Think there’s no way you can swing a luxe yoga getaway? Then you haven’t seen these retreats. We did the research and found 11 trips that will cost you $250 per day—or a lot less. Stop dreaming and start booking your yoga vacation to Utah’s Red Rocks or Portugal’s cliffy coastline.
A vacation is great, a yoga retreat is even better. While they often seem pricey, retreats simply offer more value than traveling on your own. Not only do you get to chill in a zen location for a few days, but the retreat package price typically includes vegetarian, possibly organic meals, meditation and yoga classes, personal growth workshops and even an occasional spa treatment.
For the best deal, bring a friend (or, make new ones) to share a room with. “You can typically save around 25 percent by sharing dorm-style accommodations,” says Sean Kelly, co-founder of BookRetreats.com, a yoga retreat booking site. “It makes sense that staying in a private room is going to cost more.”
Planning in advance can also save you between $100 and $500, depending on the price of the retreat. These early-bird specials are listed about two to three months prior to departure, Kelly adds. Keep in mind, some early-bird specials are given to the first few spots, and once they are filled, everyone else pays the full price.
If you’re on a really tight budget, reach out to the retreat leader to see if there is any room for negotiation—a rustic location may give you a slight discount if you bring your own tent, or perhaps you can ask about bundle pricing if you sign up with a few friends. “It doesn’t hurt to ask, and you may be surprised by a positive response,” Kelly says.
Ready to book a trip? We found some of the best retreat deals—from Red Rocks of Utah to lush gardens of Thailand—that cost $250 per day or less.
11 Affordable Yoga Retreats
Chill’Asana Retreat in Sayulita, Mexico
July 2–9, 2016
The hand-built Haramara Retreat Center, nestled on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean coastline and the Sierra Madre Mountains, is a jungle gem. The property is a perfect setting for this Yin/Yang-style retreat that incorporates both yoga and martial arts. “Yoga and martial arts complement each other physically and spiritually,” says retreat co-leader Nathania Stambouli. “Yoga can strengthen and lengthen the body to make certain martial arts movements more accessible, and martial arts’ attention to precision applies beautifully when translated to poses on the yoga mat. Both practices are inherently about mindfulness, awareness and consciousness on the mat and in life.” Stambouli, who also has a background in circuit training and a master’s degree in psychology, will lead two yoga classes and one martial arts session each day, along with Paul McCarthy, aka the “British Ninja” who has studied movement and martial arts for over 20 years and holds several black belts. In between, expect goal-setting workshops and hikes.
You’ve heard that practicing yoga in nature can really enhance your practice. Jennifer Hess, owner of Finger Lakes Yogascapes, agrees. The Baron Baptiste-trained vinyasa instructor is hosting an all-women’s retreat with the help of Firelight Camps, a nature-meets-nurture campground that provides just enough luxury to be comfortable (plush robes and beds with crisp linens), yet maintains its adventurous spirit (waterfall hiking and foraging excursions). In addition to three vinyasa and one restorative yoga sessions, the retreat embraces the true spirit of camping with nightly s’mores and stargazing.
Gratitude & Manifestation Yoga Retreat in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
November 26–December 3 & December 3–10, 2016
In addition to daily yoga and guided meditation classes with international vinyasa teacher and happiness coach, Silvia Mordini incorporates kayaking, snorkeling and sea turtle hatchling release in her outback yoga itinerary. Your hub: The beachfront Prana Del Mar, an intimate eco-resort and with three yoga studios just outside of Cabo San Lucas. You’ll stay in luxe rooms with pillowtop mattresses and oceanview balconies, lest you want to meditate to the waves in your free time. Hopping into the Baja surf on a board is another idea. Prana del Mar will also reward you for your eco karma: Purchase carbon offsets for your flight, and they’ll credit that amount toward a spa service, surf lesson, or other excursion.
Just walking through the verdant grounds of the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is restorative—signing up for Gillian Arthur’s workshop will take you to an entirely new level of decompressing. Arthur, a certified Kripalu Yoga teacher and practitioner in the Krisnamacharya tradition, incorporates breathwork and yoga nidra to not only help you release anxiety during the retreat, but teaches how to implement this restorative practice back home. When you’re not in the workshop, you’re free to wander the 250-plus acre campus and take complimentary tai chi and meditation classes or simply paddle across the lake. Good to know: Omega’s laidback atmosphere makes this an ideal retreat for pregnant women.
Reset Mind-Body-Soul Yoga Retreat in Negril, Jamaica
August 27–31, 2016
Unlike the rest of touristy Negril, Jackie’s on the Reef is anything but. Tucked away on the cliff side of west Negril, stepping onto the grounds of the yoga center is akin to being in a bubble of tranquility. This five-day getaway is lead by Dynesha Henderson, a certified yoga teacher, who also happens to be a licensed couples and family therapist. She implements yoga as a tool to connect mental and physical health. During the retreat, Henderson will facilitate two workshops: one on wellness and the importance of community, the other on creating a happiness plan. In addition to cleansing your body with light fare from Jackie’s garden (try the soursop juice, made from the delicious local fruit with anti-inflammatory benefits), you’ll get two spa treatments as the ocean waves lull you into la-la-land.
