Think you’re ready for a vinyasa flow like no other you’ve seen before? These are the top seven yoga retreats around the world where you’ll want to nama-stay in at least once in your lifetime. (Want to get your yoga on at home? Find more inner calm and build strength in just minutes a day with WH’s With Yoga DVD!)
Where it is: Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India
Why you should go: Where better to tap into the heart of yoga than the very place it was discovered over 5,000 years ago? Northern India is where yogis want to go for an authentic-as-it-gets experience. And while there are hundreds of retreats in the area, Ananda in the Himalayas is just one of those destinations that tower above the rest—just like the massive mountain range this luxury spa is named after. Hidden away in a sprawling 100-acre estate that sits in the lush, awe-inspiring Himalayan foothills and overlooking the Ganges—the holy river of Hinduism—the Ananda has quenched the spiritual thirst of even the most high-octane celebs, including Oprah.
Slipping into the soft, white kurta pyjamas—the traditional ultra-comfortable garb of choice in India, which is provided to all guests—prepares you for the retreat’s purifying yoga cleanse. An elite team of master yoga instructors from around the world use a perfectly mixed cocktail of enlightening philosophical lectures, candle-gazing meditation, tension-melting poses, and other traditional Ayurvedic techniques to restore the harmony of body, mind, and soul.
What’s included: Feel the stress ooze right out of your body with five to six daily 60-minute yoga sessions and revitalizing spa services, like aromatherapy massages, rose quartz facials, and full-body scrubs—all included in the price. You’ll also be treated to body-renewing spa meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout your stay, as well as morning tea and unlimited bowls of fresh fruit. Plus, the hydrotherapy facilities—which include a steam room, sauna, and chill plunge pool—are also there for you to use whenever you please. If you’d like to diversify your itinerary with activities other than yoga, you’re free to choose from regularly scheduled pranayama exercises, fitness classes, cooking demonstrations, nature hikes, and more.
Where it is: Koh Samui, Thailand
Why you should go: The island of Koh Samui is the wellness capital of Thailand, with top-notch detox resorts dotting the entire coastline. Absolute Sanctuary, however, sets the bar against which all others are measured. With the spa’s Moroccan-inspired décor, the cool shade cast by the tropical palm trees, and the electric turquoise light beaming out of the ocean, the setting alone is enough to clear your five senses of any trace of negativity.
But the yoga program is the real star here. Whatever your level of expertise, the Sanctuary’s world-class instructors show you how to twist and tweak every last inch of your body to help you get the most out of each pose and sink deeper into the practice. The daily class schedule strategically covers an eclectic mix of yoga styles—from muscle-stretching yin to blood-pumping hot flow—allowing you to not only free your mind and limber up your body, but also expand your meditative repertoire.
What it costs: For a five-night Yoga Program, rates start at $1,719 if you’re going solo, or $2,798 if you’re sharing the room with one other person. Seven- and 10-day packages are also available.
What’s included: Get spoiled with unlimited yoga and meditation classes, then wash away the sweat with your choice of two fresh fruit juices or smoothies each day. Then, unwind your muscles with either one daily 90-minute Thai massage or 60-minute aromatherapy session before you indulge in a nutritious, organic meal—three of which are on the house daily. Still up for a physical challenge? Head to a Pilates Reformer or Core Suspend class, or take advantage of your unlimited access to the pool, steam room, fitness studio, and group fitness classes. And whether your retreat is just getting started or you’re heading back home, no need to hail a cab: A round-trip airport transfer is included too.
Where it is: Silver Island, Greece
Why you should go: Greece may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of yoga, but this Mediterranean tourist magnet is attracting more and more health-minded travelers. Silver Island Yoga, which is set on a private island just north of Athens, is a double-whammy vacay spot: It offers the once-in-a lifetime opportunity to have a sun-drenched Greek isle all to yourself and pick the brains of yoga teachers hailing from all over the globe.
