Active vacation, yoga retreats
YOGA RETREATS & VACATIONS IN CANADA
by Victoria Stevens
Yoga — an ancient Eastern philosophy and system of exercises that promotes flexibility, strength and inner harmony — has enjoyed a major surge of popularity over the last few years. Lucky for yoga enthusiasts, there are a growing number of yoga retreats available in Canada.
Here's where to travel to get the mind and body on the path to total calm.
Salt Spring Centre of Yoga
Established in 1981 for the teaching and practice of classical Ashtanga yoga, the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga , on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, offers a variety of programs and retreats year-round. Retreats typically include two night’s accommodation, vegetarian cuisine and yoga classes for a range of levels.
The centre also offers an assortment of Ayurveda and bodywork treatments at the Wellness Centre. Free time can be spent hiking or exploring the island market, shops and galleries or simply enjoying personal time in a serene setting. There is also an annual yoga getaway for families.
Northern Edge Algonquin
For those who think they might like a smooth paddle across calm waters mixed in with their Salutes to the Sun, Northern Edge Algonquin just outside Ontario’s Algonquin Park, teaches guests how to balance a canoe or kayak along with balancing the mind, body and spirit. Days start off with yoga on the dock, breathing fresh morning air and stretching to the sunrise. In the evening there are campfires, healthy meals and the learning of new ways to finding personal balance. Four-day getaways are available June to August and there are winter retreats as well.
The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp
Located in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp offers year-round programs of various lengths and levels. More appropriate for the serious yoga practitioner, Sivananda offers various themes including Karma yoga, family yoga, yoga as a means to increase energy and yoga for those wanting to become a teacher. Accommodation includes a lodge and basic cabins where you bring your own linens or a campground during the summer season.
Tucked into a wilderness setting on Cortes Island off the B.C. Coast, Hollyhock is an experiential learning centre offering workshops, retreats and conferences focused on such topics as well being, human potential, healing and yoga. Special yoga programs are offered throughout the spring, summer and fall, but the centre is closed from November to March.
A spacious century inn on Wolfe Island, two hours from Ottawa and three hours from Toronto, Shanti Retreat offers yoga weekends with a variety of teachers and workshops. Vegetarian meals are served
Also, keep in mind that many resorts and inns (especially those with spas) are now providing yoga classes as part of the guest amenity package and there’s a growing number of yoga ashrams, or retreats available too. Here are some to consider:
YOGA IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
• Adventures Village Island, located at the edge of Blackfish Sound Johnston Straits and operated by the Mamalilikulla Qwe'Qwa'Sot'Em' First Nations, is offering daily yoga sessions with the constant sound of humpback whales feeding and passing by twice daily.
• Located on one of B.C.’s beautiful Gulf Islands, the Galiano Inn & Spa offers group outdoor yoga classes in the summer and individual classes indoors year-round.
• People from all over the world come to study yoga on the shores of Kootenay Lake at Yasodhara Ashram yoga retreat and study centre.
• Surrounded by rainforest and facing the Pacific Ocean, the Best Western Tin Wis Resort Hotel in Tofino, on Vancouver Island’s west coast, offers morning Hatha yoga classes.
• A seven-day health, hiking and fitness program, including daily yoga, is featured at Coastal Trek Health & Fitness Resort in the Comox Valley near Courtenay on Vancouver Island.
• Focused on weight loss, The Hills Health Ranch, located in rolling hills northeast of Vancouver, offers yoga as part of its many wellness programs.
• Yoga, pilates and dance are part of the package at Solwood Healing Arts Retreat and Spa on one of Tofino’s spectacular beaches on the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island.
• You can book your own summer yoga retreat or take a yoga class at Seascape Resort on Quadra Island, off Vancouver Island, in one of the best salmon fishing areas in the world.
YOGA IN ALBERTA
• Annual winter and summer yoga retreats are offered at the Goldeye Centre in the stunning Rocky Mountain scenery of Nordegg.
• Explore the beauty of the Rockies at Nature's Tracks - Eco & Yoga Adventures near Canmore, where a variety of yoga classes and retreats can include hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
YOGA IN ONTARIO
• In picturesque Prince Edward County, Saha Yoga Retreat offers year-round yoga programs.
• Offering luxury on a pristine lake, Grail Springs Spa & Wellness Retreat near Bancroft provides yoga as part of its many wellness programs.
• Group yoga classes and meditation are part of the wellness menu at Ste. Anne's Country Inn and Spa in Grafton.
• Individual, group and couples yoga classes are available at High Fields Country Inn and Spa in Zephyr, just north of Stouffville.
• Yoga classes are among the many year-round programs offered at Fern Resort in Orillia.
• Private yoga and pilates classes are available at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
• There’s something for every age and interest at the Delawana Inn in Muskoka’s Honey Harbour, including yoga classes at the Wanakita Wellness Spa.
• Private yoga classes and relaxing spa treatments are available at The Hillcrest Victorian Inn and Valenova Spa in Port Hope.
YOGA IN QUEBEC
• A yoga studio is part of the amenities at the charming Auberge La Grange Country Inn in Wakefield in the Gatineau Hills, just 20 minutes from Ottawa.
YOGA IN THE ATLANTIC PROVINCES
• Yoga and meditation as well as reiki and massage are part of the spa package at Mystic Maples Bed and Breakfast in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.
• Yoga classes, retreats and workshops are offered year-round at Kidston Creek Organic Farm and Yoga Centre in Centreville in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.
• The Tatamagouche Centre, on the Northumberland Strait in Nova Scotia, offers a wide range of programs, including music, arts, spirituality and social justice as well as several yoga classes and workshops.
• Kripalu yoga is the focus at Shining Bay Yoga Retreat on the ocean in East Dover, Nova Scotia. Operating from June to September only, a variety of retreats are offered, including one just for girls aged 9 to 16.
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