Are you in need of a relaxing yoga getaway, but can't quite afford a retreat? Look no further! We've got all the tips you'll need in order to plan your own yoga vacation on a budget.
There is no shortage in breathtaking yoga retreat locations around the world. We’ve led our fair share of retreats to Bali, Costa Rica, Thailand, and Mexico, so we know first-hand how great these locations can be. There are, however, so many more destinations that may not immediately pop into your mind when planning your next retreat. So, here are our top 9 locations for stepping out of the box and soaking in a well-rounded, relaxing, rejuvenating retreat in 2018.
Okay. Okay. This might seem like an obvious choice, but India is still not a top 10 destination for yoga...yet. Practicing yoga in India is the epitome of spirituality. The ancient practice started here in around 5000 b.c. and still thrives across the country. Deeply devotional people, elaborate temples, and peaceful ashrams make India a unique location for retreats. While it’s certainly not the most luxurious location on our list, the culture and experience of retreating to India is sure to challenge you to deepen your spiritual and internal relationship to a fascinating degree. There’s nowhere quite like it.
While India is best known for Rishikesh, we’d recommend heading to Goa, Mysore, Varanasi or Manali, each offering their own exceptionally unique experience.
Best time to visit: November-February
It would be a true challenge to find a more intensely beautiful, surreal, and diverse area of the world to retreat to than Patagonia. From the immense glacial fields to the green alpine meadows scattered with wildflowers and the Cobalt lakes to the snowy mountain tops, the natural beauty here is truly boundless. Relax your mind and body on the mat and spend your free time engaging in sustainable volunteering or exploring the exotic yet peaceful environment around you.
Best time to visit: December-March
Oh Canada, a source of so much serenity, beauty, and fresh air! Looking for a bigger city retreat scene with an abundance of historical and architectural influences? Check out Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, or Ottawa. Looking for a more peaceful, scenic getaway in nature? Head to British Columbia or Alberta. Hi, Banff Lake! Honestly, no matter what atmosphere you’re looking to retreat to, Canada more than likely got you covered.
Best time to visit: May-October
Croatia is a beautiful eastern European country with quaint islands in the Adriatic sea. The water is crystal clear and bright blue. Hvar island and the Istrian peninsula are perfect retreat destinations, boasting surprisingly fertile coastal plains, freshwater springs, beautiful beaches, and many hours of uninterrupted sunshine. It’s the perfect getaway without straying too far from comfort!
Best time to visit: May-June & September-October
Nicaragua is the largest nation in Central America, yet it remains the least visited. With a stunningly diverse display of mountains, volcanoes, lakes, forests and beaches, this country makes for an entrancing retreat. Spend a week relaxing on Big Corn Island or combine yoga classes with surf lessons on Costa Dulce.
Best time to visit: November-April
Have you ever heard of more inviting, crystal clear seas than that surrounding Maldives? We imagine it would be a challenge to find. Ocean lovers, this location is for you. Retreat to the ethereal paradise where nature and sea live in harmony and experience marine life like you’ve never seen before. Whether you’re looking for a rejuvenating getaway to Malé or want to combine yoga with surfing or diving, you’ll find it here.
Best time to visit: November-April
Iceland has a whole lot more to offer than arctic temperatures and glistening glaciers. This country offers an abundance of thermal baths, such as the well-known Blue Lagoon, rare wildlife viewings and nature like you’ve never quite seen it before. If you’re lucky enough, you might even experience nature’s light show, the northern lights. Now that’s something to write home about.
We’re quite partial to Reykjavik and Akureyri when it comes to combining yoga and adventure, but, of course, we’re never opposed to stepping off the beaten path, either.
Best time to visit: June-August
Retreating to Tanzania offers you a chance to experience some of the world’s most untouched combinations of culture, wildlife, and scenery. Spend your entire retreat relaxing on the beaches of Zanzibar, mix in some diving and sea exploration, or combine yoga with safari adventures. You’re bound to leave here with an open mind and plans for the next African getaway!
Best time to visit: June-October
Looking to experience a laid back culture filled with striking architecture, white sand beaches, and crystal clear waters? Well, luckily for Americans, visiting Cuba just got a little bit easier. That means now is the perfect time to visit before the crowds start to discover the magic they’ve been missing. Relax and retreat to Havana, exploring the capital city’s rich culture or head off the beaten path to breathe in the fresh mountain air of the Sierra Maestra.
Best time to visit: November-March
Check out some of our favorite upcoming retreats, teacher trainings and venues to get started on your next yoga adventure!
