If you’re looking for a healthy holiday right now you will know that when you type ‘the best yoga retreats’ into google you get hundreds of hits. It’s a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, the Yellow Kite audience have the best advice! A few posts on social media and we collected this amazing shortlist of retreats ranging from the Malvern hills to the Himalayas. Do let us know in the comments section if you have any other suggestions, here are our top three:
The UK weekend break:
The first boutique Ayurvedic spa retreat in the UK The Clover Mill, Malvern offers beautiful, lavish eco-accommodation to five star standards. You can access spa facilities, individualised treatments, yoga classes, training and dining founded on the ancient art and science of Ayurveda whilst being immersed in nature.
There are three luxury eco-lodges overlooking the lake and after you wake up to the sound of the birds, you will follow a schedule along the lines of:
7:30 – 8:00 – Breakfast
9:00 – 10.30 – Yoga Class
10.45 – Tea & snack
12:00 – 2:00 – Lunch
11:00 – 5:00 – Treatments
4:00 – Afternoon tea
7:00 – Dinner
We got pretty excited about the afternoon tea, but should point out the meals are ayurveda inspired, prepared with freshly picked ingredients from the vegetable garden and orchard. There are herbal teas and healthy snacks and if you go for the longer 5-day retreat a cookery demonstration! In addition to this, you can have a personal dosha (body type) assessment, attend ayurvedic talks and take a self-massage lesson, use the steam room, relaxation areas and grounds and again on the longer 5-day retreat indulge in a gong sound bath…
Costs for the weekend (Friday pm to Sunday pm) are from £550 per person, whereas the 5-day retreat (Friday pm to Wednesday pm) are from £1245 per person.
The exotic Indian getaway:
The Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Dharamkot, Dharamsala and in Arambol, North Goa was founded by Indian yoga master Sharat Arora in September 2011. It is a true paradise, Dharamkot lies in a mountain river valley with the view on the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, whilst Goa is best known for the vast and safest beaches in India.
The location is a big draw for this option, the Dharamsala area is also famous for many hiking paths amongst the mountainous forests of very old cedar, rhododendron and oak trees. You can visit several Himalayan waterfalls with crystal clear glacier water and it’s not far to His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama’s Temple & Residence and many other temples. You can also tour a Tea Garden and Tea Factory. The Goan retreat is nestled in the shade of palm, elephant fruit and mango trees. Mornings and evenings are always cool even if it is very hot at midday.
The typical day starts with a yoga class at DAWN. Yes, you read that right. Dawn. The 5-Day Yoga Course runs from Monday to Friday with class everyday from 10 am to 1 pm, then a vegetarian homemade lunch. The retreat founder Sharat Arora designed the 5-Day Courses program using a scientific approach based on his 38 years of experience and focusing on simplicity. The teachers introduce this B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga as well as providing the working knowledge to become a self-practitioner.
You have to arrive on Sunday to join the 5-Day Yoga Course starting on Monday, and we’ve been recommended you top or tail this with a week or more spent exploring another area of India/South East Asia.
Costs for the week are available on consultation.
The European escape:
Kaliyoga Europe offers locations in Spain and Italy for weekly (7 days/ 6 nights) retreat programs including world-class yoga tuition, health-conscious cuisine and accommodation in twin-share or single bedrooms (there are four-poster bed options too!) We heard the Spanish retreat was amazing, the Las Alpujarras region is a bio-diverse natural park, a really superb area for walking, hiking and horse riding with the opportunity to visit the Alhambra Palace world heritage site in Granada. In the grounds are five independent wooden ‘casita’ lodges with en-suite bathrooms and in summer you can opt to stay in a large, comfortably furnished canvas tipi.
Classes are designed to be accessible to beginners, whilst more experienced yogis can deepen their practice. They are taught mainly in English in the mornings. In the afternoons there is the option to try some natural health treatments from the massage and therapy team or a cookery workshop. Kaliyoga is particularly renowned for its world class vegetarian cuisine. They share cutting-edge advice about becoming lean and healthy with raw food and superfoods, and offer some great recipes for you to try at home. So you can improve your vegetarian cookery skills, make a raw chocolate dessert, learn about nutrition or simply try something different!
Another interesting aspect of Kaliyoga is their commitment to digital detox- with a ban on digital devices during meals, yoga classes and by the pool. They do allow you online in your room, or in the library, or in a quiet spot in the garden, where you won’t influence others to join in!
The cost varies according to the time of year and nature of your stay (Juice Fasting Detox anyone?) but will be around £900-£1100.