Wellness Travel: Top Fourteen Yoga Fusion Retreats For 2014


Yoga. Photo courtesy of Daniela Vladimirova.

New Years often comes with new resolutions. Get ready to stretch, flex and center yourself with this diverse collection of yoga fusion retreats, both domestic and international. As with any retreat, these getaways allow for a necessary and nourishing escape from daily life. Picturesque locations provide new perspective and serene spaces for solitary contemplation. Gourmet meals inspire healthy living from the inside out. Massages and spa treatments provide some much-deserved pampering and a way to give back to the body that works so hard for you.

Rest and relaxation has its place but true transformation arises when yogis challenge themselves to try new things. Ever wanted to learn how to surf? Dance with fire? Help save the sea turtles? Roam with wildlife on an African safari? Make yoga a sustainable part of your life with a teacher-training program?  Now’s the time! Today’s top yoga adventure retreats pair yoga with indulgent experiences, adventurous activities and exploratory excursions to stretch mind, body and spirit. There’s options for people who want to spoil themselves with luxury accommodations and others for people willing to forsake a therapeutic mattress to get more intimately acquainted with the great outdoors.  Choose the right yoga fusion retreat for you, in sites both near or far, with options to suit every budget and time-scale.


1. Yoga and Wine (Napa Valley, California)

Do you want a quick escapade where you can maintain your New Year’s fitness resolution while enjoying the best of California’s Napa Valley wine country? The Domaine Carneros winery offers a “Vinyasa in the Vineyard” yoga class followed by a sparkling wine brunch. For budding wine snobs, guests can tantalize their taste buds by adding an hour long educational tasting after the bubbly breakfast.

Chateau at Domaine Carneros Vineyards

Chateau for “Vinayssa at the Vineyards” at Domaine Carneros Vineyards. Photo courtesy of Domaine Carneros.

2. Yoga and Kayaking (Madeline Island, North Wisconsin)

Simultaneously improve your yoga and sea kayaking skills at the world-class destination of the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior. Spend mornings developing your yoga practice, and in the afternoon explore sea caves, hike the shores of Madeline’s State Park, and use breathing and stabilization strategies from yoga to improve kayaking skills. Find your best self at this active, playful and adventurous three-day woman’s-only yoga kayaking retreat.

3. Yoga and Glamping (Colorado/Utah/Arizona)

Find peace and serenity at desert southwest of the United States, with this 8-night retreat brought to you by RE:treat and Expedition Ops, a luxury camping outfitter. Starting the adventure in Telluride, Colorado, guests will be driven through the breathtaking, remote desert landscapes of southern Utah and northern Arizona. While in some of the most awe inspiring, off-the-beaten path areas of North America, you will practice yoga and hiking. Traveling by 4WD and “glamping” in luxury tents throughout this trek will ensure a comfortable stay while maintaining oneness with the beauty of the great outdoors.

Go glamping in the desert southwest of the United States with Re:treat and Expedition Ops.  Photo courtesy of Re:treat.

Go glamping in the desert southwest of the United States with Re:treat and Expedition Ops. Photo courtesy of Re:treat.

4. Yoga and Hiking (Blue Ridge Mountain, Virginia)

Learn how to achieve a healthy, active lifestyle with a five-night Retreat at Veritas in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Wake up each morning with yoga at sunrise, before spending the day hiking on the Appalachian Mountain trails. After lunch on the trails choose from afternoon exercise, like stretching, massages, cooking demonstrations and wine education. Then unwind, wine and dine with a much-deserved four course, wine-paired dinner and regain strength to start a new day.


5. Yoga and Hula Hoops (Panama/Nicaragua)

Are you an adventurous yogi whose practice isn’t restricted to a mat? You’ll practically be qualified as a circus performer after finishing The Grounded Way retreat, which travels to picturesque places around the globe.  Through June 2014, you can practice in an open-air tent in Panama at Red Frog Beach.  Then, they’ll be moving to beautiful Nicaragua, you can try stand-up paddle yoga, slack-line yoga and hula hoop yoga. This retreat takes holistic health to a new level by providing the local community with yoga mats, surf boards, skateboards, hula hoops, books about health, natural medicine and so much more. These retreats support the Wellness Foundation which revitalizes local villages through these free supplies, instructions and education. Create a grounded way of life by participating in this healthy circle of giving back to better yourself and your community.