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOGA TRAVEL TREE
With 2017 already one quarter over (what?!), I'm excited for what the next 9 months will bring. Here's a little summary of the goings on around here:
BRAND NEW WEBSITE
I spent most of the last three months completely rebuilding YogaTravelTree.com from the ground up.
After dealing with not one, not two, not THREE, but FOUR site crashes while I was traveling in India, Tanzania, and Bali last year, I knew that something had to give.
So I hunkered down, turned off all notifications and distractions and got to work. Let me know what you think!
SNAZZY NEW LOGO
A brand new website AND a new logo is completely coincidental. I didn’t set out to basically rebuild my company brand face from the ground up...but here we are. ;)
After 3.5 years of adorable little “fire cracker hands stick figure yogi” logo, I was ready for something a little more modern, a little more sleek, and a lot more attractive.
The irony is that I designed this one myself while enjoying a glass of wine in about 2 hours. The first logo took about 2 months to settle on after paying for multiple options from a designer, asking a committee of friends and mentors their opinions, and asking myself “how will this logo make people feel?”
One important lesson entrepreneurship has taught me over the years is that your fonts, colors, and logo are secondary to the voice you use to communicate your message, how you treat and connect with your ideal clients and customers, and the general mojo you put out into the world.
All of that is your real brand - the way people will talk about your company when you’re not in the room - not the colors, fonts, and graphics.
I feel really great about the core Yoga Travel Tree brand, so it was time for a little year 4 spring cleaning and pampering. And boy does she look good.
RETIRING OUR SIGNATURE YOGA ADVENTURES (FOR NOW)
In 18 months, I built 14 retreats and teacher trainings and delivered 9 of them myself.
It was an amazing 18 months traveling the world, learning so much about the retreat business, building meaningful + transformational travel adventures, meeting inspiring travel and yoga lovers from around the globe, and even getting to travel with my mom for the first time...ever.
But it was also exhausting. So I've decided to take a break from retreats in 2017, but I have a feeling they'll be back. ;)
Sign up below to be the first to know when they return.
Here are a few highlights from our 2017 adventures to Thailand... Bali... Tanzania/Kilimanjaro... and back to Bali.
LAUNCHING RETREAT TRAINING PROGRAM
The past 18 months of successful (and some not so successful) retreat planning, promotion, and delivery PLUS my 12 years of experience in the educational travel industry have taught me a lot about about what makes a SUCCESSFUL retreat.
And after leading 9+ retreats in just 1.5 years, I’m asked all the time “how did you do it?” especially by people who’ve been struggling to get even one retreat off the ground.
So I'm excited to get back to my roots and help more yoga teachers and other business owners create, launch, and profit from their own retreats through my step-by-step course: Retreat Rockstar.
Retreats have been game-changing for my business and I know it can be for yours as well. If you want to learn more about this, click here and you'll be the first to know. :)
CO-FOUNDING THE HEARTLAND YOGA FEST IN KANSAS CITY!
I’m extremely excited to be working with two fellow yoga badasses (Angela Cronk of Hagoyah Studio and Lauren Leduc of Karma Tribe Yoga) to bring an incredible yoga festival to the heart of the US!
The event is happening in Kansas City June 2018 and our deeply discounted Founders tickets will go on sale soon.
So if you’re a midwest yogi or interested in traveling to the heartland for an amazing event, head over to Heartland Yoga Festival and get on the early-bird Lovers List!
SIMPLIFIED PROMOTION OPTIONS ON YOGA TRAVEL TREE
Over the years, I’ve played around with all kinds of marketing packages and options for yoga teachers and training organizers. And finally, I think we’ve found our sweet spot.
Our mission is to connect travel-loving yogis with the best fit yoga travel experiences out there.
In order to do that, we have to earn revenue (this is a business after all). Crazy, I know! ;) Therefore, we now offer ONE simple way to market your retreats, trainings, venues, and events on our site: The Better Package.
The Better Package gets you a year-long listing on our site (or until your event ends), promotion in our newsletter, promotion across all of our social media platforms, and a beautiful+detailed listing all about your amazing yoga offerings.
One package, one price - everyone gets the same exposure. Clear, simple, clean.
If you’d like to get your upcoming yoga retreat, training, venue, or event in front of our kick ass yoga community, learn more here.
Okay! That's a wrap! Thank you to everyone who has supported this crazy yogapreneur journey so far. I can't wait for everything that's to come!
Busy Entrepreneur (Brooke Roberts) Seeking...
Virtual Assistant + Outreach Coordinator who...
