Category Archives: Yoga Travel

So You Just Got Back From a Yoga Retreat… Now What?

7 practices to sustain your transformative experience after you return home.

Bring your retreat back home.

Many of you might have spent part of the New Year holiday at yoga retreats, special workshops, or at home on your own, journaling about how to move into 2020 with intention. And now you might be wondering how the hell you’re going to sustain those positive vibes and new inspiration as you re-enter a world full of career, kids, errands, and bills. If that’s the case, this article is intended to help you merge your transformational experience with your daily existence.

Below, you’ll find tips for how to maintain that deep connection to yourself, your inner truth, and others, when faced with some of the more mundane but necessary tasks of modern life.

See also Yoga Journal’s Best Yoga Retreats and Travel Spots Around the World

Maintaining Your Retreat Mindset 

Integration, the process of embodying fresh insights and living your newfound truth, is a personal passion of mine. As a meditation mentor, Kundalini Yoga teacher, and personal coach, I meet with many people who attend spiritual retreats and have a hard time translating the experience into the “real” world and their day-to-day life. Work, parenting, household chores, relationships, old habits and patterns of being all have a way of distracting us from our intentions. As a result, at the end of the day, our commitment to our transformation and growth wanes and becomes an extra added stress—something that we don’t quite have time for.

I’ve heard this refrain so often that I actually wrote a book about it, called Integration Alchemy: Rekindle Your Transformational Retreat and Shine, to help my friends and fellow travelers through this process. I work with people one-on-one and in group settings to help them integrate …

Bypass Bali and Head to this Undiscovered Gem Instead

Skip the Bali crowd and venture out to this serene Cambodian beach town.

The small province of Kep, on Cambodia’s southwestern tip, is unlike the more populous areas in the country we’re always hearing about. It operates at a slower, quieter pace, and though Cambodia’s economy benefits greatly from tourism, this seaside retreat offers a unique, affordable, and quieter alternative to Southeast Asia’s more trafficked destinations, like Bali and Siem Reap. It is a locale rich in activities—cultural, athletic, and rejuvenating.

Stay

Kep has no shortage of lodging that’s only a short walk from the Gulf of Thailand—a popular meditation oasis. Picturesque, colonial-style boutique hotels, such as the treehouse-inspired Tara Lodge Haven of Peace, tend to draw yogis and quiet beach seekers. Located on a small dirt road, beset by lush, green trees and other quaint B&Bs, the Tara Lodge features spacious second-floor cottages with breathtaking balcony views of the surrounding forest and gulf. Relax by the swimming pool, indulge at the spa, and mindfully enjoy a complimentary breakfast at the treehouse-style café: Here you’ll find long wooden tables for mingling, surrounded by thick foliage and gorgeous views of vibrant plants, birds, lizards, and other wildlife—plus the freshest fruit smoothie life has to offer.

Tara Lodge is a quick jaunt (less than 150 meters) from the Vagabond Temple Yoga and Meditation retreat: an ideal destination for those interested in yoga, Reiki, and sound-healing sessions. And during our stay, the lodge manager Alexis (delightfully friendly and French) was full of local recommendations to fit every temperament.

Eat

Kep’s most notable food feature is its Crab Market—a huge, open-air forum where fishermen drag crab cages right out of the ocean and merchants wait to sell their daily hauls to locals and tourists alike. The market buzzes with dozens of languages …

Relax in the Redwoods

Canyon Ranch, known for its wellness resorts and spas, is opening a retreat space in Woodside, California, complete with luxe rooms and secluded paths in the middle of the Redwoods.

Nestled beneath the Redwoods about 45 minutes from San Francisco, Woodside Retreat opened November 1. The first retreat-style location for Canyon Ranch delivers on amenities and forest bathing, yet its steep nightly rates make it a splurge. You’ll have the option to come by yourself or with a group, and you can book two-, four-, or five-day retreats, choosing from featured options or fully customizing your schedule. 

The 16-acre property has 14 guest rooms in the main retreat lodge, plus 24 private rooms that are elevated on stilts with private wraparound decks overlooking greenery. Each structure was created based on principles in Chinese medicine to allow for free flow of qi and to emphasize harmony. There are also secluded paths for year-round hiking, biking, and contemplative walks. Woodside Retreat’s offerings include an outdoor obstacle course, yoga and meditation classes, creative expression courses, tai chi, nutrition consultations, spa treatments, and an indoor saline pool and whirlpool. 

