The ancient sages who passed down the beautiful body of knowledge that is yoga already knew: we are all in this together. Yoga means union with the universe and with the whole of humanity. Science has only backed this up. We are zipping along all together on this splendid Earth at 67,000 miles per hour in our orbit around the sun. We are taking this trip together. So why not celebrate this fact while deepening our yoga practices by taking a little spin together to some special place on this precious planet? Here are four eco yoga retreats, each led by a uniquely gifted teacher.
Desa Seni, Bali, with Tim Senesi
March 21 - 28, 2020
Tim Senesi is an Orange County-based yoga teacher known for creating his own blend of Iyengar method and Vinyasa Flow. For the last eight years, he has led retreats to Desa Seni, an eco-village in Bali which features original antique refurbished homes from different places in Indonesian, each representing highly localized architecture. Imagine waking up in a traditional Indonesian village, birds chirping overhead, the sun a golden orb in the brightest blue skies.
After yoga classes, enjoy organic, farm-to-table goodness, and stroll to the Merapu Svaasthya spa or dip into a saltwater pool for immersion in utter peace. Senesi says he keeps returning to the village for the feeling the place offers. “The people treat you like family,” he says. “The energy of people who are interested in taking care of the earth and sharing with others is contagious. I always feel renewed after a week there and usually end up staying another.” For more information see Tim's site.
Tulum, Mexico, with Jana Lewison
March 30- April 3 2020
Jana Lewison specializes in both Vinyasa Flow and therapeutic yoga and leads multiple retreats every year, both across the United States and internationally. Her first retreat of the new year will be at Amansala, the revered eco-chic yoga and fitness resort near Tulum, Mexico, well-known for its beautiful bohemian beach vibe. Amansala, in Sanskrit, means water (ambha) and peace (santi); the resort’s lo-fi elegance features beachfront cabanas, electricity only from dusk to 11 p.m., two yoga studios, and an outdoor dining area featuring fresh fruits and fish (and mango margaritas). The area is in the midst of several Mayan ruins worth investigating, including the famed cliff-top ruins in Tulum, for yogis to gain a sense of ancient presence. And the Carribean Sea beckons with opportunities to snorkel, deep-sea dive, or to simply bask in water and peace.
“A retreat is a deeply immersive experience into yoga, nature, and community,” Lewison says. “After an hour yoga practice, the effects of the ‘zen mind’ linger throughout the day…After a week-long yoga retreat, the effects settle in deeper, allowing for lasting breakthroughs and transformations.” For more information, see Jana's site.
ONAR, Greece, with Shelley Williams
May 20 -26 2020
Shelley Williams is the founder of the Yoga Mittra school, a teacher training academy that incorporates eco-sustainability into its curriculum. She leads international yoga retreats at least twice each year with fellow Mittra teacher Suzy Nece. Next year, the pair will embark on an odyssey to a clandestine, boutique retreat called ONAR, located on a private nature reserve--part of Natura, the largest network of protected areas in Europe--on the rugged island of Andros. The island is part of the Cyclades Islands, known for their historical monuments, beautiful beaches, and medicinal springs. Lodgings are in well-appointed stone cottages tucked away in trees by a riverside, while much of the healthful Meditteranean cuisine comes from the organic farm on ONAR. Daily yoga practices will take place in a private Mongolian yurt as well as outside, by the ocean, by the river, under the stars, and near an evening bonfire.
“ONAR in ancient Greek means dream,” says Williams. “And for us, it’s a dream to share this culture and landscape through the lens of living yoga in nature with our dear friends.” For more information see Shelley's site.
Zihuatanejo, Mexico, with Vinnie Marino
February 28 - March 5 2020
Vinnie Marino, the man the New York Times dubbed “the unlikely Yoga King of Los Angeles” (alluding to his Bronx background), is known for his challenging fusion of Ashtanga, Vinyassa, and Iyengar styles. Next year Marino leads a trip to Playa Viva, an eco-conscious resort dedicated to sustainability and regenerative practices. Playa Viva is in the middle of a 200-acre nature reserve and turtle sanctuary. Lodgings include an oceanfront treehouse and an array of eco-casitas. “Each day will begin with an invigorating and inspiring vinyasa class to prepare you for the day's adventures,” Marino says. “Evenings will feature a deeply meditative practice designed to help you feel rejuvenated and relaxed.” For more information see Vinnie's site.