This is a collaborative post.
Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of yoga. It has kept me sane through thick and thin. When my children were toddlers it made me a nice mummy, even when I hadn’t had a lot of sleep. It stops me stressing when work is busy and it keeps me fit, flexible and healthy.
Sometimes, the body needs to rest and recuperate. A holiday is the best way to do this. If you can combine yoga and a holiday you get the best of all worlds. A beach resort in Spain is perfectly fine, yet the world is a huge place full of relaxing retreats. In fact, certain places specialise in yoga, the most relaxing of all the exercises. Here are four retreats to keep in mind.
Ananda In The Himalayas, India
Quite simply, there is no country more appropriate for the yoga getaway than the one that spawned the culture. India is the actual and spiritual home of yoga, which is why the subcontinent is very attractive. However, the beeping and traffic and constant wailing of the cities are too much, and that is why the mountains are the final destination. Located near Rishikesh, Ananda has a great balance between polished and jaw-dropping. Oh, and there may be a celebrity or two in the vicinity. Make sure you breathe deeply when you spot one.
This retreat is situated on Sumba Island which around one hour’s flight away to the east. The extra time it takes to get there is well worth the trip. Off the mainland, there is less tourism to worry about and fewer travellers to get in the way. Usually, it’s the guests and the wildlife sharing the dense forests and magical beaches and coastline. Nihiwatu is particularly impressive if you’re a classical yoga type of person. There are few spills and thrills; just Mother Nature at her finest.
Bali appears again on this list for a good reason – it’s a yoga hotspot. In the same way as India is the beating heart of the culture, this island keeps it going thanks to its Hindu roots. Most Indonesian isles are followers of Islam. As a result, there are a plethora of choices yet Mandapa stands out from the rest because of its immersive nature. What’s impressive about the packages here is that they are flexible. After a couple of sessions, it’s up to the guest to continue down the right path. And, with plenty of mentally refreshing things to do, this isn’t difficult. Couples will definitely feel closer together afterward.
Butterfly House, Brazil
Rio is the epicentre of this great country, yet there is more to Brazil than meets the eye. Bahia is a perfect example. Few people know about this place for a start, and even fewer visit, preferring to stay in the tourist traps. Hugging the north-eastern coastline as it does, it’s often referred to as the “South American Caribbean” because it’s stunning. Butterfly House takes this beauty and distils it into a breath-giving experience. Because it’s by the beach, it’s a no-brainer.
So, the final question is: are ‘yogana’ (geddit?) take the plunge and go for a holiday retreat?