3 YOGASCAPES Retreats Kind Traveler Loves
January 24, 2017
Kind Traveler’s mission to #TravelKindly is, for us, a way of life. We believe in exploring our big, shared, beautiful home, and in the process, doing good for the world that does so much good for us in return. This mantra is also embodied by our dear friends at Yogascapes–exemplified specifically through the healing powers of yoga and travel. A Yogascapes retreat isn’t just about your practice; it’s a time for community, inspiration, rejuvenation, wellness, and gratitude. It’s also a place for you to discover the infinite beauty this world has to offer through local culture, exotic flavors, and sublime destinations. But more importantly, to allow for self-discovery and nourishment as you’re guided to explore the unique sense of self-inquiry that only consistent yoga can bring. Because sure, yoga aids flexibility, and yes, it helps with stress–but are you truly aware of just how powerful yoga can be? From perfecting posture, strengthening bones, boosting immunity, and supporting lung functioning, to improving self-esteem, quality of sleep, happiness levels, and overall focus, the practice does serious wonders for our minds, bodies, and souls alike. This small list merely tops the healing benefits that have made yoga so popular for thousands of years. When combined with the power of travel (inherently teaching lessons unrivaled by any book) you’re in for a transformative time of your life.
Your Yogascapes adventure spans three different hotels, in three unique locations. First, you’ll become one with Mother Nature in remote Keflavik while hiking through Iceland’s famed natural beauty, stayingtwo-nights at Ion Hotel (an architectural mastery). Dive further into the outdoors with three-nights at Glacier Lagoon Hotel: a hot springs retreat also ensconced in natural wonders like nowhere else on earth. Finally, wrap up the trip with private apartments in bustling Reykjavik, bringing you back to civilization with two-nights in the cultural capital. Top the week off with spa treatments, biking, whale watching, cave tours, and snorkeling (Iceland is home to an underwater dream world, too), and it’ll be damn near impossible to want your trip to end.
“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.”
— Aadil PalkhivalaSo just where could such an adventure take you in the coming months? Read on:
COSTA RICACould there be a better place to embark on such an adventure than the Osa Peninsula? A corner of Costa Rica home to Corcovado Park, that’s been dubbed the #1 most biologically diverse on earth. If wildlife is your thing and your heart beats for the animal kingdom, then Costa Rica is definitely your winner-winner-plant-based-dinner. Kind Travelers will love the magical rainforest that makes reality feel worlds away: monkeys swing from trees, flowers and vines wind towards the sky, lackadaisical waves roll onto white sands while rainbow Macaws and toucans soar overhead. And this is all just the eye-candy. Add in the smells, sounds, and all the feels of the jungle, and you’re truly in for a tropical treat. If you’re not already musing about this place, it’s time to start. Boca Somrero is your home for the week, and it’s a place that not only makes nature luxurious, but luxury natural. Find peace in the thatched-roof yoga deck whose open-air “walls” consist of the rainforest, then hang 10 as the sun goes down over turquoise waves. The Osa is your playground for any number of optional excursions, like ziplining, rappelling waterfalls, horseback riding, and hiking. Upon return, the spa is waiting for you with massages, acupuncture, and more. Plus, the restaurant’s menu here is all about fine, healthy dining, sourced from local farmers, meaning freshness and taste go hand-in-hand. Who will be leading the Costa Rica retreat, you may ask? Meet Brooke Cheatham, a yogi who seeks to empower others through the practice that empowers her. She says yoga “strips away what is not real, replaces it with love, and gives you back what you truly are at your core, your spirit.” And the most encouraging part of her mantra, for those (like me) who are just beginning to bend? “It’s never too late to start.” Not to Miss: The biodiversity of Corcovado Park is truly astounding—also unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Therefore, of all the awesome to-do’s you should make time for while in Costa Rica, the park excursion needs to be at the very top of your list. Dates: Jan 15 – 21
ICELANDIf magical landscapes and sustainability are your thing, then I encourage taking your Yogascapes adventure to Iceland. Enjoy a week of daily yoga set to a “land before time” backdrop. Think erupting volcanos, black lava beaches, stoic glaciers, monstrous waterfalls, and to top it all off, the Northern Lights glowing wildly overhead. Iceland’s underlying seismic forces also allow for geothermal energy to prosper. From heating its ice blue hot springs to a steamy 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit (known for its natural age-defying powers, thanks to being rich in sulfur and silica), to acting as a renewable energy source, this uber-sustainable, and in turn, uber-Kind Nordic nation makes a Kind Traveler swoon. Iceland has subsequently become an international leader in the renewable energy/greenhouse-gas-reduction realm, with only 0.1% of its electricity stemming from fossil fuels (0.1%!). Talk about a place made to #TravelKindly.
Now to introduce your teach. Movement-master Rebecca Halls is in tune with all things yoga, meditation, hoola-hooping, dance, and nutrition. This bad-a** even started her own dance festival/education platform, HOOPURBIA, as well as invented the first Laser Hula Hoop in history. She’s also a regular of Iceland, and therefore couldn’t be more stoked to lead your healing retreat across the country (welcoming practitioners of all levels). Not to Miss: Did we mention there’s daylight in Iceland for 21-hours a day this time of year? Embrace the outdoors at midnight for a one-of-a-kind, midnight yoga session. When and where else in the world will you get the chance to do something that rad? Dates: June 22 – 29
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” – The Bhagavad Gita
BALIAnd last, though anything but least: the Bali retreat. While Kind Travelers will love the island’s lush tropics, fresh food, kind people, adventure opportunities, and abundant wellness practices (think yoga, meditation, and BALINESE MASSAGES on the regular), what’s astonishingly unique about Bali is its culture and spirituality. The island is one of the most spiritual places in the world, so much so that I swear it’s palpably felt in the air in certain locales. Grass-woven offerings for the Gods are delicately placed on any surface in site, and ornate temples, both big and small, are scattered throughout the island: hidden on the sides of volcanoes, towering seaside on the edges of cliffs, and even nestled amidst buildings on bustling city streets. It’s the most colorful, kind, welcoming, magical, and transformative place that I’ve ever experienced in my life. If any place can heal, it’s Bali.
The Yogascapes retreat is tucked away in the island’s heart, a mere five minutes from the yoga and creativity capital, Ubud. Your serenity center for the week is luxurious Naya Retreat, a place where you can prepare to be pampered, but in simplicity. Imagine a similar structure to the Costa Rica encampment, but with Balinese flair: white netted beds, wood accents, thatched roofs, and open air ‘walls,’ surrounded by bamboo and rice fields rather than rainforest. Daily relaxation activities include yoga, massages, meditation, and a peaceful pool, while adventures entail a water temple visit, a volcano sunrise hike, traditional cooking classes, and a natural hot spring soak at stunning Lake Batur. This island, especially Ubud, is a home to healers, dreamers, and athletes alike. Give yourself to Bali’s bliss and she’ll become a home to you, too. Alexa Nehter, author of The Clean Yogi, will be your yogi leader for the Bali retreat. Her mission is to inspire others into sharing her passion for yoga, through a method that’s inclusive, inviting, and also empowering. Enjoy a relatable approach to not only your practice, but also mindful, and soulful living, ideal in a destination where spirituality is key. Not to Miss: While none of this is to miss, be sure to attend the sunrise Mt. Agung hike. I tackled a nearby volcano (Mt. Batur) for a similar adventure during my time in Bali, and it was unequivocally one of the coolest and most profound experiences of my life. I could see Mt. Agung, the holy mountain, from a distance once atop Mt. Batur, and would do just about anything to return to Bali and climb it alongside the sunrise. Dates: March 25 – 31