Have you been letting life’s stresses get to you lately? If you’ve ever tried yoga or meditation, you know how relaxed and peaceful you feel at the end of a class. With the increasing popularity of yoga and meditation around the globe, there is a growing demand for getaways 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 seven beautiful 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
Julia Zhao, a yoga instructor who earned her certification from Breathing Room Yoga in New Haven, CT, 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 Ganga 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, visited the retreat. “People try not to make this place too public to keep the tourist traffic to a minimum,” he revealed. 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 living in the Eastern United States, the good news is you don’t have to travel half way across the world to relax and unwind though yoga and mediation. In addition to teacher training and yoga for pain management, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health offers workshops that focus emotional and psychological healing. Courses have included “Yoga for Empaths” and “Life Coaching: Tools for Mindful Living.”
Esalen: Big Sur, California
Located in beautiful Big Sur, Esalen Institute is an ideal destination for spiritual reflection, relaxation and deepening yoga practice. Its natural beauty, 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.
Butterfly House: Bahia, Brazil
The Butterfly House is a beautiful, beachside escape from everyday life. The eco-boutique hostel, located in a tropical forest, offers vegan fare, detox smoothies, and a seven-day yoga Ashtanga yoga retreat that focuses on ridding the body of toxins.
Villa Sumaya: Lago De Atitlán, Guatemala
The Maya believe that Lake Atitlán, in Guatemala, is the center of the universe. It is here that Villa Sumaya is located. The word Sumaya means “a long-awaited dream come true,” in Sanskrit, and “a little piece of paradise,” in Arabic, so you can imagine the vibe here. There are a variety of retreats offered here, including those centering around zen meditation, Bhakti yoga, Vinyasa yoga, and healing.