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International Yoga Vacations

Dec 28th, 2011
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Spring is in the air. After spending months cooped up inside because the weather outside is, well… frightful, I think everyone can agree that a good vacation is in store. The good news is that although it may have been cold and wet winter, there are tons of fabulous, warm places around the world waiting for you to come and spice up your life with a visit. The better news? You can visit these beautiful locations in a healthy and relaxing way with yoga! Yoga vacations or retreats are a wonderful way to take that break you need after the winter, warm up, and get yourself back on track physically and mentally. In this article we will highlight a few different dream yoga vacations to get the wheels turning in your heads on where to venture out this spring.

 

Encinitas, Southern California

 

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Encinitas is a small coastal city located in North County of San Diego, Southern California. A beautiful town with a hippie vibe, Encinitas is known as the yoga capital of the United States, with the most yoga studios per capita in the country. While driving down the Coast Highway 101 it would only take a few miles to pass a yoga studio, and they are all amazing and unique in their own way. That being said, there are many different things that Encinitas has to offer the travelling yogi.

 

San Diego is often referred to as having the best weather in the United States, where it is always sunny and between 63-72 degrees F (17.2-22.2 C). The climate is mild and enjoyable, never too hot or too cold. Encinitas is tucked right up to the beautiful coastline with an amazing stretch of miles of public beaches. Surfing is a common activity here, and there are plenty of places to rent boards if you want to add that as an activity in your trip. Along the Coast Highway 101 you can find miles of amazing restaurants from the super healthy and vegan/gluten free friendly Lotus Café to the surfer style pizza and brew house Pizza Port to your upscale fine dining chain the Chart House. Encinitas and North County has it all, and you will not be disappointed if you visit this beautiful place.

 

When embarking on your yoga journey here, there are plenty of options. One of the most popular places to visit is the Self Realization Fellowship gardens overlooking “swamis beach.” These are beautiful meditation gardens that overlook the ocean in a serene environment. If your journey leads you here for more spiritual purposes, you may want to consider doing a “how to live” retreat with the fellowship which often involves a lot of meditation and how to lead a more yoga driven lifestyle in all areas (not only asana). You can also visit any of the numerous yoga studios located throughout the town to take classes whenever you want. If you are looking for more freedom in your vacation you may just want to drop in and buy class passes that range around 10-15 dollars per class and schedules are highly varietal. For a more guided yoga journey, many of these studios also offer full retreats. One example is Soul of Yoga, in the heart of Encinitas, which offers weekend workshops or more lengthy retreats. There are so many to choose from, you can choose your own path!

 

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

 

The city of Ubud is located in the central part of the island of Bali. Located within the archipelago of Indonesia, a country containing 17,508 islands, explorers called this “the island of the gods” when they first came here because of its amazing beauty. Known as Bali's cultural center, Ubud has a rich history in the arts. With a variety of cultural dance, fine art, historic markets, and hindu customs, this popular city is truest to the local lifestyle of the Balinese.

The wonderful thing about Ubud is that is hasn't been totally “white-washed,” or in other words, westernized. When you come here, you really can immerse yourself in the culture of the Balinese people and get to know them for who they are, not who we want them to be. You may have heard that Bali is somewhat of a “yoga capital” for practicing yogis around the world. This is because the practice of “yogas,” and there are many types, originates from the Hindu religion that the Balinese follow.

 

UntitledYour yoga journey here is one that many only dream of pursuing. There are tons of options from the more adventurous to someone who wants to be a little more guided. If you want to really explore the island of Bali and city of Ubud, I would recommend finding accommodation on your own and then attending classes at the local yoga studio “the yoga barn” which has many classes a day with a drop in rate of about $10 USD or 100,000 rupiah per class. If you want to be more guided, I would advise signing up for a yoga retreat held by the many companies around Ubud. Some of the great ones are Shakti Spirit (www.shaktispirit.com), Radiantly Alive (http://www.radiantlyalive.com/) or one world retreats (www.oneworldretreats.com). These all offer fabulous and well priced yoga retreats for different lengths of time and areas of focus. There are tons out there, though, so do some research!

 

Speaking of cost, the other wonderful thing about Bali is its CHEAP! Once you get there, you can find very nice accommodation for as little as $20USD a night, and amazing meals and food for only $2. It may be a little third world, but it is a place that is so beautiful its worth the long travel. For more information on Bali visit my website at http://www.yogaretreats-bali.com/about-bali

 

 

Montezuma, Costa Rica

 

Montezuma is a beautiful and popular tourist destination that still maintains that small town feel. With a plethora of different activities to involve yourself in, you can choose to be more laid back or dive into the night life after dark. Visitors of all ages come here for the world class snorkeling, adventure tours, white sand beaches, surfing, and of course, yoga! This hippie atmosphere gives birth to an international crowd of artists and eco-tourists who embrace Montezuma's natural beauty.

 

Although any of these places are amazing in their own right for any type of vacation, if you choose to come to Costa Rica to bring yourself deeper in your yoga practice, I would suggest coming here to a guided yoga retreat. One of the most popular yoga retreat centers here is the Anamaya Resort (http://www.anamayaresort.com/). A luxury resort by one name, they are also a yoga, detox center, and health resort. They offer a wide variety of yoga retreats year round, and have beautiful accommodation and amenities. If you are looking to be a little more immersed in nature and into the quietness of life, consider coming to Samasati, a nature and yoga retreat. This retreat offers total escape, secluded in the hills, and allows you to focus on your yoga practice and enjoy the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

 

Goa, India

 

India is widely known as the birthplace of Hatha Yoga. Here we find the ancient traditions that stem from the ancient Hindu texts of the Vedas, and we can fully immerse ourselves in the true meaning of yoga in this world. Many practiced yogis make India the “mecca” of their travels, aiming at travelling here at least once in their lifetime to become closer to the source. That being said, it is not a trip for the faint hearted, and you must be adamant in your resolve to come here if its in your travel plans.

 

There are so many different opportunities for people wanting to travel to India that it is impossible to name them all here. If this is your first time travelling somewhere that is not first world, I would suggest going to a guided yoga retreat at a comfortable yoga center where everything is easy and provided for you. This leaves little to chance and provides you with some of the comforts you may be used to while still immersing yourself into the beauty and culture of India. A good example of this is “Purple Valley Yoga,” A yoga retreat center that is set in a lush tropical garden with monkeys in the trees and hammocks strewn about. These are more luxurious retreats that provide you with accommodation, food, and services and amenities. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can travel to Goa and attend any of the many yoga studio's classes. Brahmani Yoga which is located in the heart of Goa and offers classes, workshops and teacher trainings. It is a beautiful school with amazing teachers, but is a little more rugged and “on-your-own” in style.

 

The thing to remember with India is that this is probably one of the most third world places you can travel to. Its hot, dirty, you cant drink the water, and is highly overpopulated, but it is one of the most beautiful and mystical places you will ever see. It will shock you in both ways of love and hate, but as a yogi its one of those places that we all try to visit at some point in our lives.

 

So, spice up your spring or summer with an exotic yoga vacation!! There are so many other places around the world you can visit and have amazing experiences in. Each place will be unique and amazing in its own right, and you can learn more and more each time you do a retreat or class somewhere new. Keep an open mind when travelling internationally, and see what new aspects of living you can bring into your own life to make it that much better. We are like human sponges, taking in more and more information everyday, so we might as well make that positive and improve our lives while relaxing!