Yoga and Hula Hooping Nicaragua with Grounded Way Retreats

Hula hoop upside-down and seaside Nicaragua with Grounded Way Yoga Retreat. Photo courtesy of Grounded Way.

6. Yoga and Elephants (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

If you’re an animal lover who wants to spread love to four-footed creatures of this universe, consider a service “Seva” Yoga Retreat to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Visitors will enjoy twice yoga, meditation, Thai spa services, Thai cuisine and service with proceeds that benefit the Save Elephant Foundation. Participants will begin with three days in the cultural Buddhist hub of Chang Mai before spending five in the Elephant Nature Park. Here, participants will live amongst these gentle giants, helping with the care and keeping of abused and orphaned animals- check out last year’s video here.

Yoga at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand

For elephant-lovers, the Seva retreat allows you to spend time the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo courtesy of AZIAM retreats.

7. Yoga and Italian Excursions (Italy)

This “La Yoga Bella” European retreat will immerse you in the best Italy has to offer. Enjoy two daily dynamic yoga and meditation classes in a glass barn overlooking the olive groves of Umbrian Hillside. Take advantage of an authentic Italian cooking class, guided meditations, hiking, biking and a Pranayama fire ceremony at the luxury villa retreat facilities. Explore the country with city excursions to Florence, Gubbio and Assisi and a wine tour to the famous Montefalco Vinyard in this surprisingly economical package. To see if this looks as perfect as it sounds, check out this beautiful slideshow.

8. Yoga and Surfing (Riviera Nayarit, Mexico)

Contemplation, focus and conscious balance are key elements to both yoga and surfing. Fine-tune both practices at the oceanfront Las Olas—”the waves”— studio for a woman-only yoga and surf retreat. Nestled in a small fishing village north of Puerto Vallarta, yoga classes for all levels focus on flexibility, breathing, balance and surfing-specific postures. On this five-night getaway, practice yoga high on jungle hills, learn to surf and bond with sister surfistas during afternoon activities that include margarita-making and salsa dancing.

Oceanside Villa at Las Olas oceanside yoga and surf resort.

Oceanside Villa at Las Olas oceanside yoga and surf resort. Photo courtesy of Las Olas.

9. Yoga on a Paddleboard (Puerto Rico)

Get a jumpstart on one of the latest fitness trends with a Paddleboard Yoga retreat at the Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico. In addition to building strength and stability with paddleboard yoga, revive the mind, body and spirit with hikes, guided meditation, superfood cooking demonstration and a candlelight labyrinth & fire ceremony. Enjoy all these activities during this 4-night retreat on a 500-acre resort overlooking the converging waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Paddleboard yoga in Puerto Rico

Paddleboard yoga in Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy of El Conquistador Resort.

10. Yoga and Sea Turtle Conservation (Caribbean)

Tune-out the busy world and tune in to nature for a week-long yoga retreat at the Rosalie Bay Resort  on the Nature Island of Dominica in the Caribbean. The retreat includes daily outdoor yoga classes and active island pursuits, such as hiking to rainforests, swimming under waterfalls, snorkeling in the island’s famous Champagne Reef, and visiting healing hot springs. In their free time, guests can visit the spa for a massage, swim in the saltwater pool and meditate by walking in the resort’s labyrinth, nature paths or black sand beach. Visitors who visit during sea turtle season (beginning in March) can participate in the resort’s pioneering sea turtle conservation efforts by patrolling the beaches for nesting sea turtles and helping researchers collect data.

Yoga Retreat with Rosalie Bay Resort

Yoga Retreat with Rosalie Bay Resort in Dominica, Caribbean. Photo courtesy of Rosalie Bay Resort.