- Loves yoga, travel, study abroad, craft beer/wine, sarcasm
- Is hyper-organized and motivated (Seriously, you get excited about getting shit in order)
- Can help wrangle all the projects and priorities in the Yoga Travel Tree business (and also understand my other businesses as well)
- Excited about sending and answering hundreds of emails
- Will avoid rolling her/his eyes at repetitive tasks (like emailing potential clients)
- Can get all my Google Drive/G Suites properties out of chaos (if you don't know what I'm talking about this isn't the job for you)
- Loves figuring out tech glitches and will always GTS (Google That Shit)
- Experience with SquareSpace, webinar platforms, email marketing (preferably ConvertKit), social media schedulers, Asana and Canva
- Appreciation for branding, marketing funnels, and list building
- Eager to suggest solutions and ideas
- And down for other awesomeness as assigned
Note: This is not an internship. If any of this made you think "what is she even talking about?" then this gig likely isn't for you. I'll definitely be teaching you a lot, but you need to have a handle on a lot of things coming into the position.
You'll be working with me on Yoga Travel Tree primarily.
Requirements: Must be available for a weekly meeting with me during regular business hours.
How to apply: Email your resume and why you will be awesome at this job to brooke at yogatraveltree dot com
The adolescent years are the most challenging years of one’s life, both emotionally and physically, for teenagers. Yoga has several benefits for youngsters that can help restore inner peace as well as confidence; and encourage physical fitness among them. It can prove very beneficial during the hormonal boost that is related to adolescence. Doing as little as fifteen minutes of practice each day can help teenagers improve their overall level of physical as well as mental fitness.
Yogasansas are all about the unification of body, mind and soul. Here are five asanas which youngsters can easily practice:
The Warrior Pose
This is a sort of warm-up, standing pose that will give a start to your body. This pose is also known as Virabhadrasana. This will help out the teenagers in focusing their thoughts and will give instant energy. It is very easy to do; stand with both feet together then take your right foot one step back, in 90 degree angle , slowly stretch your hands up over your head and deepen the stretch slightly with each exhalation.
The Triangle Pose
This is also known as Trikonasana. If you take the help of a block or a chair it will become easy to practice. Regular practice of this posture can give a perfect shape to the body of the growing adolcent. Stand straight on rightleg and bend at the hip in such a way that your right hand reaches your shin or the floor. Rotate your shoulders slowly and repeat the process again on the other side. This posture will make you strong to do more difficult asanas easily.
The Tree Pose
This pose is proving to be very good in releasing frustration and in building your mental power. Place your feet together and make sure that you keep them fixed to the surface of the floor. Then slowly take your one leg in upward direction and hands in prayer position, above your shoulders. Repeat the entire cycle for the other leg too. If you are not able to do these postures at home, then you should go for yoga retreats which also teach the same postures in their classes. Make sure you book a yoga retreat two to three weeks before going.
The Cat Pose
It is also known as Marjariasanaor child pose. This asan reduces back and neck pain through stretching. This position simply requires to rest on your hands and knees, with your belly facing the floor.and slowly take in a deep breath andexhale. Pull in your abdominal muscles, tailbone and butt.. Now curl your back up high this will make you look like a cat
The Back Bends
This asana is best done if you have an exercise ball, as it will provide extra grip and support. Lie on the ball facing up and try to touch the ground with your outstretched palms. This posture will refresh the mind and increase the blood flow, thereby reducing stress. If you are not comfortable in practicing at home, then you must go for a Yoga vacation. If you are planning to travel countries like Italy or Germany, Yoga retreats will be a good option for you.
Marc Feber is a writer and a yoga practitioner. He has discovered the beauty of developing his own style through various practices and writings. From his own experience at a Yoga retreat in Italy, he has come to believe that the human body must always be connected with yoga to live a healthy life. Check out his website for more information!
Runners are notoriously inflexible human beings, forever ever envious of other rubber-jointed athletes. Flexibility and running may seem unlikely partners, but adding in a short yoga routine to after your daily miles can help prevent injury and hurtle you over training plateaus. The following infographic outlines one such routine that should take about 15 minutes and can vastly improve a your health and wellbeing.
Infographic courtesy of Life Yoga Center
Feature image via: Daniel Chandranayagam
A couple of weeks ago, I bid a temporary farewell to my regular Vinyasa practice. It was a bittersweet departure as I reminisced over the growth, sweat, ups, downs, and upside-downs of my practice in the last six years. For the first time I thought about the actual time I clocked in various studios. I figured I practiced an average of five classes a week for six years… That’s 1,560 hours spent on my mat, the equivalent of 65 days spent doing yoga around the clock.
