Ten spiritual, yoga holidays

Find some inner peace this year with these spiritual getaways

 

California

California

Ageing hippies, movie stars, and Silicon Valley tycoons seek spiritual rejuvenation at this retreat centre near Big Sur, California. Nights are spent in the hot springs 500ft above the ocean contemplating the stars – Kerouac, Dylan and Baez have all soaked here before you. The silent retreats are lauded by the glitterati, so too the week-long workshops in personal growth, Gestalt, and organic living. Four nights from €350. esalen.org

Peru 

Peru

Spiritual ceremonies by Peruvian shaman are not for the faint-hearted. These intense and challenging rituals connect one directly to shamanic wisdom. The Shipibo tribe facilitates medicinal plant rituals in a healing centre in Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazonian rainforest. Its 12-day and one-month programmes are led by indigenous women healers working with the hallucinogenic vine, ayahuasca. Medical assistance is available if required. templeofthewayoflight.org

Himalayas

Himalayas

For pampering on the road to enlightenment, consider Ananda Spa in the Himalayan foothills above the sacred Ganges town of Rishikesh. The spa is built on the Maharajah of Tehri-Garhwal’s former 100-acre estate, with meditation and yoga pavilions abutting the palace’s antique billiards room and ornate tea lounges. Buddhist meditation, yogic breathing and one-on-one meditation/yoga sessions cost a 100 times more than the rough and ready sessions available in the tiny monasteries on the river bank, but what luxury! anandaspa.com

Scotland 
Holy Isle, just south of Arran off the west coast of Scotland, has attracted spiritual seekers since the 6th century. Lama Yeshe Rinpoche now leads Tibetan meditation retreats on the south of the island, while sacred courses are held in the Centre for World Peace & Health on the northern shore. This tiny 3km-long island also has a wildlife sanctuary for Eriskay ponies, Soay sheep and Saanen goats. It’s like if Tibet were a Blasket island. Courses/full board from €330 per weekend. holyisland.org

Ireland
Clare Island Yoga Retreat is a crucible for yoga, vegetarian cooking and natural horsemanship amidst organic gardens and native woodland on a windswept Mayo island. Week-long Asana, Pranyama and meditation retreats ensure both healing and self-development. The home-grown organic vegetarian food and homemade sheep’s cheese and yogurt make meals a treat. Ferry, food, board and practice from €600 a week. yogaretreats.ie

Italy
Mind how you go with a “mindful vinyasa” yoga retreat in a 17th-century manor house near Bari, in Italy’s heel. Practices include daily yoga classes, guided silent meditation and mantra chanting. The full-board price for a solo traveller staying one week, with plenty of free time for sightseeing, is £795 (€1,001). kaliyoga.com

Turkey
Keep your sunny side up in Kusadasi with a mind and body rejuvenation break at Natur-Med, a wellness hotel in the Samson Mountains on Turkey’s Aegean coast. The basic programme includes hikes amid the pine, olive and tangerine trees, breathing exercises, pilates and yoga. Full board from €62pps per night. natur-med.com.tr

Switzerland
The ‘Genesis Wellbeing Experience’ at the Backstage Hotel in Zermatt, Switzerland, is a multi-sensory series of treatments using light, darkness and weightlessness – as well as mineral baths and massage for €1,648 for a five-night stay in April. backstagehotel.ch

Spain
Spain’s SHA Wellness Clinic just outside Alicante on the east coast has an anti-stress programme which is designed to put an end to migraines, headaches, anxiety and general fatigue. The price, which includes all sorts of therapies, spa treatments and nutrition plans, as well as sessions with personal trainers and psychologists, is €2,400. shawellnessclinic.com

Austria
The Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof is a little bit of India high in the Austrian Tyrol. The Royal Ayurveda package includes all sorts of exotic therapies including crystal light – for your chakras – Tibetan singing bowl massage and flowing oil treatments, as well as yoga and meditation. A five-day full-board package costs from €1,143pps. sonnhof-ayurveda.at

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