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Are considering a yoga retreat? You have allocated the time and money and are committed to a meaningful experience. How do you know what to expect from your upcoming yoga retreat? A little forethought, research and proper planning can make your retreat a profound life experience a la eat, pray, love.

A little online research will show that there are terrific yoga retreats all over the globe. The abundance of differing techniques, varied locations and contrasting practices may be a bit overwhelming. Here is a checklist of considerations that might help finalize your choice.

1. Instruction - Just as you know there are many forms of yoga, you also know each variation has a different instructional style. Make sure the teaching style at your retreat is to your liking and within you ability. Most yoga retreats offer online resources that describe the practice of yoga and the style of instruction at their facility. As this is probably the most significant consideration on your list, get to the bottom of the information. If you read the site's material and still have questions, get on the phone.

2. Goals - Make sure you understand the goals of the yoga retreat you will be engaging and that their goals match well with your personal aspirations. Again, research is the key. When setting your goals, think both long-term benefit and short-term benefit. If the program does not give you a sense of these benefits, speak to a coordinator.

3. Facility - Get an understanding of the program's facility and how the yoga program utilizes the retreat's facilities. Practical ramifications of this information may affect how you will dress and therefore the clothes you need to pack. Are you looking for something luxurious like Miraval or would something spartan, clean and more budget-friendly like Kripalu serve your needs?

4. Experience - Cross-reference your own research with the first hand or word-of-mouth experiences of previous attendees. Don't be afraid to ask if they would return or what their progress has been since visiting the retreat. Do a Google search for reviews of the retreat or ask if you can speak with someone who experienced the retreat.

5. Travel - Just as you plan your itinerary, make sure there are no holes in your travel plans. Some retreats are in outlying areas. Also, check to assure that you understand the climate to which you will be traveling. Verify and confirm all return-trip information weeks before departing and, of course, cover your bases at home and work. Check the weather as well before you are traveling.

6. Budget - Your budget should include all costs associated with travel and the yoga retreat. Make sure you fully understand what the price of the retreat includes. Be especially clear about meal provisions. It is safe to say that every yoga retreat has its own standards. Are extras such as spa treatments, mats, blocks and other classes included or are they extra?

7. Experience - Many yoga retreats cater to practitioners of different levels. Some retreats are prone to accept beginning students while others prohibit the beginner. You may need a little honest self-evaluation to be sure you are up to the program's standards. Most important is matching your experience level with the program's stated experience levels. Are you looking to do an intensive program with 6-8 hours of yoga a day or would 2-3 hours be your pace? Find our the schedule before hand if you can.

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Jasmine Kaloudis teaches yoga and yoga retreats at Synergy By Jasmine in Philadelphia. For free images of yoga poses with tips on how to do them, email info at jasminepartneryoga dot com with "Request Yoga Poses and Tips" in headline.

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