Our vacation-wanted ad: Have mat, will travel. Skip pedestrian sightseeing tours, questionable food, and creaky joints. Bring on sacred sights, built-in yoga friends, real nourishment, and communion with our mat twice a day. Oh, and move the needle of our life, por favor.
There are at least 108 reasons to embark on a yoga retreat. Instead of fleeting fun, take a deep dive where landscape and heart intersect. Cross your desert, row your boat, and chase your star—bookending the day in Downward Dog. Forget scrambling for a hotel gym or trying to translate “organic, gluten-free, vegetarian, and Ayurvedic” in another language. For yogis, getting away doesn’t get better than a yoga retreat.
But where to start? We scanned the yoga globe and scoped out 11 off-the-beaten-mat gems to spark your wanderlust. From Cuba to Costa Rica, Iceland to India, bathe in the forest, soak in the spring, sing with a villager, dance in the jungle, bow to the world’s wonders, or simply sit in silence. The choices are as infinite as yoga itself.
Yin & Yang Spring Balancing Retreat on Whidbey Island, Washington
March 31–April 2, 2017
This is a quintessential Pacific Northwest hideaway: eat organic food, practice yoga and meditation, bathe in an old-growth forest, fall asleep to the hoot of the great horned owl. Repeat. Perhaps read, write, nap, or let winter’s chill melt away in the sauna. Seattle teacher Jennifer Isaacson leads students on a quiet spring reset in the luxuriant calm of the Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island. “We used to look to the skies for directions,” Isaacson says. “Now people are looking down and relying on an outside source that could run out of batteries. Look around at what is tangibly happening now, this is yoga.” Retreatants start the day in silence, walking mossy trails in the towering evergreen forest. Isaacson leads a two-hour vinyasa and yin combination practice in the morning and evening. That’s four hours of mat time, three Ayurvedic meals, and, if you’re lucky, two pairs of eyes gazing back at you from a resident deer. The focus of this weekend is shedding the heaviness of winter and transitioning to the fluidity of spring—signaled by a chorus of frogs in the Lodge’s ponds.