With more than 20 million yogis in the US — a community that spends more than $10 billion a year on classes, retreats and products — yoga is a booming business. And it’s increasing in popularity across the board, with everyone from children to seniors striking a pose.
Why is yoga so popular?
Yogi Julia Belluz gave her opinion recently on Vox: “Yoga is probably just as good for your health as many other forms of exercise. But it seems particularly promising for improving lower back pain and — crucially — reducing inflammation in the body, which can actually help stave off disease. Yoga also seems to enhance ‘body awareness,’ or people’s sense of what’s going on inside themselves.”
For those downward dog devotees among you looking for upcoming yoga retreats this fall and into the New Year, we’ve put together a list of 18 awesome retreats from yoga studios and practitioners across the American West, just in time for National Yoga Month.
7 Centers Yoga Arts
Based in Sedona, 7 Centers offers teacher-training programs as well as personalized retreats. You can choose a retreat from a number of packages or make your own itinerary by choosing from the services listed. Because the Center does not arrange accommodations, your retreat can be made for anytime of the year as well as for as many days as you wish.
There are a number of retreat adventures offered by Sedona Spirit Yoga and Hiking. Options include five-hour mini retreats, packages without lodging of between two and four days, and four-day retreats with hotel accommodation in Sedona. The latter includes yoga hikes and yoga classes, with the next retreat scheduled for October 9–12.
Sonia Wolf, who is based in Denver, has two Sedona retreats scheduled for later this year: Thanksgiving in Sedona and Christmas in Sedona. In addition to Deep Flow & Pranayama, classes will include Yin, Yoga Nidra and meditation. There will also be two-hour private counseling session with Sonia, who is a Yoga Alliance instructor, a Reiki and a transpersonal healer.
The Expanding Light’s Sharing Nature Retreat
Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, The Expanding Lights is a yoga, meditation and wellness retreat center that hosts dozens of great programs each year. From September 27 until October 2, Greg Traymar will lead a nature-focused training program that will feature a couple of morning sessions from Joseph Cornell, author of the book The Sky and Earth Touched Me.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm’s Devi Bhagavatam Retreat
Not far from The Expanding Light’s center is the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, which will host a six-day workshop led by internationally renowned yogi Amarananda Bhairavan. A core focus of this workshop will be “the special female-centric metaphysics of the human mind,” but organizers invite anyone with a sincere desire to learn classical yoga to join.
Shoshoni Yoga Ashram
Located high in the mountains above Boulder, this ashram and spiritual retreat is a space for practicing meditation, chanting and yoga. The yogic lifestyle is available through drop-in classes as well as day-long retreats and week-long yoga arts camps for adults. The next scheduled event is an October 3 workshop with guided meditation sessions, which serves as an invitation to the practices of Shambhava Yoga.
Yoga Journal Live! Event
Yoga Journal Live! will host a retreat from September 27 until October 4 at the Estes Park Center YMCA of the Rockies. This all-encompassing event will offer classes with master and local teachers as well as beginners classes. There will be full-day workshops that explore new aspects of yoga, such as “vertical yoga” (which includes an outdoor rock climbing session) and a series of lectures on yoga, transformation and social justice.
The November 2015 SoulSpark retreat is a weekend in a luxurious private home on Mount Werner in Steamboat Springs. Days include invigoration yoga classes, meditation and a selection of workshops on introspection, the practice of yoga and finding happiness. A hot tub and in-house massage are available, as are optional sunrise and candlelit yoga sessions.
Located in Denver, yoga classes take place throughout the week at the Twisted Sister studio, outdoors or at your own home in personalized sessions. The next Twisted Sister retreat is for women only, and is called “Align With Your Heart.” The event runs from September 16 to 20, and is held in a private luxury mountain home. The retreat will focus on dedicated yoga practice, meditation, medication and relaxation.
This mission of Big Sky Yoga Retreats is to take their all-women participants on deep inner journeys through yoga practice and spending time outside. September’s Cowgirl Yoga Riding Retreat at The Double T River Ranch is now waitlist-only. You can also plan to stay at the ranch in mid-February for the Winter Wonderland retreat, which combines yoga with cross-country skiing.
The Feathered Pipe
This non-profit organization has been offering yoga retreats and yoga travel for 40 years. The next “Mountains and Mats” retreat will take place from September 17–22 at the Feathered Pipe Ranch in the Montana Rockies. There’s also a 19-day “Adventure in India” that departs on November 28, which will include yoga and meditation practice, dance, music and culture.
Vallecitos Mountain Ranch
A wilderness learning and retreat center, Vallecitos Mountain Ranch is a non-profit organization located in the Tusas Mountains, some 50 miles west of Taos. Retreats run between May and November. In October, a fall retreat called “The Heart of Mindfulness Meditation” will feature progressive training in the fundamentals of mindfulness meditation. One of the instructors is the co-founder of Vallecitos Mountain Ranch, Grove Burnett.
Yoga Simple and Sacred
Gloria Drayer, a Kripalu trained teacher, offers yoga classes in Albuquerque. She leads yoga retreats both in Albuquerque and abroad, with two retreats planned for September. The “Zion Wellness Retreat” runs from September 16–20 and includes daily yoga with hiking in Zion National Park, with accommodations at a Southwest Adventures Guide vacation home. Later in the month, a two-day women-only called “Full Moon Yoga” will take place at the White Sands National Monument, where attendees will sleep in tents or under the stars.
Retreat In The Pines
Two hours from Dallas, this sanctuary in east Texas hosts yoga and wellness retreats for women. Two October retreats are for practitioners of all levels. The first is a three-night “Finding Gratitude” weekend on October 22. The next is a “Yoga Nurture” retreat on October 30. Both include yoga, meditation and mindfulness walks, with wine and chocolate in the mix.
Siddhayatan Spiritual Retreat
Founded by Acharya Shree Yogeesh, this ashram in Windom offers spiritual and health retreats throughout the year. You can book three-day or seven-day programs at your convenience — provided the center is open, the teachers are not traveling, and spaces are available. You will receive various yoga classes, each from 60–90 minutes, that include guided meditation, full relaxation and mantra classes, depending on which program you choose.
On the weekend of October 16, a Texas Yoga Retreat is being held in Austin at the Ancient Yoga Center. The retreat will features teachers from across the state. Attendees will be able to sample many styles of yoga. It’s ashram living with like-minded yoga enthusiasts with whom you can share ideas, information and inspiration.
For a weekend in October, you can take part in a desert retreat with Moab “Under Canvas,” a camp set in the soul-cleansing landscape of Southern Utah. This Awaken Retreat is part of Awaken Studios, which will offer the same anti-gravity yoga on the retreat as in its studios. There will also be reformer classes, hikes, nutrition classes and lectures.
Lifted Life will host a weekend yoga retreat in mid-September, with accommodation in a lodge about 20 minutes east of Zion. The retreat will focuses on physical alignment, finding harmony and boosting awareness by the effective practice of yoga. Julie Branham, owner of Lifted Life Yoga, and instructor Debbie Arnell will be leading this retreat.