An up and coming trend before the year of the global pandemic, mindfulness and the search for physical and mental stability has perhaps never been so important in a time of such uncertainty. The benefits of this ancient practice are endless, including improving flexibility, strengthening core muscles, and calming the mind. From underwater meditation in the Maldives to stretching out at the oldest mansion in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, here are our favourite places to salute the sun in style.
Figure out your flexibility in Formentera with Yiannis Mukta Om, resident guru at Gecko Hotel & Beach Club, a laid-back boutique retreat which makes the most of the natural beauty of the Balearics, where the dress code is barefoot and the vibes chilled-out. As a former pupil of master Sri Dharma Mittra, you will be in safe hands with Yiannis and the hotel’s highly trained teachers, who lead daily morning yoga sessions and year-round retreats on an ocean-facing deck or in the palm-lined gardens. Reconnect with yourself and with nature in the preserved area of Migjorn Beach, steps away from the Mediterranean Sea.
Cool, calm and connected to its stunning setting, Forestis is a summit-level sanctuary in a South Tyrolean mountainscape. Water, air, sun and climate are the four elemental pillars that inspire everything at Forestis – including the experiences. For sun salutations in a striking setting, the Wyda Room is a modern space made for practising centuries-old Celtic yoga. Delve into the Druid history of the surrounding forests, who settled in this part of the world and developed their knowledge of the healing powers of woodland meditation.
As its name suggests, a stay at the Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary is as transformative as it is tranquil. Thoughtful touches can be found in every corner of this unique Eastern Himalayan retreat, whether it’s a little daily gift – like a prayer flag – or the plate of homemade biscuits brought to your room, this is a place that clearly celebrates its setting in the ‘Kingdom of Happiness.’ On arrival, you’re taken to the ‘Transformation Room’ and given the chance to settle into a restful frame of mind. Begin your morning with a stretch on one of the walk-out terraces followed by a cup of local herbal tea, or find your rhythm with a sound meditation session led by the Sanctuary’s in-house traditional doctor, Thinley Om.
A cliffside collection of pristine white suites set into the dark volcanic rocks, Canaves Oia Suites sets standards of relaxation higher than most. Unwind on your private terrace, as you take in the views during a sun-soaked yoga session perched on whitewashed walls overlooking the Aegean Sea.
Did you really go to Bali if you didn’t experience a yoga retreat? Viceroy Bali stands out from the crowd with gravity defying, thatched villas set on the edge of a steep ravine, overlooking the Petanu River gorge in Bali’s mountain foothills. With its own yoga master on standby for private sessions in any of the garden locations around the resort or in guest villas, meditate to the sounds of the jungle as the early morning mists gently rise from the hillside.
Home to not one, but two open-air yoga pavilions, the privately owned island of Petit St. Vincent is the perfect place to unplug and reconnect with nature, without the distractions of modern technology. Choose between the Conch Bay pavilion which overlooks the Atlantic or the leeward side of the island facing Caribbean Beach – both options guarantee plenty of ocean air and sand between your toes. The island’s on-site instructors offer individual and group yoga sessions for all skill levels, with mats and accessories provided.
Submerge into serenity at Huvafen Fushi Maldives, where guests can unwind in the world’s first under-the-sea spa, devoted to deep relaxation. With treatment rooms overlooking the reef, every element is inspired by the ocean. Drift into sub-aquatic meditation surrounded by clownfish, stingrays, and anemone, or inhale the scent of indigenous island coconut oil in a four-poster beach sala back on dry land.
An air of serenity hangs over Keemala. With streams and waterfalls running through it, this luxury resort is seamlessly woven into its surroundings. Indulge the body and invigorate the mind with a massage or meditation beneath the trees. The tranquility continues in the Meditation Cave, a ‘Pa Ta Pea’ zone within the resort where guests are guided through a series of calming exercises, from sunrise yoga sessions to Tai Chi.
Surrounded by mountains and forests, Gangtey Lodge is an all-suite outpost which gives guests a taste of traditional Bhutanese farmhouse living. In collaboration with Shedra, a local institute where monks learn Buddhist philosophy, poetry, logic, and debate, guests at Gangtey Lodge can take part in Buddhist meditation classes on Compassion and Shamata alongside the monks. To experience another ancient Bhutanese tradition, take a hot stone bath, or Dotsho, back at Gangtey Lodge, which uses river rocks to heat the water, releasing key minerals that relieve aches and pains in the body.
Harmoniously set amidst 12 acres of gardens with tropical flowering shrubs and trees, Coral Reef Club is one of the finest family-owned resorts in the Caribbean. Housed within a beautiful colonial inspired building, exotic vegetation and waterfalls weave throughout the hotel’s spa. Taking its decorative colour palette from nature, fine sand sheers, soft creamy linens and woven grasscloths sit with coral stone walls and dark chocolate wood. Salute the sun surrounded by tropical greenery, before taking a dip in the outdoor Hydro-pool with shaded cabanas.
On a small private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean sits Baros Maldives, a castaway atoll with a cluster of over-water and beachfront villas. Everything here is designed to help guests restore their balance and find moments of calm, from daily yoga sessions to therapeutic massages. The island’s resident Yogi leads yoga classes all over the island, from in-villa exercises to a sunrise session on a secluded sandbank. Waves gently lap the shore as you stretch and breathe. Inhale, exhale…
Every element of Muh Shoou Xixi Hotel is connected to the landscape it belongs to. Flowing lines, pools of water and open-sided structures bring a sense of the outdoors in – step inside, circling ancient persimmon trees, to a world of weather-worn stone, wooden accents and water-washed marble features. Feel your energy flow from open spaces framing views of the wetlands, or slow your breathing beside the shaded infinity pool before a refreshing swim.
Set on the wild south coast of Mauritius in a protected nature reserve, Heritage Le Telfair puts you in a world of your own. Taking a holistic approach to guest well-being and relaxation, Seven Colours offers group or individual yoga, Tai Chi, Qi-Gong, pilates and meditation sessions at the Wellness Sanctuary. Make the most of the resort’s pristine setting with wellness walks in the Nature Reserve, forest bathing or active sea walks along the coast.
A welcoming oasis in the heart of Bali’s most vibrant and stylish coastal town, The Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa is a haven of relaxation from the moment you arrive. A sense of the warm culture and treasured heritage of the island flows through every space. Meditate to the sound of the ocean before cooling off in the plunge pools at Kahyangan Spa, with its heavenly treatment programme.
A former Maharaja’s palace built in 1727, The Raj Palace is the oldest mansion in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. With ornate wall decorations, pillars and courtyards, not only is the palace spectacular, but the history of the place seems to come alive. Guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the perfect place to practise yoga, from the shaded courtyard to the pool which is surrounded by several beautiful arches, sculptures and beautiful fountains.