December 8, 2019
Yoga studios are offering retreats in exotic places, like this Aspen Shakti experience in Utah.
It may be hard to imagine why an Aspen yogi would want to practice anywhere else, but come offseason even locals need a change of scenery. Yoga retreats in exotic places are trending, offering participants the chance to practice with familiar faces and enjoy their favorite studio vibes in a new locale. Retreats mean people can immerse themselves in a week of practice and vacation instead of just popping in for a class, say local studio owners. They’re hopping on the plane to desirable places too.
Last fall, O2 Aspen (o2aspen.com) hosted renowned New York City instructor Terri Barnett at Monteverdi—a boutique hotel in a medieval hilltop Tuscan hamlet—for a wellness retreat including yoga classes and meditation workshops, farm-to-table meals, nightly wine tastings, countryside excursions and a cooking class with chef Giancarla Bodoni. “Some people who are new to yoga or to retreats in general might be intimidated by how deep or spiritual the practice might delve,” says O2 Aspen owner Brittany Van Domelen. “Our retreats stay on-brand—expect a high-end luxury vacation with a focus on health and wellness in an aesthetically beautiful place.” Future itineraries include Nosara, Costa Rica and the Napa Valley Reserve.
Aspen Shakti (aspenshakti.com) focuses its retreats on body, mind, spirit and tribe. Owner Jayne Gottlieb believes those to be the four avenues through which one can live an “alive life.” This fall, Aspen Shakti designed a retreat called Harvest Shakti to include yoga, cycling and viticulture from a luxury villa in Napa, Calif., and another fall-inspired retreat offered a similar experience in nearby Paonia, Colo. “There’s nothing better than taking time away from everyday life to dive more deeply into the complete experience of yoga, which includes diet, sleep, meditation and space for self-reflection,” says Gottlieb—“that’s all set in a beautiful environment and created with the No. 1 intention of taking the best care possible of everyone who attends.” Shakti is looking to Bali and Morocco as possible locations for 2020 retreats.
Aspen Elevated Health (aspenelevatedhealth.com) founded its retreats on the belief that true health and happiness are achieved through finding balance between the mind, body and spirit. The company will host two retreats for 2020; a surf, yoga and acupuncture retreat in Nicaragua in May; and a yoga, meditation and sound healing retreat in southern Italy in the fall.
Aspen-based Lead With Love (ileadwithlove.org) travels to places like France, India and Mexico, aiming to raise consciousness while cultivating joy, connection and a feeling of rejuvenation. And, on the flip side, it hosts an immersive seminar in Aspen every September because, for many, Aspen is also the ultimate getaway.
Photography by: Courtesy of Aspen Shakt