We all know the benefits of a regular yoga practice - better physical and mental health, reduced stress, and an improved relationship with ourselves.
But there is nothing quite like the immersive, transformational environment of a well-run yoga retreat.
Nowadays we are spoilt for choice when it comes to the number and variety of yoga retreat options - there is something for all budgets, locations, and needs.
The Covid-19 pandemic has meant a very challenging year for yoga retreats, but as travel restrictions begin to ease we delve into the best yogi-approved options in the UK and abroad so you can get ready for a much-needed getaway.
The Benefits of Yoga Retreats
Taking a yoga retreat is not just another holiday - although you can enjoy some quality R&R if that’s what you are seeking.
A yoga retreat offers a rare chance to “step out” of your various life roles - and move beyond the constant distractions to our energy and time which can impair our ability to just get on the mat and move.
Yoga retreats can be so unique in their offerings, with some focused more on a physical transformation and others very much orientated towards turning your attention inwards.
You can expect to deepen your practice, connect to a group of like-minded souls and learn something new about yourself - which sometimes can be the missing piece for your life off the mat.
There may be tears, but there will definitely be joy and a deeper sense of peace than you have likely experienced in a long while!
Of course, you will probably enjoy the added extras - delicious plant-based feasts, massages, activities, and excursions - but for the escape from daily life alone, taking a yoga retreat is 100% worth it.
The Best Yoga Retreats in the UK
Don’t feel you need to take a long-distance flight to reach the retreat of your dreams.
There are some incredible offerings closer to home which can be great if you are short on time, want to avoid flying or just wish to enjoy the best of Britain.
Here are our top picks:
Here you can find several short-break options in locations ranging from Norfolk to the Peak District. Adventure Yogi retreats are a great option if you want to combine high-quality yoga with added activities such as hiking, local outings, and delicious seasonal food.
These mini-breaks are affordable and you get a well-balanced experience for your money.
Upcoming retreats: Springtime Yoga + Hiking in the Peak District, June 4th-7th, Yoga Wellness Retreat in Oxfordshire, 2nd-4th August + Norfolk Yoga Retreat, 27th- 30th August
The Tree - North Yorkshire
Voted one of the top 25 yoga retreats in the world, this cosy home from home offers you all the ingredients of a great getaway. Enjoy a range of holistic therapies, expert-led yoga, and charming ‘old chapel’ accommodation.
Set in the peaceful North York Moors National Park you can really leave your stresses behind here. Expect mindful movement practices in the form of qi-gong, kriya yoga, and more.
Upcoming Retreats: Book weekend breaks and mid-week trips year-round - just get in early because they often have a 3-month waiting list.
The Sharpham Trust - Devon
If you are looking to deepen your practice in a peaceful setting - then look no further. The Sharpham trust retreat environment is free from the hassles of busy city life, giving you the unique opportunity to delve into yourself - distraction-free.
Combine Yoga add Mindfulness with the backdrop of a Grade 1 listed building - in an area designated as ‘outstanding natural beauty’. Gain space to relax and rejuvenate with ample free time to explore your surroundings too.
Upcoming Retreats: Watch this space - upcoming schedule for 2021-2022 soon to be released.
Dhanakosa - Lochearnhead
Dhanakosa is affordable, with an inclusive Buddhist community and somewhere you will get a genuine retreat experience. Awaken to the morning meditation bell, eat silent bowls of vegan porridge and wander the valley during breaks.
International visiting teachers add real personality to the yoga and meditation retreats, and if you are after authenticity - the simple, soothing routines of this ashram-like experience will definitely deliver.
For a fuss-free, back-to-basics, pay what you can set up, Dhanakosa will reacquaint you with what really matters.
Upcoming Retreats: Join them for their monthly yoga retreats, or drop in for a solo retreat if you are seeking solitude.
The Best International Yoga Retreats
Of course there are also some pretty amazing - once-in-a-lifetime style retreats a little further afield. If you just want to leave it all behind, experience a reliable climate - or combine your retreat with some travel, the following five options might be just the thing.
Suryalila - Spain
If you want a life-changing yoga experience look no further than the sanctuary of stillness that is Suryalila. Set in rural Andalusia in Southern Spain, with a backdrop of rolling hills and spectacular sunsets - you will connect to a very special and warm hearted community.
