Yoga for newbies
Go back to nature in Costa Rica
Meditation to a macaw soundtrack? Hatha among the hibiscus? It’s easy to ashram-hop along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, sampling a different dish from the yoga buffet each day. And the Harmony Hotel in Nosara has more ways to explore than most. Bike hire, surfing and aerial yoga mean your feet won’t touch the ground.
Find balance in Ibiza, Spain
If you want a yang of partying to go with the yin of yoga, Ibiza’s the place for you. Dance ’til dawn at beachfront superclubs, then get your calm on with the island’s laidback retreats. Ibizan yoga is more about a sense of wellbeing than tying yourself up like a pretzel, but a few sessions at the glamorous Aguas de Ibiza will make those 4am dance moves even more impressive.
Chill in Tulum, Mexico
Daybreak yoga on the beach to energise; cocktails at dusk, with Mayan ruins as a backdrop – Tulum moves to the rhythm of the sun. It’s a beach-bum kind of town where no one cares if your form is perfect as long as you’re having fun. Rosa Del Viento is near Tulum’s main drag – ie. the beach – and mixes hippy mood with city-style service.
Practice playfully in Talalla, Sri Lanka
If the sight of yoga newbies gamely attempting handstands on moving surfboards doesn’t make you smile, then Talalla isn’t for you. Southern Sri Lanka’s mix of ocean-to-plate seafood, beachside massage and gentle yoga make it ideal for first-timers. The pool, the pavilion or under the stars? Wherever you want to practice your poses, Talalla Retreat has a spot for you. And if a week of pure yoga sounds a little too intense, the retreat has a surf school. It’s also a chance to get close to nature – monkeys might pop by for a chat when you’re in your open-top shower and fireflies will dart around your open room in the evening.
Yoga for masters
Find sanctuary in Karnataka, India
Karnataka state is home to Mysore, a city so known for yoga it has a style named after it. At Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, teachers with less than 40 years’ experience are regarded as total newbies. For a few more frills, try SwaSwara, near the border with Goa. The yoga programme sits in tandem with Ayurvedic principles, home-grown cuisine and naturopathy. Yoga Nidra, a state of relaxation between sleep and wakefulness is a speciality. In this haven of tranquility, surrounded by natural beauty, it should be easy to master.
Switch off in Ubud, Bali
There’s no need for new age music at Ubud’s jungle retreats. You’ll be om-ing to the howls of monkeys and the whirr of insects. Balinese yoga focuses on meditative calm and health – this is one place not to bring your phone. Even by Ubud’s standards Bagus Jati Health & Wellbeing Retreat is special; its sumptuous villas are set in lush jungle complete with waterfall.
Recharge in Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech is famous for its hustle and bustle, and just as famous for its cool, calm courtyards. Jewel-coloured tiles, shade, palm fronds and fountains – these are spaces made for contemplation. Close the door on a hard afternoon’s haggling with yoga on the terrace at the Riad Magellan. Follow your savasana with a dip in the plunge pool and a fresh mint tea.
Discover inner peace in Malibu
If you want to get to the roots of natural spirituality and living flow, seek the guidance of vinyasa master and all-round lover of life Shiva Rea, at Humaliwo Retreat. A typical day in this secluded Malibu estate might start with deep prana vinyasa in the stone ashram, followed by hiking (try to spot a mountain lion) and finish with moonlit meditation. Life is all about balance, so, afterwards, check into the Malibu Beach Inn for cocktails with a Pacific view.