How to Prepare for a Retreat

How to Prepare for a Retreat
Transformational life coach and writer Ani Naqvi suggests seven simple steps to help you prepare in advance for a retreat so you get the most out of it.


  • Meditate

Prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally so you can start your retreat before arriving and ask the question, what do you want to get out of the retreat? Sit quietly for a few minutes daily in the run up to your retreat and ask yourself this question.

What are you seeking? What will nourish you the most? Explore your feelings, and really connect to yourself. Listen to your body and your intuition, as all the answers are there. You can also ask it when you’re getting ready to go to work or on the train commuting. The more you explore the question, the easier you’ll find it to find the answers you need on the retreat.

  • Be Intentional

Once your purpose emerges, get super intentional, clear and specific, and journal around the subject by writing a free flow of your thoughts. Do you want to meet new people or relax? Do you want to reflect or grow? Do you need a kick-start of confidence and motivation, or do you need to release hurts or fears from the past? Do you need to spend time on self-love and self-care? Really discover yourself as though you are your own best friend or lover so you can understand what you need most from the retreat.

  • Prepare yourself physically

Cut down on alcohol and other stimulants at least a week before the retreat. Be conscious of your diet, reduce your sugar and caffeine intake, and start eating a healthy, well balanced diet so you’re lovingly taking care of yourself before you arrive. This will aid your mental clarity as well as jump-start your experience. And you won’t have to deal with the full effects of a shock detox when you arrive.

  • Begin the process of disconnecting

Reduce your reliance on being online, be mindful of how much time you spend on social media, and actively cut it down to the minimum you can per day. Do this gradually. If you notice that you’re on screens for 12 hours a day, mindlessly checking your phone for messages or on social media multiple times an hour, cut it down to checking once an hour, then once every two hours, and so on. Ideally you’ll only be checking once or twice a day, gearing up to (ideally) putting all screens aside once on retreat.

  • Start now

Contemplating in advance of the retreat will give you the opportunity to work on what you need to right now, in the present moment. Begin to actively release what you don’t need, and attract what you do. Immerse yourself in this investigation, and you’ll get much more out of the retreat when there, as well as have the tools you need to navigate life before, during and after it.

  • Be open

Allow yourself to open up and let go of old stories and limiting beliefs, giving space for you to move into a better version of yourself. Understand that we’re constantly developing, and your decision to go on retreat is a part of your self-exploration and personal journey. Let all the amazing possibilities unfold within you. A retreat can be a real focus of transformation if you are ready for it and allow it to be so.

  • Create awareness and flow

Often when we’re busy in our working lives we get stuck in a rut and become oblivious to what’s around us. Begin to notice the things that are out of the ordinary in your life. Pay closer attention to them. Look at where you might be stuck, or in a mindless routine, and work out how to switch out of that mode. If you’re in the flow, notice what it is that gets you there, and celebrate your successes and accomplishments.

More about Ani Naqvi

Ani is an ICF accredited Transformative Coach, NLP Practitioner, Ayurvedic Consultant, Yoga Therapist and Teacher who helps busy professionals overcome challenges, anxiety, stress and depression and supports people to reach their full potential. You can find out more at

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