Like last year’s round-up of unique wellness trips, Epicure & Culture wants to help you stretch your limits with yoga retreats that fuse flexibility, strength training and curative stretching with something else. Maybe you want to cultivate compassion by volunteering at an animal rescue center, conscious living with permaculture or awareness by giving a Thai massage. In 2015, take advantage of these amazing ways to jump start a year of wellness travel.
1) Yoga & Glow-in-the-dark Kayaking (Puerto Rico)
Visiting Vieques Island proves you can enter a whole new world without leaving the country. Travel eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico for a totally different lifestyle. Not home to even a single traffic light, the local Viequense still travel by Jeep and horseback on the island’s Paso Fino horses. Join the W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island for an exclusive three or five-day ENERGIZE yoga retreat with celebrity yoga teacher, Tara Stiles. Kick-start a healthier lifestyle with Strala yoga classes, wellness assessments, immersive nature escapes, cooking classes with the resort’s chef and more. While there, night kayak atop the bio-luminescent bay water that literally sparkles with light, as it’s filled with plankton that glow when disturbed. You can also horse-back ride on the beach, snorkel and visit the spa for made-to-order treatments.
Rates start at $609 per night. Click here for more information.
2) Yoga & Snowshoeing (New York)
If you prefer snow to surf, consider snow-ga at Bristol Mountain Ski Resort in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Join Yogascapes for a wintery hike around the gorgeous Canandaigua Lake. You will stop along the way to learn how to incorporate yoga moves into the hike, using ski poles for balance. An alternative to skiing or snowboarding during the winter season, snow-ga is an ideal way to enjoy outdoor recreation and fitness even in a winter wonderland. Your night will end with appetizers and wine around a bonfire.
Prices start at $40. Click here for more information.
3) Yoga & Skiing (California)
Improve your skills on the slopes and in the studio with Squaw Valley’s new “Mountain to Mat” program in Olympic Valley, California. New this winter, Squaw Valley is hosting three weekend workshops with intermediate through expert ski/snowboard lessons and yoga. You will wake up to a locally-sourced, organic breakfast and lunch, a half day on the mountain with a professional ski/snowboard guide, an afternoon restorative yoga class at the Wanderlust Yoga Studio, and wrap up your day with wine and mini-spa treatments while sipping wine.
The workshop costs $169/person without a lift ticket, and $229/person with a lift ticket. Click here for more information.
4) Yoga & Lighthouses (Maine)
Join Wander Woman for a weekend of wellness, with the theme of the retreat centered around lighthouses. Like the beacons of light guiding sailors and fishermen safely into harbors along the rocky Maine coastline, this retreat is destined to awaken consciousness to help you navigate life’s obstacles. Each day, you can attend yoga classes with varying levels and choose from a variety of activities. Some examples include kayaking around Curtis Island lighthouse, hiking up Mount Battie for a view of Penobscot Bay, dance and biking. You will also take cooking classes to learn about preparing nutritious meals, explore alternative health regimens, and find Food Fingerprints for optimal energy and well-being.
Prices for this five day retreat start at $1499 per person. Click here for more information on this woman’s retreat.
5) Green Yoga & Permaculture (Guatemala)
Journey to sacred Mayan land in San Marcos La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala for a yoga and immersive live experience that will change the way you see the world around you. Live off-the-grid and stay in rustic cabanas to escape the day-to-day grind of technological living, learning to re-appreciate simple pleasures. While here, you will learn about permaculture which nurtures similar principles as yoga: awareness of surroundings, working with your body, and cultivating a union between mind and movements. The Yoga Forest helps you achieve honest living, and you’ll learn to recognize the impact of plants, buildings, animals and insects on the environment and its occupants. Participate in daily yoga, meditation and service (seva or karma yoga) within the community in a comfortable place conducive to growth and sharing.
Accommodations include daily meditation, two yoga classes, a permaculture class, and three delicious vegetarian meals. Rates start at $40 USD per night. Click here for more information.
6) Yoga & Wildlife Volunteering (Costa Rica)
There’s always something happening at La Escuela Del Sol: Spanish lessons, surfing, scuba certification and fire poi dance lessons in a tropical Costa Rica location, for example. This spring, you can add wildlife volunteering to that list, as they just bought Rainsong Wildlife Rescue Center. Starting in April 2015, you will also be able to assist their efforts in accepting injured and abandoned animals from the area. Moreover, new glamping tents, a new yoga deck and a swimming pool are on the menu for the new year.
Rates vary depending on what program you decide to take. Click here for an estimate and to find out more about the extensive offerings of La Escuela del Sol.
7) Yoga & Festivals (India)
Join Sacred Earth for a yoga journey through southern India, in time to participate in one of the area’s most moving festivals: Karthigai Deepam. A festival of lights, you’ll see the streets and buildings glow red and gold as ghee (clarified butter) is lit on the summit of Mount Arunachala as a powerful beacon of light visible from afar. During this time, see thousands upon thousands of pilgrims walking to Tiruvannamalaito to walk around the Holy Mountain, stopping at devotional shrines along the way. On this 16-day retreat, you will also cruise through rice paddies, take a rickshaw tour of markets and attend a dance performance in Kerala. You will practice yoga throughout and absorb the spirit of the place where it all began, through visits to temples and various other holy spaces.
The retreat runs from November 20 – December 5, 2015 and starts at $3500. Click here for more information.
8) Yoga & River Rafting (Costa Rica)
If you seek surf and spirituality, consider Langua Travel’s Costa Rica Yoga+ Adventure trip. This custom yoga trip can contain an action-packed week of yoga, whitewater rafting and surfing in the jungles and on the beaches of Costa Rica. You may also opt to add Spanish courses, paddle-boarding or horseback riding. Your trip culminates with a rafting excursion on the wild rapids of the Pacuare River, in the middle of the rain forest. In the evenings, healthy and delicious meals and savored before sunset yoga. Activities like zip lining and waterfall jumping are offered at stops along the river.
Trips start at $1,450. Email Langua Travel ([email protected]) to start building your custom yoga adventure trip.
9) Yoga & Dance (Nicaragua)
Visit El Coco Loco Resort in Managua, Nicaragua for a retreat that blends yoga with meditation, including a silent and blindfolded dance meditation. You’ll dine on raw and vegetarian food and can participate in tutorials about juicing, eating raw, chocolate-making and massage. You can also dabble in surfing, acro and thai yoga massage and giving back to the community with a local non-profit. Waves of Hope Non-Profit will allow you to help the local community by teaching English classes, building and painting.
The week-long retreat starts at $1500. Click here for more information.
10) Aerial Yoga & Surfing (Costa Rica)
If you want to take your yoga practice upside down, visit the Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica for the unique opportunity to enjoy aerial yoga from the comfort of your hotel. This anti-gravity yoga provides an incredible stretch that is good for the spine. In addition to aerial yoga, chose from several other types of yoga and meditation classes or visit the nearby Playa Guiones to take advantage of surfing (they have some of the world’s most consistent year-round breaks). Whether you are into long-boarding, short-boarding or stand up paddle boarding, you can leave your wetsuit at home thanks to year-round warm weather and convenient board rental near the hotel (cost ranges from $15 to $25 per day).
Hotel rates start at $330 per night. Click here for more information about all the services and treatments offered at The Healing Centre.
By Katie Foote
Do you have a yoga fusion retreat you’d like to recommend? Please let us know in the comments below.
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