As well as the physical and mental side of the practice, food and nutrition are also a huge part of yoga. If you’re planning a yoga retreat, you should therefore ensure that you provide appropriate food for your students.

But with so much to consider, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled our top 5 yoga retreat menu ideas to give you some inspiration!

Before we get started, why not take your yoga teaching career to the next level and become a Level 4 yoga teacher with OriGym? Enquire today, or download our free course prospectus here for more information.

Yoga Retreat Menu Idea #1- Ayurvedic Diet

The most complementary diet to yoga is the Ayurvedic diet, making it one of the most popular yoga retreat food ideas.

This is sometimes also known as the yogic diet, however the two terms are actually different.

A yogic diet is typically ‘sattvic’, meaning that it focuses on food which is considered pure and light in energy.

Ayurvedic diet is mainly based on sattvic foods, but also incorporates the idea of doshas, and is more of a holistic lifestyle rather than just to do with food.

Ayurveda is an ancient holistic healing system originating from Indian Traditional Medicine over 3000 years ago. It is based on the idea that the diet and lifestyle can help to create a balance between the mind, body and spirit.

Its main goal is to promote general good health and wellbeing, rather than specifically cure diseases.

Ayurvedic practice does this by dividing the body’s energies into doshas. Everyone has a different dosha ratio, with one usually being more dominant and giving you your ‘dosha type’.

Your dominant doshas are decided by certain physiological, mental and emotional behaviours. Ayurveda then promotes the idea that each individual should eat according to their dosha type, including foods to eat or avoid, how much and how often to eat.

The three main doshas are:

  • Vata. Those with the vata dosha should concentrate on having warm, moist foods whilst avoiding dried fruits and raw vegetables.
  • Kapha. Kapha diets should include lots of fruits and vegetables whilst limiting nuts, seeds and oily foods.
  • Pitta. A pitta diet avoids nuts and seeds and encourages cooling and energising meals.

Using ayurvedic theories to guide your yoga retreat menu ideas will allow you to create a more bespoke experience for each of your guests.

You may want to have your guests do a dosha quiz when they arrive to find out which is their dominant dosha. There are lots of these online, such as this one from Chopra or this one from Pukka Herbs.

But even without an individual dosha assessment, tailoring your yoga retreat menu to the overall concepts of ayurveda will help you design a healthy and fulfilling yoga retreat sample menu for everyone to enjoy.

For example, you could fill your yoga retreat menu with traditional dishes that complement and balance each dosha, like:

  • Split dahl with roasted vegetables
  • Spiced rice pudding with fried seeds
  • Red lentil-lemongrass soup
  • Herbal teas with ginger and honey

An ayurvedic yoga retreat (and the menu) will attract a wide range of students, from those who wish to properly connect with the spirituality of yoga to those with minor medical ailments who want to embrace a more holistic healing method.

This yoga school and retreat centre in Goa, India is a great example of how to create a yoga retreat with food ideas that embrace the teaching of traditional ayurveda.

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As you can see, this retreat provides a yoga retreat sample menu on their website so that guests can know the kind of food to expect.

Plus, since this yoga retreat is in India (where Ayurveda originates from), this is therefore a great yoga retreat menu you can use to inspire your own!

Yoga Retreat Menu Idea #2- Raw Food Diet

Another popular yoga retreat menu idea is to incorporate elements of the raw food diet.

Whilst the idea of a raw food diet has been around for centuries, it’s not until the past few years that it’s become popular again in modern society. This is definitely a more modern yoga retreat menu idea than Ayurveda, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its benefits.

The raw food diet focuses on eating raw and unprocessed foods for each meal – or for at least 85% of your diet.

To qualify as ‘raw food’, the ingredients of this diet cannot be heated above 40-48℃ as part of a cooking process. These ingredients should also be unpasteurised, unrefined and untreated with pesticides.

This quality is why the raw food diet relates heavily to vegetarian and vegan diets, as there are fewer risks involved with improperly prepared ingredients – i.e. undercooked meat and unpasteurised dairy.