“We are what we repeatedly do.” – Aristotle
When we practice at a studio, we form innocent attachments without realizing it: to teachers, the space, the energy, the rituals. Without knowing it, we begin to long for a particular fragrance of incense; we find comfort in the sounds of the heater kicking on; we take delight in the quiet serenity of a studio away from the chaos of home.
When I taught my Vinyasa classes, I often closed class reminding students that their practice is something they create; it’s something that is always inside of them, waiting for them, always there with unconditional support. They say you teach what you most need to learn.
I moved to Tel Aviv, Israel with no specific direction or plan and I was okay with that. But in the absence of a studio or a yoga community, I was feeling a little naked. The practice that once kept me planted and warm felt lost and rootless. Of course I had done the research and I knew where the studios were in Tel Aviv, but there were not any studios offering the type of Vinyasa I was habituated to.
But when people are uncomfortable they find quick ways to adapt, and my discomfort slowly evolved into excitement at the brand new direction my yoga would take; I felt at once the exhilaration of untapped potential. I was a curious and anxious beginner again.
Which is exactly how I found myself in the oven of a Bikram studio one evening, melting on my mat, trying to decipher cues spoken in Hebrew (which I do not speak), watching my face grower pinker with every asana, and absolutely loving it.
I had done Bikram-style classes before, but they were few and far in between and I was typically seeking them out just to detoxify in the heat. The discipline of the sequence was alien to me, and the lengthy time holding the asanas was genuinely challenging in its novelty. Yet, it still felt like yoga – it was still the same breath. It was beautifully exotic and innate at the same time.
At the end of my first Bikram class in Tel Aviv, I closed my practice the way I always do: thumbs at third-eye, bowed forward, eyes closed. And I couldn’t help but smile at the sensations whirling through my body and mind, as they were identical to those I felt closing my practice at home.
It didn’t matter that the studio smelled different or that the teaching style felt foreign in multiple ways. It was unimportant that I didn’t know anyone in the studio and that they didn’t know me back. I had everything I needed: body, breath, and mat.
As humans we will face the urge to attach to our environments time and time again in the search for grounding, but yoga teaches us that the real stability resides in the Self. Wherever we go, the Self will follow. That is dependable and unchanging.
Now my practice is trekking an unpaved road, constantly reminding me that yoga is an inward journey. But so long as I do my practice, I know that all is coming.
Feature image via: Robert Brauneis
Addiction is a brain disease, but the repercussions of addiction affect much more than just the brain. Biologically it affects your brain, it affects your body physically, and it affects your soul emotionally. For those who are recovering from addiction and working to remain sober, it’s important to be hyper-aware of your body and mind in order to get healthy. Overcoming substance abuse is a marathon, not a sprint, and requires constant inventory of emotions, feelings, and your body. Utilizing yoga and meditation can be a great tool in this endeavor since these activities also affect the mind, body, and soul and keep a full body and mind inventory in the process.
For the Mind
Ultimately, addiction starts in the mind. There are many factors that come into play when dealing with addiction such as environment, biology, and brain development. A person’s environment and social surroundings has a lot to do with the beginning of substance abuse. Living in a home with substance abuse or in an area where substance abuse is common increases the chances of addictive behaviors. Some addicts are also predisposed to addiction due to having a history of addiction in their family or if they were young when they began using. Not only does substance abuse become a natural behavior if they start using early, but since the brain isn’t quite developed yet, the chemical compounds of the drugs being used and their role in the brain alter its development.
Yoga increases both serotonin and dopamine, which is also what happens while using drugs. They affect the reward centers and mood, which is why using substances make you feel good and are difficult to quit using. When dealing with addiction recovery, yoga can be used in place of this craving. Once the brain connects serotonin and dopamine release with yoga instead of drug use, it’ll really help the brain to recover more effectively.
For the Body
Addiction is also a very physical disease and it can have a negative effect on almost every system in the body. Addiction can have an effect on body weight, muscle mass, strength, and stamina. Tooth loss, gum disease, lung disease, heart disease, liver damage, kidney damage, stroke, convulsions, and infection are all physical risks that can stem from substance abuse.
In recovery, it’s important to focus on both physical and mental health. Yoga might not be able to help many of the more serious ailments caused by addiction, but it can help with overall health and wellness. In terms of obtaining a healthy body weight, regaining muscle mass, and increasing strength, and stamina, yoga improves these aspects of health that may have been negatively affected by substance use.
