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Yoga is an art that strengthens and purifies your mind, body and soul. Find your inner peace and spirituality with a relaxing and rejuvenating yoga retreat vacation.

Domaine de la Grausse (www.yoga-in-france.com) is an 18th century chateau and yoga retreat located in a lush valley in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. Apart from yoga sessions (which are instructed in English) the area offers a variety of attractions including prehistoric cave paintings, waterfalls, medieval towns, Cathar Chateaux and seasonal local festivals. The retreat can also arrange walks, swimming in the springs located on the property, mountain biking, golf and fishing. From now until July 23 and from September 3 to 24, the price per person based on dual occupancy is $375 per week. From July 30 to August 27, the price goes up to $469. These rates include self-catering accommodation in cottages with private facilities, two yoga classes daily (except Saturday and Sunday mornings) and meditation sessions. Domaine de la Grausse is located near Toulouse and Carcassonne airports, or alternatively you can arrive at Foix station by train (www.sncf.fr/indexe.htm) from Paris, where staff will pick you up and transfer you to the retreat.

Byron Bay Yoga (www.byronbayyoga.com) is a peaceful retreat located on the most easterly point of Australia. The four- and five-day yoga getaways offer total rejuvenation and relaxation whilst staying at the Sangsurya Seaview Retreat (www.sangsurya.com.au) in lush rainforest just outside the beach town of Byron Bay. Yoga sessions are conducted twice per day and are overseen by yoga master Sue Hawkins, who has over 20-years teaching experience. Fresh organic juices, filtered water and gourmet vegetarian food are also provided. Pampering treatments, holistic therapies, colonics and healings are offered as optional extras. Guided meditation and nature activities are also available during weekends. A four-day retreat costs $895 (five-days cost $995) and includes instruction and accommodations. Retreats take place this year from June 10 to 14; September 2 to 5; October 21 to 25; and December 2 to 5, 2005. Sue Hawkins also runs annual retreats in Bali and Fiji (2006 dates yet to be released).

Imagine unwinding and practicing yoga at a beautiful mountainside Cost Rican yoga retreat. The Panacea de la Montana (www.panaceacr.com) is located in Tamarindo, on Costa Rica's northwest Pacific coast, an area known for its water sports including scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, surfing, windsurfing and kayaking. The resort retreat offers a variety of special yoga-based vacations. Its seven-day "Rejuvenator" package is $600 per person based on dual occupancy and includes accommodations for seven nights, three meals per day, daily yoga classes, water aerobics classes, hiking, a natural facial and one reflexology session. Taxes are included. The three-day "Relaxer" package is only $279 per person and includes accommodations, all meals, daily yoga classes, water aerobics classes and hiking.

Fiji is another idyllic location that can host your yoga retreat. Australian company Yak Trak Tours (tel. +61/414-695963; www.yaktrak.com/Default.aspx?tabid=534) will be running a Fijian retreat from October 15 to 23, 2005. At press time, the nine-day package includes six-night's luxury accommodations at the eco-friendly Matava Resort (www.matava.com) on the island of Kandavu, two nights accommodations (one each way) in Nadi, all organic meals, yoga classes, one on one sessions, and transfers from Nadi. Yoga classes are suitable for all levels of fitness and ability, and the retreat also focuses on diet, health and nutrition. Cost is $1,100 to $1,500 per person depending on the level of accommodations chosen. The minimum group size is eight people, with a maximum of 16. Airfare to Fiji is additional.

If Fiji isn't exotic enough for you, take your yoga mat to Ilha Grande, a paradise island located off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Island Experience (tel.+55/212552-3500 www.islandexperience.com) is considered a spa adventure yoga retreat. Its one-week program combines twice-daily yoga sessions with rainforest hiking, sea kayaking, massage, snorkeling, art and culture, Brazilian entertainment (dance samba or learn capoeira) and a natural diet. The isolated lodge is built into a jungle hillside overlooking the ocean and the island boasts more than 100 beaches and over 100 square miles of unspoiled tropical rainforest. This detox program is designed to cleanse your body and de-stress your mind. The retreat's capacity is ten guests per week with the program starting on a Sunday and ending on the following Saturday. Included in the $1,850 all-inclusive price includes six-nights of lodging, three meals and a snack daily, 45 hours of supervised activities, two yoga classes per day, daily full-body massages, various recreational activities, three nights of Brazilian cultural entertainment and free transportation to and from Rio International Airport. Prices valid until the end of the 2005 season -- the second week of December, 2005.

In the heart of the sacred Andes, spirituality is second nature so it is no wonder that one of the most beautiful yoga retreats is nestled amongst the Incan ruins. Willka T'ika Retreat (tel. 888/737-8070; http://196.33.120.67/WillkaTika/willka_home.asp) is located between the Peruvian city of Cusco and the stunning Machu Picchu, making it an ideal destination for people who want something a little extra with their yoga retreat. Local Quechua staff can provide invaluable insight into the history and culture of this remarkable area. Accommodations are in Spanish colonial style guest cottages surrounded by traditional gardens and a picturesque setting. Their food is 100% vegetarian with all meals prepared using organic, homegrown produce. Another key feature is the outdoor stone carved baths, which use native Andean herbs and flowers to relax and invigorate guests. Magical Journey Authentic Sacred Tours (tel. 888/737-8070; www.travelperu.com) runs an intensive 10-day Andean yoga program based at Willka T'ika which begins and ends in Cusco. The package offers high quality accommodation, superior healthy vegetarian meals, first class services and professional experienced local guides. Daily Hatha-yoga classes cater to all levels of strength and experience. Each day after your yoga session, visit major historic and cultural sites in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. You will also have the opportunity to meet Quechua locals, visit their homes, learn about Andean medicinal herbs and participate in authentic ceremonies. The next program is scheduled from July 12 to 24, 2005 and is priced at $2,990 per person all-inclusive. Airfare to Cusco via Lima is additional.

An excellent resource for helping to find the perfect yoga destination is the Yoga Directory of Retreats and Vacations (www.yogadirectory.com/retreats). Over 300 individual retreats are listed, from India to Ireland, Tobago to Thailand and everywhere in between. Links are provided to individual websites, and online booking facilities make choosing your yoga vacation simple.

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