by Caroline Sylger Jones, The Telegraph, June 19, 2017
For yoga in enchanting locations
1. Silver Island, Greece
I could quite happily live on this delightful, 60-acre private island strewn with rough flower-filled tracks, which has an ancient church, a romantic lighthouse and more than 2,500 olive trees. Come for week-long holidays with yoga sessions led by hand-picked teachers, stay in characterful whitewashed houses and enjoy delicious Mediterranean vegetarian meals with local wines. The flow retreat with Evi Bouzaki from October 1-7 still has plenty of spaces.
From £1,150 per person sharing on an all-inclusive basis (0027 72 624 2242; silverislandyoga.com)
2. Ulpotha, Sri Lanka
Circled by the Galgiriyawa mountains, where monks still live in remote temples and caves, this admirable organic farm offers yoga holidays with a changing roster of international teachers, on-site ayurveda treatments and bathing in a silky-smooth, otherworldly lake. Visitors sleep in huts in a jungle that is strewn with tropical flowers and teeming with monkeys and birds.
From $2,940 (£2,302) per person sharing, based on a two-week stay including yoga, meals, two excursions and two massages (020 8123 3603; ulpotha.com)
3. Reclaim Your Self, Japan
This seven-night Japanese yoga retreat on Kyushu island and in Kyoto mixes twice-daily, body-transforming jivamukti yoga led by Emma Henry with beautiful hikes through autumnal forests peppered with ancient temples. There are also onsen hot spring baths, Zen meditation with a local priest, a tea ceremony, Ikebana flower arranging and Japanese-style vegetarian meals.
From £1,995 per person sharing, based on a seven-night stay including all meals, activities and Shinkansen train. Runs November 5-12 2018 (07939 907501; reclaimyourself.co.uk)
4. Yoga Explorers, Italy
Set in the Umbrian countryside, this week-long yoga retreat is led by classical yogic duo Jim Tarran and Khadine Morcom, who run the Vajrasati Yoga school in Brighton. Your base is a 12th-century hillside farmhouse set in 28 acres with an infinity pool and Moorish spa. Expect hands-on, good-humoured teaching, Italian-inspired meals with local wines and plenty of rest.
From £925 per person sharing, on an all-inclusive basis, apart from wine. Runs May 12-18 2018 (020 3488 1715; yogaexplorers.com)
5. Yoga Synergy Programme at Kamalaya, Thailand
My favourite holistic spa on Koh Samui is set in a fairy-tale ravine sloping down to a lagoon. It offers a three, five or seven-night Personal Yoga Synergy Programme for private, daily, one-to-one sessions of classical yoga and meditation with resident teachers who will tailor the classes to your skill and needs. Between times, you can enjoy divine treatments at the hilltop spa.
From £2,755 per person sharing, based on a seven-night stay including flights, booked through Healing Holidays (020 3372 6945; healingholidays.co.uk). For a full review of Kamalaya, see telegraph.co.uk/tt-kamalaya.
6. EcoYoga, Scotland
Perched on a hill among forests, streams and waterfalls, ecoYoga overlooks the breathtakingly beautiful Loch Awe. Bathe by a wild river, sweat in an underground sauna and relax in a solar-powered hot tub between mainly ashtanga-based yoga classes at this rustic, remote retreat in the Highlands. Two classes a day, each lasting two hours, include chanting and talks on yoga. Meals are vegetarian.
From £450 per person for five nights self-catering (01546 810259; ecoyoga.org)
For yoga and mindfulness
7. Yobaba Lounge, France
Gertrud Keazor’s wellness retreats at her bohemian château in Chalabre, southern France, focus on the power of yogic movement and mindful breath to rejuvenate body and mind. There are daily periods of “noble silence”, so you can truly switch off, and insanely good raw food meals. Between sessions, hang out in the walled garden, go for walks or swim in the nearby lake.
From £800 per person sharing, based on four nights all-inclusive (0033 647 234 966; yobabalounge.com)
8. Mindfulness Journeys, Morocco
These relaxed holidays are held at a kasbah hotel on Lake Lalla Takerkoust in the foothills of the Atlas mountains. Your day starts with a 90-minute hatha and yin yoga class with Gina Hardy, while early evening sessions are dedicated to meditation with mindfulness expert Brian Hilliard. In addition, you can swim in the pools, go walking, have a hammam and nap.
