Not all yogis root their practice in stillness and silence. Some like their asana with a side of adventure. Plus, yoga is all about balance right? A week-long yoga retreat doesn’t always have to look like spending every moment practicing in the same environment. You can find the same benefits, perhaps even more, when you add a little adventure to your flow. These far-flung, yoga-friendly destinations are perfect for yogis seeking awakening off the mat.
Think “yoga retreat” and you likely imagine colourful smoothies and white-sand beaches. Icelandic yoga retreats are a very different, entirely exhilarating variety. Yoga classes are rounded out not by sun-bathing and surfing, but by whale-watching, soaking in natural hot spring pools, hiking glaciers, and chasing the Northern Lights. Because Iceland isn’t all that big, yogis will traverse the country over the duration of their retreat rather than languish in one place.
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
This archipelago of 150 islands off the west coast of British Columbia is a wildlife-rich, history-steeped wonderland. Yoga retreats in Haida Gwaii include exploring old-growth rainforests, surfing the cold Pacific swell, kayaking into hidden inlets, and learning about the culture and history of the Haida First Nations people. Oh and twice-daily yoga classes, of course.
For flexible travelers with dreams of eating tagine under the stars, riding camels through the Sahara, and telling time by the schedule of calls to prayer, a Moroccan yoga adventure is just the ticket. Retreats can be found in traditional Berber villages, hip seaside surf towns (yes, Morocco’s coast offers a surf-worthy swell), and the buzzing town of Marrakech.
Some 7,000 tropical islands make up the lush province of Palawan in the Philippines. Soaring limestone rock formations covered in vegetation provide a picturesque backdrop for crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches. Palawan offers a tranquil setting for practice and natural playground for thrill-seekers who might like to complement their vinyasa with swimming in lagoons, cliff-diving, and exploring World War II shipwrecks.
“Ohm”-ing in Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world, is a rite of passage for passionate yoga practitioners with a case of wanderlust. Set in the Himalayan foothills along the sacred Ganges river, Rishikesh welcomes yogis, intellectuals, bohemians, and die-hard Beatles fans (the Fab Four arrived in February 1968 to take part in meditation training with guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). Outside of the many, many ashrams: white-water rafting, bungee jumping, and waterfall trekking awaits.
Party animals go to Mykonos. History buffs go to Crete. Those seeking untapped beauty and adventure go to Kythnos. Well off the beaten track, Kythnos is a hidden gem of the Cyclades island group—and a yoga paradise. There are plenty of yoga retreats available, but not so many that the island feels like one big outdoor studio. Surrounded by golden beaches, dazzling Aegean waters, whitewashed houses, and shrubby Mediterranean countryside, Kythnos is the destination for those looking to merge their yoga practice goals with their Greek island dreams.
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