Packing my suitcase…

The packing list for your yoga retreat

Now that you’ve found your perfect retreat and the anticipation is already setting in, here comes the part I like least about traveling: packing. I’m constantly worrying that I packed too much or too little, that something important might be missing, and so on and so forth. What always helps me with this process: lists. Whenever I travel, I make a list beforehand that I can check off while packing. It calms my nerves a bit and gives me a sense of security, stability and order (and I desperately need that before traveling).

To make packing a little easier for you, I’ve put together a list of the things that, for me, are essential for a retreat. You can download the full list here to print out and check off – because is there a more satisfying feeling than checking off a list? 😊

So what should definitely not be missing from your luggage – besides the usual basics like underwear?

Travel yoga mat

Yes, most retreat centers offer mats for rent. So of course, you can also just take one on the spot. I still like to travel with my own, first of all for hygiene reasons. In a good retreat center, even the rental mats should be well cleaned on a regular basis, but I have developed an aversion to mats that are already a bit smelly due to long usage – and that is simply unavoidable if they are permanently stepped on by numerous different feet. Another factor is that you don’t have to worry about whether the mats on site match your preferences. I’ve been on an extended yoga weekend before and unfortunately, where I was, there were only mats that didn’t have enough grip for my hands, so I kept slipping off in downward facing dog. It really wasn’t fun to practice that way. You don’t have that problem with your own mat. And one last point: the center’s mats are mostly for use inside the yoga rooms only. If you have your own with you, you can practice with it on the beach, in the woods, or anywhere else in nature if you feel like it.

Yoga mat spray

It doesn’t matter if it’s store-bought or homemade, but be sure to pack a small bottle in your suitcase or backpack – even if you use your own mat! Especially on warm vacation spots you walk a lot barefoot and then step on the mat with just these bare feet. Therefore, it can’t hurt to give it a little refreshment after practicing.

Writing utensils

Preferably a notebook and a pen of your choice, plus spare pen. Why? You may want to jot down quite a bit. During a retreat you do a lot of inner work, which can release emotions. You may want to write about that. Maybe there was a particularly creative sequence that you want to remember. Or maybe you like to write a travel journal. Journaling is the perfect complement to your retreat!

Mala beads

Will there be a lot of meditation on your retreat? Then be sure to take a mala with you if you have one. If it’s ever harder to quiet your mind’s carousel, japa, the meditation where you slide the mala through your fingers, is often a good method. And of course, you can also just wear it as jewelry.

Your favorite essential oil

The effect of scents on the human brain cannot be underestimated. Maybe you have a favorite oil that should never be missing from your yoga practice; one that helps you fall asleep; one that soothes your headaches; or one that lifts your spirits. However, it should be one that you don’t necessarily need a diffuser for. You should be able to apply it undiluted to your skin so you don’t have to pack an additional carrier oil.

Eye pillows

Eye pillows are not only good for savasana, but are also a relief if your eyes have been exposed to a lot of sun and/or salt water during the day. They can also come in handy on a plane or train!

These were my yogic basics for yoga retreat travel luggage. You can download the full list, including clothing, here.

Have fun on your yoga retreat!

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