The decision to go on an acro yoga retreat should be a fairly simple one. You have all the ingredients for an awesome experience: intensive acrobatic practice, fellow acro-yogis from around the world (or at least the country), great location, beautiful scenery and top-notch hospitality - can you ask for anything more?
The spectrum of acroyoga retreats is a very wide one. There are those retreats that really stay true to the concept and offer a unique hospitality experience to ‘wrap’ the acro practice. These higher-end retreats can take place in resorts, have chef-prepared meals and pampering facilities. On the other side of the spectrum there are retreats that offer a more basic approach - shared rooms, sometimes even tents and food that aim to satisfy hunger rather than delight the senses.
Many choices require deliberation, especially since you have different elements to consider, weigh and position against each other.
The ideal acro retreat obviously offers the best of everything, but in the real world we usually can’t have it all, and so we need to compromise in one way or another.
So stretch your legs and flex your muscles, here are the main decisions that need to be made when looking for an acro yoga retreat.
Location has many different facets; from the part of the world the retreat takes place in (continent, country) to the nature of the location - does the retreat takes place in an urban surrounding or a natural surrounding - an island or a cool beach, a moist spot in the mountains, an ashram in the desert.
The location of a retreat can juxtapose the content offered. For example, you can come across your dream Icarian retreat but realize it takes place on the other side of the world, or just in surrounding that you appreciate less. On the other hand, you can find an acro retreat in Bali - your dream vacation spot - but realize that the content of the retreat is focused around handstands, which you’re less interested in.
Skill level is also a major thing to pay attention to - we’re talking about the basic trio: beginner, intermediate, advanced. The larger events, like an acro yoga festival, tend to offer a variety of workshops in different levels, but usually a retreat for 20-30 people will focus on one skill level.
This section applies to the less-fancy retreats where your choice is cosying up in tents, or in shared rooms - or opting out for the nights in an AirBNB or a hotel room nearby.
If you’re staying with the rest of the participants obviously you’ll be benefiting from the shared experience of being a part of the community. During the late evening and into-the-night hours is when the ‘magic happens’ sort to speak, and spontaneous jams take shape; multiple duos of base and flyer with helpful spotters break into flows and washing machines, practicing the day’s worth of poses, transitions and movements.
So if you’re in your comfy apartment or hotel room you’re both getting a decent break from the daily grind and losing on the community spirit of the event. It’s all a matter of your reason for attending the event - are you laser-focused on developing and sharpening your strength, balance and partner acrobatics skills, or you’re also into feeling a part and building connections with fellow acro-yogis from around the world.
Acro yoga retreats vary in price, from the very affordable to the expensive. The ‘experience’ part refers not to the actual training of acrobatic tricks, therapeutic flying or whips and pops, but rather to the ‘package’. The cost of these events reflects directly the accommodation, food and other treats that are included, or not.
So again - a choice. Go for the pampering ‘all-inclusive’ types of retreats or the more bare-boned affairs where the focus is the immersion-slash-intensive acroyoga training of lifts and moves, static positions and flowing sequences.
It is a matter of what you’re after. An experience with insta-ready moments, or hours of L-basing or hand-to-hand until you get it just right.
Here we get to the essence of it all. The teachers. If you get to spend precious hours with your dream teacher, you might endure less-than ideal circumstances. If you’re the spoiled type, who frowns upon tenting, you might make an exception for the chance to learn from the best, or at least that Thai massage superstar you’ve been aching to take a class with.
Clocking hours with a formidable acroyoga teacher is priceless to some. To others, it’s all about having a swell time, meeting interesting people and enjoying some physical body fun. There’s nothing wrong with both approaches - you just need to figure out what’s the right course for you and whether you’re there to build your core acrobatic skills or to play; not that there’s anything wrong with that.