July 01, 2022

What It’s Really Like To Go On A Yoga Retreat

Here’s exactly what to expect on a yoga retreat.

Attending a yoga retreat has always been on my bucket list as something I’d love to do “one day”—then came the Covid-19 pandemic. With travel at a standstill and stress at an all-time high, a yoga retreat seemed like the perfect way to unwind off the back of two years of lockdowns. Recently, I took the plunge and booked a 5-day retreat with State of Salt, a Byron-based company that facilitates luxury yoga retreats. It was undoubtedly one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.

So, you’re probably wondering, what exactly happens on a yoga retreat? Is it like Nine Perfect Strangers? No. To prove it, let me take you inside my travel diary from these five days of bliss…

Day One

I flew from Sydney to Ballina and drove 45 minutes to arrive at Wybalena Organic Farm. State of Salt is based in Byron Bay but operates luxury retreats across the globe, including in California and Italy. I wasn’t quite up for international travel yet, so the retreat I booked took place at Wybalena, an organic farm situated outside of Byron Bay. On arrival, we were served delicious rice paper rolls and fruit, alongside tea and coffee—it was the perfect afternoon snack after hopping off the plane.

We had some downtime to unpack and then we met in Wybalena’s on-site yoga studio. I was nervous—unsure of how proficient at yoga I’d need to be. But I needn’t have worried; this first class was a relaxing Yin practice, designed to help us settle into the retreat. Claudia, our teacher (and the founder of State Of Salt) took us through a cleansing flow which rinsed out our muscles, before we gathered in the kitchen for a nutritious dinner. All week, the team at Burbury Wholefoods cooked every single meal for us—more on that later.

Day Two

I woke up to my alarm at 6.45am in a private room overlooking the grounds of Wybalena. (State of Salt offers both private and share rooms). We were due for an energetic yoga practice in the studio at 7am sharp. Now I was super nervous: no Yin for us that morning! Instead, Claudia took us through a dynamic flow, which while challenging but not difficult. I felt comfortable and confident thanks to her expert cues and she encouraged our small retreat group (there were eight of us) to take it at our own pace.

Later that day, Claudia arranged for a tarot reader to give everyone on retreat a reading. My reading was incredibly accurate and it was the perfect way to open our minds ahead of the remainder of the week.

Day Three

By day three, I was sleeping incredibly well, thanks to starting and ending my day with yoga. Each morning, we would wake and have a health tonic before our dynamic flow; each evening, we did Yin. 

What surprised me most about the retreat was the incredible food—I had expected to be hungry on a yoga retreat. Not so. Byron locals Burbury Wholefoods cooked us a hot breakfast every morning, served with an array of freshly baked bread, fruit and yoghurt (one morning we had the most delicious avocado on toast I’ve ever tasted!). Burbury Wholefoods is all about showcasing organic, local produce, and everything was vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free. Lunch was an array of mouthwatering salads or baked vegetables; dinner was giant pots of curry and rice. It was the perfect accompaniment to our activities on retreat—by day three, I felt full of energy, my fatigue had lifted and my mood had improved. I definitely put this down to a combination of the yoga and the fresh produce.

Note: they only serve plunger coffee on the retreats but I quite enjoyed this with a splash of homemade coconut milk!

Day Four  

How was it already day four? By now, I was feeling restored and my body felt light and bendy. I woke excited for our energetic practice and by nightfall, I loved the way I felt ready for bed post-Yin session. 

There’s a surprising amount of downtime on a yoga retreat. After breakfast, we could use the infrared sauna or swim in the magnesium pool. We walked the picturesque trails at the farm and fed chickens. On day four, we had massages by a local masseuse and then it was time for lunch and more free time before our evening class. I had committed to switching off from technology on the trip—which definitely contributed to the transformative nature of the experience—so I used the downtime to read a book or chat with the other guests. By the final day, I felt alert and calm and like I had actually relaxed on a holiday for once! 

In my regular life, I do yoga once per week, so I was shocked at how easily I transitioned into two classes per day. My muscles were tender for the first three days but only slightly. On a State of Salt yoga retreat, you really go at your own pace. Claudia reminded us often that the practice was our own, and while she was available for adjustments, she also encouraged us to soften into Child’s Pose when we needed it. It was not at all intimidating.

A sound bath class (okay, maybe that bit was a little Nine Perfect Strangers!) was a soothing way to end the last night of our retreat, before we sipped a glass of organic wine and listened to live music as the sun set. 

Day Five

We had one final yoga class before we checked out—and I started thinking immediately about where I will go on retreat next.

You can head to stateofsalt.com.au for more information on their range of retreats. State of Salt has also opened its own yoga studio in Byron Bay. Head here for more info.

July 01, 2022

What It’s Really Like To Go On A Yoga Retreat

Sadly, not me on the yoga retreat. Image credit: @stateofsaltyoga

Here’s exactly what to expect on a yoga retreat.

