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Bend and mend

Eight yoga retreats that will move you to bliss. (And calm, comfort and feed you, too.)

By Andrew Tilin

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  Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat  Courtesy Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat
Yoga, Properly Fueled

Perched on the Yucatan Peninsula's Caribbean seashore in Tulum, Mexico, the centerpiece of Maya Tulum is a two-story-tall dining room with marble floors. Call it symbolic: Emphasis at this 80-person retreat is on the food. Dinners are healthfully indulgent, with Mayan enchiladas, lobster and fresh grouper wrapped in banana leaves. Add a decent wine and it's easy to see why big-time instructors, such as Power Yoga guru Baron Baptiste, flock here.

One week group packages range from $455 to $820. Individual packages are also available.
Maya Tulum: 888-515-4580;

Making Introductions

Don't worry about being wrenched into a full lotus at the laid-back Kripalu Center, which occupies a former Jesuit monastery in the Berkshire Mountains. Newbies stick to classes on the asanas (poses) and simple breathing techniques. Now that the Jesuits have departed the building, evening activities include dancing and swimming in the lake on the center's 300 wooded acres.

Weekend prices, including lodging and yoga instruction, range from $229-$489.
The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health: 800-741-7353;

Blessed Excess

Cross a topflight yoga center with a tropical paradise and what do you get? The Shambhala Retreat. Located in the stunning Turks and Caicos islands, Shambhala is part of the five-star Parrot Cay resort. Indulgence reigns. Pick a massage: Indonesian? Thai? Indian? Lounge in a villa skirted by cream-colored dunes and lapping surf, then rally for the daily yoga class, held beside a nature preserve.

Prices vary from $360 to $3,500; call for information.
Parrot Cay and Shambhala Retreat: 649-946-7788;

You Can Get There from Here

Off-mat activities are the focus of the Raven Retreat, located in Steuben, Maine. Each morning begins with yoga instruction by 30-year practitioner Rose Wingo, but afterward, it's the full Down East experience.Wingo leads guests along the rugged coast, exploring by foot, bike and sea kayak. Then back to the mats, dinner, and off to flannel-sheeted bed. Rose's retreats are intimate, with only four guests per getaway, so book early.

The three-day retreat is priced at $485.
Raven Retreat: 800-841-4586.

The Great Plain

Slotted between a beauty parlor and a clothing store in an Encinitas, Calif., strip mall, Ashtanga Yoga Center has that modesty thing nailed. But appearances deceive. This is a hot spot in the yoga world, drawing students from around the globe who seek guidance from Tim Miller (the first American certified to teach the high-octane style of yoga).

Single classes are $12; a monthlong pass is $120.
Ashtanga Yoga Center: 760-632-7093;


Perched 9,300 feet up in Brian Head in southern Utah, Inner Harmony offers a vista of forests, eagles and the state's signature red-rock formations. In the summer there's hiking; in the winter there's skiing at nearby Brian Head Resort. Oh, the yoga. Top-notch instructors like John Friend and Richard Freeman are Inner Harmony regulars. Fly into Utah's Cedar City or Las Vegas.

Prices for weeklong retreats range from $625 to $1,295.
Inner Harmony: 800-214-0174;

Peace and Quiet

The Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville offers a variety of programs in a serene spot at the foot of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains.

Contact: 800-858-9642;

Around the World

Yoga Out there, led by Iyengar veterans Mary Dunn and James Murphy, offers "yoga tours" to exotic locations such as Bali, Thailand and Turkey.

Contact: 212-260-5656;

For more Sports Illustrated Women, check out our latest issue -- on newsstands now. For your FREE preview issue of SI Women click here or call 800-950-5150.