Whether you’ve recently started regular yoga classes and want to take your newfound knowledge to the next level or are a complete novice still figuring out the difference between a warrior and tree pose, a retreat can be a great way to deep-dive into this ancient, Indian-rooted practice.
As spiritual as it is physical, yoga styles range from slow and meditative to more dynamic but always focus on connecting to the breath and the body. The benefits are immense: improving core strength, managing stress, greater flexibility and increased balance. From overnight bite-size tasters to bespoke one-to-one programmes and relaxed itineraries that include other nature-based activities, here’s our pick of the best yoga retreats around the world for beginners.
An India Awakening, Cabo Serai, Goa
19-27 January 2024, more retreats later in 2024
For a last-minute, rejuvenating start to the year, this nine-day escape promises a gentle introduction to yoga with a blast of Indian sunshine guaranteed to beat the winter blues – think early morning movement sessions in a shady coconut grove yoga shala, sunset hilltop meditation and supper under the stars. Founded by wellbeing events director Lucy Hill over a decade ago, Chaya Retreats is renowned for its nourishing plant-based menus (a food workshop is included) and is taking over the Cabo Serai eco-resort on Goa’s south coast for the first time. The twice-daily yoga and movement sessions are led by Nics Bannister, whose adaptable teaching method stems from her own experience of overcoming a debilitating skiing injury and developing her practice as a tool for recovery. Other highlights are sound healing, a choice of a one-hour treatment, and a breath and cold water therapy workshop with former Royal Ballet dancer turned Wim Hof instructor Isaac Mullins. Look out for more retreat dates later in the year, too.
Price: From £2,442 per person based on two sharing a tent with ensuite
Petite Yoga Retreats, Billnäs Gård, Finland
Dates from January to October 2024
For those tempted to try a yoga retreat but wary of committing to a full-on weekend, bite-sized one-night retreats could be the answer. The setting is the recently repurposed Billnäs Gård, a six-room hotel and wellness space an hour’s train ride from Helsinki. Set on the Svarta River, it has a heated saltwater pool in the garden and a subterranean spa-cum-candlelit meditation space with a sauna and herbal bathtub. The concise stay – part of The Life Academy programme – is led by local yoga instructor Julia Hackzell, whose classes are designed to develop mindfulness through gentle postures, breathwork and meditation. Before arrival, you’ll receive three introspective open-ended questions aimed at sparking reflection and assisting in setting personal goals, and you’ll be invited to join the group Whatsapp – a useful support network, especially for sharing post-retreat experiences and continued progress in your practice.
Price: From 395 euros per person, based on two sharing