Meals, such as hearth-roasted Monterey king salmon tandoori and a Norcal farmer’s market relish tray, are served at a communal table at the on-site dining hub The Hearth—committed to preparing local vegetables, root to stem.

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See also A Surf Yoga Retreat Aimed at Helping You Find Creativity Is Exactly What You Need This Winter

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Tune In & Sleep Better

Transition into winter feeling calm, grounded, and centered with these self-care tips from the holistic wellness experts at Still Soul Studio in Charleston, South Carolina.

Still Soul Studio in Charleston, South Carolina

Sun Meditation

“If your nervous system is already overstimulated and depleted, seasonal changes can trigger anxiety, depression, and increased stress,” says holistic life coach and co-owner Elli Richter. Meditation can be an integral part of calming down, re-centering, and finding more joy and clarity. Try this visualization meditation for a few minutes at any time of the day: Find a comfortable resting position, close your eyes, and take three deep breaths. Next, inhale to the count of four, and exhale to the count of six. Visualize a bright sun far above your head, and sense its warm light washing down on you like a gentle shower. Continue for at least three breaths. On each exhalation, feel any tension you are carrying begin to release and dissolve into the earth beneath you.

See also First-Timer’s Guide to Yoga Retreats

Lavender-Sesame
 Foot Rub 

Raw sesame oil is known in the Ayurvedic tradition for its calming and grounding effects. Rubbing it on your feet before bed can help relax your body and calm your mind, allowing for a deep and restful night’s sleep, Richter says. “I love warming the oil slightly and adding lavender before massaging it in,” she says. Try it: In a saucepan, warm one-quarter cup organic sesame oil over medium-low heat for three minutes. Add three drops of organic lavender essential oil—a scent that research suggests can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Slowly and mindfully massage the oil into the bottoms of your feet. Richter recommends sleeping with socks on after applying the oil to help maximize absorption and keep it from staining your sheets. …

The South is Ripe for More Access to Alternative Healing and Yoga

While markets on the coasts are saturated with yoga studios and a variety of healing modalities, yoga teachers and wellness practitioners in Southern states are noticing an unmet need for non-traditional approaches to health.

While the trend in alternative healing and yoga grows (thanks in part to social platforms where 30-day yoga challenges and Dr. Sebi alkaline memes are popular), according to regional yoga teachers and alternative health practitioners, the South has been slower than the rest of the U.S when it comes to embracing new forms of wellness.

I spoke with three Memphis, TN-based yoga teachers separately about their experience working and finding an audience in their region. “There are so many misconceptions,” said Libby Campo of Your Inner Yogi. “I think the large majority of resistance is the fear of trying something new.”

Yoga Teacher Deanna Taylor of Finally Fit Memphis agrees. “People come to the South because it’s the comfort food capital or they come here to slow down and relax,” she said. “So there’s no expectancy to tap into the healing work of the practitioners out here.”

Olivia Lomax of Delta Groove Yoga Studio explained the challenges she faces in the current market in Memphis. “I think it’s mostly a lack of experience and availability [of yoga in the South]. It’s hard for us in the healing arts to be here and do our work, but we stay because it’s so needed here.”

A Southern Wellness Event Finds an Audience 

Holistic health practitioner and event curator Jenny Emblom also realized the need for wellness in the South, which became the catalyst for Attune, Emblom’s four-day wellness retreat on the edge of Atlanta. “I was born and raised in Alabama, and I’ve felt called to serve that part of the country for years,” says Emblom. “I’ve …

Your Next Yoga Retreat Could Actually Empower Young Women

Souljourn Yoga collaborates with local organizations in Cambodia, Peru, and Morocco to support girls’ education and empowerment.

Jordan Ashley

Jordan Ashley took her first yoga teacher training at the end of college while she was dealing with a toxic and abusive relationship. After she broke away from her partner, she stopped practicing and moved to Cambodia to be a reporter. There, she connected with women who had been in similar relationships or who hadn’t been allowed academic opportunities. Ashley recognized that her laser focus on education had given her the strength to leave her relationship, and her eyes opened to education’s power to liberate and empower women. When she came back to the United States in the spring of 2012, she returned to yoga, and the more she practiced the more comfortable in her body she became. Yoga, like education, had become a source of power. The seeds for what would become Souljourn Yoga had been planted.

