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Himalayan Happiness

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What are the keys to happiness in our daily lives? The search for those answers can last most of us a lifetime. But what is travel if not the chance to learn from different people and cultures? And, of course, what is yoga if not a chance to open our hearts and minds to the possible? With that in mind, we bring you beautiful, spiritual, unique Bhutan.

Bhutan is dedicated to preserving its unique identity, despite mounting global pressures for development and modernization. The country carefully maintains a delicate balance between the pull of globalization and the value of its ancient cultural traditions. This balance is the essence of Bhutan, which has come to be known as the “happiest place on Earth.”

Happiness Via Culture & Nature

Bhutan’s reputation for happiness is deeply rooted in the time-tested practices of its people. The Bhutanese live life at a slower pace, lead balanced lifestyles, get plenty of sleep, eat spicy foods, walk often, and maintain close ties with their families. Their reverence for both their spiritual heritage and the natural world empowers them to embrace impermanence and live in harmony with nature. Smiling locals cloaked in colorful garb take pride in the daily celebration of their vibrant, fun-loving culture. Bhutan is also committed to protecting its rich biodiversity, with a constitutional mandate to preserve at least 60 percent of its pristine forest forever.

Happiness Via Sustainable Tourism

The country’s dedication to sustainable tourism means that only a limited number of lucky tourists get the chance to experience the breathtaking beauty of Bhutan each year. Those fortunate enough to visit the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” return home in awe of Bhutan’s fascinating culture, ornate architecture, and magnificent mountain scenery, eager to share their discovery that happiness is a place.

Happiness Via National Priority

Unlike most other countries, Bhutan defines national progress not just in terms of income or material assets, but by the overall happiness of its 750,000 people. In the 1970s, Bhutan’s king declared that gross national happiness was a higher priority than gross domestic product. Bhutan’s 2015 Gross National Happiness Index included assessments of residents’ physical health, spirituality, sense of belonging, emotional balance, sleep patterns, social lives, and community connections. Most of these measures show that the Bhutanese are successfully preserving the sacred treasure of happiness within their harmonious mountain retreat.

Happiness Via Bhutan

Join The Travel Yogi on a 2016 Bhutan yoga retreat for an awe-inspiring voyage to uncover the hidden magic of this enchanting and timeless place! Experience the best of Bhutanese culture as we explore ancient monasteries and fortresses, mingle with monks, hang prayer flags, feast on authentic local cuisine, and visit one of the world’s largest Buddhas.

We are excited to offer a carefully curated and culturally significant trip to fully immerse our yoga travel enthusiasts in this modern-day Shangri-La:

Journey outside your comfort zone to discover the happiness of Bhutan and your happiest place within!

#WhereWillYogaTakeYou


This video is shown courtesy of Simon Parker and was part of a December 2015 article in The Independent.

Getting to Know Where You’re Going: Galapagos Yoga Retreat

The Galapagos Island Magic:

There’s a place you can go where 97% of the land is protected National Park, the journey there is definitely part of the adventure, and your yoga practice will often include views of a giant tortoise or two roaming the land or resting in the tortoise pond in front of the studio. Where is this magical place, you ask? The Galapagos Islands.

Our first trip to scout our retreat in the Galapagos was love at first sight. From the retreat location itself as it rests nestled in the highlands and close to the town of Puerto Ayora to the array of adventures that were in store for us, we knew we’d be back – and often. Galapagos has become a favorite spot for many of our travel yogis as the magic of the islands draws them back for more than one retreat.

What do the islands hold for you?

A Few of Our Favorite Things About Galapagos:

10892014_10152931733288001_2034904954338395997_nWildlife

The Giant Tortoises tend to get a lot of press during Galapagos yoga retreats as they can be found roaming freely around the property and are quite the sight to behold. The most photographed of all of our island retreats though? The Sea Lions! New wildlife is found everywhere you turn, so between the Galapagos Penguins, Marine Iguanas, Blue-Footed Boobies, and Great Frigate Birds, you are sure to see many of nature’s finest as you explore.

