Give cramped studios a break and head to these global favourites that promise yoga with a twist
Anything can be reason enough for a holiday, even International Yoga Day. While we know you can’t pack your bags right away and jet off to an exotic location—even if it offers the best of asanas—how about marking your calendar for the months to come? From a retreat in California that boasts a wine tasting to a yoga package in Morocco that includes a desert hike, we bring you some of the best value-added yoga experiences from around the world. Read on.
Safari Yoga Retreat, Tanzania
Think Tanzania and you’ll be forgiven if the first thing that pops into your mind is a safari to spot the big five. But how about learning some yoga, instead? Safari Yoga Retreat—which curates packages with time spent on yoga, a safari, and sightseeing (like a mandatory visit to Mount Kilimanjaro)—offers classes (for beginners and advanced students) in multiple forms, including power yoga, hatha and ashtanga. With teachers drawn mostly from New York’s Reebok Sports Club, the classes are conducted on Zanzibar’s white sandy beaches. And if you’d like to transform your trip into a Karma Yoga retreat, you can extend your stay for an extra two-four weeks and volunteer with women’s groups, community development projects and environmental conservation projects (at an extra `1,342 per day).
Next package: June 24-July 4
Cost: From Rs 2,34,192 per person + Rs 30,363 onwards (flight fare)
Wine, Dine and Yoga, California
Amid the rolling hills and vineyards of Sonoma, California, this yoga retreat offers a unique vacation balancing good health and great living. Attend classes offered by Gayle Olson, the founder of exoticyogaretreats.com, where she will teach you alignment-based yoga that blends hatha, vinyasa, Iyengar, tantric and yin. And while you’re there, attend tastings of boutique wines—pinot noirs from Anderson Valley, zinfandels and petite sirahs from Redwood Valley and viogniers from Sonoma Coast—at the popular Zina Lounge. You can also sample wood-fired pizzas and casseroles at another local haunt, the Italian Inn, besides taking a VIP vineyard tour and enjoying a vintner dinner at Boich Family Cellar, a local winemaker.
Next package: September 30-October 2
Cost: From Rs 50,106 per person + Rs 39, 045 onwards (flight fare)
Island Yoga Retreat, Maldives
With stunning dive sites and exotic beaches, begin your day here with pranayama. While not mastering your asanas, ride the waves with their free surfing classes, dip below the waves with some snorkelling or take a speed boat and go on an island-hopping tour. The classes—conducted by teachers trained in hatha yoga—will be held on the farthest island of the archipelago (just below the equator), which means there is no land between you and the South Pole. You can also see the sun setting and the moon rising in the same sky, at the same time. What better way to understand the true meaning of hatha (sun/moon)!
Next package: October1-8
Cost: From Rs 56,787 per person + Rs 8,345 onwards (flight fare)
Castle and Pub Hop Yoga Retreat, Ireland
Stay in Castle Ashford and Castle Dromoland, practise yoga by day, and soak up the spirit of Ireland with pub-hopping nights. This programme blends hatha, ansura, ashtanga and vinyasa traditions with mindful meditation. Gayle Olson, the founder, believes in being “healthy, fit and mindful, and adding a pinch of mischief and mayhem”. And just before you head to the pubs, enjoy a gourmet dinner—including a slow-roasted rib of beef with béarnaise sauce and a Nyangbo frozen chocolate mousse—at Ashford’s grand George V dining room.
Next package: October 16-21
Cost: From Rs 2,00,700 per person + Rs 8,913 onwards (flight fare)
Desert Yoga Holiday, Morocco
Perumal Koshy, a renowned instructor who’s been practising yoga since he was 13, offers you the unique opportunity to do your asanas in the Sahara desert. At his property, Jnane Tamsna, he has created a specialised series of leg and arm balances, and core detoxifying sessions. All meals are cooked with ingredients sourced from their organic gardens. You can also spend nights in tents on the sand dunes, hike in the desert and listen to traditional Berber music. And don’t forget to ride a camel.
Next package: October 16-25
Cost: From Rs 90,900 per person + Rs 35,996 onwards (flight fare)
Thermae Spa & Yoga, Italy
Find inner harmony on a yoga break in sublime Tuscany. The famous Adler Spa offers yoga retreats in hatha, kundalini and panchakarma. Conducted in thermal waters, by Ayurveda specialist Narenda Babu, the classes promise to help lower stress and blood pressure. One can also experience the Turkish bath, Nordic walking and hydrobiking. The spa is located in Val d’Orcia, Italy, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Next package: November 27-December 1
Cost: From Rs 61,929 per person + Rs 24,807 onwards (flight fare)