While yoga has become a staple in modern life, it’s easy to forget that this ancient spiritual practice is intended to integrate mind, body and spirit. And sometimes, the only way to really achieve this is to get outside your comfort zone.
That’s why some of the best yoga retreats around the world take a hybrid approach, integrating unusual activities — from belly dancing to hula hooping to cannabis tastings — to take the practice of yoga to the next level. At these unusual retreats, you can hit the reset button and return to your real life fully present and grounded...with memories you won't soon forget.
Namaste Yoga Safari, Africa
Center yourself while connecting with the majestic animal kingdom during an invigorating yoga safari deep in the African bush of Namibia. You’ll spend time with rehabilitated animals in a wildlife sanctuary; embark on guided game drives to view lions, zebras, elephants and giraffes; and enjoy guided nature walks, bush dinners, spa treatments and daily yoga instruction.
Hosted by Namaste Yoga Safari, this opportunity to get up close and personal with wildlife in the cradle of civilization is sure to make an impact.
Getaway details: There are two retreats in 2018, April 20-May 6 and December 7-13; prices start at $3,329, with meals included.
CircAsana Acro & Aerial Yoga Retreat, Nicaragua
CircAsana is one of the most distinctive forms of yoga, using the circus arts as inspiration for acrobatic, aerial and Vinyasa poses. If this sounds intriguing (and it probably does), we recommend booking this seven-night retreat in Popoyo, Nicaragua.
As part of the getaway, you’ll learn how to master handstands, hooping (dancing with a hoop or hoops) and slacklining (balancing on a suspended length of flat webbing, similar to tightrope walking), among other acrobatic silks.
After an intense session of acrobatics, you can relax in your room perched atop a cliff at the Magnific Rock Hotel, or enjoy one of several stress-relieving activities, including a one-hour massage or sunset sailing trip along the Nicaraguan coastline. Just for good measure, the retreat offers a surfing lesson as well — and the whole thing ends with a community circus performance.
Getaway details: August 18-25, 2018; prices start at $1,890 for a private room with meals included.
Cannabis Couples Massage and Yoga Weekend Retreat, Colorado
For couples who are 4/20 friendly, this weekend getaway in Denver pairs yoga practices with Colorado’s best cannabis crops. Because, when in Rome.
You and your partner will embark on an intimate journey that includes daily yoga sessions paired with first-rate local marijuana, cannabis massages and gourmet dinners complemented with carefully curated ganja. Plus, every guest receives a goodie bag of tasty treats.
This retreat, which also welcomes singles, is hosted by 420 Yoga Retreats and run by Yogi-D, a respected expert in combining marijuana with yoga.
Getaway details: Retreats are available in both May and October 2018; prices start at $1,195, meals included.
Paradise Sailing Yoga Retreat, Florida
If you want to challenge yourself while heightening your senses and opening your mind to new possibilities — and you’ve got strong sea legs — a three-day sailing Hatha yoga retreat in Sarasota is the trip for you.
A combination of yoga, meditation and sailing, you’ll anchor at Egmont Key aboard the 45 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey and spend your days at sea, perfecting your yoga poses, learning sailing techniques, and taking in the sights of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The retreat includes daily lunch and dinner, snacks and beverages, plus stargazing sessions away from the light pollution of the city.
Getaway details: Dates are flexible; prices start at $1,050 for a private cabin with meals included.
Umbria Wine, Dine & Gourmet Yoga, Italy
Who says you can’t wine and dine during your yoga getaway? Voted the top wellness culinary retreat by Travel + Leisure, the five-night Umbria Wine, Dine & Gourmet Yoga retreat in Perugia offers a deep dive into Italian food and wine, plus leisurely walks, massages, swimming, lounging, excursions in the Italian countryside and, of course, sacred yoga practices.
Visit a 10th century castle for an Italian wine-tasting experience, take a cooking class, and end each day with pranayama and restorative yoga sessions before indulging in an aperitif under the stars.
Getaway details: September 25-30, 2018; prices start at $2,495, including meals.
Belly Dance Camp & Yoga Retreat, Morocco
Head to Morocco for eight days of belly dancing and restorative yoga classes in the fishing village of Tamraght, overlooking the Atlantic sea. A variety of yoga practices — including Vinyasa, Yin, Nidra, Hatha and Kundalini — are taught, and the belly dancing instructors are among the best in Morocco.
Also on the itinerary: visiting a local souk marketplace, visiting ancient hamman Turkish baths, enjoying a session of sea-water-based thalassotherapy, and learning to play a traditional goblet drum during darbouka classes. All cuisine is organic and locally sourced, and the price can’t be beat.
