specific items to bring based on whether the climate is warm or cold, and if your retreat is domestic or international.
No matter where your retreat is, I always recommend packing as lightly as possible. Knowing I can fit everything in a carry-on that doesn’t weigh me down makes me feel free and less burdened when I travel. There is no reason to be lugging around a massive suitcase on a wellness trip!
I always travel with my Away Carry-On (use the link for $20 off) and a small backpack that I can use as a daypack for excursions, hiking, or other outings. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Yoga Equipment & Accessories
Many yoga retreats will provide all of the equipment for you. There are two caveats to this. 1) COVID changed things a bit. Some retreats now require you to bring your own mat and tools for hygiene reasons. 2) Some people may just want to bring their own equipment for their own reasons.
For example, I have to have my mat. I do not like practicing on mats that don’t have traction, that slide around, or frankly that just aren’t my own.
All that being said, you should check in with the retreat you are attending and ask about what equipment they will be providing and what you are expected to bring or what you are allowed to bring. Here is a list of equipment you may need, including links to the exact items I use and recommend.
- Yoga Mat
- Yoga Strap
- Essential Oil Mat Wipes – I especially like to bring these if I’m not bringing my own mat and equipment
- Travel Yoga Block
- Pack Towel – this is the exact towel I always travel with
- Journal and Pen – many retreats will have a small journal component before or after meditation. Or, you might just want to take notes/record your thoughts and experiences for personal reasons. *This is a must for any ‘what to pack for a yoga teacher training’ packing list.
Clothing is likely top of mind when thinking about what to pack for a yoga retreat. Think of this as an opportunity to take a break from your normal routine – toss your heels and work attire, or any uncomfortable clothing out the window! Zen on maxi dresses and Birkenstocks, yoga pants and t-shirts 🧘
There are a couple of important things to consider when packing clothing for a yoga retreat (in addition to the climate).
If you are going to a yoga retreat, it’s likely you are wanting to improve your practice (in addition to cultivating relaxation). In this case, you’ll want more form-fitting yoga wear so that the teacher can see your…form. However, if you are going purely for relaxation, or are perhaps attending a retreat more focused on meditation, go ahead and rock those loose-fitting harem pants.
You will also want to consider the cultural norms and dress codes where you are going. For example, if your retreat is located at an Ashram, more modest dress codes might apply (looser clothes, covered shoulders, etc.). There may be dress codes for opening and closing ceremonies if you are doing yoga teacher training, or if you plan on visiting any spiritual sites during your retreat you may want to bring a yoga shawl.
Last, it is likely you will engage in activities other than yoga on your retreat. Many retreats incorporate other activities like paddle boarding, surfing, hiking, and more. Make sure you bring appropriate clothing for the activities at your retreat. It is also likely you will go out to dinner, explore a cute area, or perhaps go wine tasting. Make sure to bring a versatile dress and sandals or something else lightweight that you can dress up and down.
Here are the retreat essentials:
- Yoga pants (1 for every 2 or 3 days depending on the intensity of the yoga)
- Yoga shorts (especially if you’re retreat is somewhere warm)
- Yoga tops (1 for every 2 days) – I like to bring tops with built-in bras because you don’t have to bring as many sports bras that way.
- Sleep shorts/sleep shirt
- Travel pants – I never travel without these Mountain Hardwear Women’s Standard Dynama/2 Ankle pants (I have them in 3 colors)
- Underwear – sports bra (1 for every 2 or days), undies (1 for each day plus 2 extra), regular bra (1)
- Body wash
- Deodorant (this is my favorite natural deodorant)
- Travel-size toiletry containers – I’ve tried several travel containers including a couple of expensive brands and honestly these super cheap ones are my favorite.
- Basic skincare (face wash, serum, moisturizer)
- Aquaphor – a multi-use lifesaver that I literally do not go anywhere without. This one has SPF in it too.
- Toothbrush + toothpaste
- Walking/hiking shoes (depending on the retreat you choose and the environment)
- Water shoes/casual sandals – Tevas are my absolute favorite travel sandal because they are super lightweight, so comfortable, can get wet, and are cute!
- Sandals for going out to dinner or walking around town
What to Pack for a Yoga Retreat if You’re Going Somewhere Warm/Tropical
- Bathing suit(s)
- Sunscreen – this travel-size Supergoop is my favorite
- Bug repellant – I usually bring a travel-size Ben’s spray or this Ultrathon lotion
- Hat – I’m a ball cap girl but just make sure you have some type of hat 🙂
- Travel Scarf/Shawl – I take this with me everywhere because it is extremely versatile. Whether it’s breezy, hot and sunny, or you going into a temple or church and need a cover-up, this will come in handy.