11. Yoga and Fire Dancing (Montezuma, Costa Rica)

Does singing birds, howling monkeys and crashing waves sound like the perfect soundtrack to your yoga getaway?  La Escuela Del Sol allows you to enjoy oceanside yoga in Montezuma, Costa Rica while providing many opportunities to learn something new– you can even get college credit for improving your language skills!  Guests can customize a one- to four-week stay by combining yoga with fire dancing lessons from Cirque du Soleil experts, surfing lessons, scuba certification or Spanish coursework. Located near Costa Rica’s adventure capital, visitors can check out exhilarating local excursions, such as ziplining, ATV tours and horseback rides to private waterfalls.

Poi fire dancing at yoga retreat in Costa Rica

It doesn’t get much hotter than dancing with fire at yoga retreat in Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of La Escuela Del Sol.

12. Yoga and African Safari (Tanzania)

If you’ve dreamed of traveling through Tanzania’s most stunning areas (like the Ngorongoro Highlands, the Serengeti and Zanzibar) watching wildlife, consider Africa Adventure’s traveling Wellness Safari with Shannon Paige. Enjoy a deep unimpeded connection with nature as you meditate overlooking the golden Serengeti or practice your warrior poses beside the white sands and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. When not doing yoga, participants can visit traditional African healers, experience authentic tribal song and dance, participate in organic cooking classes, receive life coaching and more.

Yoga with Tanzania Wellness Safari

You could be practicing your tree in Tanzania with Tanzania Wellness Safari. Photo courtesy of Tanzania Wellness Safari.

13. Yoga in Llama Chaps (Avenue of Volcanoes, Ecuador)

Yearning for an expansive, soul-enlivening, horizon-expanding adventure? Try this untraditional retreat in Ecuador brought to you by Amazon Andes Sky. Instead of staying settled in one place, you’ll be zip lining through jungle canopy, hiking through the cloud forest, plunging into waterfalls and riding horseback in llama chaps near active volcanoes. Instead of lounging in luxury accommodations, you’ll be practicing your poses beside a crackling fire in a historic
hacienda, atop a volcanic glacier in the middle of the world, in the 
cozy library of a boutique hotel, under a thatched roof lagoon 
pagoda, and beneath stained glass windows of an ancient Basilica. If adventure rejuvenates you, this retreat could be a perfect way to deepen your practice while experiencing the people, the 
history, and the landscapes of Ecuador. Watch a video of a typical retreat week here.

Ecuador Adventure Yoga Retreat- Amazon Andes Sky.

Ecuador Adventure Yoga Retreat- you’ll be doing yoga in llama chaps before you know it! Photo courtesy of Amazon Andes Sky.

14. Yoga and Teacher Training (Chacala, Mexico)

Want to take your yoga practice to the next level as a permanent and sustainable lifestyle? Consider enrolling in the 9-day teacher training Yoga Shelters 2014 retreat in Chacala,
 Mexico. This retreat will give you the knowledge and information you need to deepen your understanding of yourself and the world around you, while providing tools to start transforming your life. If you’re serious about yoga, this retreat will help you build a business around the yoga philosophy so you can share all that you are, and all that you know, in a dynamic, fun loving and authentic way to the world. 
Your stay at this amazing venue (rumored to be Bob Dylan’s hideaway in the 70s) will be spiced up with surprise outings, such as visits to
ancient ruins, sailing on a Catamaran and hikes to hidden beach caves.

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Katie Foote may be a physicist by trade but she travels the world any chance she can get. After four years of semi-nomadic life as she finished her PhD, she's recently moved to Auckland, New Zealand. Despite beginning a more traditional life, she has insight on how to travel the world on a graduate student budget (cheap!), explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and authentically experiencing new places by connecting to locals. When she's not doing physics or globe-trotting, she likes to swim, do yoga and hike (or "tramp" as they say in New Zealand). Check out Katie's blog to follow her adventures around the world.


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