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Before you leave

First ever retreat – what to know and bring

Retreats have come a long way since the summer camps many of us dreaded in our middle-school years, now there is a retreat for any occasion, whether it be a corporate, family, or an all girls retreat, (aka glamping). Now matter the dynamic the question that always stumps many first-timers is, “What the hell do people even pack for a retreat anyways?”

The main objective is to be as comfortable as possible, so it’s best to pack light, loose and comfortable clothing. Yes, this means yoga pants. Aren't you more excited about the retreat hearing yoga pants is recommend, I know I did. Layering is always something that’s recommended – it’s the most functional and you’re able to remove pieces of clothing once daily activities start. A long sleeve shirt over a tank top or even an insulation jacket will both help with early morning and evening chills while protection against bugs like mosquitoes.

As the name implies, many retreats are set away from modern civilization and you guessed it, in nature, so practical items are vital: insect repellant, sunglasses, good sneaker or hiking boots.

Always prepare for the unexpected – so two pairs of sneakers is always a safe bet in case one pair gets damp. Trust me, you don’t want to get athlete's foot as a retreat souvenir.

Swimwear is also another great item to bring for the pool, sauna or steam room. While you’re prepping your bag for retreat-friendly items, leave beauty items like perfume and makeup as home – your skin will love the retreat as well.  However, make sure to bring items like lip balm, sunscreen, and moisturizer to help protect your skin.

Another thing to consider is going on “digital detox” to get the full experience of your retreat for your mind, body and soul. While poor cell service and WiFi connection is generally a given when it comes to remote nature retreats, it’s something to consider beforehand so you leave these unnecessary items at home. Ditch the iPad, laptop and smartphone and put your nose in the good book or catch up on that much needed sleep that we all complain we don’t have enough time for.

Since retreats generally follow the body’s natural circadian rhythms (rising with the sun for an active morning, winding down after lunch, followed by an early dinner after sunset as your body preps for sleep) it’s best to consider trying out the variety of activities and classes available during your retreat through the day. They typically cater to this circadian and are offered in a range of different fitness levels – plus, since it's all option, you can do as much or as little as you want to. You’ll have plenty of time anyways, and maybe, just maybe, your yoga pants will finally be used for yoga.

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Staying at a retreat for the first time is an exciting time, not unlike your days at school going on summer camp for the holidays. But the question then starts to loom as the days to your arrival get closer. What to bring? What to expect? The main priority is to be as comfortable as possible, so stick to light loose...

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