Whether you’re looking for beaches or mountains, the physical or the spiritual for your next yoga wellness vacation, there’s a retreat out there for you. So, how do you decide where to go? We asked Sue White, travel writer, contributor to Australian Yoga Journal, author of the smartphone app Yoga Holidays Worldwide, and someone who has spent the last decade exploring the yoga world for work and play, to tell us what she thinks are the best international yoga retreats in the world. Below are her picks for the top yoga retreats in 2020:
1. Anamaya Resort, Costa Rica
Options abound in Costa Rica but in the north Anamaya Resort can’t be beaten. Reminiscent of a Balinese resort, this exotic holiday spot is just a stone’s throw from the town of Montezuma on the Nicoya Peninsula. Daily classes are usually Anusara yoga (a form of hatha) plus retreats focusing on yoga, circus skills, detox and meditation are met with a saltwater infinity pool, organic cuisine, fire dancing, and trapeze acts. If you can’t afford the in-house retreats, don’t worry, you can also drop in for daily yoga classes in their gorgeous yoga pavilion.
2. Blue Osa, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a wildlife paradise, and nowhere is it more so than the remote Osa Peninsula. Here, an abundance of local wildlife like sea turtles, jaguars, macaws, and the red-backed squirrel monkey are just waiting to be spotted. Getting here takes some effort, but the rewards are numerous. Fancy doing your tree pose watched by Toucans? Blue Osa in Costa Rica is the spot.
3. The Sanctuary, Thailand
Don’t panic that The Sanctuary is located on the island of Koh Pangan, home of Thailand’s famous full moon parties. While you leave from full-moon central (Haad Rin), a short boat ride leaves yogis world’s away from the action. The Sanctuary’s detox programs are well regarded, and anyone can take their twice daily yoga classes. Even if you’re feeling lazy, this is a stunning place to relax—the views from the restaurant are unforgettable.
4. Ananda Spa, India
India is the home of yoga, but ironically, it’s not always the most relaxing place to practice. Unless you’re at Ananda Spa near Rishikesh, at the base of the Himalayas. Once the home of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal, the grounds and buildings have been beautifully restored, and Ananda is now a world-class luxury resort spa with a swag of awards. They specialize in Yoga, Vedanta, and Ayurvedic therapies. You can get seriously lost in luxury here with a range of holistic treatments and workshops with visiting masters.
5. Phool Chatti Ashram, India
For those who like their Indian yoga holiday to spell “tradition” rather than “fantasy” Phool Chatti, just a short drive from Rishikesh and about an hour down the hill from Ananda Spa, offers an excellent way to try out life in an ashram (spiritual centre). Week-long programs are tailored for foreigners and offer a sample of ashram life, including 5:00 a.m. starts, silence before breakfast, and plenty of yoga every day.
6. Omega Institute, New York
This not-for-profit centre just a short drive from New York City is dedicated to providing wellbeing offerings in all forms, including yoga. The schedule at Omega Institute is packed: look for women’s weekends, yoga retreats from many of America’s best known teachers, and their annual kirtan (chanting) long weekend—a beautiful way to bliss out. If you happen to have a summer free, this yoga retreat is an excellent place to volunteer.
7. Bali Spirit Festival, Bali
Held in March/April every year, Bali Spirit is one of the many popular yoga festivals now springing up across the planet. Thanks to a stunning Ubud location and a schedule packed with yoga, music, and dance from teachers across Asia, Australia, and North America, Bali Spirit is now firmly on the annual calendar of many yogis one of the best yoga retreats in the world.
8. Suncokret Retreats, Croatia
Tucked away in a rustic farmhouse on an island where the homes date back to the 12th Century village, Suncokret is a family-run boutique yoga centre. As well as yoga in various styles, there are holistic treatments and of course, the crystal-clear waters nearby.
Looking for a few more international yoga retreats to visit in 2020? Here are some of our own top picks.
Zuna Yoga Teacher Training Retreat, Bali
Hidden deep in the uplands of Bali, Indonesia, this scenic and serene sanctuary is designed to enlighten those who are interested in sharing the yogic experience and spiritual side of yoga with others. The Zuna Yoga Teacher Training Retreat is lead by a group of world-class yoga instructors who are inspired by all the natural beauty and wonder that Bali has to offer. Engage in a 200-, 300-, or 500-hour training program of your choice to get the most out of your yogic journey to physical and spiritual harmony and help others do the same.
Santosha Yoga Retreats, British Columbia
Santosha is a unique state of mind that allows you to find peace, balance, and contentment in the world. Santosha Yoga Retreats offer various yoga retreat options throughout the year. Immerse yourself in a weekend Yoga on the Farm Retreat in beautiful Salt Spring Island, British Columbia at the Stowel Lake Organic Farm Wellness Centre. This retreat offers four days of yoga, peace, vegetarian cuisine, guided meditation, and so much more. Santosha Yoga Retreats also offers some of the best yoga retreats in the world, such as in Tofino, the Galapagos Islands, Bali, and Italy.
The Yoga Weekend, Ontario
Join 15 experienced yoga instructors and other wellness professionals as they guide you on a journey to enlightenment, finding inner peace, and learning to connect your physical and spiritual being. Rest and relaxation are on the menu at The Yoga Weekend, but this getaway at Camp Walden (located in Palmer Rapids, Ontario) also encourages attendees to get outside their comfort zones and try something new like biking riding, ziplining, watersports, and so much more.