The polar opposite of a mega-resort, this 60-acre yoga haven only hosts 10 guests at a time, so you can truly cut yourself off from the rest of the world and turn your focus inward. The impressive roster of international teachers brings something new to the table for every visiting yogi: Bliss out with Karuna Dilibero, a Mexico native who infuses her slow-flow vinyasa with Ayurvedic technique, or rev up your engine with Hayley Mia Bulman, a British instructor who likes to start mornings off with a brisk hatha session.
What it costs: A six-night retreat in a shared room starts at $1,564 per person.
What’s included: Your day begins and ends with a yoga class overlooking the most soothing view in the house: the wide open Mediterranean Sea. When you have down time, grab a kayak or some snorkel gear to explore what’s underneath those very same glittering waters, or use the art supplies that are available to all guests to paint your own rendition of the gorgeous scenery. It’s no secret that the ocean can really work up your appetite, so you’re provided with three vegetarian meals a day, which are all cooked up with the freshest locally grown produce. Oh, and did we mention that you’re on your own private island? Go ahead, we won’t tell if you pretend to be a celebrity when you’re being shuttled to and from this super-exclusive spot by boat. (Yes, that’s included too.)
Where it is: Sayulita, Mexico
Why you should go: About an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, the rustic Haramara Retreat was built with yoga in mind … literally. Every last detail, from the location of the accommodations to the day-to-day operations, were guided by the principles of the practice. Facing out toward the warm aquamarine waters of the Pacific or the hillside’s leafy jungle, the private, open-air cabañas are made from all-organic materials and were constructed by hand, without the use of machinery—simply to protect the integrity of the surrounding environment and to reconnect guests with the life-giving spirit of nature.
The yoga retreats here are also highly customizable. Whether you want to head there with a group or find your flow solo, you can build a package that suits your needs and your desired intensity of yoga training. But one thing you must know before you go: There is no electricity or Wi-Fi in this ultimate relaxation spot—not even in your hut. So if you’re serious about getting lost in nothing else but meditation, we couldn’t think of a better scene to do so than Haramara.
What it costs: Rates for the Sampler Package, which gives you a taste of everything this idyllic location has to offer, start at $1,333 for single occupancy; $1,711 for double. These rates are for a basic three-night stay. Want to stay longer? You can add one or two nights to the package for an additional fee, or you can go with the Double Your Pleasure option, which extends your stay to six nights and offers you double the perks, for a discounted rate.
What’s included: Once you’re done soaking in the much-needed R&R of the two 90-minute yoga classes and 60-minute massage included in the basic three-night stay, feast on a gourmet meal prepared by some of Mexico’s top chefs in the alfresco dining room. Breakfast and dinner are included, and lunch can be included for an additional $20 plus tax per person, per day. As a little something extra, each visitor also gets a $60 voucher that they can use for spa services, cooking classes, supplementary yoga classes, or purchases at the bar or restaurant. Your airport transportation is taken care of as well. Keep in mind, though, that if you opt for the Double Your Pleasure deal, you’ll get twice the number of yoga classes or massages, plus a $120 credit voucher.
Where it is: Goblin State Valley Park, Utah, United States
Why you should go: This place will make you abandon any preconceived notions you might have about what a yoga retreat should look like. A far cry from the typical beach- or mountain-side locale, Yoga in the Wild takes you out into Utah’s rocky desert landscape for a dreamlike yoga experience.
Don’t expect to head to a hut-like yoga shala for the daily classes. Rather, instructors breathe a breath of fresh air into your practice by guiding you on a hike up the rust-red boulders of Goblin State Valley Park, where you’ll strike your meditative poses. Best of all, you don’t have to be a canyoneering expert for this trip; all levels of hiking and yoga expertise are welcome. All you need to bring is your love for the outdoors and a good pair of binoculars. The canyon offers some of the best star-gazing around, the perfect finishing touch to your celestial stay.
