Stress mounting up? Knots in your shoulders? You need to relax — stat! While jetting off on your next adventure might be all you need in order to dispel your cares, you can go even further in the search for relaxation. Yoga retreats are on the rise, popping up all over the world ever since the activity exploded on the Western scene. Worried about where to start? These retreats are some of the best out there, helping even the rustiest of yogis get back into the swing of things. (If you are rusty, or a beginner, try easing yourself in before taking the plunge. Setting aside a weekend to discover your inner Zen is a great way to ease into the activity and obtain a sense of how the whole experience works.)
While you might envisage a dry desert heat when you think of the ultimate yoga retreat, you can find a fantastic array of environments in cooler climes, too. Just take a look at The Orange Tree in North Yorkshire, England. Small and intimate, this retreat is run by a brother and sister team, and the siblings know exactly how to put you at ease. Need to switch off entirely? The course offered teaches mindful meditation, daily mantras, and breathing techniques, helping you to get rid of any tension. There’s even an outdoor Jacuzzi and sauna, perfect for unwinding after those long days.
If you’re on the hunt for a little heat, however, try making a beeline for Villa Zaharoula in Zakynthos, Greece. Having teamed up with Soulfood London, this villa offers daily yoga and photography lessons, giving you a chance to hone both skills at once. The day is kick-started with an upbeat, ninety-minute yoga session, while things wind down with a spot of meditation every evening. Need a little time out? Try taking to the hills and capturing a few snaps.
Associated with wellness and relaxation, Norway seems like a natural spot for a contemporary yoga retreat. It should come as no surprise, then, that the four-day course at Lyngen Lodge is one of the most popular out there. Located well above the Arctic Circle, the location is a world unto itself, giving you ample opportunity to really switch off. Four personally guided sessions will put you through your paces, spiritually and physically — and by the end, you might just feel like a different person.
Heading to the Himalayas is a classic yoga path and if you’re in line for a little traditional practice, the Foundation for Contemplation of Nature’s Himalayan Centre is for you. Packing in mountain walks, biodiversity workshops, sunset meditation sessions and, of course, daily yoga, this program is one of the most rigorous around. With this kind of practice, you can take the time to really disonnect and forget your troubles.
Kitted out with its very own saltwater swimming pool and nearby beach, Pi Blau retreat on the Costa Brava, Spain, is a dreamy place in which to vacation. The eco villa enjoys a whopping ten hours of sun per day during peak season, rejuvenating the body and mind. Yoga classes are twice daily, led by a number of visiting experts. In down time, you can walk and eat to your heart’s content, giving your body a real detox.