Attending a yoga retreat has always been on my bucket list as something I’d love to do “one day”—then came the Covid-19 pandemic. With travel at a standstill and stress at an all-time high, a yoga retreat seemed like the perfect way to unwind off the back of two years of lockdowns. Recently, I took the plunge and booked a 5-day retreat with State of Salt, a Byron-based company that facilitates luxury yoga retreats. It was undoubtedly one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.

So, you’re probably wondering, what exactly happens on a yoga retreat? Is it like Nine Perfect Strangers? No. To prove it, let me take you inside my travel diary from these five days of bliss…

Day One

I flew from Sydney to Ballina and drove 45 minutes to arrive at Wybalena Organic Farm. State of Salt is based in Byron Bay but operates luxury retreats across the globe, including in California and Italy. I wasn’t quite up for international travel yet, so the retreat I booked took place at Wybalena, an organic farm situated outside of Byron Bay. On arrival, we were served delicious rice paper rolls and fruit, alongside tea and coffee—it was the perfect afternoon snack after hopping off the plane.

We had some downtime to unpack and then we met in Wybalena’s on-site yoga studio. I was nervous—unsure of how proficient at yoga I’d need to be. But I needn’t have worried; this first class was a relaxing Yin practice, designed to help us settle into the retreat. Claudia, our teacher (and the founder of State Of Salt) took us through a cleansing flow which rinsed out our muscles, before we gathered in the kitchen for a nutritious dinner. All week, the team at Burbury Wholefoods cooked every single meal for us—more on that later.

Day Two

I woke up to my alarm at 6.45am in a private room overlooking the grounds of Wybalena. (State of Salt offers both private and share rooms). We were due for an energetic yoga practice in the studio at 7am sharp. Now I was super nervous: no Yin for us that morning! Instead, Claudia took us through a dynamic flow, which while challenging but not difficult. I felt comfortable and confident thanks to her expert cues and she encouraged our small retreat group (there were eight of us) to take it at our own pace.

Later that day, Claudia arranged for a tarot reader to give everyone on retreat a reading. My reading was incredibly accurate and it was the perfect way to open our minds ahead of the remainder of the week.

Day Three

By day three, I was sleeping incredibly well, thanks to starting and ending my day with yoga. Each morning, we would wake and have a health tonic before our dynamic flow; each evening, we did Yin. 

What surprised me most about the retreat was the incredible food—I had expected to be hungry on a yoga retreat. Not so. Byron locals Burbury Wholefoods cooked us a hot breakfast every morning, served with an array of freshly baked bread, fruit and yoghurt (one morning we had the most delicious avocado on toast I’ve ever tasted!). Burbury Wholefoods is all about showcasing organic, local produce, and everything was vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free. Lunch was an array of mouthwatering salads or baked vegetables; dinner was giant pots of curry and rice. It was the perfect accompaniment to our activities on retreat—by day three, I felt full of energy, my fatigue had lifted and my mood had improved. I definitely put this down to a combination of the yoga and the fresh produce.

Note: they only serve plunger coffee on the retreats but I quite enjoyed this with a splash of homemade coconut milk!

Day Four  

How was it already day four? By now, I was feeling restored and my body felt light and bendy. I woke excited for our energetic practice and by nightfall, I loved the way I felt ready for bed post-Yin session. 

There’s a surprising amount of downtime on a yoga retreat. After breakfast, we could use the infrared sauna or swim in the magnesium pool. We walked the picturesque trails at the farm and fed chickens. On day four, we had massages by a local masseuse and then it was time for lunch and more free time before our evening class. I had committed to switching off from technology on the trip—which definitely contributed to the transformative nature of the experience—so I used the downtime to read a book or chat with the other guests. By the final day, I felt alert and calm and like I had actually relaxed on a holiday for once! 

In my regular life, I do yoga once per week, so I was shocked at how easily I transitioned into two classes per day. My muscles were tender for the first three days but only slightly. On a State of Salt yoga retreat, you really go at your own pace. Claudia reminded us often that the practice was our own, and while she was available for adjustments, she also encouraged us to soften into Child’s Pose when we needed it. It was not at all intimidating.

A sound bath class (okay, maybe that bit was a little Nine Perfect Strangers!) was a soothing way to end the last night of our retreat, before we sipped a glass of organic wine and listened to live music as the sun set. 

Day Five

We had one final yoga class before we checked out—and I started thinking immediately about where I will go on retreat next.

You can head to stateofsalt.com.au for more information on their range of retreats. State of Salt has also opened its own yoga studio in Byron Bay. Head here for more info.

Some photographs I took on the retreat (L-R): our breakfast, my private room, the view overlooking the organic farm, bean bags I definitely took a nap in

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