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Best yoga retreats in the world for healing your mind and body

These yoga retreats will transport you to the tranquil surrounds of some of the world’s most beautiful corners of the world, rejuvenating your mind, body and soul.

A five-minute meditation break at your desk after lunch, a quick 15-minute yoga video before dinner texting between poses, a cleansing green detox smoothie inhaled on your commute to work – sometimes we have to take these opportunities for wellness where and when we can get them.

But imagine taking an entire week, or even longer, out of your regular busy life to travel to one of the world’s best yoga or meditation retreats. Visiting a wellness retreat even just once a year can give you incredible health benefits extending well into your normal life after the trip. You’ll return to your daily life rejuvenated, ready to tackle life’s challenge with renewed energy and a profound sense of balance.

We’ve pulled together our top eight destinations worth travelling to for a yoga or meditation retreat. You’ll benefit from unique wellness practices native to different cultures and traditions around the world, many of which have been healing people for centuries or longer.

Retreat to one of the yoga and wellness capitals of the world

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If you’re looking to get away from your concrete jungle life and escape to a real jungle, Bali is definitely the place to do it. You’ll find Como Shambhala Estate nestled in the green rainforest on the banks of the River Ayung. This luxury health and yoga retreat is a short drive from Ubud, one of the yoga and wellness capitals of the world.

Resident yoga teachers, ayurvedic doctors and dieticians will design a wellness program tailored to your personal health needs, and chefs preparing fine dining and nutritious meals. One of the highlights of this retreat is certainly your surroundings. Immersed completely in nature, you’ll go to sleep to the sounds of crickets and frogs and wake to the song of birds. Here you’ll remember that nothing delivers health to the mind, body and spirit quite like planting yourself in nature.

Rise gently from your four-poster bed each morning and open the curtains to a wall of green where large windows offer spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and jungle. Decorated in native Balinese wood and batik with a modern twist, the rooms feel like a tropical, back-to-nature style home away from home. If you’re craving a dip, each of the thatched roof pavilion residences offers individual luxe pools.

Tours exploring the local area and Balinese culture, as well as hikes in the jungle green around you, mean you’ll leave feeling like you’ve really experienced Bali as well as reinstated a sense of connection with nature and yourself.

Como Shambhala Estate

Top rated
9.3 Excellent (135 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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One of the best yoga retreats in India

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This boutique yoga retreat is found on the shores of Om Beach in Gokarna, India, a locale many are touting as ‘the new Goa’. In the ‘70s, Indian beach town, Goa, found itself as the blissed-out oasis for western hippies searching for paradise. But it’s since become overrun by tourists, beach bars and techno clubs meaning modern hippies are making the pilgrimage to the tranquil, untouched beaches of Gokarna.

Known as one of the best yoga and meditation retreats in India, the eco-friendly Swaswara resort is made up of private, secluded cottages positioned in a circle around the retreat’s signature blue meditation dome. Built using natural, local earthen materials, the cottages are decorated with the grounding colours of the earth offset by pure whites and never skimping on the modern-day comforts.

Little thoughtful touches like hand towels woven by local women and an abundance of healing plants enveloping your room all contribute to an unseen aura of healing. Each guest has their own stand-alone earthen cottage with a unique design featuring an open-air second level, perfect for solo meditation or yoga practice in the fresh air.

Yoga is offered at two different levels, gentle and progressive, along with meditation classes. Ayurveda is offered here, too, with daily massage therapy sessions prescribed for you by an on-site doctor, ranging from calming hot oil massages and warm milk baths to the more revitalising herbal pummeling.

This yoga retreat is great for solo travellers as you’ll share communal dinners of local fish and vegetable dishes together with your fellow guests, here to explore India and themselves.

If you prefer resorts over retreats...

Discover India’s coastal paradise from one of t...

