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So you’ve reached a point where downwards-facing-dog doesn’t stretch your hamstrings anymore?. Perhaps you can flow through a full sun salutation without losing your breath. Maybe you’ve finally figured out what “breathing into your lower back" actually means.
Either way, maybe it’s time to take your yoga practice elsewhere.
Every Yogi reaches a point where they seriously consider travelling to the other end of the world to eat, breathe and sleep yoga for some undefined period of time. A simple google search unveils an overwhelming amount of resorts, retreats and programs to chose from. So many, in fact, that it can seem quite a daunting task to pick a select few for consideration.
The following is a list of places, dotted all over the globe, which I have quite selfishly selected as my ultimate favourites. They range from luxury retreats I would have to sell a kidney to attend to, all the way to the simpler, more spiritual and minimal experiences.
This one’s for the ladies out there with some dollar to spend. Located in Bali, Escape Heaven could not be better suited for it’s name as it very much looks like paradise on earth. If the name rings a bell I wouldn’t be too surprised either; Marie Claire, Bazaar, Condé Nast, Elle, Vanity Fair and Vogue have all raved about it already.
The retreat boasts of a variety of programs, each catered to different tastes and experiences for the very (not) affordable price of 2300USD upwards.
For anyone with a social media account in 2014, the name Jay Alvarez and Alexis Ren probably rings a bell. The power couple had a habit of leaving every single one of us feeling incredibly mundane with their extraordinarily good looks and enviable lifestyle. When they broke up a few years later, each seemed to trod very different paths; him opting for luxurious getaways and Alexis retreating to her more spiritual self in Hawaii. It was during her more spiritual phases that I discovered Allie Michelle, a close friend of hers who is perhaps the coolest and most spiritual gal out there. Turns out there’s this very hip crowd of young twenty-something year olds who have ditched their city lives to live in the wonders of nature in Hawaii, practicing yoga and making the rest of us very jealous.
This, of course, is common knowledge if you’re an instagram yogi.
Irregardless, this brought @alliemichellel and her good friend @plantifulsoul - both incredibly influential instagram presences - to host occasional yoga retreats all over the world. Prices start at 2500USD - the price of fame, it seems.
Yoga and surfing go hand-in-hand; like a pair of star-crossed lovers strolling down central park. In fact, the first time I practiced yoga was at surf camp because before that, I’m pretty sure I thought yoga was geared towards middle aged women. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but as a fourteen year old it’s not exactly the kind of activity you want to necessarily be associated with. But alas, there I was, getting taught yoga by a young and very attractive shirtless surfer under the scorching summer sun who was proving me and my misconceptions very wrong.
Yoga experiences aside, I came across Sunshine Stories last year when searching for surf-related jobs and gigs. They have pumped a lot of money into their branding and have shaped their website well, so as a sucker for aesthetics they naturally stood out to me almost immediately. Although I never applied for a job, I have kept track of them via social media and remain positive I will visit them someday.
From their dreamy facilities, to their promise on sustainability, Sunshine Stories started off as a travel blog run by couple @pettertoremalm and @linnklara and has expanded into a passionate community in Thailand, which one can join for around 1000USD.
I’m one to talk for the sake of it sometimes. I talk so much, in fact, that when I have no-one to speak my mind to I will ponder on my thoughts out-loud, to myself alone. I have even come to realise that sometimes I get physically tired of talking. So do my friends and family a favour and send your me to Ocean Silent Retreat for them to learn the value in some peace and quiet whilst sunbathing in Tarifa, Spain.
With an average duration of six days, Ocean Silent Retreat is the perfect opportunity to recharge one’s mind and body, whilst succumbing to ultimate silence. You’ll be showered with meditation opportunities, nature walks and a healthy mix of yoga styles, all the while housed in stunning accommodation. Plus, it’s located in sunny Spain, which is a year round good destination in terms of weather!
Yoga has become a sport for the rich. With expensive mats and leggings populating our instagram feeds, it’s as if society has forgotten that yoga needs nothing but some space and time - not overpriced workout gear and complimentary cleansing smoothies.
Coming in strong and cheap is Atas Awan Retreats. At around 200USD, this place, nestled amongst an impossibly green valley, is perfect for the yogi on a budget. And it’s not like you’ll be stuck in a dire location either; the views and infrastructure of this place are something the bigger and more expensive retreats are probably jealous of.
I hope I have managed to peak your curiosity with some of the retreats and scenery I dream about at night - from the fancy luxurious ones to the more affordable. Up until you manage to find some time to visit…Keep working on those Chaturangas!