Whereas a more intense cardio or strength workout might be more difficult for those recovering from addiction, yoga is a great low impact exercise that focuses on strengthening the body as well as the mind. You’ll build muscle mass and flexibility while increasing heart rate and lung capacity. The physical damage done by substance abuse may not be able to be repaired, but focusing on relaxing and adaptable exercise like yoga can help to work towards a healthier lifestyle that doesn’t involve substance abuse at all.
For the Soul
Addiction affects the soul. There are many aspects to addiction that involve emotions and self-worth that are incredibly difficult to heal from. Not only is the brain recovering from addiction, but so is the body, and the soul. The brain recovers biologically and learns to rewire its communication and reward centers. The body recovers by detoxing and flushing out toxins and rebuilding physical health. The soul recovers by being held accountable for actions, asking for forgiveness, and forgiving yourself.
Many things happen in the brain when recovering from addiction, and some of the things that can be the most difficult to recover from are the shameful aspects of addiction. Recovering addicts tend to suffer from anxiety and depression stemming from guilt associated with using. Coping skills are extremely important to obtain in addiction recovery and yoga and meditation can be a vital aspect to this part of recovery.
Yoga offers so much more than just the physical perks of exercise. Unlike many workouts, it offers a mental piece of mind as well. Meditation can be a major aspect to yoga and many classes focus on clearing the mind and focusing on positivity. Those practicing yoga will focus on understanding the things their body can do and watch the progress being made, which can be incredibly empowering to those battling addiction. Seeing positive change that you’ve created is really rewarding for those working hard to change the mistakes they may have made while using or questioned their ability to stay clean.
Yoga is an exercise for both the body and the mind which are two things that are in a sensitive state during recovery for many addicts. Yoga and meditation keeps you healthy while focusing on living a healthy and positive life. While maintaining sobriety, it’s essential to focus on these positive aspects of recovery that may help the negative side of recovery. Utilizing yoga as a coping mechanism during this time will offer another tool towards recovery for the mind, the body, and the soul.
Author bio: Chelsy Ranard is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She enjoys yoga, talk radio, and cold coffee. Follow her on Twitter!
Maintaining positive body image in a sea of slim women can be a astronomically difficult task. Not all “clubs” and “cliques” are as accepting as others. However I have found growing support, acceptance, and inspiration in the yoga community regarding more bodascious girls participating. I first became interested in yoga and Pilates after my first daughter was born. I wanted to tone my midsection and lose weight and so I joined a local gym. While I was one of the larger women in the class I never felt out of place or “less than” anyone else. In yoga, I have found that many serious practitioners are more impressed by what you can physically do and what personality changes you accomplish than your general physical appearance. When I first joined my first yoga class I definitely looked different than many of the other bodies in the group. There were also people who were thinner, but far less flexible than I. This gave me the courage and strength to keep working on improving myself – regardless of my size and fitness level.
As I matured in my practice I found many other inspirational women on my journey. Women like Jessamyn Stanley, practicing and teaching yoga in South Carolina, around the US, and even internationally. Not only is she not afraid to do yoga, she accomplishes some of the more difficult poses with a bit of “junk in the trunk”. It’s even more impressive to me, as a big girl, to know that she is contorting herself into positions that few beginners can even dream of mastering –all while getting suffocated by her boobs in the process – just like the rest of us – and she doesn’t let that hold her back, or become an excuse to quit.
Anna Guest-Jelley of curvy yoga in Nashville, Tennessee is another inspiring example. She’s a woman who offers the kinds of classes and trainings that many of us normal-sized people crave, but are still learning how to seek out. We usually end up creating new niches and making our own spaces – which is what Anna is doing with her teacher trainings for Curvy Yoga. Yoga should be accessible to all physical and mental abilities – not just the most agile and fit amongst us. It’s humbling and inspiring to have role models speaking out for our right and responsibility to follow our heart and engage in our passions – regardless of what others may think of us. Inspirational role models also help break down stereotypes and show us that whatever perceptions we hold of what our bodies can do is often the result of our own self-limiting beliefs.
Role models like Anna and Jessamyn are narrowing the gap between what classes should look like, and how they actually are – aiming to make more of us feel comfortable to go out and practice in public and learning to love our bodies for what they can do in the process. Whether we’re wearing a baggy t-shirt and sweatpants, or a tight tops and workout leggings, these women give us confidence to just be ourselves, and work on being the best version of ourselves we can be each and every day.
Image Via: Yelp Inc.