I find packing for any kind of holiday - even one I am really excited about going on - very stressful. What will the weather be like? How can I decide now what I want to be wearing in a week’s time? Will the vibe be more hippie or sport-luxe? Will I be practicing yoga exclusively or should I pack some workout kit too? Will I be expected to dress up in the evening? Should I squish everything into a carry-on or check a suitcase? Should I take my beloved yoga mat in a sling and risk endless security questions or pack a travel mat I can fold in my case? So much to think about….
To minimize the stress, I have created a list to help me pack wisely and lightly. We all know that less is more when it comes to luggage – particularly when navigating customs and international airports. And packing lightly, or at least on the light side, definitely makes the journey easier setting you up for a relaxing retreat.
Besides following a checklist, it’s also worth doing a little research. Check with your host to find out what will be provided so you have the option of leaving props and toiletries at home. Most retreats will have mats, blocks, blankets etc so if you’re comfortable sharing, you can get away with packing lightly as well as the basics in your room like hair dryers and body wash. Another idea is sharing heavier items like body care products, gadgets, chargers with a friend if you are buddying up in a room.
Pile everything up that you think you want to take, then use my list below to edit out the non-essentials. Start with two large but lightweight scarves which are big enough to use as a blanket on the plane, to be doubled as a shawl or used a cover up at the beach, light layers for early mornings and cooler evenings and don’t take too many shoes – a pair of flip-flops, some trainers and some pretty flat sandals you can wear in the evening is more than enough. As for yoga clothes, take half the amount you’ll imagine you’ll need. You may have plans to impress everyone with all your new yoga wear but it’s perfectly ok to wear your sports bras and yoga pants more than once. What’s more. I’m sure you’ll want to spend your non-yoga time by the pool with a good book or having a relaxing treatment instead of going back to your room to plan your next Instagram-perfect outfit. Just bring some travel washing liquid along and give your tanks and leggings a quick wash if needed, they will dry fast in the sun.
3-4 pairs of yoga pants
3 sports bras
3 yoga tanks
2 pairs of shorts - one sporty, one denim for day or evening
2 tops - not sporty, for sightseeing & evenings
non-sporty bra & undies
socks - if you plan to go walking or running
2 kaftans/tunics - good for keeping cool in the heat and dressing up at night
2 dresses for sightseeing or evenings
1 hoodie for travelling, chilly evenings and layering in yoga practice
2 scarves/shawl for the plane, meditation and evenings
Yoga Gear & Stuff
Yoga mat – a travel mat and a yoga towel that can both be folded up and popped in your case
Hand towel – handy for mopping perspiration
Notebook & pens
Phone & charger – try & have a bit of digital-detox if you can though
Check what your retreat is providing – if you’re staying at an ashram, you may have to bring everything, if you’re off to a luxury spa destination your bathroom may well be stocked with amazing products but either way a few basics will be necessary….
Hand Wash Liquid
Toothbrush & toothpaste
Makeup - get your brows and eye lashes tinted before you go and all you’ll need is a tinted moisturizer, bronzer, mascara and a lip gloss
Jewellery – a very few pieces for evenings
Hair brush and plenty of ponytail ties & headbands to keep your hair out of your face while you practice