What it costs: A four-day Red Rock Yoga Hiking Retreat will run you a flat $1,495 per person. If you already live nearby, easy-to-access single- and multi-day yoga hikes are also available for a starting rate of $149 per person.
What’s included: Your otherworldly retreat includes three daily yoga and meditation sessions, guided hikes through the park, and one all-day canyoneering excursion. Back at base camp, refuel with three backcountry vegetarian meals a day, which can be tailored to accommodate vegan, kosher, and gluten-free diets as well. Accommodations are included in the price for scheduled retreats, but you can also go the customized route and arrange your own lodging through local hotels, yurts, or camping grounds. Just a heads-up: Airport transfers are not included, so you’ll have to make those arrangements separately when booking your trip.
Where it is: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Why you should go: If you’re hoping to go to a yoga retreat at Nautilus Boutique Hotel, you better book it fast: They’re known to sell out. This beachside refuge—which is tucked right between the thick jungle and wavy shores of Costa Rica—puts a gnarly twist on traditional yoga: They combine therapeutic meditation with the invigorating sport of surfing.
Operating under the idea that the two activities perfectly complement each other, like yin and yang, Nautilus’ Surf and Yoga programs find a happy medium between sweet relaxation and all-out physical activity. World-class instructors guide you through your vinyasa flow in the morning, then teach you how to ride the flow of the ocean during your afternoon surf lessons. Whether you’re standing on a surfboard or in tree pose, this retreat is all about finding and enhancing the balance in your life.
What it costs: The six-night Deluxe Surf and Yoga Retreat Package starts at $1,490 for single occupancy; $2,090 for double. If surfing just ain’t your thing, you can opt for the Yoga Vacation Package, which offers pretty much the same perks—minus the surfboard, and for a lower price tag.
What’s included: Not only will you get to brush up on your Vinyasa, Kundalini, Hatha, and other practices with one 90-minute yoga session a day, but you’ll also learn how to ride the wave with a daily instructor-led surf lesson and surfboard rental. Recharge your batteries at Olam Pure Food, the in-house organic health food restaurant, where you can get your hands on a power smoothie, lunch and breakfast made fresh from local ingredients. At the end of the day, smooth out any lingering kinks with a one-hour full-body massage from a resident therapist. Don’t worry about getting to the hotel and back from the airport; the resort has your transfers covered too.
Where it is: Sumba, Indonesia
Why you should go: Speaking of surfing, any seasoned pro will tell you that the island of Sumba in Indonesia is the place to go for some choice waves. In fact, Nihi Sumba Island—rated the number-one hotel in the world in 2016 and 2017—was named after Sumba’s most famous wave, Nihiwatu. But you’ll also want to make a stop at this uber-luxurious resort for some seriously exotic yoga sessions, too.
Placing a heavy emphasis on classic yoga styles, Nihi employs internationally renowned instructors like the United States’ Deb Langley and Australia’s Chris Wilson to help you soothe your body and mind while soaking in the views of this remote beach paradise. Wake up your muscles with early-morning yoga, then calm your thoughts with afternoon meditation sessions. And if you want to keep the zen going when you head back to your villa, just ask for a full-body massage, complete with chamomile-infused coconut oil, from your own 24-hour personal masseur.
What it costs: Prices for the four-night Soul Soak Retreat start at $5,100 per person for a single villa; $3,650 per person for a double.
What’s included: For those who aren’t interested in chilling out their entire getaway, Nihi’s serene daily yoga, meditation, and pranayama sessions and one hour-long included signature massage are nicely complemented with adventurous, soul-pumping activities that anyone can jump in on. Get your heart rate up with bareback horse riding, a trek down pristine Nihi Oka Beach, a waterfall discovery hike, and unlimited standup paddleboarding and snorkeling. When you’re ready to wind back down, hit up the open-air Ombak restaurant or the Nio Beach Club pavilions for a fresh, organic meal—all included, and all made with ingredients plucked from the on-site garden. Need a ride to and from the airport? Transfers are all part of the deal too.