Instead of traditional cooking methods, the raw food diet relies on juicing, blending and dehydrating to add variety and texture to your meals.

Some yoga retreat food ideas for a raw food menu include:

  • Fresh fruit smoothies
  • Cold soups like gazpacho
  • Carrot and pepper sticks with peanut butter
  • Diverse salads with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables

The raw food diet is naturally high in vitamins and fibre but low in calories and vital nutrients like protein, iron and calcium. This therefore makes it harder to sustain over long periods.

However, as your yoga retreat menu will be monitored and prepared by professionals, it is therefore a safer way to explore the raw food diet for many of your clients.

You could also use the advantage of this relatively short-term foray into the raw food diet through your yoga retreat meals to attract people who are interested in trying the diet, but don’t know where to start.

Plus, the raw food diet is a great yoga retreat food idea as it can be more creative and tailored to each individual. You could even run some meal preparation sessions to break up the day and give your students hands-on experience with the menu.

With a raw food diet, catering for various dietary needs is much easier; most ingredients are naturally gluten and dairy free.

The Art of Life Retreat in Ubud, Bali, is a great example of a retreat that has embraced the raw food diet.

As you can see, they have a raw food lunch as part of the schedule.

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They have also provided details on their website of the raw food diet and the kinds of foods they serve, so that potential guests can have a clear idea of what to expect.

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This is therefore a great example of how to incorporate this yoga retreat food menu idea into your own retreat!

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Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more that we think you’ll love:

Yoga Retreat Menu Idea #3- Location-Based Cuisine

Location is a crucial factor when planning a successful yoga retreat, so why incorporate it into your yoga retreat food?

By location-based cuisine, we simply mean food that is inspired by the surrounding country or region where you are hosting your retreat. This means incorporating local ingredients and dishes into your yoga retreat menu.

Below are some countries and examples of how you can consider location when designing your yoga retreat menu:

  • India. Focus your menu here on various curries, dahls, and vegetable side dishes characteristic of the region, i.e. North or South Indian street foods and spice mixes.
  • Spain. Here your yoga retreat menu could focus on the Mediterranean diet, including locally-grown tomatoes, unrefined olive oils and fresh breads.
  • The UK. UK-based yoga retreat menu ideas should use local ingredients to make a variety of vegetable root vegetable soups and stews in the winter, or salads and fish dishes in the summer.

There are several benefits of choosing more area-specific yoga retreat food ideas. Firstly, it is much easier to find the ingredients and chefs from within the local community.

Additionally, sourcing local produce is a great way to ensure your chefs use high-quality and fresh ingredients in all their dishes. These can maximise the health benefits for your students as it will mean there are fewer processed goods in your yoga retreat food.

Location-based yoga retreat menu ideas will also need to factor in seasonality, which means cooking with what is immediately available and matching your yoga retreat meals with the climate and time of year.

Seasonality is a great way to keep your retreat environmentally conscious, as you’ve deliberately chosen foods that don’t need to be force grown or shipped from other places.

Since looking after the environment and being conscious of the world around you is a big part of yogic philosophy, this will also help you attract yogis to your retreat.

Fewer shipping costs will also make your yoga retreat menu cheaper, helping you reduce the outgoing costs of running your retreat.

A great example of a yoga retreat with menu ideas inspired by the local community is Yoga Rocks in Crete.

Yoga Rocks sources around 90% of its fruits and vegetables from the local community and their yoga retreat menu regularly changes with the season.

As you can see from their yoga retreat sample menu below, they have included locally-sourced foods in their meals (e.g. Cretan cheese).

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Yoga Retreat Menu Idea #4- Vegan Cuisine

There are lots of benefits of a vegan diet. So why not reflect these within your yoga retreat menu ideas?

A vegan diet is a plant-based diet that doesn’t include meat or animal products. In other words, it involves not eating anything that has come from an animal, including by-products such as dairy and eggs.

