Retreat FAQ

If you are considering joining us, here are answers to some questions you may have:

Who and what is the retreat for?

What is in the retreat program?

What to bring and what to wear

Food, accommodation and travel

Yoga retreat background

Questions specific to retreats at the Yogaville location

Who and what is the retreat for?

Q: What is the purpose of the retreat?

A: Our goal is to teach gentle Yoga techniques, including meditation, and provide a deeply relaxing and healing experience.

Q: Who is the retreat for?

A: The retreat is for people recovering from, or in treatment for, cancer, and their loved ones and support people.

Q: Who else can come?

A: Anyone whose life has been disrupted by a serious illness, including family, friends and caregivers.

Q: Are people who have been out of treatment for a while still eligible to attend?

A: Of course. There is always some way to benefit no matter how long ago a person was in treatment. We say that the retreat is for people in treatment to make it clear that the activities are gentle and geared toward people who are potentially still experiencing some of the issues that come with treatment.

Q: How many people attend?

A: Typically, we host between 6 – 18 residential participants with 4 – 8 staff teachers and Yoga therapists.

What is in the retreat program?

Q: What types of things will I learn?

A: Throughout the retreat, we will explore:

  • Yoga postures and movements adapted to all abilities
  • Breathing practices and deep relaxation techniques
  • Meditation and guided imagery
  • Sound vibrations, mantra, and chanting
  • Fundamentals of Yoga philosophy

You may even want to practice these techniques beyond the retreat.

Q: Is massage part of the program?

A: No. There is free time to schedule bodywork if desired.

Q: Will I get personalized attention?

A: We discuss the diagnosis you were given and where you are in your recovery as well as any other issues you have. YCat programs are designed to work with you. YCat teachers are knowledgeable about the types of cancer. The teacher to participant ratio (one teacher to two students) allows for personalized attention.

Q: Can I come for just part of the retreat?

A: Yes, if this is arranged in advance. For continuity, we prefer people to attend the full retreat. Once people get here they typically don’t want to leave.

Q: What is the schedule? When is free time?

A: The schedule varies. You can attend some or all of the sessions. Feel free to take breaks to relax alone or in company, or to explore the beautiful outdoors.

A typical day might look something like this:

  • 7:00 am — Optional classes before breakfast for early birds
  • 8:00 am – 9:00 am — Breakfast
  • 9:30 am – 11:30 am —Yoga
  • 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm — Meditation
  • 12:45 pm – 1:30 pm — Lunch
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm — Free Time
  • 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm — Yoga / Sightseeing (varies day to day)
  • 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm — Free Time
  • 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm — Meditation
  • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm — Dinner
  • 7:45 pm – 9:15 pm — Evening Program
  • 10:00 pm — Quiet

Q: Does all that Yoga get tiring?

A: Most of the practices, even the movements, will generate energy and be very relaxing at the same time. However, they will not tire you out. We practice a number of different Yoga techniques like breathing and guided relaxations, not just movement sequences. The program is adapted to your ability. You set the pace and do what you can. It is not power yoga, extreme yoga, or anything that is “going for the burn.”

What to bring and what to wear

Q: What clothes shall I bring?

A: Wear soft, comfortable clothes that allow ease of movement. Sweat pants and tee shirts are fine. No jeans or belted pants or anything too tight that constricts movement or circulation. Typically we don’t change clothes between sessions so wear clothes that you feel comfortable wearing around the site, including for meals.

See below for additional information on what to wear if attending a retreat that is held at Yogaville.

Q: What shoes shall I wear?

A: During all or most of the retreat, we will be in buildings in stocking feet. You are welcome to bring slippers. If you have peripheral neuropathy please bring your own indoor footwear. Because of the no-shoes indoors policy, please wear any shoes that are easy to slip on and off (flip flops are welcome) and that you feel comfortable leaving behind in a shared space.

Food, accommodation and travel

For more about food, accommodation and travel please see “Questions specific to the Yogaville location”, below.

Yoga retreat background

Q: What does the acronym YCat stand for?

A: Originally it stood for Yoga in Cancer Treatment. When the training expanded to include chronic illness we decided to keep the acronym.

Q: Who created the curriculum used in this retreat?

A: Jnani Chapman, RN, BSN, RYT-500, developed the Yoga cancer therapy curriculum in 1998. This curriculum has been used worldwide, and she oversees many training programs and Yoga instructor training. Jnani is a compassionate, experienced, and knowledgeable nurse and Yoga teacher who will be leading the retreat.