- Pack Towel – this is the one I have and I bring it everywhere. It will come in handy at a yoga retreat whether you are going swimming or sweating through dynamic classes.
- Dress(s) – these are great travel dresses
What to Pack for a Yoga Retreat if You’re Going Somewhere Cold
- Base Layer – these Smartwool tops and pants never fail me
- Mid Layer
- Rain Jacket/Windbreaker
If You’re Going International Don’t Forget These Things
- Check if you need a visa
- Plug adaptor – this set has a plug adaptor for pretty much everywhere
- Travel insurance – insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about what to pack for a yoga retreat, but this is so important. It’s worth if even just for the peace of mind. I use SafetyWing. It’s affordable (more than World Nomads), has great coverage, and you can sign up for it after you’ve already left in case you forgot.
Travel Insurance is so important when going international!
- Printed copies or saved files in Google Drive: plane tickets, retreat address and contact information, and airport transfer information.
- Credit card with lots of space for an emergency
- Cash – withdrawal cash from the ATM at the airport at your destination
Miscellaneous & “Luxury” Items
“Luxury items” are items that aren’t completely necessary but are nice to have. How much space I have in my bag after I am finished packing usually determines how many luxury items I will bring.
- Book or audiobook
- Headphones – these wireless, over-the-ear Beats headphones are my favorite for travel, working out, and everything in between.
- Phone charger (even if you’re doing a digital detox you’ll still need your phone for getting to and from the retreat)
- Travel Sound Machine – this is the exact one I have and bring everywhere. It’s lightweight and perfect for new places or sharing rooms.
- Earplugs are also an option for sharing a room (I personally do not like sleeping with earplugs)
- Lacrosse Massage Ball – These are lifesavers and have become a must when I travel! They are so good for massaging feet, hips, glutes, legs, neck, you name it.
- Your favorite snacks! I always stock up on healthy plane/travel snacks before a trip.
- Reusable water bottle (unless you’re going somewhere where you have to drink bottled water). No matter where you are going it’s always good to be cautious with water so this is a good water bottle with a built-in filter for travel. I brought this on a hiking trip.
- Any necessary medications: Don’t forget to pack any necessary medications you may need during your stay plus some extra in case your flights get delayed.
- A positive attitude and open mind: Remember that the purpose of a yoga retreat is to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit. Bring a positive attitude and an open mind, and you’ll be sure to have a transformative experience.
What to Pack for a Yoga Retreat FAQ
If you are going to Bali you will want to make sure to bring plenty of bathing suits, sandals, sunscreen, a sunhat, bug spray, and a shawl if you plan on visiting temples!
You will be participating in a lot of mindful movement at a yoga retreat so you’ll want to bring comfortable, sweat-wicking clothes such as yoga pants, loose pants, tank tops, and shawls.
Similar to a yoga retreat, you’ll want to pack lightweight, comfortable clothing. If you are attending an Ashram or other religious site you will want to pack modest clothing and/or bring a shawl.
Ashrams are usually secluded places that are devoted to spiritual activities like yoga, meditation, and spiritual instruction. Sometimes retreats are held at Ashrams.
Ashrams usually have strict-dress codes and ask guests to wear comfortable, modest, loose-fitting clothing that covers shoulders, knees, and midriff. Sometimes they ask you to wear clothing made of natural fabrics only.
Costa Rica can be hot and humid so you might want to bring more shirts and sports bras because you will likely sweat through them daily. A reusable water bottle will also be essential!
Final Note on What to Pack for A Yoga Retreat
All-in-all, you can get away with packing pretty light for a yoga retreat (especially if you’re going in the summer months!). And, what to pack for a yoga retreat, what to pack for a women’s retreat, and what to pack for a wellness retreat are all very similar. You can use this list for all of the above.
Remember that items like massage balls, personal yoga equipment, sound machines, etc. are “luxury items”. They are nice to have but not always 100% necessary. Unless of course, you can’t sleep without your sound matching then it is essential!
My goal is to always be able to fit everything into a carry-on suitcase and a small personal bag. I can usually go for at least a couple of weeks with just a carry-on. If I can’t, I know I’ve packed too many “luxury items”.
Careful and thoughtful packing can mitigate a lot of stress when traveling. I hope this yoga retreat packing list helps you feel more prepared for your upcoming retreat!
Looking for retreats? Check out some of these 2023 retreats:
- Best Yoga Retreats in Chiang Mai
- Best Yoga Retreats in Puerto Rico
- Best Yoga Retreats in Greece
- Best Yoga Retreats in Tulum
- Best Yoga Retreats in Ubud
- Best Yoga Retreats in Croatia
- Best Yoga Retreats in Iceland
- Best Yoga Retreats in France