SwaSwara

8.3 Very good (40 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
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A yoga retreat blurring the boundaries between the indoors and out

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Neighbouring India, Sri Lanka offers its own full range of incredible yoga and meditation retreats, with the ancient Indian medicine system of Ayurveda being a speciality here, too. With tourism only opening up in Sri Lanka in the last decade, you’ll still feel like an explorer travelling in a country relatively untouched by mass tourism and chain hotels (for now).

Santani Wellness Resort is found in the town of Kandy, in the highlands of Sri Lanka, perched on a hill overlooking the surrounding mountain range. Often appearing on lists of the world’s most unusual hotels, the yoga retreat is designed in a contemporary style using glass, blurring the boundaries between the indoors and out. For you, this means a unique luxury-in-nature setting perfectly suited to the resort’s signature Ayurvedic detox program.

All the rooms are decked out very minimally with floor to ceiling glass windows making nature the focus here. You’ll wake up and fall asleep in your four-poster bed to awe-inspiring views of the lush forest and surrounding rice paddies of Kandy. The spectacular hillside rooms feature a private balcony jutting out over the hills, perfect for sunrise meditations and yoga sessions as the sun rises over the mountains, allowing for very special moments connecting within and with nature.

Picture mealtimes spent in the all-glass dining room overlooking the treetops of the surrounding forest while you fill your body with nourishing, fine dining Ayurvedic meals personalised to your prescribed program. This area attracts a certain kind of tourist with a curiosity for destinations that are off-the-beaten-track, so expect some interesting, enlightening company during your stay.

Santani Wellness Resort & Spa

Kandy, 13.3 km to Kandy Lake
8.9 Excellent (36 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
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A yoga destination fit for the Beatles

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Rishikesh, India is the indisputable yoga and meditation capital of the world. It started with the Beatles who came here in the late ‘60s to learn meditation with the guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, next came a flood of yogis and meditators from all over the world descending upon this spiritual town set on the holy Ganges River.

As one of the best and most popular places in the world for aspiring yoga teachers to learn the practice inside and out, this place is brimming with austere, mattress-on-floor style yoga and meditation ashrams. But if you want to have an authentic retreat experience in India with a little more luxury and comfort, look no further than Veda5 Ayurveda & Yoga Retreat. Situated on the outskirts of town, you’re away from the busy centre yet still within easy reach of it all for day trips and exploring.

You’ll find yourself in a paradise hideaway, hidden in the lush, green foothills of the Himalayas. Each room features a private balcony overlooking the surrounding mountains meaning you can really soak up and benefit from your incredible natural surroundings. The rooms are decorated in a tasteful, modern Indian style with cute local embroidered quilts on each bed and natural materials like wood and stone complementing the abundance of green and nature peeking in from outside your windows.

The 5,000-year-old traditional Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, translating to ‘science of life’, is a focus at this retreat with Ayurvedic doctors prescribing massage treatments to target your health concerns. Alongside Ayurvedic treatments, you’ll stretch your body in daily yoga classes led by renowned Indian teachers, for everyone from beginner to intermediate level.

Veda5 Ayurveda & Yoga Retreat

Rishikesh, 6.6 km to Lakshman Jhula Bridge
8.5 Excellent (24 reviews)
Excellent Service 9 / 10
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A yoga retreat offering innovative and unique practices

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The Dhara Dhevi is a luxury wellness resort found on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, surrounded by the mountains of the Thai highlands. Designed to resemble a Thai city, the resort has carefully crafted an enchanting setting right out of your Thailand dreams here with ancient white palatial pagodas with glittering spires and fragrant, colourful gardens filling the 60 acres of grounds.

You’ll stay in one of 69 teak villas converted from authentic Northern Thai rice barns, nestled in tropical gardens. All villas featuring separate living rooms, bedrooms and private terraces spread over two luxurious floors, meaning you’ll have all the space and quiet you need to relax and rejuvenate here in paradise.

