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  • Jane Egginton

The Best Yoga Retreats in the World

Exquisitely located in the tranquil Himalayan foothills of India, close to the mythological city of Rishikesh and the fabled River Ganges, Ananda is a magical retreat that includes two royal palaces. Its yoga retreats combine Indian spirituality with 21st century luxury so that guests can experience international wellness treatments alongside traditional yoga from world-renowned masters. Guests can enjoy tailor made yoga programmes, ancient yogic cleansing practices and newly introduced yoga detox packages.

Therapy, life coaching, yoga, massage and acupuncture make up the unique Arrigo Programme, devised by Fiona Arrigo to ‘build the relationship with self’. In Somerset in the UK, highly experienced teachers provide a variety of styles in one to one yoga sessions alongside pranayama and meditation. In Southern Spain morning classes incorporate native American movements and meridian stretches, with hatha yoga in the evening. Personalised yoga therapy is also available and individual requests can usually be accommodated.

Dhanakosa is a Buddhist retreat centre in the highlands of Scotland within the lovely Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Its 16-acres of grounds with waterfalls and ancient woodland provide a spectacular location for its retreats. Yoga, hillwalking, and alternative health complement the programme of meditation, with teachings on Buddhism also available. Dhanakosa operates with a laudable spirit of generosity and, not wanting to exclude anyone, asks people to pay for the courses on a donation basis, according to what they can afford.

The Esalen Institute in California is beautifully located on the wild coast of Big Sur. Known around the world as a legendary New Age destination, it offers over 30 yoga courses from Prajna yoga immersion and LifeForce yoga to manage moods, to yoga detox programes, as well as a yoga festival and yoga camps. Esalen is a powerful place of pilgrimage that has provided a ‘50-year Olympics of the mind, heart, body, spirit.’

At Formentera Yoga right on the beach of this idyllic little Spanish island with clear turquoise waters you can go to sleep to the sound of the ocean. World-class teachers provide dedicated and loving Vinaysa flow, dynamic yoga and somatic meditation at their solid programme of retreats, which are available for much of the year. Deservedly popular, their retreats sell out fast, so book early.

Health and Fitness Travel offers an impressive range of tailor-made yoga and wellness holidays around the world, including Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. Its cleverly designed website means you can refine your search to combine yoga with, for example, detox, watersports or family activities. The organisation is known for its superb service and extremely highly knowledgeable travel specialists that includes their very own yoga expert.

Kali Yoga is unusual in that it offers almost year round yoga retreats in Europe. This well-established and widely well-regarded set up boasts a spectacular location in Spain, providing delicious organic cuisine, holistic therapies, hill walking and inspirational workshops. Whether you want a dynamic practice, to detox or a chance to improve your yoga, Kali Yoga can accommodate you. Their new location in a private hamlet in France provides a touch of glamour to their wonderful retreats.

Kamalaya on a Thai island is an award-winning wellness sanctuary and one of the Healing Hotels of the World. It provides personal yoga synergy with private one-to-one sessions, including asanas, pranayama and meditation. These are carefully adapted according to the needs of the individual, and guests can focus on detox, weight or fitness while enjoying holistic medicinal treatments, alongside healing therapies. Dedicated yoga and meditation retreats, personalised yoga programmes and daily complimentary yoga classes are all on offer.

The Kempinksi in Gozo ia an award-winning spa and one of the rare authentic Ayurveda centres in Europe. The hotel provides a five-star experience in a peaceful oasis surrounded by the Mediterranean coast and idyllic countryside. Highly experienced teachers offer daily yoga classes, which form an important part of the Ayurveda retreats. The focus here is to develop perfect harmony and balance within the body, aided by yoga practice, dedicated treatments and the exquisite natural environment.

Yoga has always been an essential element of the 20-yearold Ayurveda hotel Park Schloesschen in Germany, with a dedicated six-day Yoga and Ayurveda Programme launched in 2013. This involves a unique process in which doctors and yoga teachers provide a personalised yoga practice for each guest. Enjoy advanced dynamic Hatha yoga every morning and a more restorative practice in the evening. Back and laughter yoga takes place weekly and there are private yoga lessons in yoga as well as pranayama and meditation.

Puema Hue in North Patagonia, Argentina means ‘Place of Dreams’ in the native Mapuche language and the eco-resort and mountain lodge really is a little piece of heaven. In an extraordinary setting within a national park with two miles of lakeshore, dramatic mountains, clear waterfalls and scenic forests, Peuma Hue offers an incredible, holistic experience. Choose from regular yoga classes dedicated yoga and nature retreats inspired by the seasons and ski & yoga weeks.

Sacred Earth Journeys in California provide exceptional yoga retreats in spectacular locations and the chance to learn about spiritual practices and sacred places around the world. The journeys include surfing in Costa Rica, sunrise ceremonies at Machu Picchu, Peru and private meditations inside Egypt’s Great Pyramid. Highly skilled teachers cater for all levels of abilities, with exceptional opportunities to meet local wisdom keepers, traditional healers and shamans.

SHA is an extraordinary luxury wellbeing resort on a spectacular stretch of coast in Alicante Spain. One of the few truly holistic spas in the world, SHA offers skilled yoga and meditation teaching – either in groups or in personalised sessions – that perfectly complement the outstanding treatments and programmes on offer. Guests can choose to focus on weight loss, beautification or sleep improvement while enjoying teaching from visiting masters.

The combination of medical input with natural therapies and the staggering range of treatments make SHA very special. Wellbeing Escapes ( offer packages to SHA as well as other yoga holidays.

Star Clippers, who operate some of the finest cruises in the world, now offer yoga afloat on a tall ship. Take part in dynamic yoga and meditation classes in the sea breeze under billowing sails as you cruise the Baltic and the Mediterranean. Star Clippers boast

three of the tallest sailing vessels and being onboard feels like being on a luxurious private yacht. Their expert yoga teacher, who trained with Bryan Kest, yoga guru to stars like Madonna and Sting, also provides lectures on yoga for slimming, back care and power yoga.

The White Lotus Yoga and Meditation Centre in Ubud, Bali is a enchanting place where the owner genuinely loves her guests. A solid programme of yoga is available along with magical night meditations and silent meditation days. Guests can relax in the

gorgeous garden and generally bliss out in the spectacular surroundings. Proceeds from the meditation and yoga classes for non-guests are donated to the local community.

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