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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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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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; www.yogaville.org.
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; www.yogaoutthere.com.