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Does the idea of switching off and getting back in touch with yourself and nature sound appealing to you? If so, you wouldn’t be the only one. With the rise in popularity of yoga retreats and meditation over recent years, there is now a wide range of yoga and meditation retreats available to help you do just that. Whatever style of yoga you prefer or level you’re at, there’s truly something for everyone. Do note that the amount of yoga included and expected previous experience can vary significantly, so we advise you to research into that when booking your trip. Namaste!
The origins of the ancient practice of Yoga have been traced back over 5,000 years to India. Yoga has its roots in Hinduism, although there are commonly no particular religion or religious practices directly related to yoga today.
The name Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word, Yog, which originally meant to “hitch up” or “put to practical use.” Sanskrit was the ancient Indo-European language of the Vedas, which are India’s ancient religious texts, from which Yoga was born. Yoga was brought to Europe and the United States in the 19th century by Swami Vivekananda and grew in popularity from there.
Yoga, as commonly referred to today in the west, is the practice of Yoga Asanas or poses, whereas in India, Yoga is broader than asana practice and is viewed as a lifestyle and set of spiritual beliefs and standards for living.
As yoga has rapidly gained in popularity, the number of styles of yoga has increased, with Yin Yoga, Flow Yoga and Hot Yoga standing out as some of the most popular styles. Tantra is also a style of yoga which originated from Hatha. Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga are older and are some of the most classical styles---a great option for beginners looking to get a solid foundation in the practice of yoga.
One of the great benefits of attending a yoga retreat can be the opportunity that it gives to immerse yourself in learning a new practice and acquiring more experience than you would have the opportunity to at home. Through a week of daily yoga sessions, you can build up a more solid knowledge, enough to be able to take your own mini-routine home to be able to practice more regularly. For experienced yogis and yoginis, there are also a range of retreats to take you on to the next level of your practice.
A key part of any yoga retreat is practicing healthy and mindful living, so expect opportunities for plenty of exercise (from gentle walking to kayaking, surfing and other outdoor activities), fresh air, and a healthy diet full of natural ingredients. Many yoga retreats offer meals included and operate a vegetarian or vegan diet. Many are also alcohol free.
Accommodation standards can vary widely based on the type of retreat, from very simple home-stays or hotels, to luxurious oceanside villas.
Some yoga retreats will also offer the opportunity to participate in day trips to nearby destinations, or even the opportunity to volunteer with local organizations---providing a unique way to really see another side of the country you’re visiting