Category Archives: Yoga Travel

We Found Your Next Yoga Retreat Spot in Costa Rica

Kinkára, a new eco retreat center in Costa Rica, was designed based on geometric patterns found in nature. It features organic gardens, an open-air yoga shala, and fully furnished luxe canvas tents.

Kinkara, Costa Rica

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Located at the foot of the Talamanca Mountains in southern Costa Rica, Kinkára—which will celebrate its first year as a yoga and wellness destination in September—is a lush 880-acre property featuring a large mandala garden with rotating and seasonal herbs, vegetables, and flowers. At the center of the garden, organized in a geometric design intended to create positive energy flow, is an open-air wooden pavilion for yoga. “Each part of the property was designed and built to not only have a minimal environmental impact, but actually be regenerative for the land and surrounding ecosystem,” says cofounder David Comfort. For example, the yoga shala was constructed using wood from invasive tree species, such as rainbow eucalyptus, and other locally sourced building materials. The invasive trees were planted by ranchers long ago and the property now repurposes the wood for furniture and structures.

Kinkára’s tents include solar-powered lighting, plush bedding, USB charging pods, and Wi-Fi. Most retreats are customized and include farm-to-table meals (with fresh produce from the mandala garden), sound-healing ceremonies, guided asana and meditation, hiking, horseback riding, and waterfall swims.

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

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The Western Yogi's Guide to Traveling Through India

From the must-see places and pilgrimages to top tips on how to stay healthy on the road, here’s what you need to know before you plan your trip.

Yoga Journal gives Western yogis an in-depth look into planning a trip to the birth place of yoga consciously and mindfully. 

I started practicing yoga in a crowded New York City gym, my mat so close to the student’s next to mine that I couldn’t tell whose sweat droplets were whose. Like many Americans, I was introduced to yoga as a physical activity—I considered it a complement to the triathlon training I was doing at the time—and thought of it as only that for the first five or so years I practiced.

See also What is Yoga? Understand The History Behind the Practice

Then, I started practicing with a yoga teacher who dropped lessons about yoga’s lineage into her classes. That led me to another instructor, who taught me even more about this ancient practice, the origins of which date to pre-Vedic times (1500–500 BCE) and are widely believed to have morphed into the Hatha Yoga that spread during British colonial rule of India and that Westerners practice today. The more I learned, the more I realized that eventually, I’d want to make a pilgrimage to yoga’s birthplace so I could understand more fully the practice I’d come to love.

See also What’s the Difference Between Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Appreciation?

I had that chance three years ago. What I learned is that, similar to my journey on my yoga mat, a meaningful trip to India can’t just be about taking. Rather, it should be about studying up on the places you’ll  visit and cultures you’ll experience, connecting meaningfully with the people you meet when you’re there, giving back through seva (selfless …

The Top Five Mindfulness Destinations Around the World

We asked Crystal McCreary—a yoga and mindfulness educator who hosts self-care retreats across the globe—to nameher five favorite destinations for experiencing mindfulness. Here’s what she had to say.

1. Kenya 

The dramatically poetic circle of life on display in Kenya is a meditation on the fierce resilience of all the living things that thrive here: the people, the animals, and the vegetation.

2. Bali 

Teeming with vibrant life, Bali’s glow and the natural high that alights visitors’ awareness while on the island make evident that it is one of the Earth’s chakras.

3. Morocco 

Majestic in scale and ancient in tradition, the heartening harmony of faiths and natural aesthetic design make Morocco a destination for reflecting on the dimensional elements that make us who we are.

See also Africa Yoga Travel

4. Iceland 

The natural, geological wonder of Iceland reminds mindful travelers that we abide on a living, breathing, and powerfully transforming planetary body that deserves deep bows of gratitude and respect. (For more on meditating in Iceland, see page 79.)

5. Isla Holbox 

Tiny, tranquil and idyllic, this tropical beach respite’s quiet, simple pleasures express the potency of practicing the pause.

About our author

Learn more about Crystal and her wellness initiatives for kids and adults at crystalmccrearyyoga.com.

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A Horseback Trip Through Iceland Taught Me About Being Present

Five days across Iceland via horseback forced me to slow down and focus on what was in front of me all along.

Horses in Iceland

I was a burnt end, a frayed electrical cord, a tea kettle whistling on the stove just about boiled dry. I’d been working two jobs for a decade, and I found myself in the paradoxical position of having a little extra money and zero joy. Snippets of free time that occasionally landed at my feet only provoked my anxiety. I was too bound up in every little thing.

How could I heal myself? I’d always chafed at the idea that travel alone can mend a person. It seems at once too literal and too extravagant—that a physical escape is the only fix, and, ironically, that such a cure requires so much money (stress), time (stress!), and planning (ditto!). But that spring, I began to worry about the damage this anxiety might be doing to my body. I Googled two things I love: “horses and Iceland.” Then, in mid-July, I found myself in a van with a dozen other women watching Iceland’s lunar-like landscape pass us by through a blur of arctic rain. We were heading to the horses.

See also How You Handle Stress Reveals What Primary Element You Are

Vague memories of a trip to Iceland decades ago had guided me here. Little did I know that the meditative power of a five-day camping trip in the saddle was beyond powerful.

As soon as I hit the trail, the incessant rhythm of the swift and unrelenting tolt—a four-beat trot unique to Icelandic horses—dominated everything, focusing my mind and body into a kind of magical clock whose hands only counted seconds instead of minutes or hours. In the saddle, riding in the tolt, I …

Yoga Journal's Best Yoga Retreats and Travel Spots Around the World

37 magical, mindful yoga destinations from nearly every continent.

North America

1. Feathered Pipe Ranch, Helena, Montana

Teacher and Yoga Journal cofounder Judith Hanson Lasater has been hosting yoga retreats at this spacious ranch since 1975. “It’s like summer camp for yogis,” she says: “Jaw-dropping scenery in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, magnificent food, fresh spring water, twice-daily yoga classes, and a week steeped in the silence of nature.” To pay respect to the sacred Native American land the retreat rests on, founder India Supera created the Feathered Pipe Foundation to help preserve ceremonial traditions of the Cree people. Feathered Pipe continues to foster humanitarian efforts that give life to new nonprofits while maintaining missions such as the Veterans Yoga Project and the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation.

Feathered Pipe Ranch, Helena, Montana

2. Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

With an international network of 2,000 instructors teaching more than 700 programs to 30,000 guests a year, education is front and center at this verdant campus in the Berkshires. For the past decade, Kripalu has led the way in groundbreaking research on yoga and trauma in collaboration with experts from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

See also Style Profile: Kripalu Yoga

3. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is known for spiritual vortexes—powerful energy centers where visitors can allegedly pick up on sacred frequencies. Healers and enlightenment seekers worldwide travel to its towering red-rock spires hoping to tap into higher consciousness. Each March, the three-day Sedona Yoga Festival draws thousands of practitioners with its lineup of 200 classes and performances by kirtan artists such as Johanna Beekman. Regulars tout an intimate setting where you’re likely to run into presenters (think ISHTA Yoga founder Alan Finger) in the halls, as well as dedicated workshops on trauma-informed yoga.

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