THE GREATEST YOGA RETREATS IN THE WORLD

1. Silver Island, Greece 

I could quite happily live on this delightful, 60-acre private island strewn with rough flower-filled tracks, which has an ancient church, a romantic lighthouse and more than 2,500 olive trees. Come for week-long holidays with yoga sessions led by hand-picked teachers, stay in characterful whitewashed houses and enjoy delicious Mediterranean vegetarian meals with local wines. 

 

2. Ulpotha, Sri Lanka 

Circled by the Galgiriyawa mountains, where monks still live in remote temples and caves, this admirable organic farm offers yoga holidays with a changing roster of international teachers, on-site ayurveda treatments and bathing in a silky-smooth, otherworldly lake. Visitors sleep in huts in a jungle that is strewn with tropical flowers and teeming with monkeys and birds.

3. Reclaim Your Self, Japan

This seven-night Japanese yoga retreat on Kyushu island and in Kyoto mixes twice-daily, body-transforming jivamukti yoga led by Emma Henry with beautiful hikes through autumnal forests peppered with ancient temples. There are also onsen hot spring baths, Zen meditation with a local priest, a tea ceremony, Ikebana flower arranging and Japanese-style vegetarian meals. 

 

4. Yoga Explorers, Italy

Set in the Umbrian countryside, this week-long yoga retreat is led by classical yogic duo Jim Tarran and Khadine Morcom, who run the Vajrasati Yoga school in Brighton. Your base is a 12th-century hillside farmhouse set in 28 acres with an infinity pool and Moorish spa. Expect hands-on, good-humoured teaching, Italian-inspired meals with local wines and plenty of rest. 

 

5. Yoga Synergy Programme at Kamalaya, Thailand 

My favourite holistic spa on Koh Samui is set in a fairy-tale ravine sloping down to a lagoon. It offers a three, five or seven-night Personal Yoga Synergy Programme for private, daily, one-to-one sessions of classical yoga and meditation with resident teachers who will tailor the classes to your skill and needs. Between times, you can enjoy divine treatments at the hilltop spa. 

 

6. EcoYoga, Scotland

Perched on a hill among forests, streams and waterfalls, ecoYoga overlooks the breathtakingly beautiful Loch Awe. Bathe by a wild river, sweat in an underground sauna and relax in a solar-powered hot tub between mainly ashtanga-based yoga classes at this rustic, remote retreat in the Highlands. Two classes a day, each lasting two hours, include chanting and talks on yoga. Meals are vegetarian. 

 

7. Yobaba Lounge, France 

Gertrud Keazor’s wellness retreats at her bohemian château in Chalabre, southern France, focus on the power of yogic movement and mindful breath to rejuvenate body and mind. There are daily periods of “noble silence”, so you can truly switch off, and insanely good raw food meals. Between sessions, hang out in the walled garden, go for walks or swim in the nearby lake. 

     

8. Mindfulness Journeys, Morocco 

These relaxed holidays are held at a kasbah hotel on Lake Lalla Takerkoust in the foothills of the Atlas mountains. Your day starts with a 90-minute hatha and yin yoga class with Gina Hardy, while early evening sessions are dedicated to meditation with mindfulness expert Brian Hilliard. In addition, you can swim in the pools, go walking, have a hammam and nap. 

9. Satvada Retreats, Norfolk 

For urbanites who want to experience mindfulness without the discomfort you can sometimes have at more traditional meditation retreats, these long weekends led by Lucia Cockcroft and Vikki Stevenson are held at a luxury manor house. They mix restorative yoga and yoga nidra with periods of mindfulness practice. Meals are tasty vegetarian and vegan (with good cake). 

 

10. Quinta Da Calma, Portugal 

This hilltop retreat set in 20 gentle acres has been offering mindfulness and yoga retreats for more than 35 years and has just been refurbished. Arrive each Saturday from July to October for a one-week programme of vinyasa flow or hatha yoga, meditation, tai chi, therapeutic treatments and optional self-development workshops. You can also go to the beach for a spot of mindful stand-up paddle boarding. 

 

THESE ARE BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO PRACTICE, BUT REMEMBER YOGA COULD BE PRACTISED EVERYWHERE, AND YOUR SWEAT HOME IS THE BEST PLACE EVERY TO EXCEL IN YOUR DAILY PRACTICE!

 

NAMASTE!