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These are Kiwi.com’s picks for the world’s best yoga retreats in 2023. Whether it’s a luxury all-inclusive experience or a quick European escape, take yourself on a trip that will allow you to connect with your mind, body and spirit
Yoga is a discipline with its origins in ancient India. Now it’s 2023, and it’s one of the most popular means of practicing self-care, mindfulness, and maintaining an all-around healthy lifestyle. One of the reasons yoga is taking the world by storm is that it’s so easy to do at home, and while this might alleviate the stresses of everyday life, there’s nothing like taking a proper break to really find yourself. We’ve chosen nine yoga retreats that we deem the best in the world depending on what you’re looking for — be it a luxury retreat, a European break, an active adventure, or something else.
The best yoga retreat in the world: Ulpotha, Sri Lanka
With a history stretching back 5,000 years, Ulpotha is the perfect place for yoga. The retreat, hidden in the Sri Lankan mountains between Kandy and Anuradhapura, has a reputation for being the all-around best in the world.
Ulpotha is eco-friendly, vegetarian, and it offers a range of Ayurveda programs, as well as yoga lessons from some of the best teachers in the world. If you’ve ever dreamed of learning Sivananda in the shadow of a temple devoted to Lord Kataragama, this is for you.
The best tailor-made yoga retreat: Yoga Synergy Program at Kamalaya Koh Samui, Thailand
The Kamalaya Koh Samui Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa Retreat offers private sessions as part of their all-inclusive Yoga Synergy program. Each class is tailored to the ability of the yogi and what they would like to achieve, plus, you can have your program include several different types of massage. Kamalaya offers a range of rooms and villas either buried either in the surrounding trees, or on the beachfront. Whichever option you choose, you’ll soon feel like you’ve reached nirvana.
The best luxury yoga retreat: AyurMa at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Okay, our first two picks were pretty luxurious anyway, but take a third for good measure — one that’s located in possibly the most blissful and romantic island nation in the world. Sat upon one of these paradise islands, the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru is a yogi’s dream. The hotel’s spa and Ayurvedic program, AyurMa, provides yoga classes in open-air pavilions over the water or in among the trees. Tailored, private packages are also available.
On top of all this, the island is home to the Maldives’ only full-time manta ray research project. Their “Manta-on-call” service will let you know as soon as a shoal of manta rays approaches, before taking you for an unforgettable dive.
The best budget yoga retreat: Shanti Toya Ashram, Indonesia
Located not far from Denpasar on the island of Bali, Shanti Toya Ashram’s rural surroundings still make for a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Their one-week retreat package promises classes in several different yoga practices — such as Gokul Vinyasa yoga, Gokul Hasa yoga and Yin yoga, massage, and Balinese cultural activities. And it all comes at a much more affordable price than what you’d pay for one of the more luxurious retreats, making Shanti Toya Ashram perfect for budget travelers.
The best active yoga retreat: Samasati, Costa Rica
On the opposite side of the world from Southeast Asia, did you know that Costa Rica is also a popular yoga destination? The Samasati Yoga & Wellness Retreat in the laid-back coastal settlement of Puerto Viejo helps its guests to wind down and discover their purpose through yoga. The surfing, ziplining, guided forest treks, horseback riding on the beach, swimming in natural plunge pools and birdwatching are “just” bonus opportunities. Yep, we want to sign up, too.
The best European yoga retreats
We couldn’t choose just one here, so these are our two best picks for yoga retreats in Europe. Either is perfect if you live in Europe and don’t have the time to travel further afield.
Quinta Da Calma, Portugal
One of the first-ever yoga retreats in Europe, Quinta Da Calma is now easily considered to be one of the best in the world. Located a short drive from the beautiful beaches of the Algarve, it offers the opportunity to disconnect completely from modern life — there’s no Wi-Fi in the rooms, and neither are there any TVs. Quinta Da Calma offers a full weekly program for its guests with private classes and group activities.
Based in the UK, Adventure Yogi has curated some of the best destinations for yoga — most of which are to some of the most serene and picturesque places in Europe — and they organize whole retreats based on experiences. So whether it’s swimming in Sardinia, meditating in Montenegro, or hiking in the Brecon Beacons, there’s always a yoga-plus-adventure trip to jump on, no matter the time of year. It’s all about designing something different and creating an escape like no other.
The best women-only yoga retreats: Big Sky Yoga
Big Sky Yoga runs women-only programs based deep in the peaks of Montana, US. Their retreats (the tagline of which is “Yeehaw & Namaste”) make the most of the rural landscapes of the Big Sky Country by offering horseback riding with “Cowgirl Yoga™”. Cozy and authentic log-cabin accommodation is also a perk.
Sticking with the mountain theme, Big Sky Yoga also organizes yoga vacations abroad, in the French Alps and Patagonia. If you’re eager to unleash your inner mountain goddess, this is certainly for you.
The best yoga retreats with life coaching: MOVE+MANIFEST at Eat.Pray.Move
As well as yoga, Eat.Pray.Move is all about mindfulness, and the jewel in their crown is their MOVE+MANIFEST retreats. These are based around a series of workshops with the goal of clarifying the mind and redirecting energy into what truly makes you happy, and into discovering what your purpose is in life. The settings for this include Southwest Iceland, the valleys of Tuscany, and Peacock Pavilions — one of Marrakesh’s most beautiful hotels. Whether you choose MOVE+MANIFEST or one of the other programs, Eat.Pray.Move’s destination list is nothing short of seriously impressive.
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