4 min read

Events vs. Retreats (The Transformative Difference)

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In 2017 I started my first ‘official’ business, Synchronicity Yoga LLC.

I was working for Hyatt Hotels Corporation at the time and had helped them open Andaz Scottsdale.

Part of my negotiation to help them build a Food & Beverage program was that I wanted to build my own wellness amenity for guests… and run it as my own studio.

They agreed… and off to the races I went.


Partnerships created.

Marketing launched.

Instructors hired.


We were rocking!


For over a year I was the self-appointed Director of Yoga…

A title those who had spent years climbing the corporate ladder hated.

I never cared and pretended to be oblivious (I’m hyper-aware).


The bar, classes and property were crushing… and I wanted to go full-time on the fitness side.

They said no, and shortly thereafter they asked me for 50% of what I was making.


I declined and created a proposal of how we could branch mindfulness to Hyatt worldwide...

... with an internal employee program and an external guest-facing program.


In 2016 they told me “Mindfulness will never be big enough to warrant a corporate partnership.”

I put in my 2 weeks the following week.


</the psychology>

I went from making $150,000, full benefits, 12 free nights per year to unemployed overnight.

Thankfully, I had an email list that I owned.


I thought, “If I don’t have a studio to take these students to, where could we go?”


Synchronicity Yoga LLC was born… and we had a ‘retreat’ on the books for six weeks later in Sedona, Arizona.

I emailed all the guests who had taken my class over the last 14 months and we sold 12 spots within a week.


Problem was, I didn’t have a venue yet.

I didn’t actually have the VRBO booked until the Monday of a Friday start date.


I threw together an itinerary, enlisted the help of a chef, and taught all the classes myself.


The retreat went off without a hitch… and two things happened.


First, we broke even… not great.

Second, it showed me I could create a business.


I went back to the drawing board, played with the numbers and ran the exact same retreat again three months later...

... this time we made $7,500 in profit from the weekend.


I knew I was on to something and wanted to go bigger… so we went international.


I got a recommendation and that summer we had 20 participants on the blissful beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica...

... one of the world's five blue zones.


That week-long retreat brought in $35,000 in profit.


I had stumbled into a viable business and I had never been more fulfilled in my life.

I found a way to help others on a transformational level... something I was longing to do but didn't know how.


I knew at that moment these immersive experiences were going to be part of my life and stack for the long haul.

</the system>

Seminars never interested me.

Reason being… they’re a manufactured experience.


You take people, place them in a banquet hall or ballroom…

… use synthetic lights, sounds, smells, etc to give them an experience.

One that is dictated by the facilitator.


From the retreat perspective...

You can take the same group of people and place them in a naturally-occurring environment...

... one that is different all over the world and will never be the same again (allowing for novel repetition).


The curriculum stays the same, but our retreats themes get based by the location…


Costa Rica is gratitude because of the Blue Zone

Peru is culture because of their community

Bali is karma because of their religion


This gives participants an inside look at another culture and expands one's mind to look at the world through a different lens. Not only this, but it also intentionally challenges your current beliefs.


Immersive travel is the only way to go.

</the technology>

There’s a time and place for modern technology…

… and there’s a time and place for its absence.


Retreats are one of those places.


We overvalue likes and undervalue true connection in society currently.

I am always in awe of the community built when you disconnect to connect.


The only technology needed is an open mind and soul.


If you’ve attended a retreat before, I trust you’ve felt this…

… if you’ve not, when you’re ready I welcome you with open arms.


View our upcoming retreat locations here.




If participants don’t know what to expect, they’ll push the limit to find it.

Set a standard from day one and let everyone know what to expect.

What’s mandatory, what’s optional, what’s included, and what’s not.

Be friendly but stern… they came to your facilitated retreat for a reason.



Some like to partake here and there… and I’ve tried both.

At this point, it’s a hard no from me.

It can be a community building aid, but it can also turn south… quick.

When in doubt, I’d advise against allowing it.



There’s no better way to see and aid the local community than by hiring a local.

Resorts will offer the same excursions and activities… but with a touristic flair.

Find someone local… someone who’s spent every day of their life in the location.

Become friends with them and let them show you ‘their country’.

It’ll be an experience you and your participants will never forget.



Everywhere on the planet has something they’re known for.

Seek it out and go straight to the source.

Better yet… find a way to offer something tourists can’t do.

*I.e. - Our closing ceremony in Bali (you cannot as a tourist experience what we get to do each year).



The first few years I wanted everyone’s experience to be all unicorns and rainbows.

Now, I don’t mind if you have a challenging time.


I’m going to push you harder than you’ve ever pushed yourself.

Reason being… People are soft and live repetitive lives.


If you want to make an impact, get them to do something they wouldn’t...

... do despite the emotions that will bubble to the surface.


That’s what I call successful international retreats!


*If you want to facilitate your own retreats, I'm in the process of creating a step-by-step guide. In the meantime, I'd recommend you learn about Credit Card Travel Hacking... and how it will support your additional business.


When you're ready, here's how I can help you:

1. Still looking to gain business traction... Start with an affordable course or community:

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Align Academy: More than a mastermind... It's a community for entrepreneurs looking to acquire the skills our society profits off of you not having. Specifically for those determined to live life at the highest level. -- Join here.


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