7 stunning summer yoga escapes

There are yoga retreats, and then there are yoga escapes. These seven—all in spectacular settings—are the latter.
There are yoga retreats, and then there are yoga escapes. These seven—all in July—are the latter.

Each one takes poses and pranayama into a spectacular setting—say, 10,000 feet up a Colorado mountain, overlooking acres of olive groves in Tuscany, or amid roaming tortoises in the Galapagos.

Read on. You’re a plane ticket away from unrolling your mat in paradise. —Melisse Gelula

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La Dolce Vita
Tuscany, Italy
July 6–13

Each summer Jen Warakomski says “ciao” to Brooklyn and “buongiorno” to Lucca and Villa Benvenuti, where she hosts a week of yoga in a laid-back Tuscan villa, which is surrounded by olive groves  and vineyards. Two daily yoga classes (morning vinyasa and evening restorative) book end the day, so there’s plenty of time for experiences and excursions like cooking classes, hillside hikes, and “leisurely bike rides inside Lucca’s famed medieval city walls with gelato breaks.”

Rates start at $1,595 (for a double-occupancy room with shared bath), retreats@soulpolishyoga.com or checkthis.com/ladolcevitayogaretreat

(Photo: Villa Benvenuti)



White Elephant Village
Nantucket, Massachusetts
July 12–14

The second annual Nantucket Yoga Festival includes an impressive roster of yoga luminaries, such as Dharma Mittra and Hari Kaur, as well as leaders of the new guard, like Sadie Nardini and Boston’s David Magone. The setting for classes and workshops is the working Bartlett’s ocean view farm, which will also hold a farm-to-table dinner on Saturday night. The White Elephant Village (pictured), a collection of Nantucket inns, is catering to visiting yogis with down pillows.

$350 for the weekend or $175 for one-day pass. Lodging not included. www.nantucketyogafestival.com

(Photo: White Elephant Village)



Wanderlust Colorado
Wanderlust Colorado
Copper Mountain
July 4–7

The Colorado location of the popular, roving Wanderlust Festival is spectacular, with yoga pavilions set into the mountains. Classes at the yoga-music festival are all set to live music or have live DJs, and they’re taught by top-brass yogis. This one includes Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Gurmukh, Desiree Rumbaugh, and another dozen—so it’s like attending an uber yoga retreat. A speakers series includes Congressman Tim Ryan, Mark Hyman, MD, and Elephant Journal’s Waylon Lewis. And come evening, bands like Moby and Quixotic take the stage, and the festival feels more like a Lollapalooza-meets-yoga dance party. You might come back home more inspired than rested.

$475 4-day Sage pass with music; one-day pass $125 (with a variety of other passes available; lodging not included), colorado.wanderlustfestival.com

(Photo: WanderDome at Wanderlust Colorado by Ali Kaukas)


Wanderlust California
Wanderlust California
Squaw Valley
July 18–21

Here in Squaw Valley, Wanderlust sets up its open-air yoga platforms with views of Lake Tahoe, so can focus your gaze on some gorgeous scenery instead of a ficus growing in the corner of your yoga studio. The teaching lineup includes such star instructors as Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Kathryn Budig, and Amy Ippolitti. Thought leaders, from Mastin Kipp to Joel Salatin, whose organic farm features in Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, take turns on the Speakeasy mic by day, and you can also book a la carte experiences like yoga paddleboarding. Moby and Gramatik take the concert stage after sundown.

$475 4-day Sage pass with music; one-day pass $125 (with a variety of other passes available; lodging not included), squaw.wanderlustfestival.com

(Photo: Boga Yoga Paddleboard Yoga-ing by George Mihaly)



AcroYoga Back-Country Adventure
Yosemite, California
July 23–28

Want to work on your inversions and acrobatics in a space bigger than your living room? This is an Acro immersion with West Coast teachers Sarah Vosen and Sarah Yovovich AND a camping retreat with Back to Earth, set in the wide open spaces of Yosemite. You’ll hike as a group into the park, work up a sweat doing Acro, cool off in waterfalls, and enjoy evening campfires. Dashielle Vawter, who’s led dozens of back country trips, will be spearheading this one and preparing all the organic meals. BYO backpacks, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads.

$750 (includes meals), solyogatrips.com

(Photo: Sol Yoga Trips)



Kiteboarding and Yoga
Now–Dec. 31

Fitness types who get super restless during a vacation spent in a poolside chaise lounge, this is for you. At this small luxury hotel on Maui, you can learn to surf while tethered to a kite. It’s an adventure for those who know how to hang ten, and those who don’t. On the Maui Ocean Divas Package, you’ll get three days of private 3-hour kiteboarding lessons, and three morning outdoor yoga privates, so you can balance your adrenaline with a little Om-ing. The package also comes with a facial and a pedicure in the spa, which could be especially welcome after all that time in the sun, sand, and surf.

Rates start at $1,999 per person (double occupancy), www.hotelwailea.com
(Photo: In Motion Kitesurfing)


Ocean of Love Retreat in the Galapagos
July 27–Aug 3

Ashley Turner, a popular spiritual yogi and psychotherapist based in California, leads this small group adventure to Ecuador and the land of Darwin, where you can expect “evolutionary leaps in your consciousness,” she says. You’ll do vinyasa among tortoises, who have free reign of the park, and work on “your capacity to love and be loved.” The unspoiled setting should help put things in perspective, as you kayak and swim with sea lions, and spot Galapagos penguins and other wildlife at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lodgings are surprisingly civilized with private bathrooms and A/C.

Rates start at $3,195 (including food and lodging), www.thetravelyogi.com

(Photo: TripAdvisor)

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