Sunday, January 09, 2011

Yoga Retreats in the Sun or Snow

Looking for a different way to enjoy a beach or mountain vacation at moderate cost? Consider a trip to a yoga retreat. Yoga is a system of traditional mental and physical practices that originated in India, and continue to be popular for their benefits to mind, body and spirit. Yoga has become almost mainstream as a form of fitness in the West today, but there is more to it than stretching.
If you want to experience a revitalizing vacation, you could spend a night or two in a yoga retreat in the sun for less than the cost of a pair of Lululemon yoga pants. The Website lists yoga retreats around the world that accept visitors. There is one called Discovery Yoga in St. Augustine, Florida, the charming original Spanish capital of the state. A bed in a shared room plus one yoga class costs as little as $40 a night. It seems to be one of the more casual and inexpensive retreats.
A little more costly and a lot more demanding are the retreats connected with Sivananda Yoga. You can practice your downward dog on the shores of the Caribbean Sea at Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The charge for a bed in the dorm starts at only $69 a night, but the program is rigourous. It includes morning and evening sitting meditation and two yoga practice sessions every day, and attendance at all sessions is mandatory.
There are also Sivananda retreats in the Austrian Tyrol and the Laurentians of Quebec, but the latter is open only in summer. Kripalu in Lennox MA and the Esalen Institute near Carmel CA are better known retreat centres with extensive programs and higher prices.
If you have a serious interest in yoga or a particular program but cannot afford the cost, it may be possible at certain retreats to work in exchange for room and board, a practice known as Karma yoga.
While all your friends are bragging about their high-priced hedonistic holidays, you can one-up them be discussing your low-cost yoga retreat with its mental and physical benefits.


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