Even better? Head to the Galapagos during baby season and you’ll see the freshly born, miniature versions of all of these adorable animals. Baby Sea Lions, baby Blue-Footed Boobies (as seen to the right)…you’ll definitely want to be sure to have your camera ready every time you head out to explore!

Adventures

The adventures in the Galapagos are endless. Santa Cruz Island is your home base for the trip, but our itineraries for this yoga adventure include “must-see” locations on many of the other islands that make up the Galapagos. You’ll sea kayak, practice yoga on the beach, hike to the top of the volcanic cone on Bartolomé Island, snorkel with marine wildlife, explore Puerto Ayora, see the Cloud Forest…

We could keep going, but in short, there’s lot to see and do on this retreat. It’s the perfect balance of adventure and rest and you’ll have plenty of stories (and photos!) to share when you return home.

Food

Ahhh, the food. When you arrive at Monte Mar, you’ll be shown to your room and then truly welcomed with a traditional lunch. The deliciousness continues for the rest of the week as many of your meals will be hosted by Monte Mar. In addition to yoga retreats, they also happen to host 12 acres of biodynamic coffee producing trees. Coffee lovers rejoice, your morning (or afternoon, or evening…) cup of coffee will definitely leave you with a smile on your face. And you may need to take a little home with you as well!

1510648_10153203886171940_7683936290328777606_nYoga Studio

We weren’t joking when we mentioned the view of giant tortoises while you practice yoga. As you can see to the left, this view is exactly what you see while practicing your sun salutations.

The yoga studio in Galapagos is a beautiful building with a full wall of windows overlooking the property, which allow for beautiful sunrise/sunset yoga practice.

The studio itself has bamboo floors, ventilation (it gets steamy in the Galapagos!), sound system, and is fully stocked with Manduka yoga mats and props, so you don’t even need to travel with yours for this yoga retreat.

 

So, if you’re ready to check the Galapagos off your bucket list, we’ve definitely got a retreat to get you there! Where will yoga take you?

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Galapagos Yoga Retreat Giveaway by Temple Tumeric

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We’ve partnered with Temple Tumeric and our travel yogi Liz Arch for the giveaway of a lifetime! This is Liz’s second trip to explore the islands, and we can’t wait to send one lucky winner to explore along with her! You’ll discover the magic of the Galapagos Islands while practicing yoga twice a day at a lush 12-acre private retreat lodge, where endemic Giant Tortoises roam freely and walking paths abound. Where will yoga take you?

Treat your body like a temple with healthy meals and energizing morning yoga sessions followed by full days of excursions and explorations including snorkeling and swimming day trips (swim with sea lions and sharks, spot Galapagos penguins and flamingos, marine iguanas and Blue Footed Boobies), boat trips to the Bartolomé, South Plaza and North Seymour Islands, Naturalist accompanied tour of the highlands (explore pit craters, lava tunnels and the cloud forest), kayaking on Tortuga Bay and much more!  Unwind with evening yoga sessions, fire pit gatherings and unlimited Southern Hemisphere stargazing.

Grand Prize includes

  • 7 nights accommodation (June 13-20, 2015) at beautiful Semilla Verde private lodge on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos with 12 acres of private walking paths to explore!
  • Yoga twice a day led by Liz Arch
  • Three delicious meals a day
  • Naturalist accompanied visit to the Charles Darwin Station
  • Naturalist accompanied day trips to Bartolome, South Plazas and North Seymour Islands
  • Snorkeling and swimming on all day excursions
  • Two dinners in Puerto Ayora
  • Naturalist accompanied Highland Tour (pit craters, lava tunnels and cloud forest and wild tortoises)
  • Kayaking on Tortuga Bay
  • 12 acres of private walking paths to explore
  • Evening fire pit and unlimited southern hemisphere star gazing
  • Transfers to and from the airport on arrival and departure days only)

Grand Prize does not include

  • Flights to Guayaquil, Ecuador (GYE)
  • $10 US inspection and migration card
  • $100 US Galapagos National Park entrance fee (cash only)
  • Travel Insurance (Recommended)
  • Gratuities (at your discretion)
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How it Works

We will select 4 lucky winners.