This type of diet has become more popular over the last few decades and is only growing in popularity. This is what makes it one of the best yoga retreat menu ideas, as you can capitalise on this trend and use it to help you attract guests to your retreat!

Some vegan yoga retreat food ideas are:

  • Creamy pasta using dairy alternatives such as cashews
  • Overnight oats made with dairy-free milk, served with fruit and granola
  • Scrambled tofu on rye bread
  • Tofu and vegetable stir fry
  • Vegan desserts using high quality dark chocolate instead of milk, and flax eggs instead of eggs

Yoga is a spiritual practice that focuses on our connection with ourselves and the wider world, which is complemented by the primary ethos of veganism of living sustainability and in harmony with your environment.

By making your yoga retreat sample menu vegan, you’re able to attract a wide range of students, from those who are more environmentally conscious to new vegans hoping to get more inspiration.

One thing to bear in mind is that a vegan diet often contains a lot of nuts and soy products as alternative sources of protein to meat. You should therefore make sure to clearly state allergens on your yoga retreat menu, as many people have soy or nut allergies.

For example, the Wonderland Healing Centre in Kho Pha-Ngan, Thailand, has been running a brilliant and vegan yoga retreat with food from across the region.

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As you can see, they include 3 daily vegan meals as part of the retreat.

This is an example of a retreat that is completely based around the vegan diet. However, you can simply incorporate a vegan menu as part of your retreat, without it being the primary focus.

Yoga Retreat Menu Idea #5- Detox Or Cleanse-Focused Diets

The last of our yoga retreat menu ideas is a detox or ‘cleanse’ focused diet.

Detox and cleanse-focused diets have become more popular in the past few years.

It was originally thought that detoxes and cleanses were a way to remove toxins from the body and help ‘reset’ your system. This was predominantly achieved through a combination of fasting, liquid diets, and enemas to help clear the intestines and body.

However, in more recent years, this concept of having to ‘reset’ the body has become less popular and has become a ‘fad diet’. This is because people are becoming more aware that your body actually already has natural detoxifying processes in place!

Extreme detox and cleansing diets should therefore be approached with caution, as they can often cause more harm than good for the body.

This is therefore a yoga retreat menu that is best suited to someone with a nutrition background, or if you have done lots of research into the diet. This ensures that you are providing a safe and healthy menu for your retreat guests.

So, instead of focusing on making a ‘detox’ or ‘cleansing’ yoga retreat menu, it is better to focus on providing whole foods, i.e. unprocessed and natural foods.

This creates a nutrient-rich and well-balanced diet that is capable of sustaining your students during the retreat and beyond.

For example, a yoga retreat sample menu based around a whole food diet could include:

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Grilled chicken and steamed vegetables with rice
  • Pan-fried fish with courgette spaghetti
  • Burrito bowls with brown rice

With this type of yoga retreat food, the main goal is to avoid anything processed, with refined sugar or added caffeine.

If you’re stuck for inspiration, The Detox Barn in Suffolk, England has been running their clean-eating detox yoga retreat with meals for several years now.

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As you can see, they offer whole foods based food at the retreat. Giving a description on your website like the one below is also a good yoga retreat food tip, as it gives potential guests a good idea of what to expect.

Before You Go!

So, we hope that our yoga retreat menu ideas have given you the inspiration you needed to design your own!

Want to offer an even higher standard of teaching to your yoga retreat guests and increase your earrings? OriGym’s Level 4 yoga teacher training course can help you do just that!

Enquire today, or check out our full range of courses by downloading our free prospectus here.

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About the Author: Rachel Stevens

rachel stevens origym authour
Rachel is a freelance content writer and fitness enthusiast based in Liverpool. She completed her BA (Hons) in Egyptology and Ancient History, followed by a MA in Ancient History, at the University of Liverpool. She has a keen interest in many water-based sports, like kayaking, in which she holds a 1-star qualification with the intention of progressing further. She is an avid reader, runner and yoga enthusiast.

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