© All photographs of Charlie by Emily W Photography (www.emilywphotography.com)

To retreat… to step back, to withdraw, to go inside ourselves. The more we wake up as human beings, the more we feel the need to retreat from the busy buzzing world around us.

By stepping out of the roles we play in daily life we offer our souls a chance to breathe. By serving our own needs we return to our loved ones feeling more authentic and because of that better able to serve them.

For the less seasoned or newbie retreater there can be anxiety around this unfamiliar experience; who’s going to be there? Will I get along with everyone? Will I like the food? Will I be able to sleep? What if I’m not very ‘good’ at going on retreat? And of course…what shall I pack?

So, here is the essential weekend retreat packing list to help you on your way:


In most yoga studios you will be practicing on a standard rubber mat, these are ok but can be pretty thin. For personal use there are better, more indulgent, options out there. 

The Eko mat from Manuka is made from really comfortable spongy rubber which is great for those who need extra padding under their wrists and knees, it’s also totally biodegradable (not that you will want to but in theory you can bury it in your back garden and this mat and it will compost itself). 

We also value the stunning looking and soft to the touch Cork Yogis cork mat. This is produced by a small British start-up and a percentage of the profits goes to combating sexual slavery in India by teaching vulnerable women sustainable skills.

Cork and rubber yoga mat, from £65, by Cork Yogis (www.corkyogis.com)
Rubber mat, £72, by Manuka at (www.yogamatters.com)


Nobody wants to be dragging a huge suitcase on retreat so we love versatile pieces. This cosy and soft poncho by Gringas is a super warm layer for walks, opens flat to use as a relaxation blanket or fold up for extra padding for seated meditations and discussion.

Or for the ultimate in luxury how about this wool wrap by Balenciaga? 

Traditional Colombian handwoven woollen poncho, £69.99, by Gringas (www.gringas.co.uk)
Extra long plaid wool wrap, £755, by Balenciaga (www.netaporter.com)


Work on a ‘two pairs a day’ packing policy when it comes to leg wear – one tight pair of leggings and one baggy harem style – and favouring calming neutrals in natural fibres.

 You will most probably be wearing your leggings for far longer than you would in a normal class so its important they are breathable and comfy.

 Black all-in-one, £95, by Wellicious (www.wellicious.com)

Bamboo harem trousers, £30.90, by Braintree at Yogamatters (www.yogamatters.com)


As for tops, in our experience multiple, easy to pack, thin cotton layers are perfect.

Vest, £7.99, long sleeved top, £12.99, both by H&M Conscious collection (www.hm.com)


Super fluffy socks.

Cashmere socks, £32, by Brora (www.brora.co.uk)

Meditation aids.

Mala beads, £109.95, by Mala Collective (at www.yogarebel.com)

Beautiful cards to refine your intention.

The Soul’s Journey Lesson Cards, £13.99 by James van Praagh (www.hayhouse.co.uk)

Something for those morning pages (and don’t forget to take a black fineliner).

Daily Greatness Journal, £39.95, at Yoga Bliss (www.yogabliss.co.uk)

For hydration inspiration.

Water bottle with natural charcoal filter, £14.95, by Black+Blum at Selfridges (www.selfridges.co.uk)

A sheepskin mat topper for super savasana comfort.

Sheepskin, from £75, by Celtic and Co (www.celticandco.com)

Easy to slip in and out of footwear.

Naira Grey Suede Gun Metal, £175, by Laidback London (www.laidbacklondon.com)

A towel that doesn’t take up too much room.

Hammam towel, £39, by Bohemia (www.bohemiadesign.co.uk)

And something beautiful to slip it all into (we especially ‘love’ that this comes with a positive message).

Holdall, £650, by Eddie Harrop (at www.net-a-porter.com)

Charlie Anderson is a fashion stylist and yoga teacher. You can follow her on instagram @charlieyogauk

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