The world’s top yoga destinations and experiences

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Take yourself on a retreat that will allow you to connect with your mind, body and spirit. Here are some of the best yoga destinations in the world, as well as some of the more out-there experiences

The prevalence of practicing yoga has increased considerably in recent years, and now people from all kinds of cultures, of all kinds of physical stamina and stature roll out their mats on the regular to perfect their downward dog. While this might help to alleviate the stresses of everyday life, there’s nothing like taking a proper break to really find yourself. Kiwi.com has 14 tips for the best yoga destinations, retreats and experiences around the world to help you in planning your well-deserved spiritual getaway.

Classic

Ulpotha, Sri Lanka

Three women making the same yoga pose on a rock with trees and hills in the background — ulpotha.comNestled in the Sri Lankan mountains, Ulpotha is one of the best places in the world for yoga — ulpotha.com

With a history stretching back 5,000 years, Ulpotha is the perfect place for yoga. The retreat, hidden in the Sri Lankan mountains between Kandy and Anuradhapura, has a reputation for being the best in the world.

Ulpotha is eco-friendly and vegetarian, and offers a range of Ayurveda programs, as well as yoga lessons from the best teachers in the world. If you’ve ever dreamed of learning Sivananda in the shadow of a temple devoted to Lord Kataragama, this is for you.

Yoga Synergy Program at Kamalaya, Thailand

Woman sitting on the side of a pool with the coastline in the background — KamalayaLodge right on the beach at Kamalaya — kamalaya.com

The Kamalaya Koh Samui Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa Retreat offers private sessions as part of their all-inclusive Yoga Synergy program. Each class is tailored to the ability of the yogi, and what they would like to achieve. Kamalaya offers a range of rooms and villas buried in the dense Thai rainforest or on the beachfront.

Yoga programs at Ananda in the Himalayas, India

Man making a yoga pose in an ornate yoga hall — Ananda in the HimalayasAnanda in the Himalayas is well-recognized as a top yoga retreat — Ananda in the Himalayas

Recognized as the number one destination spa by Condé Nast Traveler in 2020, Ananda in the Himalayas offers a breadth of programs, tailor-made for the yogi’s individual ability. A yatra (pilgrimage) to the spa will find you living in the Viceregal Palace of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal and sipping Darjeeling high in the mountains. And after detoxing, meditating and rebalancing, there are guided treks to enjoy the majesty of the Himalayas.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Three people making the same yoga pose on a wooden pier over the sea at dawn — ShutterstockThe Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru holds yoga classes literally on the ocean — Shutterstock

Sat upon one of the Maldives’ many paradise islands, the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru is a yogi’s dream. The hotel’s spa and Ayurvedic retreat provides yoga classes three times a day in open-air pavilions over the water or in among the trees. Tailored, private packages are also available.

On top of all this, the island is home to the Maldives’ only full-time manta ray research project. Their “Manta-on-Call” service will let you know as soon as a shoal of manta rays approaches, before taking you for an unforgettable dive.

Quinta Da Calma, Portugal

Woman looking out at a beach sunset in the Algarve — ShutterstockLocated not far from the beautiful beaches of the Algarve, Quinta Da Calma promises a really relaxing experience — Shutterstock

One of the first-ever yoga retreats in Europe, Quinta Da Calma is now easily considered to be one of the best in the world. Located a short drive from the beautiful beaches of the Algarve, it offers the opportunity to disconnect completely from modern life there’s no Wi-Fi in the rooms, and there are no TVs. Quinta Da Calma offers a full weekly program for its guests with private classes and group activities.

Cool

Soul & Surf Kerala, India

— ShutterstockThe Kerala coast is the idyllic setting for Soul & Surf’s Indian retreat — Shutterstock

Imagine waking up for a sun salutation on the cliffs looking out over the Arabian Sea, then spending the rest of the day catching the swell breaking onto the shore – or trying both at the same time. That’s the retreat that Soul & Surf offers.

