For people who need a vacation from a vacation, when the fine dining and local libations have you up past your usual bedtime and needing more rest when you return than when you arrived, then a yoga retreat may interest you. Problem is there are more yoga retreats than beaches worldwide, meaning choosing the right one comes with some difficulty. Besides asking your best friend who loves yoga or stopping by the nearest yoga center for some travel advice, here are some online resources and specific centers known for their excellent physical and educational programs.
On a positive note, the online yoga world is sophisticated, easy to maneuver, and well-designed. And of course, they want you to feel good about yourself, so good karma abounds. Feel the love at these yoga sites, and, remember, yoga retreats pride themselves on being located on some of the more peaceful, geographically attractive lands worldwide.
Yogasite.com (tel. 877/964-2748; www.yogasite.com/retreat.htm), the "online yoga resource center," has a full listing of American and global yoga resource centers from Mexico to Australia. In addition to yoga products including mats, clothes, DVD's, jewelry, and books, the site also has collective packages including beginner sets and a wholesale section for people interested in starting their own yoga classes. Yoga Movement (tel. 952/322-4005; www.yogamovement.com/links/vacations.html), dedicated to helping people find yoga resources from simple definitions and instructions to quality teachers, also lists vacation spots and ashrams dedicated to full-day and week-long programs.
For a 2006 program combining Los Angeles teaching instructors in a beautiful Southern California setting, Carpe Diem Retreats (tel. 310/452-8175; http://1carpediem.com/_wsn/page2.html) offers three retreats to the mountains of Santa Barbara. Offering spring (May 11 to 14, 2006), summer (July 13 to 16, 2006) and fall (October 12 to 15, 2006) courses with teachers Valerie Moselle and Malachi Melville, Carpe Diem costs start at $695 for early registration meaning one month prior to course commencement and go to $695 for regular registration. The program includes three nights accommodations in a 1904 mountain lodge, all yoga and related practices, all meals from dinner Thursday to lunch on Sunday, and the use of all towels. The center has peaceful grounds for spiritual contemplation and a spring water mountain swimming pool overlooking the coastal valley below.
Having led over 50 yoga retreats since 1991, yoga teacher Charles MacInerney leads several trips that include beginning advanced programs that combine physical yoga practices with reflective writing exercises. Working through his Expanding Paradigms (tel. 512-459-2267; www.yogateacher.com/text/retreats.html), MacInerney and his staff of Yoga professionals focus on Hatha yoga and Raja yoga retreats. Taking Advantage of the scenic landscapes, MacInerney leads trips to Yelapa, Mexico; Chappell, Texas; and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. While these trips or courses rotate locations on a local basis, the next Guatemala trip takes place from July 8 to 15, 2006. Cost of the trip starts at $1,400 with a discount of $150 dollars if you book before May 1, 2006 and stay in double occupancy lodging quarters. Included in the price of the retreat is round-trip transportation from Antigua and the Guatemala City International Airport to the retreat center, eight-days' and seven-nights' accommodations, three gourmet vegetarian meals per day with fresh fish available upon request, two or three yoga classes per day, a dozen styles of meditation practices and "experimental" workshops on a different topics including writing, thinking and yoga philosophy. Considered the most beautiful lake in the world by author Aldous Huxley, Lake Atitlan is located in the valley of four volcanoes in the Guatemala Highlands. Twelve Indian villages surround the lake, all accessible by water taxi and long treks. The retreat center at the Mayan inspired Villa Sumaya contains outdoor reflective areas with a state of the art hardwood floor yoga room and first-class, Spartan, accommodations. Massages from Thai, Reiki and Swedish experts are available. The location also has a hot tub and sauna to further relax those worked muscles and limbs.
For a retreat in America's heartland, the Helena-based Feathered Pipe Foundation (tel. 406-442-8196; www.featheredpipe.com) offers yoga and retreats in a number of locations in and out of Montana. Started in 1975 by some counter-culturists (otherwise known as hippies), the foundation has grown into a leader in holistic living and general wellness and founded the well-known Yoga journal. They operate out of two ranches, the Feather Pipe home center and the Blacktail Ranch, a 8,000-acre heavenly area located at the base of the Continental Divide and the Rocky Mountains prairie in Wolf Creek, Montana. An upcoming workshop includes a July 2 to 9, 2006 course with teachers Cheri Clampett and Heather Tiddens costing approximately $1,495. Complete with a bohemian meeting room, outdoor teepees, and communal living bunk-bed sleeping quarters (like we said, these guys are hippies), the Blacktail can be a life changing experience. A discount on classes is given to campers.
For questions on travel to the lodge, the Foundation uses Morris Travel (tel. 800/735-6343; www.morrismurdock.com) as the official agency for their programs. To reach the ranch, you'll fly into Great Falls, Montana. The Feathered Pipe Foundation also offers retreats and yoga trips to Mexico and other spots around the world. Check the Website for upcoming international yoga retreats. Of course, in addition to yoga, the Blacktail Ranch has horseback, trekking, rafting, swimming and fishing. Imagine the complete Montana outdoor experience with a spiritual center.
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