Finding your center in the birthplace of yoga. Taking triangle pose on a tropical beach beneath gently waving palm trees. Perfecting your crow pose with a view of the mountains. Finishing your day with an energizing hike or a relaxing massage. Getting in touch with your body and mind in a place that nourishes your whole self. These are the experiences that can await you on your upcoming yoga tour, whether you go with a group or choose a self-guided experience.
Whether you've been practicing yoga for years or are a complete beginner, you can find a yoga tour that's right for you. From weekend beginner retreats that combine yoga with other activities to weeklong intensives that will challenge you physically and mentally, there are myriad options to travel and grow your yoga practice. Find your perfect retreat today!
India & Nepal
India is the birthplace of yoga, and as such, it is one of the most popular destinations for yoga retreats, along with neighboring Nepal. In both these destinations, you can find ashrams (monasteries) offering retreats for periods ranging from one week to several months, at varying price points and amenity levels. In addition, several tour companies offer either group or self-guided tours that bring travelers to multiple ashrams over the course of a few weeks.
Yoga Tours in India and Nepal are available year-round, but most travelers prefer to avoid the summer months when heat can be oppressive throughout most of the subcontinent.
With its laid-back, pura vida lifestyle, it’s no surprise that yoga retreats are incredibly popular in Costa Rica. Typical yoga tours here last for one week to one month and usually take place at a single resort or retreat center. Many include additional activities like snorkeling, hiking, and ziplining as well. The best time to visit Costa Rica is from December to April since this is the country’s dry season.
Generally considered to be a tropical paradise perfect for pampering yourself in many ways, Thailand features week-long to month-long yoga retreats that combine yoga and meditation practices with traditional Thai massage to help you truly bliss out. The best time to visit Thailand overall is from December to March, but different parts of the country have slightly different dry seasons so this can vary depending on your destination.
What to Look for in a Yoga Tour
If there’s a specific style of yoga that you typically practice at home, you might want to look for a yoga retreat that features a comparable (or complementary) style of yoga to the one that you typically practice. For tours in India and Nepal in particular, choose tours that feature stays at the ashrams of the teachers you most admire or want to learn from. Conversely, if you’re a total beginner to the yoga scene, make sure that your yoga trip is beginner-friendly!
If there are activities that you’d like to do in addition to yoga on your trip, you should also make sure that those will be available. For example, if you’d like to go hiking in the cloud forest during your retreat in Costa Rica, or if you’d like to visit a specific temple during your retreat in India, or if you’d like to try surfing during your retreat in Thailand, make sure that these options are available on the tour that you choose.
Average Yoga Retreat Length & Cost
The average yoga retreat ranges from four to twenty-one days and can range in price from $250 to $2,500 depending on duration and location. For example, a weekend yoga retreat at a camp in the Berkshires will probably cost less than a 10-day yoga retreat at a resort in the Bahamas. Most yoga trips will include one to two yoga classes per day, meditation sessions, shared accommodation, and vegetarian or Ayurvedic meals as part of the package.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
For a yoga retreat, you’ll want to have at least as many sets of yoga clothes as you have days on your retreat (and/or you should ask about laundry options during your stay). Pack comfortable, breathable clothes that you can exercise full flexibility in.
You may want to bring your own mat and/or yoga towel, though many retreats do provide these items or have them available for rental. If you typically use blocks, straps, blankets, or other props, you may wish to ask the tour organizers whether those items will be provided during the retreat or if you’ll need to bring your own.
Look at the list of instructors who will be teaching at your retreat, and make sure that they have appropriate certifications. Reading the reviews for a given tour can also give you additional insight into whether a particular trip is the right place for you.
Qualification & Training
If you’re taking a yoga tour, you should probably have some basic yoga experience -- at least enough to know that you enjoy practicing yoga! That said, you don’t need to be a particularly experienced yogi to take a yoga trip; part of the point of taking a yoga trip is to improve and deepen your practice.
Yoga is a wonderful way to stretch and strengthen your body while relaxing and calming the mind, but like any physical activity, it does come with risks. Make sure that you’re taking classes in your yoga retreat that you’re listening to the instructor’s cues, but make sure that you’re also listening to your body and not pushing past your physical limitations.
The purpose of a yoga retreat is to improve your practice, so if you have questions about a pose and whether or not it’s right for you, ask the instructor! They can usually provide modifications and/or help you with your alignment. In addition, remember that Child’s Pose is always an option if you find the routines too challenging or strenuous.