It’s no joke to book a yoga retreat. I respect that. Just thinking about doing something good for yourself while on vacation is a small victory. I understand that an investment of time and money is required to come join us at what I believe is an experience completely unique in the world. I may be slightly impartial - slightly - but I also really care about yoga, teaching, and time. I hate wasting it and I love the feeling of doing it right. That’s the point of this letter to you.
The popularity of yoga continues to grow in the Western world. People from all walks of life practice yoga to live better. This is great. At the same time, the expansion of the practice brings with it yoga-related product offerings that lack substance. Everyone has a yoga retreat. I believe substance is measured on a scale of enjoyment and functionality. You should leave a retreat with great memories and some cool sunset photos but also with a clear of idea of how you’ve grown and what to do next to keep it up. The retreat should run smoothly enough that you don’t have to think about how it’s working. I think about this stuff a lot because for 10 years and over 75 retreats I have been a professional retreat runner. I might be the only one.
When you eat a delicious meal that is clean and nutritious, you feel a sense of satisfaction that is comprehensive. Mind and body have been nourished. It’s different from the ephemeral pleasure of a saccharine dessert. The point is, there are some questions to ask before you book a yoga retreat or immersion experience to ensure that all the pieces are in place to make it worth your while.
Let’s put location to the side for the moment because we’re in our own private villa in the South of France. This is not a resort where you’ll be banging elbows with tropical-drink addled tourists at the buffet, nor is it a retreat center that gave your teacher a package deal which means you pay for extras and the teacher ends up frazzled and pulled away from focusing on the yoga because, well, running yoga retreats is a lot of work. Let’s also put cuisine on the back burner for the sake of this note because most of you come from cosmopolitan backgrounds and are used to good food. We feel it is our job to consistently exceed the gastronomic life you lead at home. So because I want you to actually read this and I have a tendency to get passionate and then not be able to stop, that leaves a couple of key points.
Here are some questions to spark your decision-making process. What is the track record of the retreat you are considering and why does it exist in the first place? In other words, and back to the immense growth of yoga over the last few years, you have so many options. Running a retreat is huge deal. It’s not going on vacation with some friends from the studio. It is a receiving the trust, time and hard-earned dough of your guests and balancing upon the fine line between running a modern business that depends on referrals and creating an intimate experience that does not feel like a business. A proper retreat means running a yoga program with the precision and knowledge base requisite for an effective teacher training while including all levels of practice equally and offering a near-perfect experience outside the yoga room.
I noted earlier that since 2007, we have run over 50 retreats but I’m most proud that every retreat since number two has included a returning guest. We have more than a few guests now on their fifth and sixth trips to the villa. We get better every year. We have to, because I really believe that we can help people be happier but we won’t get the chance to reach you if we don’t keep raising our game. I always micro-manage. I can’t help it - I love what I do too much. LUXYOGA for me is full-time, year-round attention to the details of life that could improve the experience for my guests.
Last question: where have your teachers been tested on the field of life - not on their poses but on how they lead others to grow? And with what intention? I want to live well in the world and so do my co-teachers, but we believe material success comes naturally when the offering is undeniable. My collaborators are teachers from whom I want to learn and they are each leaders in their communities. They understand that students are people and that yoga is a powerful tool but is the means, not the end. Each has experience training teachers and each has broken ground in his own way.
This is the last paragraph. I know - thanks for reading this far, and thank you for considering LUXYOGA for your retreat, vacation, or continuing education. I wrote all this because I want you to know that we take this seriously - that’s why it’s so much fun when you get to the villa. I’ll keep working to make your experience the best it can be - you just get here. It’s a blast.
Love & LUX,