Our first yoga retreat

We’ve been wanting to tell you about our first yoga retreat that we organized and led. After Bistra’s yoga teacher training in Nepal, she opened up to teach more yoga classes, to create different workshops and when the end of summer 2019 came, she and some of her students decided to do a yoga weekend. So here’s everything about our first yoga retreat what went well and the things we’ve learned.

Yoga weekend retreat in Bulgaria

The venue

The place where you plan to do your retreat is of crucial importance. We wanted to find a place that can accommodate a small group like ours. We insisted to have our privacy and feel connected with the surroundings, and at the same time, we wouldn’t disagree with meeting other people or interacting with them. Other criteria in our search were the location of the place – not far from Sofia, nice and fitting our budget while offering fresh locally sourced food with plenty of vegetarian options.

As it was the end of a very hot summer we couldn’t have predicted that it will be quite dry. That was the case with the venue we chose for the retreat – Cob Camp. So while they had the best view over the valley and plenty of space outdoors to do your sessions, there was a lack of more closed space in case the weather decided to turn bad. We could use early mornings, late afternoons, and evenings for the sessions. There were so many spots to just chill out, a nice library, a couple of swings and hammocks – all those contributed to a very relaxed and inward-directed experience.

The other guests of the property were very respectful so we felt undisturbed during our practices. The grass was quite dry so we had to use one more layer of mats to prevent different plants to enter our sacred spaces. Watching a thousand stars in the evening was a pleasure, waking up and practicing yoga with all the nearby village roosters was amazing, and we were so lucky with the weather and the peace of the surrounding nature.

The lesson we learned here is that you should always triple-check with the place if they have really a shala, a room, or at least covered space as they promise. The other lesson was that with summer drоught and lack of water, and Cob Camp situated on top of a hill, it was dry during a decent amount of time. Which meant that they decided not to cater for lunch (hello, improvised lunches) and we had to be really, really mindful of the water. It’s not a problem, we were yogis after all, but when you plan your event, you need to be aware of current conditions, have solid communication with the venue, and have options to react (which we didn’t have).

The food

The best thing IMHO when you’re organizing a retreat is to have independent catering which means a chef or someone who will take care of preparing and serving the food. When you have a retreat in a place that will accommodate other people as well, you have to be very specific about your food preferences which in the case of a yoga retreat will definitely include vegetarian, vegan, ayurvedic diets. We were lucky to have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the buffet, and it was a bit weird when everyone else would eat steaks and drink wine, all served at the same buffet table. Anyway, the food was organic and locally produced and we enjoyed it so much.

Yoga weekend retreat in Bulgaria

The sessions

For our weekend retreat, we had planned 4 sessions. We started on Friday evening with a nice flow in the dark to set the mood, which later turned into stargazing. Saturday morning Bistra taught a detailed pranayam session, after which we continued with kundalini asana while the nearby world was waking up. In the late afternoon, we continued with asana on the main meadow, culminating with a mesmerizing sunset. We took some time to snap some photos to commemorate the retreat. Before we enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast and leave on Sunday, we played in nature while doing some asanas solo, in couples, and as a group.

The free time

This retreat turned out to be a yoga and chill-out retreat which is amazing. For our next weekend we’ll definitely want to add more adventure – maybe hiking and other outdoor stuff, also spa experiences, etc. The most important advice here is to just be mindful of the weather in the region where the retreat will be, of the facilities, and everything else that might make or break a given activity that was set to happen in “the free time” in-between yoga sessions. As we were there at the end of the summer, it was super hot so when we weren’t practicing asana and pranayam, we were just chilling out in the garden, reading books or taking naps, and playing board games. We enjoyed the sunsets and the vintage trucks in the garden, we literally made the most of our time there. If it wasn’t so hot probably we would have walked around, hiked in the area, or something of that sort.

The people

The most important part of the retreat is the people who take part. The teachers and organizers might facilitate greatly and create space for the objectives of the retreat to happen, but if the participants are not into it, not putting their presence and energy in the right places, and not willing to manage their mind or walk out of their comfort zone, nothing will be as spectacular. We were so lucky to be joined by motivated yogis who regardless of the current moment of their journeys contributed with hard work and dedicated their whole weekend to yoga. Thank you and hope you felt the benefits of that time together!

*If you’d like to become part of some of the yoga, dance, and embodiment sessions and workshops Bistra leads, you can join our private Facebook group.*

This was a recap of our first yoga weekend retreat, hopefully, the first of many! We’re in the search of venues and businesses that would be a good fit for the next retreats of ours, so if you have something in mind, do share!

Do you like this post?

Travel with us and share our journey on Instagram! Do you want to support us – learn how here!

Keep up with our latest travel adventures and projects!
Subscribe for our Traveletter!