Questions specific to the Yogaville location

Q: What is the dress code at Yogaville?

A: Yogaville requests that guests please dress modestly. At minimum wear clothes that keep knees covered when seated, and that cover your shoulders, cleavage and midriff, especially in the shrines and meditation halls; i.e. please do not wear tank tops, tubes, halter tops, thin straps, strapless, skin tight, etc.

For detailed information about the Yogaville dress code and ideas of things to bring with you or leave behind, please visit this link:

Q: Do I need any formal clothes?

A: The closest to a “formal” event is the community gathering for celebration on Saturday evening. Many people traditional wear white, but this is not required.

Q: What should I avoid wearing?

A: At Yogaville, the orange or peach colors are worn to indicate monks or swamis who are available for conversations and questions. Please note that if you wear only these colors, you will likely be mistaken for a swami.

About Yogaville

Q: Are there other things I can take advantage of when I am at Yogaville?

A: Absolutely. Yogaville is located at a very beautiful and scenic part of Virginia, near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy the scenery! There is an outdoor labyrinth, walking paths, and, as always, opportunities to share experiences with other retreat participants.

Q: What is Yogaville?

A: Yogaville is the Satchidananda Ashram, an intentional community of people devoted to a Yogic lifestyle using Yoga’s fundamental spiritual principles as a way of life. Yogaville was founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda, who died in 2002. There are several shrines at Yogaville. Yogaville has many full time residents, both monks and lay families, and many visitors year round for programs and retreats. The YCat retreat is able to use the Yogaville buildings, but there is no formal program with the residents of Yogaville.

Q: Will I be required to participate in religious activities?

A: There is no obligation to attend or participate in any Yogaville religious activity. Participation is optional. You will not be expected to do anything you are not comfortable with. You may attend, observe, and participate in the traditional Hindu puja ceremonies at various shrines on site. There may be an opportunity to attend an ecumenical service or possibly an ecumenical Kirtan chanting session. Again, this is optional and not part of the YCat Retreat.

Q: What is Yogaville’s relationship to YCat?

A: The YCat programs were founded by Jnani Chapman, RN, BSN, RYT-500. As an experienced nurse and Yoga teacher with over twenty-five years of experience, Chapman was a long time student of Swami Satchidananda. The YCat curriculum is based in Integral Yoga, the Yoga of Swami Satchidananda. It is also the Yoga taught at Yogaville through their teacher training programs. The Yogaville environment is particularly well suited for our retreat. It provides safe sanctuary for each of us to connect with the deepest levels of our being to find healing and experience peace. Yogaville is situated in a beautiful and scenic part of Virginia, and participants can take advantage of some of the lovely natural offerings.

Yogaville Specific Transportation

Q: What is the best way to travel to Yogaville?

A: You can drive to Yogaville (there is free parking) or you can take public transport to Charlottesville, VA and make arrangements for the Ashram transportation services to pick you up from there. Please consult the retreat coordinators for transportation needs first. Yogaville is a one and a half hour drive south of Charlottesville, VA. See the Yogaville website for information directions at:

Retreat coordinators will help participants coordinate transportation either from their origin, points in between, or from Charlottesville. Please let us know if you want to share transportation.

Yogaville Specific Accommodation

Q: Is it possible to get accommodations outside of Yogaville?

A: There are homes in the Yogaville vicinity that people rent privately to families and groups. For the YCat retreats, we prefer our participants to be on site, but we will consider special needs as they arise. Immersing ourselves together as a group tends to provide each of us with deeper benefit.

Eating at Yogaville

Q: Where do we eat?

A: All meals are eaten at the main Yogaville dining room in Sivananda Hall where all Yogaville visitors and residents eat. All meals are vegetarian and there are always many vegan options.

Q: When do we eat?

A: Please see the schedule section above for meal times.

Q: What if I want a snack?

A: There will always be fruit, crackers and teas available to participants. Also, Yogaville has a shop where you can buy snacks, coffee and other miscellaneous items. You can bring your own food too, if you want to, but there is a lot of food available at Yogaville so we suggest you do not bring very much.


Q: What about my phone and wi-fi?

A: There is limited wi-fi so if you need it, please let us know when you register so that we can sign you up in advance of your arrival to receive internet in some locations on the grounds. Because Yogaville is in rolling hills near the Blue Ridge Mountains phone reception is not great. Verizon is the only reliable carrier. Phone cards are available for purchase to make outgoing calls and incoming calls can come through ground lines.

For more information about Yogaville see

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