From €1,690 (£1,481) per person sharing for six nights all-inclusive, except treatments. Runs Sept 23-29 (0032 474 618 889; mindfulnessjourneys.com)
9. Satvada Retreats, Norfolk
For urbanites who want to experience mindfulness without the discomfort you can sometimes have at more traditional meditation retreats, these long weekends led by Lucia Cockcroft and Vikki Stevenson are held at a luxury manor house. They mix restorative yoga and yoga nidra with periods of mindfulness practice. Meals are tasty vegetarian and vegan (with good cake).
From £599 per person sharing, on an all-inclusive basis. Next retreat Dec 1-4 (020 3695 2375; satvada-retreats.co.uk)
10. Quinta Da Calma, Portugal
This hilltop retreat set in 20 gentle acres has been offering mindfulness and yoga retreats for more than 35 years and has just been refurbished. Arrive each Saturday from July to October for a one-week programme of vinyasa flow or hatha yoga, meditation, tai chi, therapeutic treatments and optional self-development workshops. You can also go to the beach for a spot of mindful stand-up paddle boarding.
From £657 per person sharing for six nights all-inclusive, booked with Wellbeing Escapes (020 3735 7555; wellbeingescapes.com)
11. Artful Retreats, Crete
Mix gentle morning hatha yoga with art therapy on this creative retreat with engaging Cretian art therapist Penelope Orfanoudaki, held at her gorgeous private olive grove estate. You’ll use the process of art to help you be in the present moment, express yourself and change in whatever way you might need. Expect organic Mediterranean meals with wine and visits to local artists.
From €2,400 (£2,100) per person sharing for seven nights, including all meals, activities and transfers. Runs Oct 14-21 (0041 79 600 1164; artfulretreats.com)
For yoga and healing
12. Self Realisation Programme at Ananda, India
For more serious yogis looking to rebalance mind and body, palatial destination spa Ananda in the Himalayas offers a self realisation programme with personalised one-on-one hatha yoga sessions and guided daily meditation. In your free time, enjoy top-notch ayurvedic treatments and languid surroundings as you float around in fine white pyjamas.
From $3,185 (£2,495) per person sharing for seven nights, all-inclusive (0091 124 451 6650; anandaspa.com)
13. Autumn Cleanse with Tamsin Chubb, France
Reset yourself with a seasonal detox led by classical hatha teacher Tamsin Chubb at her serene rural home in the historic village of Montesquieu, Gascony. Twice-daily yoga classes and breathwork are mixed with natural healing techniques, a nutritional workshop with Lina Bou and a group workshop to help bring clarity to life’s big questions. There are also woodland trails to follow and wild swimming in a lake.
From £865 per person sharing for five nights, including station transfers. Runs Oct 21-26 (0033 659 850 455; littlefrenchretreat.com)
14. Yoga Rosa, UK and Ibiza
Yoga therapy teacher Rosa Klein will run yoga and gut healing weeks this year with German nutritionist Cornelia Povel to help you detox and sort out any stress-related issues. Book for a pop-up retreat at The Manor country house hotel in Oxfordshire (July 9-14) or a week at Rosa’s rural, herb-strewn retreat on Ibiza (September 23-30).
15. Jiva Healing Juice Fasting, Healthy Eating & Yoga Retreat, Turkey
Gently cleanse with healthy meals or do a more intense juice fast alongside twice-daily yoga taught by Brighton-based flow teacher Chetana Thornton at Yuva Retreat Centre on the southern coast of Turkey. Nutrition classes and treatments support the process and the sea is just two minutes away.
16. Vale de Moses, Portugal
Every week from late July until late September you can enjoy vinyasa flow yoga retreats with teachers Fleur van Hille and Katherine Smith at this rustic retreat in the foothills of the Serra de Estrela mountains. All retreats include a health consultation and a one-hour body harmonising massage or acupuncture session too, and meals are ayurvedic vegetarian.
