Episode #2: How to choose a yoga retreat?
Guest: Jodie Roberts
Lyla Senger: Hi everybody and welcome back to today's podcast "Be a Hero" by Yoga Hero. Today we're interviewing Jodie Roberts an amazing yoga teacher here in Munich based in Munich, but from the UK, she does these amazing classes online corporate classes also privates, almost everything retreats, events all over Europe and Munich. So today I'm really excited to have you. Thanks again for joining us, Jodie.
Jodie Roberts: Thanks for having me, I'm excited to be here.
Lyla Senger: Yes, it looks like maybe you just finished a class actually.
Jodie Roberts: Yes, I did actually just finish teaching and then I come on to this podcast.
Lyla Senger: Always on the go. Okay, so our first question for you is, I would like to know how you got started in retreats.
Jodie Roberts: So I used to live in Bali, and I lived in a shared house and there was a girl there who was really close with Anna. And we were pretty sweet. Balinese lifestyle. So, you know, we would either surf or practice yoga in the morning and then have like a smoothie bowl or some really nice breakfast, do some work that we needed to do, and then either go for a surf or yoga. Later in the afternoon and then have like a happy hour here and watch the sunset and both of us. Yeah, it wasn't bad. But both of us knew that at some point we wanted to come back to Europe because of our families. And we really wanted to bring this feeling back with us of how you can feel embodied and healthy and just connected, not just to yourself but to others and nature.
And so we thought well why not retreat? And really just bring this magic to Europe. And so that was what we did. We run a trial retreat first with some influences and cooks and people who kind of knew what they were doing, and a videographer. And yeah, made all the mistakes in this first week, very understanding, and then kind of fixed it and then we just kept on going just random stuff. And yoga retreats life coaching retreats, but all and no golf and all with this idea that you can take whatever you need from this, and that you can leave a little piece of paradise happier and healthier and really yourself again which is what Bali had done for us.
Lyla Senger: Wow, super cool. Sounds like a dream so basically you wanted to bring all your favorite things back from this amazing trip and share them with others.
Jodie Roberts: Exactly, I mean the feeling is amazing, and yeah.
Lyla Senger: Awesome. Cool. So next question is for people looking out for retreats or trying to book What do you think are the three most important things to look for? How can people, narrow down their search when they're overwhelmed or when there's so much out there or they don't know where to start?
Jodie Roberts: I mean, one yeah there's so much out there it is really overwhelming, and everyone's saying come to my retreats. I mean I think the first thing is what experience are you looking for, I mean are you looking to really do some transformational work, or you are looking for an active break, or do you just want to hang out, do a little bit of yoga and just chill. So I think once you've decided what it is exactly you want exactly but genuinely looking for, you can start to define. If you're not going to go on a transformational tantra yoga experience if you're just wanting to do a little bit of restorative yoga. If you are the person that really likes doing things you're not going to go to a retreat where it is just one or two sessions of yoga, a day. You will want to go to one where it's with surfing or horse riding or hiking or simply close enough to a town or areas that you can explore.
And that really leads me to the next thing like where do you want to go. Do you want to be hot do you want to be cooled you want to be in the mountains, do you want to be by the ocean? There are lots of different places. So, to decide where you want to go, as well as the type of retreat, you want to be going on. And these kinds of also tie into the last one. I was going to say four Because I think is also important. But then, are you looking for high-end or budget. This is also going to make a huge impact on your choice. So if you're looking for a really budget retreat that's completely fine, but then don't go expecting the highest end foods, and yoga equipment and things like this, like, maybe there won't be a pool, maybe you'll be doing yoga on the beach, rather than in the studio. It's really, you have to manage your expectations of what you want and what you can afford.
And then the last one, of course, like, your experience is only as good as the retreat leaders you have. So, research the leaders like what kind of person are they what their philosophy, what did they teach like and look at reviews and even like, ask them themselves because quite often they'll have an idea of what their normal guests are like we have lots of people asking us for example, when we run out to the sea retreats, like what is the average age can I come by myself? How much yoga, am I expected to have done? All of these things so just us, and then you should find the answers to these questions but yeah, what are you looking for? For what's your budget, where is it and what do you want, and what are these people going to be like?
