Perfect positions: 20 best yoga holidays worldwide

Hormone Balance retreat in Spain

Kaliyoga Retreats; image:

Powered by article titled “Perfect positions: 20 best yoga holidays worldwide” was written by Jane Dunford, for The Observer on Sunday 7th October 2018 06.00 UTC

Silver Island, Greece

Silver Island is special. A 60-acre, off-grid haven, it is covered in olive groves and wild flowers, with pebbled beaches, hidden coves and space for just 10 guests in two stylish, whitewashed traditional houses. American yoga and ayurveda teacher Karuna DiLibero is among the teachers lined up for next year (21-27 April and 28 April-2 May). Two daily classes of yoga and meditation and delicious organic vegetarian cuisine are included.
From £1,160 a week, April to October,

Jungle Yoga, Thailand

Jungle Yoga, Thailand
Jungle Yoga, Thailand

Surrounded by limestone karst and rainforest, Jungle Yoga literally floats on a freshwater lake – everything from the 30 bungalows to the restaurant and yoga shala is on the water, connected by wooden walkways. It’s an idyllic place for a yoga retreat and total digital detox (there’s no wifi signal here), with various teachers leading holidays from December to April. Join Sarah Williams for gentle, slow-flowing yoga, with a focus on self-exploration (23 February-2 March), or Simon Low, one of the original founders of London’s Triyoga, for a week of vinyasa, breath work and restorative yin (9-16 March). In the middle of Khao Sok National Park, you’re fully immersed in nature with the soundtrack of gibbons in the misty mornings and cicadas in the evening as you dine on healthy vegetarian Thai fare under the stars. There’s plenty of time for swimming or kayaking, hiking, exploring nearby caves or just hanging out in a hammock.
From £925 a week,

Free Spirit Yoga, France

Chateau du Fraissinet, France
Chateau du Fraissinet, France

On the edge of the Cevennes National Park, an hour from Nîmes, Château du Fraissinet – an old mansion in six acres of grounds bordered by the river Gardon – makes a picturesque setting. Days start with alignment-focused vinyasa flow led by Brigitte Riley, complemented by yin or yoga nidra (sleep yoga) at night. There’s free time to visit local markets or the lakes of Camboux or to hike in the mountains. Not one for beginners.
From £730, 24 June-1 July,

Kali Yoga, Italy

Kali Yoga, Italy
Kali Yoga, Italy. Photograph: Alessandro Abrusci

Combine yoga and cycling in Puglia, southern Italy, staying in a 16th-century farmhouse near the historic town of Martina Franca. Yoga teacher Tashi leads two classes most days, encouraging students of all levels to develop at home. There are two 30km cycling trips, exploring the beautiful Itria Valley, famed for its trullo houses (electric bikes available). Delicious, inventive vegetarian meals, meditation and optional chanting sessions included.
From £945, 14-21 October, dates for 2019 to be confirmed,

Amayour Surf, Morocco

Amayour Surf, Morocco
Amayour Surf, Morocco. Photograph: Shiraz Ksaiba

The Anti-Atlas mountains are the backdrop, the call to prayer the soundtrack at Tamairt by Amayour in pretty Agouni village, which opens this month. The latest venture from the owners of Amayour Surf and Yoga Hostel in Taghazout, it’s hippy-chic with dorms or private rooms and different yoga teachers running retreats each week, with two classes daily. Cuisine is modern Moroccan, there’s a pool and, as retreats run Saturday to Thursday, you could tag on some surf time.
From £360 a week,

Soul & Surf, Portugal

Soul & Surf, Portugal.
Soul & Surf, Portugal. Photograph: Peter Chamberlain

After the success of its Sri Lanka and Kerala holidays, and pop-ups in Portugal, Soul & Surf is opening a permanent home on the Iberian peninsula in 2019. Based at Quinta de Mesquita, a farmhouse with 10 guest rooms close to some of the Algarve’s best surf beaches, all levels are catered for with five surf sessions and five yoga sessions included in a week’s stay. No experience needed.
From £385 for a long weekend, £760 for a week, April to end of November 2019,

