Roll out your mat and check yourself into one of these
It’s difficult to find a resort or five-star hotel that doesn’t offer yoga in some shape or form these days. Why? Simply because it works. Part of the 5,000-yearold philosophy of Ayurveda, yoga can help keep the body flexible and strong, the mind clear and focused, the spirit happy and compassionate.
And in an increasingly stressful world, practicing asana postures, meditation and breathing brings back a modicum of space, time, purpose and balance, helping the body, mind and soul self-heal, relax and regain perspective.
So book into one of these Asia-Pacific retreats and come home feeling energized and enlightened.
RADIANCE YOGA RETREATS, BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA
Byron Bay is wellness central in Australia, and one of the town’s best-known yoginis (women proficient in yoga; the term for men is yogi) is Jessie Chapman, who has been leading retreats there for many years. There are upcoming Yoga Cleanse & Pamper Retreats in the new year at Sangsurya Retreat, a short walk from Byron Bay’s beaches and town center.
Sangsurya is an eco retreat with hand built cabins set around the yoga hall and ozone pool, with views over the ocean. Some spa treatments are included, as are three meals a day starting with early morning healthy juices and continuing with organic dishes free of meat, dairy, sugar and alcohol.
Chapman and her fellow instructors teach a mix of Vinyasa, Hatha, Iyengar and restoration yoga. The retreat coming in the new year offers six nights and seven days and is priced from A$2,375 ($1,675) per person, double occupancy.
YANGSHUO YOGA, CHINA
Against a backdrop of monolithic karst mountains is the chilled out town of Yangshuo, in China’s famous leisure city of Guilin. It’s here that founder David Sharpe and facilitator Kailash lead their Mini, Discovery and Immersion retreats. These can begin at any time, making joining flexible. Sharpe, a personal growth teacher, leads retreats to help students find clarity, balance and purpose.
Days start with meditation, followed by yoga and a healthy breakfast (the only meal included), with the second daily class in the late afternoon based on Hatha for strength and flexibility, Vinyasa Flow, which focuses on poses and breathing, or YinYoga, which stretches the body with long, passive asanas. The rest of the time is free for rest or exploring the local area.
Students stay at one of two homes, The Sanctuary or Cosy Garden, in the
pretty village of Shi Ban Qiao by the Li River. Simple and rustic, here you will be swapping luxury for affordability and charm.
Mini Retreats (four days, three nights) start at ¥1,600 ($250) for a double bed single occupancy, ¥1,300 ($205) double bed double occupancy per person; Discovery Retreats (six days, five nights) start at ¥2,400 ($380) or ¥2,000 ($315), and Immersion Retreats (eight days, seven nights) from ¥3,300 (US$520) or ¥2,500 ($395), respectively.
DESA SENI, BALI, INDONESIA
Full of wildflowers and birdsong, Desa Seni is the perfect place to reconnect with Mother Nature. Created – sustainably, of course – especially for yoga retreats, it also offers dance, music and Traditional Chinese Medicine classes.
Desa Seni offers a range of schools of yoga and practices with drop-in classes daily. Standout offerings include the Yoga Therapeutics Personal Retreat, Deepen Your Yoga Personal Retreat and Tantra For Couples Private Retreat. Retreats start with a consultation and include several private and group yoga classes, meditation sessions and massages.
You’ll stay in cabins and houses that are original Indonesian homes which have been restored to comfortable and colorful sanctuaries. The food you eat is organic, and much of it has been grown in the center’s own gardens.
The Yoga Therapeutics Personal Retreat costs $1,650 per person for five nights, Deepen Your Yoga Personal Retreat is $1,450 per person for five nights and Tantra for Couples Private Retreat is $2,450 for two for five nights.
VIKASA KOH SAMUI, THAILAND
lives and breathes yoga. The cliff-side retreat was created and is led by Latvian Konstantin Miachin, inventor of the Vikasa yoga style. His retreats focus on the physical asanas and promote a healthy lifestyle via food, community, wellness, detox and meditation. A stay here is about increasing awareness, creating deeper connections, and becoming healthier and happier.
Alongside specific retreats, the resort offers Yoga Vacations, which can be booked any time for any number of days. Daily meditation, morning and evening yoga (good for any level), plus meditation and Pilates take place in the open-air yoga pavilions to the sounds of the ocean. Between sessions you’ll be fueling up on organic food in the restaurant or blissing out during spa treatments (which are not included in the price).