5 Best Destinations for Yoga in the World
Whether you’re in need of a speedy detox or a break from modern life, are looking to broaden your spiritual horizons, want to try something totally new, or simply want to practice a little yoga while backpacking your way around the planet, this selection of five of the top destinations for cracking out the downward dog and lotus poses is sure to have something to suit. Enjoy...
It was to the incensescented ashrams of Rishikesh that The Beatles came in 1968. Here they followed Maharishi Mahesh’s courses on Transcendental Meditation and mastered the twangs and nuances of the sitar under the guiding hand of one Ravi Shankar. Today, the small city of 100,000 people on the banks of the winding River Ganges (India’s most sacred waterway) is still revered for its mysticism and mokshainducing meditation courses. It’s even garnered the enviable moniker of ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ in some circles, with thousands of yogis and soulsearchers flocking to the foothills of the Uttarakhand Himalaya to practice their poses in the alcoholfree town. Krabi, Thailand There’s really nothing like striking a morning lotus atop the granite cliffs of Ao Nang Beach, stretching out that downward dog between the vineclad karst mountains of Koh Phi Phi, or finding peace with a spot of Vajrasana amidst the mangroves and tropical beaches of the Andaman, which is precisely why we at LBW opted to make Krabi the center of our acclaimed YogaLife tour! But that’s not all. This coastal area of Thailand oozes laidback charm and an earthy Buddhist mysticism, the glorious golden domes of temples like Wat Tham Suea beckoning from the hills and perennially smiling locals cooking up healthy meals on the roadsides. In short: it’s a topnotch place for any spiritual adventure!
Set deep in the jungled center of Bali’s southern regencies, Ubud is famed for its sweeping vistas of verdant rice paddies and its indelible artsy character. The town is riddled with enthralling folk galleries and mystical Hindu temples, while macaques swing in the boughs of the Monkey Forest and ancient shrines beckon at nearby Goa Gajah, the Elephant Temple. That makes this one a great setting for some yoga tourism, and it’s hardly surprising that there are now plenty of local schools and meditation workshops offering spiritual sessions here, many conducted overlooking the misty rainforests and valleys of the socalled Isle of the Gods! (Check out our Blissful Bali itinerary if that’s really taken your fancy.)
Blessed with golden beaches and swaying palm groves, India’s finest stretches of coastline and the warming swells of the Indian Ocean, Goa has been a hub for travelling hippies and New World types since the 1970s. And while things have changed considerably in the subcontinent’s smallest state, as places like Panaji go full Ibiza and Baga Beach erupts with allnight shindigs, yoga is still a real staple. Little enclaves of calm like Palolem and Patnem in south Goa are still the province of dreadlocked wheatgrass drinkers, and the silhouette of arched backs and Tadasana stretches on the shoreline boulders is a regular morning occurrence!
Koh Samui, Thailand
While a great many travelers making a beeline for the sparkling beaches and coral gardens of Thailand’s mostvisited island will be seeking a stint of sunbathing, partying (fuelled by buckets of course) and relaxation, others come for the yoga. In fact, this most famous of the kohs has risen to become one of the world’s most acclaimed yoga destinations, boasting sandside schools and yoga retreats hidden between the jungles and the hills. In fact, away from the popular towns and beaches of Chaweng and Lamai, it’s possible for visitors to seek out ancient cave monasteries and mysterious Buddhist shrines where yogis now ply their trade! (LBW visit Koh Samui on our sixweek Taste of Thailand itinerary and our elevenday Island Teaser East!)
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"Rich is a traveler, writer and filmmaker who's always after somewhere new to go. He's been hopping around the globe since 2011, from Poland to Paris, Mumbai to Ho Chi Minh. He runs several travel sites of his own, from Ski Eastern to Live Krakow to Crabs Move Sideways. When he's not planning his next trip, he's usually listening to 50s jazz, surfing in Wales, skiing in the Alps, or just swigging (too much) great craft beer."
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