Having a passion for Yoga and travel, when presented with various offers to teach Yoga all over the world, I of course jumped at the opportunities that have since become my profession and created unforgettable memories that will last my lifetime. Going on a Yoga retreat is one of the best ways to take your Yoga practice to the next level, revitalize from hard traveling and maybe even digitally detox if only for a few days!
When Carri Uranga approached us to see if we’d be interested in posting an article about the best International Yoga Retreats around the world, we loved it. We enjoy practicing yoga and it has been an ongoing dream of ours to study for an extended period of time in an exotic location. I’m inspired by these locations, and we hope that you are inspired too!
While traveling in Central and South America for a year I was needing a place to chill, surf and do Yoga while my husband Chris had to return to the States to teach a course at a coffee conference. In addition to the Yoga, the appeal of Samana Chakra is its location. While much of South America experiences cold water, this far North corner of Peru is blessed with warm Pacific water thanks to the Equatorial Current that creates the perfect temperature for swimming, as well as a left point break for surfing and windy afternoons for kitesurfing. Samana Chakra is situated on the beach and has 12 bungalows to host individual guests or group retreats. The Yoga Shala is stunning with an elaborate thatched roof and stucco walls, but open windows and sliding glass doors to allow just enough ocean breeze to roll through. With 90-minute classes 6 days per week, a pool, delectable Peruvian cuisine, and enough activities to last a lifetime you won’t want to leave. In fact, I liked it so much I returned in 2009 and 2010 to teach there for 3 month stints and will be heading there yet again this April!
For more information visit www.samanachakra.com
Ibiza Yoga, Spain
I know, I know…Yoga in the party capital of Europe? That’s right! While Ibiza boasts some of the best beaches and parties in the world, there’s also another side to this hippy haven, especially in the Northern part of the Island where it’s more quiet, relaxed & subdued. When a friend of mine said she was teaching here in 2009 I got online to book a one week retreat. Instead what I found was a volunteer opportunity. I applied, got the position and not only saw my friend that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, but also got to spend 6 weeks basking in the Mediterranean sun! Ibiza Yoga has been running affordable retreats for over 12 years. An excellent vegetarian meal per day is included giving you a chance to savor local cuisine as well as 3 hour classes each day. Another major draw is the location – a 5 minute walk from sparkling Benniras Beach where there are drummers every night at sunset and a beach party every Sunday complete with a full drum circle and fire dancers! For those still looking for more action, fabulous restaurants and clubs are just a short cab ride away; therefore combining the best of both worlds. You never know who you’re going to meet. While some folks were keeping their eyes peeled for stars I was making connections that led me to yet another super journey – South Africa! For more information check out www.ibizayoga.com
South Africa Yoga
Up and coming on the international circuit, this magical hideaway combines top-level Yoga instruction and nutritional excellence with a distinct African experience while supporting local communities. Outside of the 2 hour Vinyasa classes per day, one can hike amidst spectacular beauty and natural surroundings, amazing wildlife and rock art, plus have the opportunity to volunteer at a local orphanage incorporating Seva (“selfless” service) into your retreat. This 766 acre secluded farm built in 1872 is in the Eastern Free State 4 hours from Johannesburg and is the ultimate in peace and serenity. There is a pool, but my favorite spot was early morning on the front porch swing, watching the active birds in the elaborate gardens while overlooking the mountains. A glorious way to have my morning coffee! Not far is the tiny country of Lesotho should you decide to make an adventurous side trip, which we did just for a day. book your own retreat at www.southafricayoga.com
The Hill That Breathes, Urbino, Italy
Recently named Best European Retreat by Natural Health magazine THTB is also regarded as the most irreverent retreat by The Guardian. With alternative holidays called “F**K it Weeks” and practice commencing in a geodesic dome it’s definitely a unique and distinctive experience. They advertise “Peace & Pizza” and don’t take themselves too seriously. The wine flows as much as the Vinyasa. After all this is Italy! John and Gaia have even released books on how you too can F**K it and have recently taken their retreats on the road so if you can’t make it to Italy you now have the opportunity to F**K it in the UK. www.thefuckitlife.com
Samahita Yoga Thailand, Koh Samui
With a more serious approach this center for classical Yoga and Holistic health offers retreats as well as the only teacher training program in Thailand for those looking to become a certified Yoga instructor. Since 2003 this hidden gem is extremely well respected in the Yoga community as Paul Dallaghan himself is world-class teacher. They also host many famous Ashtanga practitioners like Kino MacGregor, Richard Freeman and Ron Reid all who studied with the late Sri Patthabi Jois. Retreats range from Yoga, Ayurveda and anatomy to health and wellness. Right on the beach surrounded by lush gardens, this is the place to get centered in Asia. www.yoga-thailand.com
A “Best of Yoga” article without the mention of India?
Purple Valley Yoga, Goa, India
located in the “Motherland.” Purple Valley is situated on the Arabian Sea in Assagoa, North Goa at Anjuna Beach. An Ashtanga Yoga retreat hosting the likes of Chuck Miller, the fabulous Kino, Mark Darby, and Michael Gannon. If you are a lover of Ashtanga…enough said! http://www.yogagoa.com
Each one of these retreats offers a distinctive experience with it’s own unique focus. Whether you are looking to get involved in the local community or party in between poses you can do so all while delving deeper into your own personal practice.
Carri’s passion for Yoga began as an outdoor enthusiast seeking flexibility and cross training after hiking the entire Appalachian Trail with her husband Chris in 1999 (2180 continuous miles from Georgia to Maine).
While attending her first Ashtanga series in Vermont she was fascinated by the way she felt not only during practice, but long afterwards which led her to practice a variety of Yoga styles in addition to Ashtanga including Iyengar, Anusara, Yin, Forrest, Hot Yoga and of course Vinyasa! Her passion for Yoga and travel has led her around the world teaching in Peru, Italy, South Africa and working as a volunteer at Ibiza Yoga. She now leads her own Yoga Teacher Training courses with Drishti Yoga International in Mexico, India, Peru and Italy. Find out where she’ll be next at her website, Carri Uranga.com Stay updated on Twitter and book your own yoga retreat at Drishti Yoga
Her husband Chris is a professional coffee taster (yep)! His job has led them to live in Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia and now Montreal.
Carri enjoys travel, fitness, big adventures and various outdoor recreational activities from sea to snow and was honored to be a 2012 Sponsored Athlete by the women’s clothing company Athleta!