Enjoy various retreat options year-round with themes from happiness to clarity, and adventure to restoration. With added extras such as ecstatic dance, sauna, and salt pool dips - salsa evenings and homegrown food - you are in for a real treat.
Upcoming Opportunities: Summer Happiness Retreat- June 13th-20th, & Relax + Restore Retreat August 7th-14th
The Village Experience - India, Kenya + More
If you are looking for a retreat that goes beyond the ordinary then The Village Experience will not disappoint. Their carefully curated, socially responsible, ‘Yoga + Service’ trips will give you the feel-good factor.
Spend time supporting local community projects from village schools to health NGOs. You will enrich your physical practice with this special ‘karma yoga’ aspect. Still, expect great food, amazing travel moments, and plenty of time on the mat too.
Upcoming Opportunities: Yoga + Community Immersion - Kenya, September 15th-26th
A beachside yoga retreat with an incredible open-aired yoga room, Ibiza yoga offers you all the magic of Balearic island bliss. You can opt to stay in a range of accommodation from charming ‘meditation huts’ to luxurious double rooms.
Enjoy the best of the island’s cuisine with impressive local chefs and gain the flexibility of dropping in or out of the different yoga packages available.
Upcoming Opportunities: ongoing retreats from Saturdays- Sundays with various internationally recognized yoga teachers.
One World - Bali
We know Bali is the place for yoga retreats - with many exotic and exciting options. But One World Bali is definitely one of the best. Expect well-balanced programs combining expert meditation and yoga, local community immersion, sacred rituals, and world-class ayurvedic treatments.
They offer a variety of retreat options year-round - with their signature ‘Escape The World’ package being a popular choice - it combines spa treatments with bicycle excursions, rice paddy walks, and purification rituals.
Upcoming Opportunities: Retreats should open shortly pending relaxed Covid restrictions.
The Sanctuary - Thailand
With the aim of providing you with a place to ‘be’, the Sanctuary offers both a soothing and spiritual wellness escape. The Sanctuary is surrounded by the beauty of nature - making it a great location for a digital detox.
You can expect a once-in-a-lifetime‘ paradise found’ feeling here - with a diverse and dynamic yoga schedule, various detox programs, and a remote beach vibe. You can drop in for as little or long as you like.
Upcoming offerings: Choose from different packages on an ongoing basis.
Retreats with The Sports Edit Ambassadors
We couldn’t write a piece on yoga retreats without mentioning The Sports Edit’s very own ambassador yogis. Here are their amazing offerings:
My Soul Sanctuary - Cat Meffan
Cat Meffan offers a diverse range of yoga retreats all over the world. She aims to share her passion for yoga, movement, and travel in breathtaking retreat locations both close to home in the UK, and as far afield as Sri Lanka.
Cat puts a lot of time and care into creating unique and memorable retreat experiences, including sharing circles, surfing, local vegan food, and special accommodation options.
Catch her at one of her upcoming retreats: Find your flow - Peak District in June, Sri Lanka in Jan 2022, and a Portugal Retreat in May 2022. Be warned, these sell out fast.
Sweaty Soul Studio - Molly McKeever
Molly McKeever runs intuitive retreats where she aims to bring yoga off the mat and into life - a philosophy she lives and breathes too.
She curates a variety of thought-provoking offerings including the aptly named - find your limit retreat which combines yoga and hiking for a transformational experience.
Join her In Crete In June or September.
Tools to help you find the right yoga retreat
It can be pretty overwhelming to sift through all of the various offerings to find your perfect match. Luckily finding your ideal retreat doesn’t need to be an arduous process.
There are now some really efficient online search and booking platforms that can make choosing a retreat a whole lot easier.
One of the best options includes:
Bookyogaretreats.com - Here you can search for your ideal location, date, and yoga style to find the options which would work best for you. You can also look at their ‘top ten’ lists to get more inspiration for your chosen location.
You will find retreat options year-round on bookyogaretreats - with offerings at home and abroad. Read the reviews for yogi-approved retreats you can trust.
On a budget but also want to enjoy retreat life? Well, you can! Just use the affordable yoga retreats section on their website to find a solution for every budget - from short one-day retreats to online options, you can and should enjoy the benefits a quality retreat can bring.After the year we have had, we all need to take a little time out from the daily hustle and gain some much-needed time and space. Enjoy.