Whether you dream of saluting the sun on a beach in Thailand, or finding your inner warrior in Scotland, we’ve rounded up the best yoga retreats for every kind of yogi.
From the affordable, to the luxury, pack your bags and get ready to unwind.
What should I expect from a yoga retreat?
Unlike that 60-minute yoga class you rush to after work, a yoga retreat is a submersive experience, where you follow a schedule of different classes, surrounded by like-minded individuals. Everyone has their own reasons for attending, from wanting time out of the city to reconnecting with their body.
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On a retreat, you’ll often have the option to do more than one yoga class per day, and unlike at home, where your mat is often inches from your partner's, you’ll have the time (and space) to fully submerge yourself in the practice. Downtime is spent relaxing, reading or taking part in other activities. The food provided is often healthy and although you might have access to Wi-Fi, many see a yoga retreat as a good excuse to log out of Instagram for a week.
Can beginners go on a yoga retreat?
You don’t need to be a professional yogi to enjoy a retreat, in fact, for beginners an immersive week is a great chance to learn new skills and practise them daily. Unlike other fitness retreats, a yoga holiday is normally aimed at all levels of yogi.
The best luxury yoga retreats:
Absolute Sanctuary, Thailand
Set on the North Eastern side of Koh Samui in Thailand, if you’re looking for a luxury break in a different time zone then Absolute Sanctuary ticks all the boxes.
There’s a five, seven or ten night option for your stay, all of which include unlimited yoga classes, a health consultation, three meals and two smoothies a day, access to the pool, gym and steam room, a daily massage and your transfers to and from the airport.
There are regular shuttles from the retreat to Chaweng and Choeng Mon beaches to give you time to explore the beautiful island and relax, as well as a number of different group fitness classes to try if you’re looking for a more active break.
Prices start from £700 for a 5 night stay
Ananda in the Himalayas, India
Think mountain views, infinity pools, five-star luxury and a week of yoga in the foothills of the Himalayas – if you’re looking for more of a once-in-a-lifetime yoga retreat, this is it. The retreat itself is set in a 19th century palace, ten miles from Rishikesh (which you’ll visit), which is widely regarded as the yoga capital of the world.
Ananda’s yoga offering is spectacular; the peaceful yoga pavilion looks out over the treetops and guests will follow a schedule based on the Satyananda Yoga Tradition, which integrates different forms of yoga including Hatha, Raja, Karma, Gyana and Bhakti.
For dedicated yogis there are discussions on the different principles of yoga in the afternoon, and for those looking to unwind, there’s a spa and swimming pool to enjoy.
Mindfulness Journeys, Morocco
With breathtaking views of the Atlas Mountains, every day of this Moroccan retreat starts with a 60-minute hatha yoga taught by instructor Shannon van Staden, and ends with yin yoga and crystal sound bowl healing. In the afternoon, yogis have the option to try desert running with meditation expert Brian Hilliard, or just unwind and sunbathe.
The cost of the retreat includes six nights luxury accommodation, three nutritious Moroccan meals a day, five meditation talks with Brian, five yoga sessions with Shannon, optional desert running and walking, a one-to-one meditation class, a hammam steam and scrub treatment, as well as your airport transfers.
A six night stay starts at £1,372, based on two people sharing a room.
Ulpotha, Sri Lanka
A four-hour drive from Colombo and a mile from the nearest road, based in the heart of Sri Lanka, Ulpotha really is a retreat from the world. Surrounded by mountains and set in 22 acres of forest, Ulpotha is more than a retreat, it’s a community, run by 45 locals who live on the site.
The yoga here is mainly practised in the retreat’s open-sided pavilion, allowing you to hear the birdsong and feel the breeze as you follow your breath, although sometimes instructors will take you outside completely and teach in nature. The guest huts are simple and back-to-basics, with completely open walls and a mosquito net - so, if you’re not up for sleeping on a mattress under the stars, this isn’t the retreat for you.
With no electricity and certainly no wifi, this is definitely a good choice if you want to truly take your mat off-the-grid for a week.
A week’s stay starts at $1,470 per person. (It’s worth noting, all of the accommodation is shared).
The best affordable yoga retreats:
ecoYoga, ScotlandAs its name suggests, this idyllic yoga retreat in the Scottish Highlands is set in an eco-friendly lodge, run by its own hydro-turbine. Surrounded by some of Scotland’s most beautiful hills, forests, rivers and lochs, this retreat is a great place to get back to nature, do some yoga and, well, take a bath.
The retreat has several outside bathing areas where you can go for a soak, inspired by the Japanese tradition of ‘Sento’, or communal bathing. EcoYoga’s bath offering includes a wooden hot tub in a glass roofed dome and a sauna built into a hill.
