The yoga travel industry is on the rise with a greater number of yogis traveling to deepen their practice by way of immersive retreats, and teacher trainings. As a joint experience, yoga and travel work really well together. Yoga is a practice of self-inquiry; and travel, particularly to countries of different cultures, expand our views of the world and can give us insights into our own values.
As a traveling yoga teacher, I have had the pleasure of connecting with yoga communities around the globe, while experiencing their local culture. It is a dream realized. One thing I have learned along the way - and can assure you of - is that your yoga practice can be done anywhere.
Whether it’s high in the Himalayan mountains, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, or right in the comfort of your living room, your yoga practice is as beautiful as you choose to make it. If you want to combine your love of travel and yoga, the following are my recommended top 5 places to learn and practice yoga, and deepen your yoga practice.
After a 17 hours bus ride we arrived at Agra in the morning. Himalayas' weather was cold and refreshing, Agra is very hot. Every part of India is very different than each other. All of them have their own beauty. When you talk about Agra, of course first thing that comes to mind is Taj Mahal, which is majestic. Everytime i see it, i feel the same magic. Such beautiful art. Also sunsets and sunrises in Agra are magical too. The clor of the sun, smoke in the air makes it very mystical.
It should come as no surprise that India is the no. 1 place to visit if you are keen to delve deep into your yoga. The spiritual practice, after all, originated in ancient India. The father of modern day yoga, Krishnamacharya, and his disciples—B.K.S Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi—all have their schools in their native land.
As the yoga travel tourism in India is booming, it can be overwhelming deciding which from the hundreds of ashrams and yoga schools to enroll. Take a slow, full breath in and out, then seek out personal recommendations and/or do your research.
Spiritual seekers have been visiting this beautiful island in the archipelagic country of Indonesia for decades. But it wasn’t until the success of Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ that Bali made its mark on the mainstream travel map.
Unofficially named the ‘Island of Gods’, Bali is home to Indonesia’s Hindu minority, and with deities abound it only makes sense that this island is a blessed space for yoga practice. While most yogis hearts are led to Ubud, quality yoga can be found island-wide.
3. Los Angeles
You can find a yoga studio in LA as quickly as you can a Starbucks. Sometimes described as a ‘yoga mecca’ of the western world, LA has a wide variety of yoga studio choices that it can be daunting deciding where to roll out your mat.
The positive to that is, while many, the yoga teachers in LA tend to be experienced, and also students of informed and knowledgeable teachers before them. After all, dozens of leaders in contemporary yoga base themselves in the City of Angels, allowing you an opportunity to practice with them for as little as a drop-in class. Also, California. Need I say more?
4. Koh Samui
As Thailand’s second largest island positions itself as a destination for all things organic and healthy, the yoga options have really expanded. There are a few key yoga sanctuaries offering teacher trainings and yoga retreats throughout the year.
Samui itself has an ‘island life’ vibe (read: relaxed and slow), making it conducive to deepening your yoga practice. With the warm sea breeze, and views of lush green and aquamarine waters, Koh Samui is a favorite for yoga learning.
5. Cape Town
Being removed from the rest of the world, Cape Town has had to develop its own yoga community, and it’s a unique and strong one indeed. The magical energy of Table Mountain has meant that Capetonians are a health and spirit-conscious people that a few days in what is locally known as ‘The Mother City’ leaves one feeling elevated in spirit.
There are teacher trainings every few months and yoga retreats can be found if you do your research. With its stunning landscapes, and consistently good weather in the summer, Cape Town is already topping travelers' bucket lists. And with a weaker currency, delving into your yoga practice in Cape Town makes it a distinct and affordable experience.
The travel wellness industry is booming, giving world explorers many choices when planning their yoga holiday—passport and yoga mat in tow. Beyond this list are dozens of other destinations that would make the perfect yoga travel experience.
If you are interested in diving into yogic studies away from home, invest time into researching options, or ask your yoga teacher for recommendations. Failing that, always know that the best learning can happen anywhere when the attention and intention is set inwards.
Image credit: Samrat Pasham