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Retreat Yourself: Planning the Perfect Yoga Getaway

Heidi Kristoffer

I don’t know about you, but a vacation is not a vacation for me if it doesn't include some kind of physical activity. The only way I can truly let go and have fun is when I know I can get my sweat and laughter on.

With that in mind, I am always on the lookout for a vacation that can double as a super-fun sweaty experience. This past February, I led a yoga and surf retreat in El Salvador. Not only did I learn to surf, but I had a total blast leading yoga while overlooking gorgeous beaches and exploring a new country. I came back 100 percent refreshed, relaxed, happy, and healthy, and with a new appreciation for awesome activities.

Want to "retreat" yourself? Try my tips to plan the perfect fit getaway:

1. Consider timing. Off-peak times are often less crowded and cheaper. In August, I co-led a retreat with Tara Stiles and Mike Taylor to the Standard Miami. I know what you're thinking: Miami in August? Yes! All of the retreat participants not only got to take part in three yoga classes a day with three different instructors, but they also got to enjoy all of the amenities of a gorgeous spa hotel on the water in Miami at a fraction of what it would have cost in the high season.

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2. Pace yourself. Some people may be super-human, but as someone who has led several retreats, I can say I have infinitely more fun when there are other instructors and/or activities. If your retreat leaders are having a blast, chances are much greater that you will have a blast. All work and no play (regardless of the beautiful setting) can dampen the spirits of even your favorite instructor. Plus, having different activities and people to choose from every day is awesome. There's no shortage of active retreats. You can find yoga and cooking; yoga and surfing; biking and yoga; the list goes on! Search online for your two favorite things—then add the word "retreat." You never know what you'll find!

3. Go in groups.  It is almost always less expensive to book a retreat as a double. Talk to your friends and see who would be game for an adventure. If none of your pals share your affinity for physical activity, consider booking a double room. [Tweet this tip!] Chances are your random roommate could be a great new buddy for life—you two did book the same vacay, after all.

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There are a ton of websites dedicated to helping you plan your escapes. Some of my favorites include:

1. The Travel Yogi. This site allows you to choose your destination and instructor.

2. Anywhere Costa Rica. You can input your dream vacay (activities and all), and it will be planned for you.

3. Wave Hunters. Choose your destination and wave type.

4. eNRG Kayaking. This kayak shop features adventures in the Pacific Northwest and internationally.

You don’t want to need a vacation after your vacation, or to feel like you need a detox. Plan something that will leave you rejuvenated, healthier, and happier than before you left. Your dream vacation is only a few clicks away. Find it, book it, and tell us all about it!


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