A range of therapies are offered from all over the world, bringing together a blend of the best wellness practices from Europe to Asia, North Africa and India. All treatments incorporate handmade products made with local ingredients including rice, herbs and oils. Favourite therapies include the Indian Ayurvedic Shirodhara, where hot oil is poured hypnotically over your forehead over the course of an hour, and the floating massage therapies performed in the centre’s heated pool. All treatments take place in the wellness centre, modelled in the image of a majestic Myanmar palace and handcrafted with wooden embellishments carved by 150 local Thai artisans.

Yoga programs here focus on hatha yoga to strengthen and stretch your mind, body and soul, with classes often taught outside on the grass in the warm Thai sun. Innovative and unique practices are taught and administered here including pranayama breathing techniques for healthy respiration and EFI (Energy Field Imaging) body scan, scanning your body for energy and chakra leaks.

Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

Top rated
Chiang Mai, 3.4 km to Chiang Mai Biking
9.3 Excellent (461 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.5 / 10
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Expand your mind at this yoga retreat in Mexico

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Short on budget but big on your wellness and travel goals? Look no further than this affordable, one-of-a-kind health retreat respecting local Mexican wellness and spiritual traditions. Located in Jiutepec, a town known for its architectural and natural beauty, you’ll fly into Mexico City and drive just an hour to reach your destination.

Set on seven acres, guests at Hotel Mision Del Sol Resorts and Spa stay in local adobe-style villas made of natural materials native to the land they sit on. Each villa is designed according to feng shui principles, contributing a certain sense of intangible calm to your psyche, with a meditation area also in each room. Each room is decorated uniquely and features premium bedding for a great night’s rest, and other luxury touches including rainfall showerheads, high ceilings and a nightly turndown service.

Here, they want to help you expand your mind and increase your levels of consciousness – meaning you won’t find the regular suite of health retreat offerings. The spa treatments err on the eccentric side, the most interesting being the ancient Aztec temazcal healing ceremony where a steam bath made using healing plants cleanses both mind and body.

You can learn how to paint, sculpt or take photographs as a means of exploring your mind and soul and a full calendar of unique and mind-stretching events from full moon meditations to sound healing concerts and relationship workshops mean you won’t find yourself sitting around bored without anything to do here. You’ll leave here feeling very different from when you arrived.

Hotel Mision Del Sol Resort & Spa

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (358 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.9 / 10
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Relax at a rock ‘n’ roll yoga retreat

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Another Bali resort with a wholly different feel, Soulshine is a rock ‘n’ roll yoga retreat dreamed up and run by American musician, poet and activist, Michael Franti. There’s always interesting programs on offer here, often featuring a musical element with Franti himself running the show.

Found in amongst the ancient rice paddies just outside Ubud, the retreat overlooks a particularly spectacular rice field just begging for guests to take peaceful strolls through its greenery. You’ll feel close to the elements here as you take your yoga classes in the rooftop open-air studio set just above the tree line with the soft, warm Balinese breeze enveloping you.

Relaxed luxury is the style of the decor here, with each room featuring furniture handcrafted by local Balinese artisans alongside antique pieces and modern amenities. With three different styles of accommodation available, you can go luxe in the private pool suites for your own plunge pool and record player, try the boutique suites with a luxury treehouse feel and floor to ceiling windows looking onto the jungle, or opt for the standard rooms providing an affordable yet stylish option inspired by India’s ashrams with relaxing rain head shower in the ensuite bathrooms.

If your kind of retreat is one where you’re always doing something or talking to someone, this is your place. People come here from all walks of life and leave as friends with the fun, open and lively vibe providing the perfect place to meet people. You’ll share vegan, vegetarian and local communal meals made using ingredients from the retreat’s own on-site organic garden. Unique activities on offer include healer and temple visits, hiking, cycling, rafting, surfing, cooking classes and shopping.

Soulshine Bali

8.5 Excellent (28 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.1 / 10
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