Gratitude to Aimee Hughes, ND for contributing the following story “Top 3 Yoga Retreat Centers” to the DownDog Original article series.

Been dreaming up a yoga retreat vacation these days? You’re not alone. Travel (and modern life, for that matter) is transforming itself, little by little, into a quest for peace and quiet. The art of stillness is perhaps one of the most profound forms of art there is today, and the popularity of yoga retreat centers as premier travel destinations is proving this simple fact to be true.


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If you’d like to retreat yourself to an inspiring yet peaceful destination, while learning about and practicing the art of yoga – not too mention giving your health a true upgrade – here are three yoga retreat centers sure to give you an unforgettable and paradisiacal travel experience.

 Yandara Yoga Institute

 The Yandara Yoga Institute offers yoga retreats as well as yoga teacher training programs in 4 exotic destinations across the globe – the Swedish countryside, the blissful island of Bali, Hawaii’s Big Island, and Baja, Mexico.

Its home base in Mexico offers up budget-friendly yoga retreats with or without the option of becoming a certified teacher, whereas the other locales are exclusively used as teacher training centers. Yandara’s Mexican home base is situated in a natural paradise setting that spans 3-acres of oceanfront property along the Pacific coastline.

If you’re not interested in becoming a certified yoga teacher, life coach or reiki healer, then the magical yin yoga retreat  would be perfect for restoring and rejuvenating the mind, body and spirit. If you’d like to discover how yoga and Ayurveda will heal your life, then the Healing through Yoga and Ayurveda retreat would be right up your alley. For those not interested in becoming a yoga teacher, all classes are open to everyone, and there’s even a new and compelling life coach certification program to consider.

Accommodations are quintessentially tropical, with options ranging from deluxe tents to private cabanas to private casitas. Yandara’s environment is essentially a healing one, with nourishing organic meals prepared by talented cooks and a supportive staff of yoga teachers with years and years of experience teaching and healing young travelers the world over.

The Yandara Yoga Institute is ideal for young women traveling on their own, as it’s located in a safe part of Mexico and easy to travel to. The clientele is largely females in their 20’s and early 30’s who are looking to make new friends and commit to a spiritual practice.

The retreat center is easily accessible, located just 15 miles south of the quaint Mexican village of Todos Santos, and most travelers fly to Los Cabos International airport. If Mexican culture, bird-watching, surf, sun, sand and spirituality appeal to your travel senses, then Yandara is the ideal place for you to spend your once-in-a-lifetime yoga vacation. Go to for more information.

Yoga in Salento

 Do you dream of Italy off the beaten path? Have you seen Venice, Florence and Rome, but not yet explored the wild southern regions of Italy, where time stands still and azure blue waters collide with ancient rituals? Picture a place so steeped in mystical Italian tradition, you can hardly imagine practicing yoga against any other backdrop.

Enter Yoga In Salento, a retreat center situated amidst the truly mystical Apuglia region, where olive groves and crystal blue waters welcome yoga practitioners of all levels, and organic Italian slow food meets Eastern principles of Ayurveda and Taoism.

The region itself might just be the most exotic in all of Italy. This is where the heel of Italy meets the Adriatic sea, and where pagan rituals meld with one of the most inventive foodie regions in the world.

Yoga retreats take place from April through October, with one teacher training course per year, on average. Communal dining happens on a sun deck overlooking the retreat center’s farm. At Yoga in Salento the farm-to-table experience is unforgettable.

Beautiful rooms come in three varieties – low-budget, classic and superior. Beyond yoga, you can rent a bicycle to explore the local area, discover the region on horseback, or simply lounge by the pool with a book from the yoga library.

Prices are reasonable and you don’t even have to take part in the yoga classes if you’d rather just retreat yourself to the southern Italian sun and relaxation. Yoga in Salento would make for a uniquely Southern Italian retreat vacation in a land filled with magic and mystery.


Les Passeroles

 Les Passeroles is a rustic French yoga retreat center in the idyllic countryside of Southwest France. An accessible 3-hour journey by train from Paris, this elegant yoga retreat offers yoga holidays every week from May to October.

Imagine practicing yoga in a rambling French farmhouse and taking breaks poolside as your eyes catch a glimpse of magenta-hued roses or hollyhocks which hug the property’s exterior walls.

Picture treating yourself to restorative bodywork by the resident massage therapist, then strolling around the grounds -elegantly appointed with that classic French style so unique to La Belle France.

This is an intimate getaway, where you’ll feel as if you’re the guests of longtime friends rather than clients of a large hotel establishment. Les Passeroles is owned and operated by a French couple, (one is a trained chef) and classes are led by the resident yoga teachers Jane Craggs or Kirsty Gallagher.

It’s an ideal yoga retreat if you want to travel alone or with a partner, as accommodations come in tastefully designed shared rooms or private garden cottages.

At Les Passeroles, dining is a social affair, where meals are slow and savored and oh, so French. As you might guess, this is the perfect retreat for people of all ages and walks of life, who are looking to practice yoga and dine extremely well. Local wine is part of the affair as well, while “yoga wine” (grape juice) is available for those abstaining. The budget is just right, at around $1,000 for the week, all-inclusive.


Aimee Hughes, ND, is a holistic health and travel writer who has been traveling and exploring the world of natural health and wellness, yoga, dance, and travel for the past two decades. She is the author of a self-published vegan cookbook, “The Sexy Vegan Kitchen: Culinary Adventures in Love & Sex,” available on Amazon. Aimee is the lead writer for the Yandara Yoga Institute in Todos Santos, Mexico. [] [] [] []

DownDog Originals: Top 3 Yoga Retreat Centers
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