Red Rock Yoga and Hiking Retreat in Goblin Valley State Park, Utah
May 15–21 & October 9–15, 2016
Mars may not be hosting yoga retreats any time soon, but Utah’s canyon country is a good alternative. Yoga in the Wild program director and retreat leader and yoga teacher Melissa Phillips-Hagedorn, who has been road tripping and camping since before she could even drive, mixes vinyasa, hatha, and yin yoga with guided hikes through the red rocks. “These classes are inspired by nature and the landscape and encourage the attendees to cultivate mindfulness of the present moment,” says Phillips-Hagedorn. Think: candlelight meditation in the otherworldly slot canyon Chamber of the Basilisk—not something you’ll find in a yoga studio. You’ll also get plenty of canyoneering adventures and time to explore the valley on your own. Camping among surreal sandstone spires called goblins is definitely what we call a change of scenery.
The Art of Living Happiness Program in Boone, North Carolina
While you won’t be sweating through asanas during your stay at the Art of Living Retreat Center in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this weekend course will teach you meditation and breathing practices to help you focus on the present. You’ll learn Sudarshan Kriya, a breathing technique that helps you sync with your body’s natural rhythm to eliminate stress, fatigue, and other negative emotions. As you let go, break away to wander through the outdoor labyrinth—a metaphor for a pilgrim’s journey—to maintain that sense of inner balance.
Yoga & Wellness Cruise departing from Camden, Maine
August 7–10, 2016
Sun salutations aboard the 95-foot Windjammer Angelique take on an entirely new meaning. Over the course of this three-day cruise, guests will get to enjoy about 6 hours of sailing each day in the Penobscot Bay, then anchor in a new spot each night, perhaps a historic town like Castine, or a fishing village like Stonington. On one evening, everyone goes ashore a deserted island along the Maine coastline for a beachside lobster bake (with plenty of vegetarian options). This wellness cruise is led by two local yoga instructors, Brenda Cyr and Tania Zuckerman. Cyr specializes in blending Yamuna body rolling with yoga and is also a licensed physical therapist, who can help you work out any kinks. Zuckerman has over 10 years of somatic breath therapy experience (aaaah, fresh ocean air) under her belt and focuses on vinyasa and restorative yoga. At anchor, guests can borrow rowboats and stand-up paddleboards—we dare you to downward dog on the water.
You can cleanse your body, and your past, during this Kundalini retreat at Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort Hotel that is surrounded by the cliffs of Alentejo coastline. The detox week is led by Munich-based Andrea and Andre Danke, who completed their Kundalini Yoga training with Yogi Bhajan. Each session partners a yoga session with a meditation to cleanse a particular organ—from liver to lungs. You’ll also participate in mental detoxification by addressing fears and negative blockages that may hinder your general outlook on life. Between workshops explore the beach and the wonders of Natural Costa Vicentina Park or head to the spa for an Ayurvedic massage.
Heart-Opening Weekend on Vancouver Island, British Columbia
June 24–26 & July 22–24 & August 19–21, 2016
Think of Sun Lotus, a 7-acre spiritual sanctuary in the Cowichan Valley, as a magic garden of yoga where you can meditate under a giant maple tree, practice asana in the breeze, munch on sustainable Guatemalan chocolate, and wrap it all up with a free-spirited chanting dance party that puts you in touch with your chakras. This weekend retreat is co-lead by Sun Lotus owner Anita Rafidi, a self-proclaimed yoga activist and teacher. Her approach to the retreat is to “connect like-minded seekers.” You’ll also meet Joanna Pardhy-Casey, the retreat’s shamanic healer who will teach you all about plant medicine at the property’s organic farm. When you’re done with on-site activities, tubing on the nearby Cowichan River is just another way to go with the flow.
Museflower Retreat & Spa Yoga Retreats in Chiang Rai, Thailand
The best part about booking a yoga retreat at Museflower is that you can do it on your own terms. Consider visiting in September or October, after the rainy monsoon season, when the weather cools and nature is at its greenest. Plus, the airfare isn’t as high as the peak season which starts in November and goes through January. Each holistic retreat package—whether it’s three, five, or seven days—includes two daily hatha yoga classes, an organic vegetarian farm-to-table meals, and a massage. Amenity not to miss: the Himalayan crystal salt pool. You’ll stay in lakeside cottages surrounded by misty hills and have easy access to hill tribe villages, cultural excursions to temples and bazaars, amd even elephant-trekking tours.