On the yoga side of things, this hideaway runs retreats throughout the year, all of which consist of a very relaxed schedule of yoga, with time to explore your surroundings, read a book, or get involved in the running of the eco property. During the times between the retreats, yogis can go and stay at ecoYoga on a self-catering basis, and take classes with the lodge’s resident yoga teacher.
A five-day retreat starts from £575 per person. On a self-catering basis, ecoYoga starts at £88 per person per night.
Satvada Retreats, Norfolk
This retreat proves you don’t need to get on a plane to have some time off from the real world and practise some mindfulness. Set in the Norfolk countryside, the retreats are as relaxing and intimate as they come, with an average of 10-12 guests.
If you’re after an intense, calorie-burning weekend of vinyasa flow, this won’t be one for you. Instead, the focus here is recharging the mind, with gentle, meditative yoga classes. You’ll even try a yoga nidra class, which is the practice of putting your body into a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping.
The cost of the retreat includes three night’s luxury accommodation, breakfast, lunch and two course dinner each day, and around five hours of yoga classes on both the Saturday and Sunday. Namaste.
A three-day stay starts at £449 per person, in a triple-sharing room.
The Tree, North Yorkshire
Set against the backdrop of the rugged North York Moors National Park, The Tree place relaxation at the heart of everything they do. On a weekend retreat, yogis can expect two gentle hatha yoga classes a day, an easy introduction to the eight limbs of yoga, plenty of vegetarian meals, your choice of spa therapy treatment and time to relax in the sauna or go for a hike across the moors.
Twice a year, The Tree run a five day silent retreat, where (as its name suggests) yogis maintain silence for four days, whilst taking a number of yoga classes and meditations. Whatever kind of retreat you choose, you’ll leave with that post-yoga glow.
A relaxation weekend retreat starts from £295 per person, based on two people sharing a room.
Vale de Moses, Portugal
Located halfway between Lisbon and Porto, you won’t find Vale de Moses in your Lonely Planet guide, making it the perfect place to escape. Each week-long retreat is run by a different instructor, but all start on a Sunday evening.
The days begin with a silent, meditative walk through the forest before breakfast, followed by an energetic two-hour yoga class. There’s free time for swimming, walking and massage treatments, and one afternoon you’ll head off to nearby Rio Zezere for a wild swim and mud bath. The retreat ends with a party, where you can sip wine and swap stories with fellow yogis, before begrudgingly returning to the real world.
Prices for a week retreat start at £771 for a tent under the stars, £857 for a shared cottage or £1,115 for a private double farmhouse bedroom.
The best mixed activity yoga retreats
The Yoga Barn, Bali
Want to experience a complete detox? The Yoga Barn, set in Ubud in Bali, has a seven-day package that includes meditation, sound healing and three colon hydrotherapy sessions to ‘re-stabilise your large intestine’ (if you’re after an indulgent holiday with some yoga chucked in, this isn’t for you).
At The Yoga Barn, you’ll undergo a number of different treatments, eat wholesome food and sip plenty of green juices to reset your system. Ubud itself is as ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ as it comes, with plenty of raw food and juice bars to relax in between your classes and rice paddies to hike to. The cost of the retreat does not include accommodation, but you can stay at The Yoga Barn for $65 per night, or find a number of other affordable options around Ubud itself.
The seven-day retreat runs throughout the year and costs £1,044 per person.
Soul and Surf, Kerala
Get that surfer-glow and practise yoga in India with a stay at Soul and Surf. Set in the small seaside town of Varkala in Kerala, expect a very chilled schedule of sun, surf and yoga, rather than the structured timetable of a traditional yoga retreat. The quiet, tourist-free beaches are a good place to learn, or master, the art of surfing, and the vinyasa-flow classes set on the rooftop allow you to salute to the sun as it sets.
Prices start from £273pp (based on two sharing) or £322 (single occupancy) for a seven night stay with the option to add yoga and surf activities on top. For example, a week’s surf and yoga programme is priced at £170 including six surf lessons and six yoga classes (plus board hire).
Hiking and Yoga Retreat, Montenegro
If you’re looking to escape your day-to-day life and get back to nature, this is the retreat for you. Set in the stunning surroundings of Montenegro, this hiking and yoga retreat will take you to breathtaking viewpoints, on water sport excursions and practising yoga for three hours a day.
The morning class is designed to awaken and energise your body before your day’s busy itinerary, whilst the evening class is more hatha based, allowing you to unwind and relax. When you’re not hiking or practising your standing mountain pose, you’ll have time to enjoy the chalet’s plunge pool, or explore the local area.
A weeks retreat starts at £745 per person in a triple sharing room.