In 2016, Ashley founded Souljourn Yoga to help support girls’ empowerment through education. Souljourn Yoga holds international yoga-and-service retreats that help fund local partner organizations dedicated to girls’ education. Each year Souljourn Yoga returns to the same locations, including Cambodia, Peru, and Morocco, nurturing long-term relationships with its partners, such as the Sacred Valley Project in Peru, which provides secondary education for girls who live in the Andes Mountains. “I want to spend time cultivating relationships with the incredible organizations that are really doing the work,” Ashley says. “And I want to support them more than one time.”

See also This Nonprofit in India is Changing Children’s Lives Through Yoga

Built into the retreat fee is a donation to Souljourn Yoga’s local partners, and Ashley encourages retreat participants to bring commodities that the girls affiliated with its partners can use. “It takes …

Yoga in the High Desert

Contributor Jennifer Davis-Flynn finds both stillness and whimsy in Moab, Utah at the Desert Shakti yoga retreat.

The desert in spring is a magical experience. The cacti bloom with red and pink flowers; days are warm, but not hot; rosy sunsets burst over jagged red rocks; cool, clear nights are perfect for campfires and stargazing. With its miles of sandstone mesas, thousands of natural rock arches, wide canyons carved from the Colorado River, and easy access to five national parks, it’s easy to understand why sleepy little Moab, Utah – located in the state’s Southeastern high desert region – attracts over a million visitors a year.

In short, it’s the perfect backdrop for outdoor yoga, quiet reflection, and connecting with the natural stillness of the ancient desert landscape. And I was thrilled to be invited to the first-ever Desert Shakti retreat this past May, hosted by Jayne Gottlieb, founder of the Aspen Shakti in Aspen, Colorado – a destination studio and spa that features Vinyasa, hot yoga, and Buddhi Shakti yoga (a blend of asana, dance, Kundalini kriyas, tantra, cardio, and more) 

Moab Under Canvas at night

The Ultimate Glamping Experience

Set at the glamping destination, Moab Under Canvas, the location had an upscale festival vibe thanks to sturdy canvas tents featuring all the comforts of home: king-sized beds, wood-burning stoves, lamps and phone chargers. Some high-luxury tents even include indoor toilets and showers. 

Theatrical “Burning Man” touches added a bit of drama to the weekend. Costumes and colorful clothing were encouraged for participants. If you didn’t bring anything wild, you could select from a variety of handmade headwear, called Spirit Crowns designed by artist and shaman Sophie Howell. These whimsical pieces of wearable art were displayed on a table and could be worn or exchanged at anytime during …

Tour the Zen-Inspired Pasadena Cabana

A rundown pool house gets a transformative facelift to make room for deep reflection and relaxation.

Easy tranquility and ethereal minimalism aren’t exactly what come to mind when we think of bustling Parisian streets and flea markets, yet that’s exactly where Rozalynn Woods says she and co-designer Michaela Scherrer found the inspiration for this zen-heavy, poolside Pasadena cabana. “We noticed there was a confluence of things happening in Europe with gray concrete floors, whimsical window coverings, and white plaster walls,” Woods says. “Earthy elements were coming into play, whether we were window-shopping or discovering the marvelous old architecture or walking in the famous Parisian gardens with all their wonderful foliage.”

The idea was to convert the dilapidated, 1,300-square-foot space into a serene hideaway for quiet reflection by the water. Think grasscloth rugs, bamboo accents, and plenty of live elements such as an indoor-outdoor weeping willow tree and vibrant water lilies. Providing a bit of respite without detracting from the view of vegetation, translucent panels filter sunlight. The designers, yoga and meditation practitioners, also called on their practices to help inform the design. Meditation cushions rather than traditional seating adorn the patio, and a coffee table acts as a vessel for soothing white sand: Play with it or sink your drink into it—whatever helps calm the nerves.

See also You Have to See This Amazing Yoga Studio Space in Minneapolis.

Cop their style

ILLUMINATE

“Light is a big part of feeling good in your space,” says Woods, and to achieve the bright, breezy vibe in the cabana, she and Scherrer focused on the use of materials, textures, and negative space—creating the illusion of the interior merging with the outdoors. Paler surfaces allow for more light reflection, Scherrer says, while translucent textiles soften sunlight without blocking it.

FEEL

Places should provoke …