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Salute the Sun

Spectacular retreat centers in beachy hot spots give new meaning to saluting the sun.

By Sarah Saffian, Lavinia Spalding, and Valerie Reiss

More Sun-Kissed Yoga Retreats:
Bali

Desa Seni
Canggu, Bali

This Balinese retreat features a saltwater lap pool, a spa, and an organic restaurant serving vegetarian cuisine made with produce from the center's own farm. Guests stay in meticulously refurbished 100-year-old Javanese teak houses decorated with tribal art from the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Regularly scheduled yoga classes, offered throughout the day in styles including Ashtanga, vinyasa, Anusara, and Kundalini, are free to guests and open to the public. In addition to daily classes held in two studios, retreats with visiting instructors are scheduled throughout the year.

For more information, visit desaseni.com.

Uma Ubud
Ubud, Bali

Romantic, airy luxury is this magical spot's specialty. Ubud means "medicine," and the town is named for the healing plants that grow wild in the surrounding area. A sister property to the grand Como Shambhala Estates and part of the high-end Como hotel chain, Uma Ubud is a jewel in its own right. Vinyasa yoga is taught in an open-air studio in the midst of lush jungle. With a 25-meter pool, sauna, steam room, meditation area, suite of wellness services, and an on-site restaurant highlighting Southeast Asian foods and local ingredients, it might be a place you never want to leave.

For more information, visit uma.como.bz.

Caribbean

Como Shambhala
Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos

Located on a 1,000-acre private island, this spectacular retreat offers yoga classes led by visiting instructors such as Elena Brower, Erich Schiffmann, Rodney Yee, and Colleen Saiman-Yee. Guests stay in a luxurious resort outfitted with Balinese furnishings, a holistic spa with Western and Ayurvedic treatments, and two restaurants serving everything from vegan cuisine to local seafood. Looking for extra pampering? Try the Abhyanga Package, a 90-minute spa treatment that begins with an Ayurvedic oil massage followed by an herbal steam and a body mud mask.

For more information, visit parrotcay.como.bz/wellbeing.

Sivananda Ashram
Paradise Island, Bahamas

If you're looking for spiritual immersion in a beautiful beach setting, a vacation at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas offers yoga and meditation in the tradition of Swami Sivananda, plus vegetarian meals and myriad opportunities for a deeper study of meditation and yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and more. Plan your own stay or choose from a wide variety of programs.

For more information, visit sivanandabahamas.org.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Yoga Spa
Nosara, Costa Rica

Set on a mountain amid lush jungle, this eco-resort is a place to experience the beauty of Nosara while immersing yourself in a yoga practice. Sign up for a scheduled retreat or teacher training, or customize your own stay, with options from surfing to waterfall hikes to sea turtle nesting tours. You'll sleep in a jungle lodge and practice yoga in a spacious elevated pavilion with a stunning view of the sunset.

For more information, visit costaricayogaspa.com.

Nosara Yoga Institute
Nosara, Costa Rica

If you're looking to combine a retreat with professional yoga studies, Nosara has no peer. Located on the Pacific coast, the center offers a schedule of drop-in classes that are open to the public plus a variety of yoga teacher trainings, including programs for 200-, 500-, and 1,000-hour certifications. The beach, part of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing, and the surrounding area boasts tropical wildlife, waterfalls, and hot springs.

For more information, visit nosarayoga.com.

Luna Lodge
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Located on 150 acres of virgin rainforest teeming with wildlife, yoga classes at Luna Lodge take place on a loft-like platform perched high above the Corcovado National Park, with spectacular views of both ocean and rainforest. Guests stay in simple bungalows with private decks, in "hacienda-style" rooms, or in tents built on platforms in the jungle. The lodge is self-sustaining, running completely on hydro and solar power. Its amenities—a swimming pool, an open-air restaurant that serves tropical fruits and spices grown on the property, and a spa that offers a variety of treatments—are designed to be light on the landscape and integrated into the surrounding jungle.

For more information, visit lunalodge.com.

Pavones Yoga Center
Pavones, Costa Rica

This center, located in a peaceful rustic village on the Pacific coast, offers public and private yoga classes as well as regularly scheduled teacher trainings, retreats with visiting instructors, and the option to customize your own stay. Yoga classes take place in a 2,000-square-foot open-air pavilion that's wired with a state-of-the-art surround sound system and a movie projector for showing instructional videos. Accommodations are luxurious air-conditioned villas overlooking the Pacific, complete with private baths, living rooms, and kitchens.

For more information, visit pavonesyogacenter.com.

Mexico

Las Olas
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Las Olas—"the waves"—embraces its name with an oceanfront studio, surfing, and afternoon activities that include margarita making and salsa dancing lessons. The hillside villas, designed and built by local craftspeople and artisans, feature terraces with ocean views, open-air living spaces, cabana-style enclosed bedrooms, private bathrooms, and kitchenettes. Resident instructor Aynsley Parker teaches a combination of vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Iyengar for all levels, focusing on flexibility, breathing, balance, and surfing-specific postures—get ready for Warrior II!

For more information, visit surflasolas.com.

Maya Tulum
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

It's easy to get swept away by the beauty of this secluded retreat center, which is located between the ocean and the jungle along the Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Sign up for a yoga retreat with visiting instructors in a variety of styles, and spend the week dining on fresh vegetables and local seafood, sleeping in a beach cabana, and waking up to sunrise walking meditation.

For more information, visit rrresorts.com.

Prana del Mar
Baja, Mexico

This peaceful beachfront retreat is located on five acres at the southern tip of Baja, Mexico, making it an ideal spot to indulge your love of yoga and surfing. Practice in a spacious yoga studio with views of the ocean and the Sierra del la Laguna mountains, and take advantage of the surf breaks that best suit your ability. You'll also enjoy thoughtfully prepared organic cuisine, luxurious accommodations, spa services, and plenty of opportunities to appreciate the serene desert landscape.

For more information, visit pranadelmar.com.

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June 2012

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Have the writers of this travel piece actually visited all of the places listed?

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