Curious about the availability of yoga retreats, I embarked on a little experiment with a Google search. Wow—at least 15 million (15 million!) results pull up when you search for “yoga retreat.” That’s a lot of options.

With so many to choose from, how does one go about choosing a yoga retreat? If you’re an experienced retreat attendee, you know it all depends on what you’re looking for. But if you’re new to retreats, the immense range of possibilities can seem overwhelming. In hope of making the decision easier for you, I’ve compiled the most essential considerations you’ll want to have in mind as you search for THE retreat you want/need.

Time. Will you to do the yoga retreat during a vacation, or just over a weekend? There are many retreats offered in exotic locales for a week or longer, and if you’ve got the time to travel, you can enjoy a more immersive experience. Perhaps a local studio or retreat center hosts weekend programs in your area. Local retreats can provide a great opportunity to recharge with all the conveniences of staying close to home.

silhouette of person at a yoga retreatLocation, location, location. What time of year will you be attending the yoga retreat, be it a week-long or weekender? A retreat in a warm climate can help you chase away the winter blues, but if weather isn’t that important to you, you’ll still want to contemplate which kind of environment soothes your soul. Do urban settings rock your world, or would some isolation in tree-filled mountains fill you with ease? Maybe you’d like to stroll along a beach or observe desert stillness in between yoga sessions. Or you may be craving an adventure to exotic lands with a group of like-minded people.

Retreat focus. Are you looking to deepen your all-around understanding of yoga, the physical practice as well as the philosophy? You’ll find plenty of retreats for ya there. You’ll also find retreats that help you put your yoga into service for the benefit of others. For instance, I’m currently partnering with The Village Experience on a service-oriented retreat in India, which includes studying and practicing with a master and raising funds for community empowerment projects (learn more here).

Teacher and/or class style. Yoga retreats, whatever the focus or location, always present learning opportunities. You’ll likely walk away from whichever retreat you choose with a renewed sense of intentions and an expanded grasp of the asanas. Yet our bodies and minds benefit from different kinds of work at different times. Our Costa Rica yoga retreat this July leans toward an energetic theme, featuring sacred music, chakras and flowy yoga classes. Next year, we’ll set up a pampering way to cultivate self-compassion with our partner-themed yoga retreat in Bali, Indonesia.

The options are virtually endless when it comes to choosing a yoga retreat. But thinking about your needs and preferences now will certainly make it easier to narrow down the possibilities as you Google your heart out. Are you a retreat-finding master? Feel free to share any of your own retreat-searching strategies in the comments below.