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Top 10 Yoga Retreat Destination Cities

Want to get away to enjoy a relaxing yoga retreat? There are a lot of factors to take into consideration. You want to choose a great yoga teacher who teaches the style of yoga that you prefer. You want to choose a retreat that offers additional activities, downtime and a schedule that works with yours. What is perhaps most important, though, is that you choose a retreat destination that really resonates with you

A good yoga retreat destination has the following characteristics:

  • · Beauty. You can do yoga anywhere, of course. However, it’s a lot easier to get into the right mental space for yoga if you’re staying in a beautiful destination.
  • · Serenity. Cultivating a mood of peaceful loving kindness is easier to do when the destination where you are staying is peaceful and serene. If your yoga retreat destination city is urban then it should be rich in culture and spirituality.
  • · Simplicity. Yoga retreats are a great place to get unplugged. Whereas you may typically choose vacation destinations that have Wi-Fi and 3G access, that’s not something that you’re necessarily looking for in a yoga city. Keep it simple.
  • · Healthy food options. When you’re spending several days in a room doing yoga, you tend to want to eat a healthy diet. Many people eat a fruit-rich, eat-rich vegetarian diet. Make sure that the destination city you’ll be in is one that easily provides this option.

Ten of the hottest destination cities for yoga retreat visitors are:

1. Bali, Indonesia. Do your yoga outside in wonderful weather. Enjoy views of verdant rice paddies while you’re working out. Take day retreats to spiritual attractions. Relax in the amazing beauty of this popular destination.

2. Malpais Village, Costa Rica. Take your yoga experience to the next level by combining it with a surfing vacation. The Pacific coast towns of Costa Rica offer amazing surf-and-yoga vacations. Do your sun salutations on the sand and then zen out blissfully in the waves.

3. Mammoth Lakes, California, U.S. This little resort town isn’t known specifically for its yoga experiences. Instead, it’s known as a great place for skiing and snowboarding. That’s precisely why it makes an amazing unique yoga destination, though. You can combine your yoga with skiing for a terrific winter workout experience.

4. Desert Hot Springs, California, U.S. At the other end of the state, a few hours outside of busy Los Angeles, is Desert Hot Springs. This warm city is filled with spas and resorts. It’s easy for many Americans to get there and it feels like you’re in a completely exotic location. Activities to enjoy here when not doing yoga include hiking, backpacking and horseback riding.

5. Shimla, India. Most yogis want to have a retreat experience in India at some point in their lives. It’s a great place to delve further into the spiritual and philosophical aspects of yoga. You can go beyond just the workout and explore the many other levels of yoga. Shimla, located in the gorgeous and serene Himalaya Mountains, is a top destination city for such travelers.

6. Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. This popular tourist area is known as a site for Mayan ruins but it’s also a great yoga destination city. There’s a lot to do in the surrounding area. This makes it a great vacation for people who are seeking a relaxing yoga destination that isn’t so serene and quiet as to be overwhelming. It’s also great for family travel where only one or two members want to take advantage of the great yoga experience while the others enjoy a more traditional Mexican vacation.

7. Pokhara, Nepal. There always seems to be one city that’s particularly trendy for people who are into yoga. Right now that city is Pokhara in Nepal. One dozen yoga retreats sit side by side in the serenity of the hills here. Although it’s a trendy spot, it’s also one that still has an untrammeled isolated feel to it, which is appealing to many yoga travelers.

8. Big Island, Hawaii. Who doesn’t want an excuse to take a trip to Hawaii? The sheer variety of different yoga retreats offered here is a great excuse. They have surf-and-yoga, yoga-and-cooking and art-and-yoga combos among other great vacations.

9. Morro de Sao Paulo, Brazil. This top yoga destination is a small yoga village. It has both beaches and forests. If you’re looking for a spot that is naturally magical then look no further.

10. Crete, Greece. If you’re looking for an amazing destination that you’d enjoy even if you weren’t there to do yoga then Crete is a top choice. The beaches, sunsets, weather and people are all wonderful. But yes, there are some great opportunities to do yoga on the coast here as well.

Sujan Patel is a head blogger at He also blogs over at, A travel blog focusing on airport advice. You should follow him on Twitter here.


  • Madelyn Miller
    Posted September 12, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    can we use this on
    How would you like us to credit it back to you

  • Erik
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks for the informative article – lots of great pointers. Another place you might consider for a retreat destination is the cape region of Baja, Mexico. There are a number of yoga studios offering classes in Todos Santos, Cabo San Lucas, and San Jose. The weather is beautiful, the desert is rugged and peaceful, and the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean are fathomless.

    There is also a new, deluxe yoga retreat center that opened last winter called Prana del Mar ( It is off-grid and the electricity is entirely solar-powered, yet still luxurious – with large rooms and suites, a swimming pool and hot tub, a beautiful yoga studio, and delicious meals prepared by an creative chef.

    Enjoy Baja – it’s paradise!

  • RonLeyba
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 12:03 am

    My top yoga places pick are India and Indonesia. Feels like the said countries offer a good and relaxing community wherein we can do yoga at its finest. Great location for intense yoga retreat.

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