It’s the dream job of founders Ed & Sofie Templeton, who bailed out of day-to-day life in Brighton to travel the world and relax. Their endeavor was successful and Soul & Surf has now been in existence 13 years. Plus, they even share their Spotify playlists:

Samasati, Costa Rica

Waterfall and plunge pool in the sunlight in Costa Rica — ShutterstockWith its natural waterfalls and plunge pools radiating tranquility, it’s no wonder that Costa Rica is an up-and-coming yoga destination — Shutterstock

On the topic of surfing, have you ever considered Costa Rica? The Samasati Yoga & Wellness Retreat in the laid-back coastal settlement of Puerto Viejo helps its guests to wind down and discover their purpose through yoga. The surfing, guided forest treks, swimming in natural plunge pools and birdwatching are “just” bonus opportunities. Yep, we want to sign up, too.

Shanti Toya Ashram, Indonesia

Woman practicing a yoga pose in front of a pool with rural Balinese scenery in the background — ShutterstockBali, the backpacker’s dream, is home to the excellent low-cost yoga retreat of Shanti Toya Ashram — Shutterstock

Located not far from Denpasar on the island of Bali, Shanti Toya Ashram’s rural surroundings still make for a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Their one-week retreat package promises classes in several different yoga practices — such as Gokul Vinyasa yoga, Gokul Hasa yoga and Yin yoga, massage, and Balinese cultural activities. And it all comes at a much more affordable price than what you’d pay for one of the more luxurious retreats, making Shanti Toya Ashram perfect for budget travelers.

Big Sky Yoga retreats

Woman on horseback in the mountains in Montana — ShutterstockBig Sky Yoga is based in the rolling Montana mountains, and its programs include horseback riding  — Shutterstock

Big Sky Yoga runs women-only programs based deep in the peaks of Montana, US. Their retreats make the most of the rural landscapes of the Big Sky Country by offering horseback riding with “Cowgirl yoga”, as well as cozy and authentic log-cabin accommodation.

Sticking with the mountain theme, Big Sky Yoga also organizes retreats in the French Alps and Patagonia. If you’re eager to unleash your inner mountain goddess, this is certainly for you.

Adventure Yogi retreats

Woman meditating in yoga pose in the Montenegrin mountains — ShutterstockAdventure Yogi organizes yoga retreats to Montenegro, an incredibly underrated and unspoiled European destination — Shutterstock

Adventure Yogi has curated some of the best destinations for yoga, and they organize whole retreats based on experiences. So whether it’s surfing in Morocco, meditating in Montenegro, or hiking in the Brecon Beacons, there’s always a relaxing adventure to be had. It’s all about designing something different and creating an escape like no other.

Eat.Pray.Move retreats

Silhouette of a person with their arms raised on a beach in Iceland — ShutterstockAre you up for a trip to Iceland to be at one with the elements? — Shutterstock

As well as yoga classes every day, Eat.Pray.Move runs a series of workshops to help clarify the mind and redirect your energy into what truly makes you happy. How about a retreat at one of Marrakesh’s most beautiful hotels – Peacock Pavilions? Or a serene escape to Southwest Iceland to be at one with the elements? Eat.Pray.Move’s destination list is nothing short of seriously impressive.

Quirky

Doga, San Francisco, US

Woman making yoga pose with a pug — ShutterstockBook a Doga session with YogaForce to spend some quality time with your pup — Shutterstock

Perhaps this isn’t weird for all the dog-owning yogis who know just how much their four-legged friends love to join in. Taught by Annie Appleby and her pup, Madison, Doga by YogaForce is a bonding experience between you and your best friend. Their classes have become a bit of a sensation, and have been taught at Google and Bloomingdale’s, among others.

Bold Naked Yoga, New York, US

Bare foot and leg on a yoga mat — ShutterstockPracticing yoga naked can be a truly liberating experience — Shutterstock

The human body is something that you should never be ashamed of, and this is an idea embraced by Bold Naked. Their (private) classes force you to leave all the accouterments of modern life at the door, and to humble and empower yourself by learning as naked as the day you were born. This is a class to liberate and challenge yourself like never before.

Laughter Yoga, Los Angeles, US 

Woman laughing in yoga studio with two other women smiling in the background — ShutterstockThe Laughter Yoga Institute, as its name suggests, stresses the health benefits of laughing by incorporating it into its workshops — Shutterstock

Laughter is the best medicine, and the Laughter Yoga Institute inspires you to connect deeply with your emotions. Its inventors, Madan and Madhuri Kataria, extol the benefits their workshops have for both your physical and mental health. It will teach you to breathe like never before, and soon you will be laughing for absolutely no reason other than that you want to.

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