From €800 (£700) per person sharing for six nights, including meals, activities, transfers, a treatment and excursion (00351 272 634 006; valedemoses.com)
17. Inspiration Space at 42 Acres, Somerset
Designed to de-stress every inch of you, these retreats in a secluded valley combine daily vinyasa flow and restorative yoga with Ann Pidcock or ayurveda-inspired ISHTA and flow yoga with Jess Horn. There are also powerful group sessions in Transformational Breath® with personable breath coach Aimee Hartley.
From £375 per person sharing for two nights all-inclusive. Next runs July 7-9, (0203 583 7530; inspirationspace.co.uk)
For yoga and beauty
18. The Clover Mill, Worcestershire
My favourite English retreat offers a range of ayurvedic facials and facial massages to beautify and de-stress you, as well as daily yoga classes and other ayurveda treatments in a beautifully restored 17th-century mill. Stay in a stylish eco-lodge in the grounds, eat ayurvedic meals cooked by owner Julie Dent and go walking in the Malvern hills.
From £595 per person sharing for two nights, including meals, daily yoga classes and treatments (01886 880859; theclovermill.com)
19. Holistic Beauty Retreat, Ibiza
This brand new yoga retreat at a cliffside luxury villa on the north of the island has dramatic sea views and features daily yoga with Suzanne Faith and facials with renowned facialist Su-Man that have been called “the holistic alternative to a Botox”. There will also be hikes, star-gazing, beauty master-classes and pampering in the form of manicures, pedicures, wraps and scrubs.
From €2,500 (£2,288) per person sharing for a week on an all-inclusive basis. Runs November 4-11 (07970 250619; erinknowles.co.uk/retreats)
20. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
At this faultless island spa resort, you can book daily private yoga classes in a variety of styles and enjoy beautifying treatments and rituals in over-the-ocean, wooden-slatted rooms. Try the joyously therapeutic AntiGravity Yoga in a jungle clearing – you’ll be suspended in hammocks to help you practice inversions easily.
For yoga and outdoor activities
21. Zest Life Retreats, Anglesey
On these well-run monthly retreats at the Plas Cadnant estate, you can enjoy two yoga classes a day and activities such as wild swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking, coastal walking or seashore foraging. Yoga classes are either vinyasa flow-based with Zest Life founder Laura Bell or yin-based with Kate Hamilton-Hunter.
From £375 per person sharing for two nights, all-inclusive. Yoga & Wild Swimming runs June 23-25 (07989 512859; thezestlife.co.uk)
22. Soul & Surf, Kerala, India
This laid-back surf and yoga hotel on a cliff top overlooking Golden Beach in Varkala opens from October to May for a relaxed programme of surf lessons and guided yoga practice. Do vinyasa and yin yoga with Yoga Alliance-qualified teachers on a platform overlooking the Arabian Sea and perfect your surf skills.
From £231 per person sharing for seven nights, including daily surf lessons; six daily yoga classes cost £32.50 (01273 931282; soulandsurf.com)
23. Adventure Yogi, France
Set in a chalet at St Foy in the French Alps, these action-packed holidays feature daily 1½-hour vinyasa yoga classes with Wenche Beard and Rebecca Keenaghan and two-day-long hikes that start with sunrise yoga up a mountain.
From £889 per person for seven nights all-inclusive, apart from some activities. Next runs July 26-Aug 2 (01273 782734; adventureyogi.com )
For yoga and family fun
24. Ro Ro Retreats at Santillan, Spain
These delightful retreats are taught by warm and witty yogic parents of three, ashtanga teacher Nigel Jones and classical yoga teacher Tara Fraser. Based at Santillan, a retreat in the hills near Malaga with pretty gardens and a swimming pool, they offer hands-on child care during two daily yoga classes for parents, family yoga sessions and home-cooked meals. School holiday dates for 2018 and news of a UK venue will be announced soon.
25. Ila Wellness Workshop for Families, Gloucestershire
If you’re time-poor but want to experience yoga with your children, book a family wellness workshop at organic therapy brand Ila’s bucolic barns in the Cotswolds. Available by demand for a minimum of five people, the workshops include a yoga session, breathing exercises, a sound healing session, a wellness talk on the chakras and the chance to learn how to massage each other.
Workshops cost £95 per person, including healthy snacks (01608 677676; ila-spa.com)