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How to choose a yoga vacation
It's essential to find a yoga vacation that suits your level of commitment. I didn't research properly and turned up to a really strict, electricity-free retreat: the instructor caught me eating crisps by candlelight...
As with most things these days, there is an incredible amount of choice out there when it comes to choosing a yoga vacation. This might sound silly, but the first thing you need to think about is how much yoga is actually involved: some retreats offer classes once daily, others twice; some retreats are yoga only, others combine yoga with another activity.
Once you know how much yoga you want to do, work out where you want to do it – do you want to be up in the mountains, or down on the coast, and, importantly, how isolated do you want to be? Consider the style of yoga that you want to practice be it slow and steady, challenging and sweaty, or both, and finally, research it all again – you can never ask too many questions. The point of a yoga vacation is to leave you feeling even better than when you arrived, which is as personal a point as how you take your tea and toast.
Types of yoga vacation
Being a yoga newbie can be daunting; there’s little worse than walking into a class full of people chatting merrily while holding their feet above their heads and realising it’s been years since you’ve done a crab let alone a wounded peacock. But fear ye not, there are loads of vacations for people who are starting out, or brushing up – you’ll still learn all the basics and clock up some serious yoga hours, just at a reasonable pace.
In-depth yogaSurprisingly not just for serious yogis, an in-depth yoga vacation is ideal for anyone who wants to become a yoga teacher, but be warned, it isn’t easy and although yoga novices are welcome, the schedule is intense. You’ll begin at sunrise with meditation and then practice your postures and listen to lectures all day before wrapping up with some more meditative downtime after dinner and a much-needed early night.
Women only yogaIt might be that you want to get away on a vacation with the girls with fewer, ahem, distractions; perhaps you feel more comfortable bending your body around in front of other women; or maybe you are dealing with hormonal changes or health issues exclusive to ladies. Any or all reasons are welcome and it’s important to remember that women only yoga vacations are about focus and fun, and not about angry feminist man-bashing.
As if a vacation dedicated to health and flexibility wasn’t brilliant enough, you can also pick from all sorts of equally brilliant plus ones to pack more in to your yoga adventure – pilates, massage, dancing, even diving, are all covered. Each are cleverly interlinked with the founding principles and practices of yoga to enhance your experience of learning about both.
Yoga for fitness & weight lossThe term ‘boot camp’ can strike fear into the hearts of anyone wanting to shift a few pounds, but yoga boot camps are more about a gentle push to kick start a new health regime than being made to jump squat for your supper. Focusing on a daily programme of yoga, hiking and circuit training (usually made far more bearable by the presence of a beach), together with nutritional workshops and healthy, cleansing meals to encourage weight loss goals, you put the work in, but in a very nurturing environment.
Yoga for relaxationBefore the days of yoga studios cranking up their temperatures to 40C and having you sweat out your sins by the bucketload (which is actually very effective if you like punishment with your posture work), the whole point of the practice was relaxation, something a lot of yoga vacations offer. How your yoga to relaxation ratio sits is up to you, but a typical day involves two 90-minute sessions daily, topped up with optional and untaxing activities and plenty of herbal tea.
Yoga & your spiritual sideYoga plays a huge part in giving people a framework to cope with modern life’s stresses and there are vacations with a significant ‘healing and recovery’ slant for those searching for clarity, peace of mind, or time with others. As well as daily yoga practice, these trips are a chance to immerse yourself in nature and recharge your batteries, share stories with people from all walks of life, and set to work finding your inner peace.
If you'd like to chat about Yoga or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.
SOME ADVICE FROM OUR EXPERTS
Nicole Stone, from our supplier, Yoga Breaks in Spain, shares her advice on how to choose a yoga vacation: “Location is really, really important. We’ve been running yoga retreats for ten years now and have used several different locations in Spain. We used to use a beautiful hotel up in the mountains, but it was in a little village and we found that after three nights there people used to get a bit stir crazy because they’d walked around the village several times already and there was no real night life or shops nearby. If somebody doesn’t want to be too remote and then they end up at a mountain location, they’ll be frustrated and annoyed at their choice. Be sure to read the vacation description carefully, so you know what you’re getting.”
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