Yoga is growing in popularity the world over, with retreats and courses popping up everywhere.
With so many different options, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to choose. Where are the best yoga retreats? What are the best countries to practice yoga? Here are our five top picks…
Of course, talking about the best places in the world to do yoga, I had to first and foremost mention the birth country of yoga! India is about as famous for its yoga as it is for the Taj Mahal, or Holi Festival.
Come to India to do yoga and you will learn more than simply the different asanas (poses). You will learn a spirituality and a way of life.
Visit Rishakesh for an authentic taste of where yoga all began. However, if you would rather soak up some Indian sun whilst also getting enlightened, head to chilled out Kerala or the hippy enclave of Goa, where you will be spoilt for choice for yoga classes, workshops, courses and retreats.
Whether you want to do your yoga teacher training or simply learn more about this ancient and ever-growing practise, India is the place to be. Not only is it an authentic experience, but it’s also incredibly inexpensive.
photo via Runaway Brit
Think of Thailand and you may think of beautiful beaches, world class snorkelling, full moon parties, tuk-tuks racing around Bangkok. Because Thailand is such a popular traveller destination for everyone, it’s no surprise that there are so many great places to take part in yoga classes and retreats.
Obviously the serenity and beauty of the islands make them fantastic for doing yoga. Even islands that more of an association with being party islands, like Koh Phan Gan, can offer fantastic yoga.
For example, if you go to Koh Phan Gan for the full moon party, you’ll likely hang around Hat Rin. But if you head to the north of the island you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the rowdy drunk backpackers and go to ‘The Yoga Retreat’.
Alternatively, ‘The Sanctuary’ is another great choice and may be more convenient to get to. One of my favourite places to do yoga in Thailand was on Tonsai Beach near Krabi. There was a tiny yoga studio nestled in the jungle, and here I fell in love with yin yoga, which is a much slower and more intensively stretching practice.
If you’d rather be amongst the mountains than the beaches, head to Northern Thailand. Here you can really get away from the masses and still practise yoga in a beautiful and serpent location. Food and accommodation prices are usually lower, too.
3. Costa Rica
Whilst Costa Rica is often labelled as expensive, especially when compared with it’s Central American neighbours, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to calm and enlightening places to practice yoga.
Costa Rica is the home of ‘Pura Vida’, meaning Pure Life, and nothing captures a pure and happy life quite like a fulfilling yoga practice, especially after a day of catching some waves (Costa Rica also has some world class surf breaks!).
Costa Rica is home not only to stunning beaches and ocean views, but also to expansive jungle. Here you cannot help but feel at one with nature, which again, makes for a fantastic setting to practice yoga.
With the help of transformative festivals such as Envision Festival, as well as numerous yoga centres and retreats in beachside towns such as Puerto Viejo, you’ll find the power of yoga is strong here.
Plus tonnes of incredible yoga teachers who live or have lived in Costa Rica, such as Sofiah Thom and Rachel Brathen, have put this country firmly on the map when it comes to practicing yoga.
photo via Miss Adventure Travel
Bali is a dream destination for so many travellers. It’s also a popular holiday destination for Australians and as such, some parts of Bali, such as Kuta, can seem very westernised.
However when you get away from touristy places like Kuta and Seminyak, and instead head to the surfers town of Canguu or the inland cultural epicentre Ubud, you’ll find that Bali is actually a prime yoga-holiday location.
Any surfer town will usually have some yoga too, as the two activities are such a great combo, so if you’re a beach loving yogi, Canguu is the place to be. However if you’re looking for a more authentic Balinese experience in your holiday, head to Ubud.
Here you will get to learn more about Balinese culture and Hindu culture, as well as walk amongst the famous rice paddies. There are tonnes of yoga centres in Ubud, including the famous Yoga Barn which hosts a variety of classes.
Now, I have spoken in the past about not actually really liking the Yoga Barn, but you may have a different experience and there are still lots of other yoga centres to choose from. If all else fails, head to the small island of Nusa Lembongan where you can practise yoga and go scuba diving in a quiet location off of the beaten track.
Australia may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of great places to practise yoga. After all, Australia is kind of expensive!
But, Australia is also home to everything that makes it the perfect yoga destination – beautiful beaches and surf breaks, jungle, an emphasis on health, fitness and wellbeing, and happy, relaxed people.
Whilst there are great yoga studios and classes across Australia, my favourite place to do yoga is in Byron Bay. Byron Bay is a hippy paradise and here you will find countless yoga and meditation workshops and classes. If you are staying at the Arts Factory Lodge, you may be lucky enough to take part in a donation based yoga class in a beautiful outdoor setting at the lodge, right by the creek.
I was taught on two separate occasions here by two different teachers and had a fantastic experience.You’ll also find loads of studios where you can have a more polished experience, such as at Farm Yoga, where you can also enjoy some incredible food! In between all that yoga, you can go surfing or sea-kayaking with the dolphins.
Failing Byron Bay, head to some of the awesome classes in cities like Melbourne and Sydney. Sydney is full of toned and fit people who take pride i their health and wellbeing, so here it is not hard to grab a green juice and get on board with the wellness warriors.
Do you love yoga? What do you think about our list of best countries to practice yoga – do you agree? Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to ask any questions!