Yoga retreats

Yoga Retreats

As the hustle and bustle of modern day life starts to show signs of physical and mental strain, more and more people are looking for ways to balance their hectic modern lifestyles and are returning to age-old practices instead of medication and alcohol, in order to help them cope.

Practices such as yoga, Pilates and meditation are becoming more prevalent. People of all ages and backgrounds are signing up for classes and learning the ancient techniques that continue to stand the test of time.

Yoga is an ancient spiritual discipline that focuses on the balancing of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of an individual as a whole. With strong connections to Hinduism and Buddhism, yoga has historical roots as far back as the third millennium BC, but only emerged in the western world in about the nineteenth century. Most modern yoga classes today are based on Hatha yoga, and yoga students make use of the various asanas (postures) as part of a westernised exercise regime.

Yoga classes are recommended by health care professionals for the discipline’s highly effective success rate in alleviating back pain, stress and depression. Used also as an alternative medicine, practitioners believe that the combination of meditation and the right alignment of the body will assist individuals in correcting their posture. Using all of the correct muscle groups helps to prevent injury in sporting activities or just day-to-day life.

There are a variety of different styles and disciplines of yoga, and people who practice their chosen form do so for a variety of reasons, perhaps not just medical ones. A popular culture among yoga practitioners is to take part in, or host, a yoga retreat, when class members or visitors can roll up their yoga mats and head out to a pre-booked location, where an entire weekend can be spent doing yoga and meditation.

Retreats are held all over the world in some of the most incredible picturesque locations. The retreat centres are chosen specifically for their calm and rejuvenating surroundings. Depending on your chosen discipline, you can go as a single person or couple to some of the most resplendent destinations in the world. Here are some of the best yoga retreats around the world.

Rolling Meadows Yoga and Meditation Retreats, Mexico

Held over an eight-day period, this unique yoga retreat is open to all ages, all levels of experience and all physical abilities. Tucked away along the coast of Tulum in Mexico, the slow-paced Caribbean ambiance and the swish of the sea as it kisses the sand could almost be enough on its own to rejuvenate a hurried soul. Enjoy a restorative yoga class at sunrise on the beach with the sand between your toes and a song in your heart, before a hearty and healthy breakfast.

Chiva Som Retreat, Thailand

Offering a combination retreat of yoga, detox, lymphatic massage and natural healing, you will probably not find such a comprehensive package available in any spa around the world. Recharge your body, soul and mind, surrounded by the breathtaking back drop of Hau Hin, Thailand. They offer a ‘total lifestyle transformation’ that will inspire and enrich you for days to come. Their serene approach to balance, wellness and health will help those who leave the retreat to implement and maintain positive changes in their lives for years to come.

Anahata Yoga Retreat, New Zealand

For those highly experienced yoga practitioners, in a gorgeous, green, New Zealand valley, you will have a chance to join an intensive yoga retreat. You are able to request personalised yoga sessions with one of their highly trained staff, and they offer other classes in different yoga disciplines. Enjoy their incredibly nutritious menu, as they serve vegetables right from their own organic vegetable garden.

Big Sky Yoga Retreat, Montana

For something slightly different, if you are in the area, this is definitely not one to miss! A mere hour’s drive from Yellowstone will take you to the luxury Double T River Ranch, where the Big Sky Yoga retreats are held, even in the winter. Being part of nature is the order every single day and not only is yoga on offer, but yoga and skiing in the winter, hiking in autumn and spring, and horse-riding, hiking and yoga in the heart of summer. A unique chance to experience a cowgirl yoga lifestyle as you go out in Montana in style.

Anse Chastanet, St Lucia

Enjoying one of the most gorgeous settings in the Caribbean, Anse Chastenet yoga takes place in the tranquil, beach gazebo. No need to play fake sounds of nature through a sound system, everything here is the real article. Lapis lazuli waters lick sugar-soft sands, palm trees rustle in the soft breeze and there’s the occasional chirrup of a cicada or the flap of a bird’s wing. This is a retreat personified. Classes are totally relaxed, without a hint of competition and all levels are catered for. Private tuition is also available.

Domaine de La Grausse, France

France doesn’t automatically spring to mind when you think of yoga retreats, but it should when you think of Domaine de La Grausse. A seventeenth century chateau, high up in the Pyrenees, is the perfect setting for a European yoga retreat. Guests enjoy fine hospitality of accommodation in converted stone barns and in between yoga classes, which are held twice daily, the gorgeous surrounding area is perfect for de-stressing and calming walks. Meditation classes are held weekly, too. This retreat is very guest-friendly and is run by an ex-pat British couple, so there are no language barriers for native English-speakers here.

A yoga retreat may be the spiritual journey that you need, or one that you were always too busy to take. No matter where the country, the time of year or the level of yoga experience, you will be able to find the perfect yoga retreat; one that you will struggle to believe was not made just for you! Whether in the mountains of Siberia or the deserts of Africa, a yoga retreat could bring the much needed balance everybody needs to bring to their busy lives.

Date posted: 23rd October, 2012

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