Lyla Senger: Okay, cool, very helpful and informative, and thanks for the recap, but very very nice. Thank you. So you mentioned the sea, return to the sea retreat. Can you maybe explain that a little bit more? Is this the yearly retreat that you do?
Jodie Roberts: Yes, this is. So, this is the retreat baby that my friend, Anna, and I had. And so we always do it in the Algarve in Portugal, at least, and it's surfing and yoga, and some size life coaching. And it's simply because you know it's a blue state of mind, there is something that happens to us when we come back to the ocean. When you return to the sea, when you write these waves, you get into this meditative state you're in the flow. And this is really what we wanted to give people. So, to the sea is yoga twice a day, breakfast and lunch included, and then some surfing with a really nice local surf school, we do it before Corona, we had a couple of times a year. And now we'll be hopefully running our retreat in September or October.
Lyla Senger: Cool sounds awesome, so people can hopefully join us soon as COVID has long gone.
Jodie Roberts: Exactly like green pass again.
Lyla Senger: Okay, so next question, maybe bring up something that you talked about before what defines a successful retreat to you? When you're giving one or when you're taking one and maybe. Yeah, maybe we talked about what you learned from those mistakes that you talked about.
Jodie Roberts: So many lessons. So I think if you are giving a retreat if you're hosting it. And then, I wish we could give these for free, but we can't. So in order for you to at least break even or to make it worth your while financially, success means it full. That's just when it really hits you. Okay, so that you know you want your retreat to be full and you want. There are going to be things that happen along the way. You know, the surf school is going to turn up late or someone's going to have an allergy they didn't tell you about or there's going to be some kinds of hiccups, but to a successful retreat means that these hiccups are managed unnoticeably. So, people have no idea that maybe you know as the half the kitchen burn down, you know, this is the idea.
And also that the group is cohesive as the teacher, I just want people to. I just want them to have been served by the retreat. So that they have come away, they come away feeling fulfilled this is part of why we go on a retreat and not just a holiday. And then I think the if you're going on a retreat, it's similar. I mean you want everyone to get on you want there to be no noticeable hiccups. And I think, yeah, it's nice when you learn something, maybe this is something and you have these moments of. Aha, whether this is a breakthrough in an Asana that you're doing, or whether it's, you know you're just sitting there watching the ocean or watching the sunset, and then you have this moment to yourself, and you realize that you know, your heart is filled with gratitude. These are these beautiful moments that will really make your retreat worthwhile.
Lyla Senger: So it sounds like kind of similar for at least providing and taking it, kind of, at least, also when you're going to retreat that's what you kind of want to,
Jodie Roberts: Well, yeah, exactly. I mean, I just want someone to. I think also I want the hosts to be engaged. I think maybe this is because I have hosted so many retreats and I give my heart and soul to the guests that are here. I expect I don't like this word, but I would like to be on the receiving end of all of this, dedication, and attention when I go on a retreat.
Lyla Senger: Yes, that's true. I mean, expectations are not too bad of a word I think it's nice to have reasonable expectations and also intense so either way. Sounds good to me. Okay. Thanks. The next question is maybe also piggyback on that as what's the craziest thing that's happened at one of your retreats. Sounds like maybe some hiccups in the kitchen or any noticeable or unnoticeable anything you want to talk about. Just for maybe a little laugh or disclaimer or warning for future people who might try to plan their own retreats.
Jodie Roberts: I have so many. I mean we had a lovely chef, she was lovely, but she also was very scary. So, I mean there was one time when she couldn't find a potato peeler. And she came out of the kitchen, and she was Eastern European. Just like where is the potato peeler who took it. All of that was like being scolded by your mom. We were like we don't have it. And then the guest started making gifts of the potato peelers and send them to the group, so it just became a running joke. Yeah, really bad.
And then I hosted one retreat where we always like, averaging we say like if you want to have a glass of wine with your dinner then you know it's your holiday as well, we are. We're not cleansing retreats, we are kind of a middle of the road, retreat. And so we've always had, you know, A few bottles of really nice Portuguese wine, and people normally have a glass, maybe two with dinner and then you have tea, and we go to bed at like nine 9 9:30. And on this retreat. We went surfing, we'd come back. And the girls like I'd be getting ready for yoga, and they'd be having a pool party. You know like cracking up in the wine they put their own way like yeah, and then still came to yoga, bless them, they all came like a little bit tipsy like yeah, we came to yoga.
