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What are Yoga Retreats?

Yoga is an ancient practice that focuses on the connection between the body, mind and spirit. Many yoga practitioners go to yoga retreats to perfect their form, learn more about the practice and rejuvenate their spirits. Yoga retreats can be in the form of weekend workshops at a local site or can encompass several vacation weeks at an exotic location. No matter the length of time or location, yoga retreats are designed to focus on extensive yoga practices, meditation, wellness and relaxation.

Weekend yoga retreats typically take place at local yoga studios or area nature centers. Well-known yogis usually are brought in to lead the different sessions and give students a new perspective on the ancient practice. Most weekend retreats are very intensive and include sunrise, morning, afternoon and evening yoga practices. Between the sessions, breathing and meditation usually are conducted. For local retreats, participants usually have the choice of spending the night at their own homes or receiving discounted hotel rooms near the retreat location.

Many people prefer to literally “get away from it all” when they go on yoga retreats. There are many vacations designed around these types of retreats, and they occur in many natural paradises, including beach, mountain and desert resorts. These vacations usually offer extensive yoga courses but also provide other types of recreational activities, massages and healthy meals. Some people bring their spouses with them, and if their spouse does not practice yoga, they can spend their vacation time shopping, golfing and doing other activities.

There are many rustic yoga retreats available as well. Some of these are in India, where serious yogis might have long, yoga family lineages in the birthplace of the practice. These types of practices usually are conducted on hard floors without mats and air conditioning. Many rustic retreats take place outdoors, away from modern luxuries, in order to allow the yogi to tap into his or her inner spirit and get in touch with nature more quickly.

Most yoga retreats focus on yoga from sunrise to sunset. Even though exercise is conducted all day, many people feel more energized and refreshed when the retreat is over. Some of these types of retreats focus on specific areas of the body or poses, such as hip openers or balancing poses. For example, the first day encompasses all of the seated hip opening positions, the second day moves into standing hip openers, and so on. By the third day, the person has much more flexibility and range of movement in the hips.

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