What to pack for a yoga retreat

Don’t know what to pack for a yoga retreat? Lucky you, here are my tried and tested tips for your perfect packing list. Don’t even think about leaving home without this list.

He who would travel happily must travel light – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The most important thing I learned about what to pack for a yoga retreat is to start planning your packing list based not on how many pair of pants, how many t-shirts etc. you should bring but on occasions: what do you want to do and what could be your outfit for this occasion? Some typical yoga holiday occasions might be: a yoga class (obviously), a day at the beach, hiking, exploring the next town, going out to a nice restaurant, hanging out in the evenings at the retreat with your new yoga friends, flirting with this cute yoga guy at the beach bar, something cozy for the night that won’t shock your roommate… you get the idea.

When you have your list of possible outfits the real work begins: how can you get everything in your suitcase – and how do you manage to create the right outfits without spending all of your holiday budget shopping? Your best friend are outfits that do double duty. For example I have a black cotton jersey dress that is just perfect for the beach, to hang out in during the day and with some added heels and jewelry saved me on New Years Eve once.

Accessories are really important, too. I always pack some cheap jewelry like hippie bracelets and chunky necklaces, these transform my outfit from beach to the bar easily and don’t take much space in your luggage.

One important piece of advice from a seasoned traveler: don’t take a lot of shoes with you. You won’t need them and they take up a lot of space in your luggage. For a trip somewhere warm and sunny a pair of sneakers, a pair or flip-flops and one pair of comfortable sandals is sufficient. If you are somewhere in the countryside on a Spanish or Greek Island you won’t need your new designer high heels. And they wouldn’t appreciate it you wearing them on these dusty roads, too. Safe them and leave them at home.

Regarding exercise clothes: visualizing 1 – 2 sweaty yoga classes each day you will be tempted to bring A LOT of exercise clothes. Restrain yourself. You can wear them more than once, really, if you are not participating in a Bikram yoga retreat. Bring some travel washing liquid and give your shirts a quick wash in-between if needed, they will dry fast in the sun.

Based on all these thoughts here is my suggestion for a packing list for a 1 week yoga retreat somewhere warm:

  • 2 – 3 pair of yoga pants
  • 3 – 4 yoga tops
  • 1 light jersey cardigan or fleece to wear in the mornings
  • A pair of warm socks for morning meditations (is it just me? I can’t meditate with cold feet)
  • A nice big shawl to snuggle in, also to wear on the plane

This brings us to travel clothes:

  • 1 pair of long black leggings that you can wear on the flight and on colder nights. Wear with socks and sneaker.
  • T-shirt for traveling and longer shirt to layer on top
  • Long woolen cardigan to wear on plane and also for evenings

For the beach and everything else:

  • Bikini
  • Beach cover (for example simple cotton short/dress)
  • Sarong that can double as a beach towel
  • Comfortable pants for the evenings, wear with a nice t-shirt or blouse and the warm cardigan
  • Skirt that you can wear for sightseeing with a simple shirt
  • Simple jersey dress  or cotton sundress that packs well without getting crinkled. A great maxidress would also work well day and night
  • Panama Hat or Fedora (okay, I admit packing a hat is a pain in the a…, you have to wear it on the plane if you don’t want it to get crushed in your suitcase and at the beach it’s often way to windy to wear it, but I like the way it looks. If you are above that leave your hat at home)
  • Underwear and sleepwear (I invested in a really nice pajama last winter and I am so glad I did: I don’t think I get as much wear out of any of my other clothes. And you will feel comfortable walking around at night trying to find a bathroom in a foreign villa)

For entertainment:

  • Many, many books (I love my Kindle). Don’t bring only spiritual, inspiring reads that you think you have to read on a yoga retreat, don’t be afraid to bring a real beach blockbuster or the newest mystery novel with you, too, if you feel like it

The obvious:

  • Sunglasses, sun cream, shower stuff, toothpaste and toothbrush, hair brush, hair conditioner and some sun protection spray if you have longer hair (Aveda is really good here), moisturizer and hand cream
  • Get your brows and eye lashes tinted before you go and leave your makeup at home beside some tinted moisturizer, bronzing powder and gloss
  • A yoga mat. Most retreats will have yoga mats available, but it’s nice to have your own. An alternative would be a light cotton top for the yoga mat
  • Don’t forget your travel documents, credit cards and you should really get some travel insurance that covers healthcare

I hope you enjoy my list. Do you have any other suggestions or comments? Please let me know, I’m looking forward to your feedback.


© magdal3na – Fotolia.com


  1. Great list. I would add a headlamp and batteries, a ‘sweat towel,’ reusable water and coffee cups, maybe ear plugs (you never know when your neighbor may snore or grind teeth) and eye shade if you like to sleep longer than the sun stays down.

    • Great add-ons, thank you for sending them in! I agree on ear plugs – I don’t know why I didn’t add them myself. I never needed a reusable coffee cup though yet – hmmm, will have to think about that :-)

  2. I think a lot of people forget to bring things to keep themselves entertained when they’re not doing the yoga! Highly recommend taking some books to chill out and relax by the beach/swimming pool when you’re not doing the routines :)