One winner will be selected after each phase (three total phases/winners) to receive a Temple Turmeric prize pack that includes 16 bottles of Temple Turmeric Elixirs and a Temple Turmeric t-shirt.

Then one Grand Prize Winner will be chosen to receive a free spot on Liz Arch’s Primal Yoga Galapagos Retreat! This 4th winner will be selected on April 13, 2015. To be eligible to win the Grand-Prize, you must participate in ALL three phases of the contest (phases described below).

By participating in the Galapagos Giveaway, you agree to the Official Contest Rules.

How to Enter

To be eligible to win the Grand Prize, you must:

Phase 1  (March 23 – 28, 2015)

Post a picture on Instagram that shows how you treat your body as a temple and describe your daily health and wellness rituals that honor your beautiful temple! To enter, be sure to tag @TempleTurmeric @lizarch @thetravelyogi and #galapagosgiveaway.

Post as many photos as you’d like before March 28 & we’ll announce a winner to receive a Temple Turmeric Prize pack, which includes 16 bottles of Temple Turmeric elixirs and a Temple Turmeric T-shirt. Enter all three phases to have a chance to win the grand Prize: An 8-day Galapagos Island Yoga Retreat with Liz Arch!

Phase 2 (March 29 – April 4, 2015)

Post a photo on Instagram that depicts how you live your yoga off the mat and share all the unique ways you embody your yoga practice outside of the studio. To enter, be sure to tag @TempleTurmeric @lizarch @thetravelyogi and #galapagosgiveaway.

Post as many photos as you’d like before April 4 & we’ll announce a winner to receive a Temple Turmeric Prize pack, which includes 16 bottles of Temple Turmeric elixirs and a Temple Turmeric T-shirt. Enter all three phases to have a chance to win the grand Prize: An 8-day Galapagos Island Yoga Retreat with Liz Arch!

Phase 3 (April 5 – 11, 2015)

Post a photo on Instagram that represents how you care for your soul and describe how you feed, nurture and nourish your soul. It can be photos of your yoga or meditation practice, travel, making connections with friends, caring for loved ones, how you dare to dream big…the sky is the limit! To enter, be sure to tag @TempleTurmeric @lizarch @thetravelyogi and #galapagosgiveaway.

Post as many photos as you’d like before April 11 & we’ll announce a winner to receive a Temple Turmeric Prize pack, which includes 16 bottles of Temple Turmeric elixirs and a Temple Turmeric T-shirt. Enter all three phases to have a chance to win the grand Prize: An 8-day Galapagos Island Yoga Retreat with Liz Arch!

Grand Prize Winner

Grand prize winner will be announced on APRIL 13, 2015 and will be notified via Instagram. Grand prize winner must agree to The Travel Yogi’s terms & conditions.  Retreat takes place June 13-20, 2015.

Learn more about Temple Turmeric and their devotion to sharing soulful health and an energy of awareness for your body as a Temple.

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Yoga Adventure or Yoga Retreat?

If we asked you to describe your idea of yoga paradise, which of the below would you choose?

10356273_780864851960822_5120060925841588446_nScenario A:

A relaxing week filled with a blend of vinyasa and restorative yoga practice, paired with plenty of time spent lounging by the pool or the ocean with a book and a beverage in hand. You’ll happily add a spa treatment or night out at a quiet restaurant, but you prefer to stay somewhat grounded during your trip. When you travel, your ideal vacation ends with you relaxed and refreshed as you return home ready to conquer whatever is next.

10308878_497310107037188_5286427300861567846_nScenario B:

An itinerary packed week of yoga with a full schedule of adventure and exploring added to the mix! When you travel, there’s more to your trip than resting and you want to see and experience as much as you can. If there are neighboring cities, you want to be sure to check out attractions and culture and you’ve likely done your research in advance so that you are sure you can pack all of your adventures in to one trip. Adventure itself leaves you refreshed and renewed, although your vacation may not include much time for extra zzzzzz’s!