With a little glasses of wine next to them, you know, doing an opening meditation and then I want to say, you know the glass moving. It was, yeah, I mean, a fair effort, because they are really you know they wanted to really enjoy their holiday, and do all the yoga, and do everything.
Lyla Senger: Yeah, cool. I'm fine. I want to be friends with them.
Jodie Roberts: They were a heap of fun, actually. Not going to lie, we had to do yoga for a hangover on the last day.
Lyla Senger: Gosh, and that was on the detox starts.
Jodie Roberts: They have both.
Lyla Senger: Now that's awesome. I mean, it's funny when these crazy situations happen but it sounds like it always, you're able to look back on it and have a laugh at it, or people kind of grow closer from it. Yeah, experiences.
Jodie Roberts: I mean, yeah normally yes there are a few. There have been some issues I mean we got locked out of where we were staying on one retreat, because the owner had weeks and has the money that she had said it was there was a mistaken booking platform, basically. So we paid low season rates when it was high season, we sent her the money, she said, we said, Is this the correct amount she said yes. And then halfway through the retreat, she said it wasn't, and we needed to pay. And we said, Well, I mean, we have in writing that you accepted this, and you should have told us before. And then we took them on a trip. The guests on a trip to see an old town. And then she messaged us saying she had put all the shutters down and locked us all out. Until we paid her, we would not be allowed to go in.
Lyla Senger: Wow, crazy,
Jodie Roberts: So this was not such a fun experience.
Lyla Senger: Okay, yeah, that's a good example. Yeah. Really something crazy.
Jodie Roberts: Yeah, we paid, because what else can you do and then we had to go to the police and file a police report afterward it was crazy. We don't use her center anymore.
Lyla Senger: I'm sure oh no that's horrible. I mean, I guess, you can never expect these things to happen. But this wouldn't be such a stressful situation halfway through getting kicked out and then having to just yeah, do what's for the best and kind of keep cost at that point.
Jodie Roberts: Yeah, exactly.
Lyla Senger: Okay, another very good learning experience, then not having everything in writing, even though you did. Okay, well, hopefully, that's a good lesson for others to also learn from. Okay, next question we might have talked about this already but sounds like any kind of retreat that you have planned past COVID or maybe something you're looking forward to having in the future?
Jodie Roberts: Yeah, so we have the to sea retreat planned, and then I also have a December retreat in Austria in Tyrol planned in December. As a weekend retreat in Hotel "Schwarzschmied". Difficult to say. And I'm also looking for a couple more retreats around here, in the autumn as well so I kind of after the heat of summer. And there'll be like yoga and hiking, and nice eating...
Lyla Senger: Awesome. Yes, even we are trying to plan a retreat if we can so hopefully something comes into the books, and that sounds good.
Jodie Roberts: Yes, so nice to finally do a retreat together it's been two years coming.
Lyla Senger: Yeah, always fun to be able to like to collaborate in the senses and work with friends and work with each other. So, we see. Okay, cool. Next question. A little bit maybe off-topic, but still on the topic is your favorite place to travel, or and or bucket list to go to?
Jodie Roberts: Okay so my favorite place to travel. I mean it's super cliched but it's still Indonesia. I mean, as we said like the food is amazing. I surf. I also do a lot of scuba diving, and the diving there is great, the waves are great, the quality of the yoga instructors, especially in Bluebird. Is the world-class they are fantastic. So, and then I just, I love Asia I love the freedom of driving my bike through rice fields and the friendliness of local people, it's great. Indonesians, the way they say hello is to put the hand over their heart, when they're greeting you, and I really like that like "oh hello my name is Jodie."
Lyla Senger: Yeah, just, Oh, awesome. Makes sense, where it all started to for you. So yeah, I should have known
Jodie Roberts: Where I would like to go, I would really like to do many trips. What I really want to do. I would like to dive into the Galapagos and then dream big. You said bucket list. So yeah, of course, right, dive the Galapagos and then travel around Costa Rica, and then maybe go over to Mexico, as well would be a great trip.
Lyla Senger:Yeah, kind of going to the other side of the world. So funny. Not brag, but I’ve actually been to the Galapagos Islands. But we didn't have our diving certificate back then, so we only scuba, or we were only snorkeled, but it was still amazing like seeing so many animals at the top, but it's funny because it is one of the best diving places to go to although they have very strong currents and such like that. So maybe it was safer for us. Yeah, but awesome. We loved it. It was very fun you have to... I'm sure you'll make it sooner or later.