Getaway details: Several dates are available between May 2018 and April 2019; prices start at $748, including meals.
Hula Hooping Yoga Surf Retreat, Costa Rica
The location for this retreat — Pavones, Costa Rica — boasts some of the world’s best surfing, making this an ideal destination for riding the waves. But the real selling point here is classes that combine yoga with hula hooping, making for a namaste experience steeped in childhood nostalgia. Each day begins with a meditation session on the beach, and ends with a hula-hoop jamming session under the setting sun.
Bonus: All meals are prepared by an in-house chef, and you’ll even learn how to make your own chocolate.
Getaway details: February 13-21, 2019; prices start at $1,340, with meals included.
Mana Yoga Snow Retreat, New Zealand
Many yoga retreats take place in tropical locales. But if you’re more of a cold-weather customer, this six-day ski and yoga retreat in Queenstown, between the Pisa Mountain Range and Lake Wakatip, offers the best of both worlds.
Start your day with classes designed to help you deepen your yoga practice before hitting the slopes. Post-ski yoga classes focus on poses to soothe your joints and connective tissues, followed by a guided Yoga Nidra meditation. You’ll also be treated to organic, locally sourced meals in front of a roaring fireplace.
Getaway details: July 24-29, 2018; prices start at $2,082.
Yoga In The Midnight Sun, Iceland
Travel to Iceland during its season of endless daylight to practice yoga in the heart of the world’s geothermal energy center. The awe-inspiring landscape will put you in a meditative state as you soak in all-natural hot springs, find your footing during glacial hikes, climb ancient icebergs and enjoy daily morning yoga.
Featuring stops at three different hotels in three different cities, this is also an excellent way to explore Iceland’s many wonders. Just don’t forget to bring a sleep mask if you want to get any shut eye, because it’s always daytime when this retreat takes place.
Getaway details: June 17-24, 2018; prices start at $3,795, and meals are included.
Yoga, Wine and Chocolate Retreat, California
This intimate yoga retreat at Sagrada Wellness, a 45-acre retreat in the heart of San Louis Obispo's wine country, combines all of your favorite things: yoga, wine and chocolate. You can even have coffee if a caffeine detox isn’t part of your plan (where do I sign up?).
All levels of yogis are welcome to lose themselves in mornings of rejuvenating yoga practices, afternoons relaxing by the pool, and evenings sampling chocolate and varietals from local wineries. Guests will also be treated to a guided tour of the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, plus a wine tasting and food pairing.
Getaway details: May 25-28 and August 16-19, 2018; prices start at $895, with all meals included.
Chakra Awakening Yoga and Chanting Meditation, Indonesia
If you’re feeling out of sorts, it might be time to leave the urban jungle for an immersive five-day yoga and meditation retreat in the heart of one of Bali’s spiritual villages. Here, you’ll learn traditional Balinese yoga poses, practice Balinese moving and sitting meditations, and learn mindful martial arts during a Balinese Pencak Silat session.
Importantly, the retreat is committed to preserving the original 13 types of yoga, developed thousands of years ago in the Himalayas.
Getaway details: A variety of dates are offered for this retreat; prices start at just $272, meals included.
Todos Santos Yoga Retreat, Baja, Mexico
Yogis who seek the wisdom of both the desert and the sea will find their peace at this annual Yogascapes retreat in Todos Santos, a desert oasis along the Pacific coastline.
You’ll spend five days practicing meditation, pranayama breathing, visualization, varied yoga practices and more, and enjoy unusual activities like snorkeling with whale sharks and dolphins. All meals are vegetarian and organic, and a therapeutic skin coach is on hand to teach you about proper skin care.
Getaway details: Feb. 17-23, 2019; prices start at $2,395, including daily meals.
The Mindful Unplug Experience, Montana
Turn off your phone, log out of your email and prepare to transport yourself to a blissful sanctuary nestled in the Montana wilderness at Feathered Pipe Ranch.
This off-the-grid yoga experience is designed to reintroduce you to your senses while rediscovering the natural world. Featuring celebrated teachers who share practices born out of ancient life-sustaining traditions marrying elements from both Indian and Native American wisdom, this retreat also coincides with the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, offering a pollution-free night sky that’s perfect for stargazing.
Surrounded by almost 1 million acres of national forest, the Feathered Pipe Ranch inspires self-care and introspection, and is ideal for yogis looking to reconnect with themselves.
Getaway details: August 11-18, 2018; prices start at $1,795, with meals included.