Retreats are one of those nice to look at but forget to do kind of things. Where tiny models in Lycra bend and snap round the pool and you’re not allowed to have any fun, right? Wrong. From three nights to a week the below retreats are inclusive, supportive and challenge the notion of a retreat as being somewhere you have to sit still, be silent or even worse, starve. These guys cook up a storm (often from their own land), there’s plenty to do when you’re not contemplating your navel and exploring is encouraged. Give one a try.
Not every retreat can claim to be surrounded by 20,000 hectares of African wilderness but the Kenyan Segera retreat is in a league of its own. Segera is a sustainable wildlife sanctuary at the foot of Mount Kenya and for one week in May (22-27) healing artists will guide guests through a week of yoga, meditation and sound therapies that mix in a sprinkling of African traditions. There’s a botanical garden to spend time in, yoga decks to practise on or spend time exploring the various conservation projects as well as taking game drives. The spa is stocked with essential oils made from the garden and the food comes from Segera’s own organic farm.
Living the New Zealand dream is Aro Ha, found in the southern mountain range. It’s an eco-friendly retreat that mixes luxury wellness with wild walks and kayaking. This is about the body as much as the soul - so think hiking as well as hatha yoga fused with all organic vegetarian cuisine grown onsite. With a Scandi-style architectural vibe and a permaculture slant on holistic healthcare, this a retreat for people who don’t like retreats.
Home of the ‘Gut Makeover’ retreat, Cugo Gran will host a couple of ‘Movement Retreats’ this year which focus on keeping mind and body in balance and training the body to move better to improve energy levels and overall wellbeing. Hosted by 2Move, who pair mindfulness with movement, it’s a three night boost (12-15 May, 27-30 October) that will shake off any bad habits. Guests can spend time exploring the island on ancient path, Camí de Cavalls and soaking up the Spanish sun. Or just lounge around the fabulous 250 acre estate - the only five star ‘agroturismo’ on the island.
La Clairière is the all organic all year round French retreat that wears its green heart on its sleeve. From being powered by renewable energy to composting everything and using organic wool mattresses, this Alsace woodland retreat will lie lightly on your conscience. Restore your spirit with forest yoga and guided meditation, revive it with holistic spa therapies and tuck into gorgeous balanced organic menus. The bio-spa has various packages from overseeing detoxes to just spending the weekend relaxing.
Bali’s been retreat nirvana for decades but not all retreats are created equal. Zen Resort is an eco-friendly option that works with the local environment to calm and restore you. Rice field trekking and forest walks aim to teach as well as de-stress. The organic cuisine is all either harvested onsite or comes from the nearby sea. Yoga’s the main focus here but you can also dive or dive into the spa. There are no set dates, just book and turn up.
Only an hour from bustling Barcelona sits Pi Blau. an ethically built eco-villa that’s all set up for yoga retreats. Destination Yoga will be running five between May and October this year where you can combine daily classes with hikes or finding your way to down to the beach. The yoga studio overlooks the mountains and delicious organic meals are prepared in a homely open plan kitchen and topped up by the house’s own veggie garden. Everything has been thought of - even the electrics are insulated to stop any electromagnetic fields interrupting your meditation.
Cult London yoga studio Fierce Grace will decamp to Tuscany this summer (3-10, 13-20 July) for a week of focused yoga practice amongst some of Italy’s finest landscapes with its founder Michele Pernetta. Dedicated sessions will look at alignment, breathing and meditation and come the evening enjoy the markets and medieval walled town of Cortona. La Chimera is a 600 year old former fortress that’s been turned into a wonderful home-cum-yoga retreat.
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