Yoga Vacations

Yoga vacations can be as simple as spending the weekend at a local hotel or as complex and extensive as a trek to holy sites in India. There are yoga studios everywhere, and it is not uncommon for the instructors to host yoga retreats at exotic resorts and to lead trips that are like pilgrimages to holy sites. The latter is especially true of India, which is where the discipline of yoga originated. The itinerary for a trip like this might last for two or three weeks and include the holy cities of Rishikesh, Haridwar, Amritsar where the magnificent Golden Temple is located, Benares (also called Varanasi), and Vrindavan. Along the way, travelers participate in yoga, the call and response chanting of kirtan, and often in charitable projects like preparing meals for the poor. Often a dip in the sacred Ganges River is part of the itinerary.

Yoga retreats that involve travel in India or the neighboring Himalayan countries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet can be quite inexpensive by traveling on trains and staying in modest guesthouses. Often overnight stays are arranged in temples, where sleeping is dormitory style and rigorous discipline is required, including pre-dawn meditation. They can also be quite expensive if arrangements are made to include luxury hotels and resorts.

There are other destinations that lend themselves well to yoga vacations with a touch of the exotic. These include places in Indonesia like Java and Bali and Southeast Asia countries like Thailand and Cambodia. There are yoga festivals held around the world. You can attend them in Vermont or Indonesia at just about any time of year. If you practice yoga to any degree, the studio you frequent will undoubtedly have information.

Yoga retreats that spend the entire time in a luxurious resort are also popular. You can find wonderful luxury yoga cruises in which the entire ship has been chartered for the special group or where only a block of cabins and certain function rooms have been set aside. Destinations for these cruises are almost as varied as yoga travel on land. In the middle of the summer, you can join a "midnight sun" yoga cruise along the beautiful coast of Norway or on an intimate Windjammer cruise off the coast of Maine. You can book one on a large ship cruising through the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.

There are many more yoga vacations and retreats in resorts that are most often located in beautiful and lush tropical destinations like Maui in Hawaii and Phuket Island in Thailand. Other yoga hotels will be found in desert locations that are considered sacred or spiritual, like the high desert around Sedona, Arizona and Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. You will also find these all along the Caribbean coast of Mexico and Central America, and many of these are located near ancient Aztec and Mayan ruins. You might also look to the Riviera Nayarit along the Pacific coast of Mexico. A truly beautiful yoga retreat here is the Haramara in Sayulita, located about 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. There are fifteen private and luxuriant palapa (palm thatched) cabanas and a gourmet vegetarian restaurant that will provide fish and seafood if requested. In addition to yoga classes, there is surfing, horseback riding, and rain forest trekking.

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