It’s about that time of year, when all I can think about is getting away.
Which is why I have compiled a list of my 6 favorite yoga retreat destinations below, to help you in your search for the perfect escape. Each one of these retreats offers a distinctive experience with it’s own unique focus. Whether you are looking to get involved in the local community or party in between poses you can do so all while delving deeper into your own personal practice.
1. South Africa Yoga
Up and coming on the international circuit, this magical hideaway combines top-level Yoga instruction and nutritional excellence (all vegetarian, all included) with a distinct African experience while supporting local communities. Outside of the 3 hour Vinyasa classes per day which combine Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, and Savasana, one can hike amidst spectacular beauty and natural surroundings, amazing wildlife and rock art, plus have the opportunity to volunteer at a local orphanage incorporating Seva into your retreat. This 766 acre secluded farm built in 1872 is in the Eastern Free State 4 hours from Johannesburg and is the ultimate in peace and serenity…plus there’s a pool! www.southafricayoga.com
2. Samana Chakra, Mancora, Peru
In addition to the Yoga, the appeal of Samana Chakra is it’s location – the far North of Peru right on the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Even though the Humbolt Current brings cool water up from the South, it just so happens to start flowing West not far from Mancora, allowing the warm Equatorial Current to create the perfect water temperature for swimming, as well as a left point break for surfing and windy afternoons for kitesurfing! Samana Chakra is situated literally on the beach and has 12 bungalows to host individual guests or group retreats. The Yoga Shala is stunning with an elaborate thatched roof and stucco walls, but open windows and sliding glass doors to allow just enough ocean breeze to roll through. With 90-minute classes 6 days per week, a pool, delectable Peruvian cuisine, and enough activities to last a lifetime you won’t want to leave! www.samanachakra.com
3. Ibiza Yoga, Spain
I know, I know…Yoga in the party capital of Europe? That’s right! While Ibiza boasts some of the best beaches and parties in the world, there’s also another side to this hippy haven – especially in the Northern part of the Island where it’s more quiet, relaxed & subdued. Ibiza Yoga has been running affordable retreats for over 11 years. An excellent vegetarian meal per day is included giving you a chance to savor local cuisine as well as 3 hour classes each day. Another major draw is the location – a 5 minute walk from sparkling Benniras Beach where there are drummers every night at sunset and a beach party every Sunday complete with a full drum circle and fire dancers! For those still looking for more action, fabulous restaurants and clubs are just a short cab ride away; therefore combining the best of both worlds. www.ibizayoga.com
4. The Hill That Breathes, Urbino, Italy
Recently named Best European Retreat by Natural Health magazine THTB is also regarded as the most irreverent retreat by The Guardian. With alternative holidays called “F**K it Weeks” and practice commencing in a geodesic dome it’s definitely a unique and distinctive experience. They advertise “Peace & Pizza” and don’t take themselves too seriously although their instructors are world famous. The wine flows as much as the Vinyasa. After all this is Italy! Programs range from straight up Hatha & Vinyasa Yoga twice a day to Tai Chi and detox weeks. There’s even a 10-day writing retreat equipped with a professional writing coach. www.thehillthatbreathes.com
5. Samahita Yoga Thailand, Koh Samui
With a more serious approach this center for classical Yoga and Holistic health offers retreats as well as 200 & 500-hour teacher trainings (the only one in Thailand). Since 2003 this hidden gem is extremely well respected in the Yoga community as Paul Dallaghan himself is world-class teacher. They also host many famous Ashtanga practitioners like Kino MacGregor, Richard Freeman and Ron Reid all who studied with the late Sri Patthabi Jois. Retreats range from Ashtanga to Ayurveda, anatomy and health & wellness. Right on the beach surrounded by lush gardens, this is the place to get centered in Asia. www.yoga-thailand.com
6. Purple Valley Yoga, Goa, India
located in the “Motherland.” Purple Valley is situated on the Arabian Sea in Assagoa, North Goa at Anjuna Beach. An Ashtanga Yoga retreat hosting the likes of Chuck Miller, the fabulous Kino, Mark Darby, and Michael Gannon…enough said! http://www.yogagoa.com