20 Jul '18
The 6 Best Yoga Retreats In the World
Get out of town and sink into your center of calm at these yoga-themed escapes.
Image courtesy of Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort.
Sometimes you have to leave home to find yourself. That’s where a yoga retreat can help. Take your practice on the road – or around the globe – and rediscover what made you fall in love with yoga in the first place. By removing the everyday irritants, responsibilities, and demands on your time, you’ll make space to connect more deeply with your true self. Whether you seek healing, energetic rejuvenation, or simply a more active vacation than a week lounging on the beach can provide, at least one of these retreats will meet your needs. Don’t forget to pack your mat – and plenty of sunscreen!
Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort: Cambutal, Panama
(August 8 – 13, 2018)
Black sand beaches. Turquoise waves. Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort is almost too good to be true. Escape to this Pacific Coast destination for the Restore & Explore retreat with instructor Pilin Anice. Find your rhythm through beachside Afro Flow Yoga with live drumming and refill your wellness reserves with restorative vinyasa yoga. When you’re not practicing on the shore, take a surfing lesson, go snorkeling, hop in a kayak, ride a bike, or hike through the lush terrain around the resort. Each luxury cabana at Sansara includes a private patio, hypo-allergenic linens, and organic spa products. Refuel at the resort’s ocean front bar and restaurant, which will tailor its menu to any dietary restrictions you may have.
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health: Stockbridge, Massachusetts
(Oct. 14 – 19 and Nov. 25 – 30, 2018)
Kripalu has been a go-to retreat for yogis since 1983. This year, it offers an opportunity to challenge your body two ways with its Hiking and Yoga retreat. Practice mindful hiking on guided multi-mile treks around the Yokun Ridge in Berkshire County. Group yoga classes will stretch out those well-worked muscles while qigong instruction will re-center your energy. You’ll also learn about meditative therapy Shinrin-yoku, a Japanese healing practice also known as “forest medicine” or “forest bathing.” Fully embrace the eco theme by staying in a private room at the Annex, Kripalu’s seven-story green building where every room boasts a view of a tree or lake. Kripalu’s kitchen features an all-natural buffet centered around whole grains, salad and vegetables, healthy proteins like fish and chicken, and fresh bread. The Buddha Bar will satisfy vegetarians on Ayurvedic diets.
Kalani: Pahoa, Hawaii
(Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2018)
Before you become engulfed in the holiday craziness, take time for self care at the Nourish, Heal, and Rejuvenate retreat at Kalani, a non-profit and educational retreat center in Hawaii. This retreat focuses on restorative (or Yin) yoga. In addition to two yoga classes a day with assists, you’ll partake in breathwork, guided meditation, Kirtan (devotional chanting), sound healing, and lifestyle change discussions. By the end of the retreat, you’ll feel refreshed thanks to a decrease in stress and a calmer mind. Restorative yoga also strengthens the immune system, so you can take the benefits of your retreat home with you. Kalani offers multiple types of accommodations, but for an immersive experience, book a treehouse room. Situated beneath Monkeypod Trees and outfitted with screened walls, these rooms will make you feel as though you’re one with nature. Savor meals made with local and organic ingredients at Dining Lanai or stop at Hale Aloha for grab-and-go options.
Esalen Institute: Big Sur, California
(Dec. 14 – 16, 2018)
Photo by Amanda Marsalis, courtesy of Esalen Institute.
You might not immediately think “winter” when you’re planning your yoga retreat, but maybe you should. At the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, take time to reflect on the changing seasons at Aligning With Nature: A Winter Solstice Yoga Retreat with instructor Sarana Miller, a practitioner of Iyengar and Forrest Yoga. Take a dip in Esalen’s healing, swimsuit-optional hot springs, create something beautiful in the Art Barn, or browse for your next enlightening read at the on-site bookstore. Esalen’s accommodations range from Point Houses (private suites with full kitchen, outdoor claw foot tub, and deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean) to shared rooms to sleeping bag space. Whatever your budget, there’s an option that won’t break the bank.
Amsala: Tulum, Mexico
Wipe the slate clean with The Reboot yoga retreat at Amsala in Mexico. During your twice-daily yoga sessions, you’ll roll your mat out in one of Amansala’s yoga shalas that offer 360-degree views of the surrounding beaches, palm trees, and exotic birds. Massages, meditation, local tours, and bike rides will round out your R&R experience. Amansala’s bohemian “eco-chic” accommodations are decorated with natural furnishings and luxurious linens. Wake up beneath a thatched roof to lots of natural light and ocean breezes and enjoy fresh, healthy meals from the open-all-day kitchen. Customizable dates make this an ideal option for those who need to plan their vacation around their life, not the other way around.
Satchidananda Ashram – Yogaville: Buckingham, Virginia
Design your own four-day yoga retreat at Satchidananda Ashram – Yogaville. The foundation includes two Hatha yoga classes and three group meditation sessions daily. Balance the physical benefits of your yoga retreat with spiritual mentoring from a senior monastic or minister as scripture study. Spend part of your retreat in silence for deeper experience. Instantly recognizable for its interfaith shrine designed to look like a lotus, the grounds of Yogaville stretch over 600 acres with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Accommodations are austere and span the gamut from a private dorm to a tent site. Food prepared onsite is organic and vegetarian; options for vegan and g