De-stress, get fit and soak up the sun. What’s not to love about these 8 dazzling yoga retreats?

Looking to add a little incentive to your new year health kick? The appeal of working out certainly kicks up a notch when you add in gourmet food, stunning views and a splash of sunshine.

Yoga retreats are a great option for anyone who prefers their holidays to feature more than lounging on a sunbed, and wants to get fitter, stronger and calmer into the bargain. We’ve picked eight of our favourites for 2020, from the close to home in the wild Scottish Highlands to exotic jungle hideaways. Take your pick and make you a priority this year.

Morocco

Tigmi


Set between the hustle and bustle of Marrakech and the majestic Atlas Mountains, Tigmi is the perfect location for some winter sun and to get your yoga fix. Set in a traditional Berber village, the sprawl of terraces, courtyard gardens and cool, quiet rooms makes this the perfect authentic place to retreat and reset. Voted one of the ‘Best Yoga Holidays in the World’ by both The Times and The Guardian, Luis Valentine will be running a week-long Jivamukti Yoga retreat this spring, with twice daily sessions on the open-air rooftop shala with panoramic views towards the snow-capped mountains. There’s plant-based, home-cooked food to nourish and the space to truly breathe. A magical location in which to explore your practice.

Ireland

Cliffs of Moher Retreat


Staring out over the wild Atlantic from the glass-fronted yoga studio of the Cliffs of Moher Retreat whilst you move through your morning Sun Salutations is hard to beat. There are women-only retreats, as well as hiking and yoga holidays on offer, where you can stretch off stiff limbs with a jaunt along 14km of dramatic cliffs. There are alfresco hot tubs to relax in after a day in the studio, as well as great vegetarian food, rustled up from the organic on-site gardens.

Devon

Wild Running and Yoga Retreat


Perched atop the cliffs overlooking Gara Rock in South Devon, this wild running and yoga retreat makes the absolute most of being set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The High Nature Centre is the venue for this double-pronged health retreat; with the South West Coast Path on your doorstep, set off on trail runs each day with trained experts to guide you, then slow the pace with restorative yoga practice to stretch out tired legs. A hearty appetite will be sated with nourishing homegrown produce and the soul restored with some of the most breathtaking views in the British Isles.

Sri Lanka

Ulpotha


Ulpotha may, in fact, be Yoga Nirvana. Encircled by the Galgiriyawa Mountains in Sri Lanka, this otherworldly retreat is set on a lake-shore, surrounded by lush jungle, teaming with monkeys, tropical blooms and birdsong. The perfect backdrop for a yoga and Ayurvedic retreat, yogis sleep in huts amongst nature and are nurtured with organic produce from the estate and daily Ayurvedic treatments for a truly holistic escape. Yet Ulpotha is not just intent on re-setting the chakras of burnt out westerners; it also offers a free Ayurvedic clinic to local villages and supports many community projects, from schools to hospitals. Good for the body and the soul.

Italy

Umbrian gourmet food and yoga retreat


Heralded as ‘one of the greatest yoga holidays on the planet’ by The Telegraph, the ‘Umbrian gourmet food and yoga retreat’ proves you can get fit and strong, with zero need for deprivation. Set in a 12th-century farmhouse in 28 acres of landscaped gardens, olive groves and woodland, the daily open-air practices make the most of the views over the Umbrian countryside. The perfect option if you have a non-yogi companion in tow, there’s plenty to do, with historic towns to explore, a luxury spa on-site and gourmet Italian food for all. Perfect for beginners or seasonal yogis, the retreat offers a mix of breath work, asanas, meditation and chanting – with revitalising and relaxing practices in equal measures to leave you feeling balanced, nurtured and restored.

Scotland

EcoYoga retreat in the Highlands


If off-grid escapism is what you are craving in 2020, the EcoYoga retreat in the Scottish Highlands could be just the ticket. Perched on a hill amongst forests, waterfalls and overlooking the aptly-named Loch Awe, it is the perfect place to power down and reconnect. The rustic, remote setting connects you with nature at every turn, and the glazed studio overlooks the gorge of the river Liever where you can lie back and melt into the heated floor and listen to the nearby waterfalls. The ashtanga-based yoga classes are coupled with chanting workshops, talks and an abundance of nourishing vegetarian food. When you’re done navel gazing, there’s an underground sauna, solar-powered hot tub and two secluded ‘Gorge baths’ set in the rocky hillside, overlooking the waterfalls below. With hot and cold running water, it’s perhaps the most spectacular setting for a soak we’ve ever seen.

India

Goan Yoga and Spa retreat


If you’re looking for your yoga practice to be served with a side order of pampering, the Yoga and Spa Retreat at the Beach House in Goa comes up trumps. Perfect for those wishing to develop and deepen their practice, the experienced yogis on hand will give you the one-to-one support you need to create a bespoke daily practice that reflects what your mind and body need – from de-stress to detox. There’s a tailored menu for each guest, depending on their Ayurvedic make up and indulgent treatments including holistic massages, detox facials and body wraps. Plus, all of this is set overlooking the white sands of the Indian Ocean: perfection.

Bali

Yoga and Surfing Retreat


If you’re looking for a far-flung adventure with plenty of sun and sea but you get bored with beach holidays, this Yoga and Surfing Retreat could be for you. A truly luxurious escape that takes a full 360-approach to wellness, the six-day programme includes five days of surfing lessons, daily yoga practice, much-needed massages to iron-out weary limbs, wellbeing workshops and a full-board menu devised by an expert nutritionist. The female-only retreat encourages solo travellers, making it perfect for busy women looking to re-energise and reconnect this year.

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January 2020
By Lydia Mansi