Yoga vacations in Spain

YOGA HOLIDAYS IN SPAIN


SUNSHINE TO SOOTHE THE SOUL

Strip away visions of parasols for as far as the eye can see, and stretch towards the sun. Yoga vacations in Spain reveal the real reasons why this European favourite has been attracting those in the know, long before the bucket and spade brigade ever dreamed about descending on the Costas.
Some of Spain's lesser known locations are well worth keeping under your sombrero, with beautiful beaches and mountainous countryside, acting as gorgeous backdrops for fully equipped, luxury villas and characterful, family run yoga retreats.

Relax as you revive your senses under the warmth of an eternal sun. From daily yoga, massage and meditation classes to an authentic experience that's strictly Spanish, we reveal how you can seek out sunshine to sooth the soul, without a stereotype or parasol in sight.

RECOMMENDED LOCATIONS


Starting in the south of Spain, Andalucia has long charmed visitors with its Moorish architecture and views over the Sierra Nevada. Several yoga retreats here are situated close to the Alhambra in Granada, and around the protected
coves and beaches of Almeria
in the southeast.
Head north along the coast and you'll discover Alicante, considered to be one of the healthiest locations on earth. Here, yoga retreats close to Altea and Valencia provide guests with untold excuses to get out and explore or rest by the pool after finding their flow.
Although yoga vacations in southern Spain are ideal for reviving the senses during the spring and autumn, retreats situated in the north of the country, around the Spanish Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa, are all set for the summer thanks to milder temperatures and wonderfully wild surrounds.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON A SPANISH YOGA HOLIDAY


The majority of itineraries will include a Vinyasa or Hatha class before breakfast and another before the evening meal. Other activities, including meditation, Pilates and exercise sessions may also be included as part of the daily course structure with the chance to go walking, swimming or practise your Spanish adding to positivity levels both inside and out.
Most yoga vacations in Spain last a week and are open to all levels of student, from beginners to more experienced practitioners. The emphasis is always on enjoyment, comfort and building confidence as well as making new friends in a relaxed, unpretentious setting.

Becoming part of a small group (usually seven or eight people) encourages guests to laugh, share experiences and chat about how they're getting on. These are also ideal for solo travelers, as it gives them the opportunity to take a vacation, safe in the knowledge that they'll be mingling with other likeminded yoga lovers.
Instructors are an important part of any yoga retreat and you'll often find several specialists within the fields of yoga, meditation, massage and nutrition are on hand to offer informal and more dedicated advice and instruction.

YOGA RETREAT ACCOMMODATION


Where you stay on a yoga vacation is just as important as the programme of classes and activities. Finding a retreat that has the right level of fitness facilities, creature comforts and luxury touches definitely continues the relaxation process before and after your daily classes.
Accommodation that we recommend in Spain usually comes with an outdoor swimming pool and can include everything from a rural guesthouse in Valencia to a converted olive farm in Altea, or a 17th century farmhouse in the Pyrenees. Pools provide guests with plenty of excuses to soak up the sun and relax in between classes as well as offering an alternative to sand between the toes at the beach. Staff will often be from the surrounding area which not only helps the local economy but also encourages guests to practise their Spanish, if they wish.
Daily meals will include breakfast or brunch, lunches, picnics and evening meals, and enable a healthy glow from within. They can, of course, be tailored to dietary requirements. Nutritional workshops are also often included within a week's agenda which allows guests to learn more about the benefits of what they put into their bodies as well as feeling the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Discovering the local culture is also an important aspect of practising yoga away from home. Big cities, such as Granada or Valencia, often offer just as much insight into Spanish life as listening to the chime of church bells from a town plaza, with explorations of the surrounding area opening up all manner of cultural experiences.
Seeking out your own special setting in Spain is really important for allowing the magic of yoga, meditation and contentment to develop as freely and naturally as possible. Although there are plenty of brash beaches and noisy resorts, that's just not what a yoga vacation is about. Focus on Spain for all the right reasons, and before you know it you'll be head over heels in love with life and moving forward on your journey to soulful satisfaction.
Photo credits: [Top box: Poprotskiy Alexey] [Andalucia: Miguel Ángel "fotógrafo"] [Altea: Felipe Gabaldón] [What to expect - Picos de Europa: Marcus Hansson] [Meditation: ] [Accommodation: Phillip Capper] [Daily meals: Fresco Tours] [Sunset: Gabriel Gonzalez]

Written by: Chris Owen
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