So, which one did you choose? Or maybe you’re right in the middle – or would choose differently depending on what you need as you book your trip?

We are often asked about the differences between our yoga adventures and yoga retreats, and find that the answer is simple and in the name! Many of our retreats fall somewhere in the middle, so if you crave the perfect balance of both, you can tailor your experience to include some optional excursions and some lay low and rest days.

As far as yoga adventures, the Galapagos yoga retreat is most definitely the most fully packed retreat on our map! With days filled with boat trips, snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, spelunking, and more this is the ultimate exploration of everything you can imagine on the islands! There are still a few moments of down time, but by the end of this retreat you’ll understand and appreciate the culture and community of the islands and have loads of photos to share with your friends back home (and there are some awesome spots to capture a yoga pose or two, as evidenced in the photo above!). There are plenty of optional excursions during many of our other yoga retreats, but this one takes care of all the planning for you so that you can simply show up ready to explore!

Another great option for a week of adventure is our Iceland yoga retreat. Besides the obvious quest for elves, the long days encourage never ending adventure in and around the city of Reykjavik. With the Blue Lagoon, the Northern Lights, puffins to see and elves to hunt you’ll be thankful for extra daylight so that your fun can extend in to the night.

If your idea of a yoga retreat includes a little more retreating than exploring, one of our favorite options is Baja. A yoga retreat in Baja is the perfect place to spend some time completely off the grid if that’s your goal, but also allows you to schedule optional excursions and adventures as it feels right.

Besides Baja, Panama and Bali are both excellent yoga retreat destinations if you crave a bit of restoration. Aruba will leave you dining on the beach and practicing with the ocean breeze to cool you. Bali takes you to the healing waters and, well, it’s Bali – it’s known for yoga magic and soul soothing.

So, whether yoga like your yoga on the retreat side, or the adventure side, we can help you find just the right spot on the map to indulge in your next vacation. The only question left for you to answer is: where will yoga take you?

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Getting to Know Where You’re Going: Baja Yoga Retreat

If you’re looking for the perfect yoga retreat in Mexico, we happen to know just the place! Tucked away under the desert sky, our Baja yoga retreats at Prana del Mar offer a little bit of everything. Whether your goal for your week away is adventure or ultimate relaxation, you can find a bit of everything during your yoga retreat in Baja.

A few of our favorite things about Prana del Mar:

Environmentally Friendly

Guestroom_Reflection_LoungesYup, that’s right – Prana del Mar is a green yoga retreat center! Responsible tourism is important to us, so we were thrilled when we discovered all the ways the folks in Baja are actively working to protect the planet. They’ve utilized the power of the desert sun by installing solar panels throughout the property that provide all of their electricity.

Food is composted, waste water is treated on-site and used for irrigation, bath products are all totally organic, and they’ll let you credit your carbon offset from the flight toward a spa treatment or excursion. Reducing the impact we make on our planet is important to us always, so when we find a yoga retreat center that mirrors our values we’re even more excited to send our yogis there!

Off the Grid

Baja sunsetDo you wish that you could leave your computer and all your cares behind as you relax and focus on yourself for a few days? Your dream has come true… Prana features a computer room with internet access if you need to connect while on retreat. Otherwise,  you can rest assured that the WiFi does not reach the guest rooms! Read a book, take a nap, and connect with yourself and the others on retreat with you.

In our highly connected world, nothing is better than a week away from Facebook and Instagram (though we do hope to see your pictures as soon as you reconnect – ha!).

Food

Dining_QuinoaThe food is so good, we aren’t actually sure if we can do it justice by describing it. The food in the on-site garden is all grown without pesticides or herbicides, which means they have access to the freshest ingredients whenever possible.

Most of the meals at Prana are vegetarian, with fish/seafood featured on the menu several times each week. Organic ingredients are used whenever possible and all dietary needs – vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, food allergies – can be accommodated by the chefs. Simply let us know what you need, we pass along to Prana, and your worry free week of relaxation can begin. No matter how much you love to spend time in the kitchen, it’s nice to know that you can have a week of delicious, healthy cuisine prepared for you!

