Until recently, yoga retreats conjured images of hippie-dippy communes with spartan dormitories, flavorless vegan food, and long hours of silence interspersed with chanting. Now, thanks to the spa vacation trend and yoga’s popularity, those who want to stretch out and rejuvenate while enjoying a relaxing beach trip can have it all. Imagine practicing sun salutations to the sound of lapping waves instead of Enya music, while looking at an ocean sunrise rather than walls plastered with happy Buddha posters.
Retreat locales are as varied as the asanas (poses), ranging from luxurious resorts that feature celebrity instructors and bonus activities like cooking classes, spa treatments, sunset cruises, and tequila tastings, to rustic lodges where the focus is limited to yoga and nature. The best part? With this carefully curated list, even beginners can enjoy a vinyasa voyage.
MEXICO, SOUTH AMERICA, AND CENTRAL AMERICA
Why You’ll Love It: The small Mexican fishing village setting comes with a beautiful stretch of beach. Add instructor Tom Morley, a Los Angeles yoga icon with celebrity clients and a loyal following, and you’ve achieved nirvana.
Where You’ll Salute the Sun: under an oceanfront palapa, the Pacific lapping just feet in front of you, with views of lush mountains
Post-Yoga Diversions: A red algae body wrap at the spa. A yacht cruise along the coastline. A beachside tequila tasting before an authentic Pacific-Mexican dinner.
When To Go: fall 2010
Cost: $1,600 per person (double occupancy) for a three-night retreat, includes all meals and daily yoga classes; tideszihuatanejo.com
Las Olas Surf and Yoga
Why You’ll Love It: Its motto is “We make girls out of women.” You get the physical challenges of surfing and the relaxation of yoga, all in one vacation.
Where You’ll Salute the Sun: at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, every morning
Post-Yoga Diversions: cooking lessons, salsa dancing, and surfboard care workshop
When To Go: 2010 retreats are scheduled through June.
Cost: Deluxe villas start at $2,495 for shared bedrooms; villas with private bedrooms start at $3,495. Includes airport transportation, six nights accommodations, breakfasts, daily yoga, daily surf lessons, surf equipment, and a sports massage; surflasolas.com