Cocoon, Portugal

Cocoon, Portugal.
Cocoon, Portugal. Photograph: Anton Brandt

Start the day with meditation under the pine trees and end it with an (optional) skinny dip in the lake. Cocoon Portugal is a new retreat on a 275-acre coastal farm near the fishing village of Zambujeira do Mar. Co-owner and yoga teacher Anton Brandt has hosted retreats around the world. The converted farmhouse has room for 24, with indoor and outdoor shalas. The vibe is distinctly carefree. Sheep and goats roam the fields and chickens provide fresh eggs. There are homemade granolas and yogurt for breakfast, and Mediterranean stews, Japanese curries and pizzas from the wood-fired oven for dinner. On the roster of yoga teachers for 2019 is Jess Horn from London who favours slow vinyasa flow (3-10 August, with Between daily classes guests can hop on bikes to explore the Atlantic coast, which is 10 minutes away, or hike the stunning Costa Vicentina trail.
From £895 a week, April to October,

Tania Brown Yoga, Devon

Tania Brown Yoga, Devon.
Tania Brown Yoga, Devon. Photograph: Rebecca Bernstein

Practise yoga on a platform in the woods or in a converted barn on this idyllic organic farm near Axminster in Devon. Experienced teacher Tania Brown leads a mix of energising hatha flow and more restorative evening sessions, while creative veggie meals, prepared with produce from the land, are a highlight. Accommodation is in a guesthouse with simple ensuite rooms filled with flowers.
From £395 per weekend, various dates from April to October,

Yoga Explorers, Sri Lanka

Yoga Explorers, Sri Lanka.
Yoga Explorers, Sri Lanka. Photograph: Jim Tarran

Brighton-based yoga teachers Jim Taran and Khadine Morcom host week-long retreats at Talalla Retreat, on the beach in southern Sri Lanka, with alfresco yoga to the sound of the Indian Ocean. Classical yoga is taught in a friendly, light-hearted way and suits both seasoned yogis and novices, with two daily classes fuelled by delicious, healthy vegetarian cuisine. Whale-watching safaris and surfing are among the free-time options.
From £835, 11-18 November 2018 or 2-9 April (with London teacher Jonelle Lewis),

Adventure Yogi, Montenegro

Adventure Yogi, Montenegro
Adventure Yogi, Montenegro. Photograph: Alamy

Combine three hours of yoga a day with outdoor adventure in unspoiled Montenegro. Based in a renovated olive mill, 10 minutes’ drive from the coast, the days are topped and tailed by Amy Williams’s accessible classes – a mix of gentle flowing hatha and slow-paced yin and meditation. In between there’s time for wild swimming in rivers and lakes, mountain hiking and visits to the old town of Stari Bar and the beach.
From £645, 8-15 and 15-22 May,

Summersalt Yoga, Croatia

Summersalt Yoga, Croatia
Summersalt Yoga, Croatia

If plain old, land-based downward dog seems a bit tame, how about giving stand-up paddleboarding yoga a go? Teacher Caroline Graham-Wood leads week-long holidays based in a villa on the island of Vis – and no SUP experience is required. Daily yoga (on the board and on the ground), meditation, great vegetarian and vegan food and island tours are included, as well as transfers from Split.
From £800, 29-6 June, 6-13 and 13-20 July,

Chaya Yoga Retreats, Goa

Chaya Yoga Retreats, Goa.
Chaya Yoga Retreats, Goa. Photograph: Ifusha Kalia

A five-minute stroll from Ashvem beach, Kaju Varo is a lush oasis, with stylish, minimalist accommodation around a pool and courtyard. Chaya Yoga Retreats runs several holidays, each with a different theme. Join London-based teacher Paula Andreewitch from 9-16 February for the “Hydra: into the Heart” retreat. Expect flowing, playful sequences, pranayama breath work, meditation and chanting designed to declutter minds and connect to the heart. Chaya founder Lucy Hill carefully curates every retreat, with nourishing plant-based feasts, inspiring workshops and healing treatments included in the price. They’re lots of fun, too. There’s time for the beach and trips to night markets. It’s also supportive of all, from beginners to advanced yogis.
For the summer, Chaya relocates to Ibiza with a choice of three week-long yoga holidays in two beautiful villas with top-notch teachers. From £1,111 a week,