Adventure

1486919_10153639910670702_1744164353_nA week of relaxation mean different things for different people. While there are plenty of spa and wellness treatment options, you can also find a number of optional excursions/adventures to complete the Baja yoga retreat experience.

Surfing and surf lessons are an option for beginner/intermediate surfers in nearby Todos Santos. There’s whale watching in season, cliff hiking, snorkeling, fire-dancing (yes…fire-dancing!), and horseback riding. The best part is that adventures can be booked once you’re on-site, so you can settle in and see how you feel each day before you make decisions about what you want to do.

The pool at Prana is also a great spot for lounging – and for impromptu yoga photo shoots!

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Obviously when looking for a yoga retreat in Baja, the actual spot where you’ll lay out your mat is important. Yet another reason why we love Prana del Mar? The yoga studios. The large Sun studio has windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the mountains, while the smaller Moon studio features Chinese lanterns modeled after the famous Zen garden at Ryonaji for restoration and relaxation.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, heading to Baja for your next yoga retreat is the perfect way to make sure you return home feeling refreshed and restored! Where will yoga take you?

 

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Why We Love Beach Yoga Retreats

The only thing better than watching the sunrise or sunset from the beach is…well, nothing.

beach yoga retreat

 

Seriously, starting the day while watching the sunrise over the vast expanse of the ocean is the perfect reminder of exactly how small we are. The peaceful sound of the waves at sunset has the same effect calming effect on the body as breath work on the yoga mat.

We have thousands of photos of our yogis as they soak up the sun and savor the peace during their beach yoga retreats. A few of our favorites are:

– Kayaking at Tortuga Bay in Galapagos

– Beach yoga platform in the Mexican Riviera

– Meditating on the beach in Baja

– Floating in Panama

 

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Getting to Know Where You’re Going: Aruba Yoga Retreat

One word describes Aruba perfectly: paradise.

aruba yoga retreat stand up paddle board yoga

When you can practice yoga on the beach, in a pavilion with ocean views, and on a stand up paddle board in the ocean we think that perhaps the more accurate description for Aruba is yoga paradise. Our travel yogi Maria Santoferraro loves this yoga paradise so much that she is getting ready for her 3rd annual Aruba yoga retreat this spring.

There’s much to love about this yoga retreat in paradise, and we wanted to be sure you know all about where you’re going and what to expect!

1. Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa

The name says it all. Well, almost all anyway. This beach resort is all about wellness and ensuring that each guests leaves feeling better than when they arrived. How do they do that, you ask? With a focus on fitness, a beautiful spa that offers a variety of treatments, and restaurants that offer food made from local, organic ingredients. The yoga pavilion and the beach yoga deck (seriously, yoga paradise!) host ocean views, so you can rest a little deeper in savasana while listening to the waves crash and feeling ocean air on your skin.

2. Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

One of the highlights of every Aruba yoga retreat is stand up paddle board yoga. As you can see in the photo above, the stand up paddle boards are tethered together, so you can practice without worrying about keeping track of your paddle or drifting off in to the ocean.

If you’ve never practiced stand up paddle board yoga before, you’ll quickly find that it’s an excellent way to gain some extra core strength and balance. Savasana on the beach is amazing, but savasana on a stand up paddle board with the gentle rocking of waves and all the ocean sounds is possibly the best experience you will ever have.

aruba yoga retreat sunset cruise3. Adventures

Each yoga retreat location we scout is completely unique. Part of why we love our Aruba yoga retreat so much is the full slate of adventures the week has to offer. From the sunset sail to Snuba (yes, that’s right, snorkeling and scuba all in one) – a week in Aruba combines the perfect balance of relaxation (spahhhhh!) and epic adventure.

Ready to pack your bag, book your flight, and spend a week playing on retreat?

Join us this year for a sun-drenched island yoga adventure! Where will yoga take you?