Have you been letting life’s stresses get to you lately? If you’ve ever tried yoga or meditation, you know that more relaxed, peaceful feeling you get at the end of a class. The good news is, with the increasing popularity of yoga and meditation around the globe, there is a growing demand for getaways and yoga holidays devoted to these ancient practices. Those looking to immerse themselves in rejuvenating movement, as well as healing philosophy, can now find yoga retreats in diverse regions of the world. Participants often leave feeling refreshed, calmer, and more self-aware.
Here are five destinations to consider:
Punta Mona: Costa Rica
Punta Mona, or Monkey Point is an 85-acre permaculture farm and eco-lodge, dedicated to sustainable living. A few times a year, the family-owned environmental education center hosts seven-day yoga and meditation retreats in an isolated, peaceful setting surrounded by natural beauty. Here the focus is on “Soulfulness, Soul Realignment and ways to live a more Soul-centered life.” In their free time, participants can enjoy jungle hikes, beach walks, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and gardening.
Phool Chatti Ashram: Rishikesh, India
I spoke to Julia Zhao, who recently earned her yoga instructor certification from Breathing Room Yoga in New Haven, CT. She participated in a retreat at Phool Chatti Ashram in Rishikesh, India. “The place was really beautiful, in the base of the mountains along the banks of the Ganges River,” she said. The days, which began at 5:30am and ended at 9:00pm, consisted of asana, or posture practice, meditation, and pranayama, Sanskrit for “extension of the life force” breathing techniques. There was the option to take a vow of silence during the retreat, which Julia did for the last four days. “Ashram life is very simple and quiet, so it allows you to really quiet down and go inside yourself. I learned a lot more about pranayama and meditation, which actually improved my asana practice significantly.”
The Sanctuary Thailand: Koh Phangan, Thailand
The Sanctuary offers amazing yoga practice, yoga training courses as well as massages, detox programs, guided meditations, and delicious, healthy, raw food. Dmitry Purple, a DJ based in San Diego, California, recently visited. “People try not to make this place too public to keep the tourist traffic to a minimum,” he told me. Those looking to avoid crowds may want to consider visiting in May or June, when calm seas and high temperatures don’t draw the high season vacationers escaping northern winters.
Kripalu: Stockbridge, Massachusetts
For those of us living in the Eastern United States, the good news is we don’t have to travel half way across the world to relax and unwind through yoga and meditation. In addition to teacher training and yoga for pain management, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health offers workshops that focus on emotional and psychological healing. This month’s weekend courses include “Yoga for Empaths” and “Life Coaching: Tools for Mindful Living.”
Esalen: Big Sur, California
Located at one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited, Esalen Institute is an ideal destination for spiritual reflection, relaxation and deepening yoga practice. The natural beauty of Big Sur on the coast of the Pacific Ocean lends itself well to mindfulness, exploration of Vinyasa flow, and detox. An abundance of yoga workshops with renowned experts is offered each month.