Jodie Roberts: Yes, I have every intention, manifesting. Now, come on plane ticket.
Lyla Senger: Yeah, only takes like three or four plane rides to get there. Okay, the next question is how do you define a hero or role model. So based on the Be A Hero, whether you're a hero yourself or how you define those around you who could be heroes in your eyes.
Getting a little bit deeper.
Jodie Roberts: I like it. Good question. So for me, a hero, a role model is. It's a leader, but a true leader is someone who leads from the bottom up. So, someone who is there supporting and empathizing and communicating with all people within that sphere, somewhere, and someone who will rise by lifting others. This is what it means to me to be a role model or a hero. Yeah, I think you don't need to do great things. I think you need to do many small things greatly. And this is how together we can be the change in we can be heroes for ourselves and each other.
Lyla Senger: Beautiful. So we can all be leaders, even when it's not doing grand things just small, tiny steps along the way.
Jodie Roberts: Exactly, exactly.
Lyla Senger: Sounds very nice, and do you think the concept of leading from bottom-up or leadership characteristics is something that you can learn or it's more innate?
Jodie Roberts: I think it's a bit of both, as some people are born leaders, you just you can spot them, a mile off. And other people grow into the world. If you look at yoga a lot of yoga teachers, for example, a lot of some, a lot of yoga teachers are actually very introverted. So, you know, not people who would naturally want to demonstrate their knowledge, or naturally want to communicate so intently with a lot of people, but actually, their deep empathy, means that they grow, and they develop the skills in order to communicate and to demonstrate. And I think this shows that everyone can be a leader, and everyone can be a hero. I think we are all heroes to someone, somewhere along the way we just never realize.
Lyla Senger: Yeah, that's true. Awesome. Do you have any other final advice for other yogis looking to travel or go on a retreat or do any of the fun things that we listed and talked about?
Jodie Roberts: Yeah, I mean if you're looking to host a retreat, and you're not really sure how to go about it or what the first steps should be. Anna and I actually have just written an e-book on the subject, so that you can learn from all those mistakes we've made, and it’s really practical, so it has lots of checklists for you and helps you really to find what it is you want and how you want to do it, and these kinds of things. And what you need to think about, so it goes smoothly. If you want to travel because it was notwithstanding, then I really say, just do it like get out of your comfort zone.
I really like the analogy that we are all ships, and ships for me to sail not to just stay in the harbor. So, yeah, go you can go a little bit and I also think the idea of traveling solo is where you can really learn about yourself. You know when we take away all of these social constructs, we've made ourselves like who we are as a partner or friend or sister, or in our work, we take away all this and we are meeting people new for the first time, or you experience things on your own for the first time, how do you respond. This is where you can really learn about yourself and be free to grow into your true self. So yeah, I guess my advice is to go and do it. That would be my only other thing.
Lyla Senger: What was the last part?
Jodie Roberts: Wear shoes.
Lyla Senger: Wear shoes. Okay,
Jodie Roberts: Unless you're on the plane. Please wear shoes.
Lyla Senger: Okay, maybe another story for another time. That's awesome. I know I agree it's super nice I think anybody who wants should just go out and do it. That's a beautiful analogy that you said about ships sailing, you're a water person. Yeah. Okay, so I think that's all the time we have today. Thank you so much Jodie again for your time for explaining I think it's super informative for anybody who's trying to go on a retreat, trying to maybe plan a retreat or book or learn about it. Sounds like you also have a book that you can we can check out for more details. So easily we look for you, and I'm sure it's connected on your social media or so.
Okay, cool. So then, other than that, thank you to everybody else for joining, I’ll do maybe what they do in Indonesia on my heart. So thanks again Jodie and thanks to yoga here for having us. I'm very silly, I forgot to introduce myself, in the beginning, but my name is Ly Senger, and we will be together again in future podcasts with other guests or so. If you'd like to learn more, the website for Yoga Hero is: yoga-hero.com, and we hope to see you soon in a future podcast or so. So thanks again. Thanks, Jodie.
Jodie Roberts: Thank you, Ly, it was great.