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7 ways to get the best out of a health retreat

If you’re here, chances are you’re thinking of going on a health retreat in the near future. Retreats are in essence, health-conscious vacations that restore, relax and reinvigorate. Science agrees that they’re good for us and these days, more and more of us are going on them.

For first-timers, it can be daunting knowing what a retreat entails, how to prepare and what you’ll get out of it. Here’s our guide to getting the best out of your wellness adventure.

Do your homework

The perception that retreats are one endless drum circle of chanting, vegan food and 8 PM curfews is far from reality. There are retreats for everything from dancing to fitness and even art-making combined wth vinyasa yoga – Nava Haus is hosting one such retreat in a luxury Cape Town villa this Valentine’s Day (book here).

The more research you do, the greater the chance you’ll find a retreat that perfectly matches your desires. It also helps to do adequate research well in advance of when you’d like to go as you can snag the best deals that way - retreat hosts often offer early bird discounts.

Among the factors to look into? The people running the program. During a retreat you’re essentially surrendering your energy to a group of individuals for a given period of time so it’s important to make sure they’re the right ones for you.

Also consider the things you’ll need to pack. If you’re going to be in a shared room, will you require earplugs and an eye mask to sleep through the night? Is there a dress code? Do you need bikinis or boxing gloves?

Any feelings of uncertainty you have are best allayed by researching the heck out any getaways you’re considering. If you have any questions you should be able to reach out to your retreat host – they’re there to help you before, during and after the program.

Don’t stray too far from your comfort zone

You don’t have to be a wellness warrior to thrive at a health retreat and it’s ok if you aren’t training for a Spartan Race. It’s all well and good to seek a challenge but you’ll be miserable on a skiing retreat if snow and cold don’t set your heart on fire. Similarly, don’t join a retreat where you’ll be camping outdoors when what you really fancy is a touch of luxury.

Know what your intention is

Be very intentional about your goals and what you hope to gain. Why are you going on this retreat in the first place? What’s your long-term goal specifically relating to your wellbeing?

What do you want to get out of it? Do you want to forget about your busy AF lifestyle for a second? Are you a time-poor, frazzled urbanite looking to bliss out? If you’d like to lose weight, how much? If getting fit and learning something new is the mission, an unusual offering like our Run Away With the Circus May retreat in Mykonos might be just what the doctor ordered.

While on the retreat, what would you like to experience? Would you like a fusion of relaxation and cultural immersion or high-intensity workouts merged with evening socializing?

How do you want to feel at the end of the retreat? If you’re going to be spending your hard-earned cash on a health retreat, you want to make sure you get what you want out of it.

Go with the flow

Retreats are sandwiched with everything from game-changing workshops to enlightening spiritual exercises. Come with an open mind and heart and take advantage of the recommended and optional activities.

Nevertheless, you don’t have to go along with everything the group does. Go with your own flow; it’s about your own journey. Listen to what your body wants and do what appeals to your soul.

Join the community

A retreat is an influential period of time where likeminded people come together to share their skills, fears, hopes, ideas and time while working on their bodies, hearts and minds. Try to connect with and enjoy the other retreat companions; you’ve ended up together in the same place for a reason.

Keep a journal

A retreat is a commitment to your best self. This is a crucial time dedicated to working on you and just you. Journaling can improve your mood, reduce stress and boosts comprehension and memory of events. During your retreat, find time and make a date with yourself to organize your thoughts and self-reflect.


The beauty of retreats is that they’re a unique blend of education, connection and relaxation. The food is often guilt-free, organic and delectable. You have the luxury of having your travel plans – right down to airport pickup, sleeping arrangements and meals – organised for you. Bask in it and rejoice in being pampered.

We’ve been conditioned to see ourselves as machines; a retreat is the perfect time to give in and indulge.

View the full list of upcoming Nava Haus retreats here.

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