Akasha Wellness, Romania

Akasha Wellness, Romania.
Akasha Wellness, Romania

Akasha Wellness Retreat’s outdoor yoga platform makes the most of views over the Piatra Craiului National Park. Join one of the timetabled six-day breaks – try wine tasting and yoga from 30 November – or create a mini-retreat with the three-night flexible stay option (arrive Friday, Saturday or Sunday). Twice daily yoga with experienced resident teachers, outdoor hot tub, mountain and forest hiking and organic, nutritionist-devised menus add to the appeal. • From £375 for three nights, £500 for five,

Swasti Eco Cottages, Bali

Swasti Eco Cottages, Bali
Swasti Eco Cottages, Bali

Bali is awash with slick (often expensive) yoga retreats, but Swasti Eco Cottages is a delightful, unflashy eco-haven close to Ubud’s Monkey Forest. Several yoga classes of various styles run each day. Accommodation is in cottages made from recycled wood. Food is from the organic farm and the spa uses all-natural products. Good for those who want flexibility rather than a fixed-date retreat.
From £68 for a double room, yoga classes extra,

Yoga on a Shoestring, Ibiza

Yoga on a Shoestring, Ibiza
Yoga on a Shoestring, Ibiza

Ibiza Moving Arts, an old farmhouse surrounded by forest, makes a beautiful base for Federica Clements’s week-long retreat. Mixing yoga styles, from ashtanga to iyengar, Federica brings a sense of playfulness and wealth of knowledge to her classes. There are two free afternoons – allowing time for the pool and beach.
From £785, 4-11 May 2019,

Destination Yoga, Italy

Destination Yoga, Italy
Destination Yoga, Italy

Locanda Cugnagello, a family-run country estate 90 minutes from Florence, is a beautiful setting for a yoga holiday. Surrounded by rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves, the 800-year-old farmhouse has 12 rooms and a spacious indoor yoga studio for twice-daily classes. There’s a saltwater pool, great hiking trails and lots of Tuscan treasures to explore nearby, from San Gimignano to Siena, with delicious, healthy meals served on the outdoor terrace.
From £995, 24-31 August and 12-19 October,

Reclaim Yourself, Iceland

Reclaim Yourself, Iceland.
Reclaim Yourself, Iceland. Photograph: Karen Yeomans

You might spot the Aurora Borealis on this trip to a remote part of Iceland. Based in a farm with luxury cabins, sauna and outdoor hot tub (naturally), it’s not cheap, but a day exploring the geothermal wilderness of Myvatn is included – as well as 15 hours of yoga. Emma Henry leads strong flow classes with longer afternoon sessions and workshops. Hiking, whale-watching and riding Icelandic horses are optional extras.
From £1,295, 21-25 November 2019,

Jessica Lambert, Cumbria

Jessica Lambert, Cumbria.
Jessica Lambert, Cumbria. Photograph: Nicholas Yarsley

A historic manor house in Cumbria’s Eden Valley is home to Jessica Lambert’s long weekend yoga retreats. Her energising morning and gentle evening classes suit all and, as a qualified osteopath, she’s spot on with adjustments. Elspeth’s Kitchen provides sustenance with creative plant-based menus – don’t hold back on the mouth-watering raw cakes. There are 25 acres of grounds, open fires to curl up by and massages to be had.
From £440, 22-25 November 2018 (women only) and 10-13 January,

Bodhi Adventure Yoga, France

Bodhi Adventure Yoga, France
Bodhi Adventure Yoga, France

Combine skiing or snowboarding with yoga on a luxury chalet holiday in a traditional village near Méribel. Mornings begin with a strong practice to create heat for a day on the slopes, with more gentle après-ski classes (sometimes in the snow), and meditation some evenings. Nutritious breakfasts, afternoon tea and three-course plant-based meals are included. Maximum eight guests, but bespoke trips arranged, too.
From £975, 5-12 January and 9-16 March, including transfers to slopes. Lift passes not included,

Suleyman’s Garden, Turkey

Suleyman’s Garden, Turkey.
Suleyman’s Garden, Turkey. Photograph: Huzur Vadisi

On the dramatic Turquoise coast, Suleyman’s Garden is a little Eden, with paths that lead through pine forests to a rocky swimming cove. Accommodation is in traditional cottages and all have sea views. Vegetarian meals use homegrown produce. But it’s the calibre of teachers that sets it apart – including Scaravelli-influenced, anatomy expert Gary Carter in 2019. Olu Deniz is a 20-minute drive away and boat trips and hammam visits are among excursion options.
From £775 a week, © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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