6 Must-Visit Yoga Retreats for Your Next Vacation
By Liz Ritter, Executive Editor |
Whether you are a full-on yoga fanatic or find some difficultly getting into downward dog, these six spa yoga retreats will help take your practice to the next level.
Located in beautiful Baja California, Mexico, Rancho La Puerta, the original “fitness resort” and spa pretty much saw a surge in the popularity of yoga when the rest of North America did. (Although there were many sources of new yoga programs in the U.S. in the mid-20th century, leader Indra Devi—whom many credit as being the most influential yoga teacher of the time—was at the Ranch, as well as their sister spa, the Golden Door.) It’s been doing year-round retreats for a while, and you would be hard-pressed to find a place where so many different types of yoga classes are offered—or as organized. For a true mind-body overhaul, visit during the Spirit Weeks (there are three a year), coordinated by Ranch yoga instructor Phyllis Pilgrim, in collaboration with long-term meditator and teacher Elana Rosenbaum.
Rancho Valencia’s recent $30 million renovation expanded its fitness center to include a seriously impressive 1,000-square-foot Serenity Yoga Pavilion (even if you aren’t a yogi, taking a class will be one of the first things on your agenda once you see it). The hot spot hosts numerous yoga sessions, fitness classes, exercise programs and retreats, plus monthly yoga workshops that focus on a different topic each month. Next on the calendar: Respire & Aspire, an inspirational workshop that challenges guests to take on a new perspective.
“Retreat” may be a bit of a stretch, but for time-strapped New Yorkers, Park Hyatt’s new Shanta Yoga Program is about as close as Big Apple dwellers may get to some downtime. Famed instructor Terri Bahr leads the group classes (you can also opt for one-on-one sessions) in the Spa Nalai lounge, a sun-drenched sanctuary situated above midtown Manhattan on the hotel’s 25th floor.
The peaceful nature of Ananda in the Himalayas and its corresponding spa is evident the moment you pull up to the property, a wellness enclave (formerly the summer residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur) set at the foothills of the famous mountain range that provides the perfect setting for those looking to relax, rejuvenate and jump-start their body-soul connection. The spa specializes in targeted treatments, traditional Indian wellness like yoga, Ayurveda and Vedanta, and takes on a full-body-mind-and-spirit approach that will leave you feeling—and looking—like a totally new person. For yoga, the spa follows and teaches the techniques of Satyananda Yoga; even if you aren’t totally sure where to start, every guest has a one-on-one consultation (you can even talk to them before you arrive) to get you situated and in the right class (there are a lot to choose from!).
With a private island setting that you actually have to take a boat to get to, Parrot Cay by COMO in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos is the ultimate low-key luxury spot for all things healthy. It has an award-winning holistic spa, breathtaking beach villas, a mile-long beach, and a show-stopping selection of food offerings that make it almost impossible not to eat really clean (even if that’s not typically your normal routine). Up for April: Spring Into Balance, a six-night yoga retreat, led by the renowned Curry sisters, that will challenge students of all levels in strength and flexibility.
The BodyHoliday LeSPORT offers pretty much every wellness offering—think tons of really targeted treatments, personal training, fine-tuned fitness classes, Pilates, Tai Chi—you could ever want. All programs are completely personalized, all-inclusive and really unique (there’s even a treetop spinning studio!). For yoga, they have a full team devoted to what they’ve coined “BodyYoga,” plus they have a vast range of sessions, disciplines and formats, so you can really create your own customized schedule during your stay.