Pack Your Practice: Go on a Yoga Retreat

Grab your mat and a bottle of sunscreen. Philly yogis are jetting off to tropical climes for om-centric retreats.

Simon Park's Bali retreat takes you out of the resort to explore the island's forests and rivers. // Photograph courtesy Como Shambhala Estate

If battling the masses in Ocean City doesn’t exactly scream Zen to you, there’s an alternative. “Yoga retreats have exploded,” says Corina Benner, owner of Wake Up Yoga in Fairmount and South Philly. “People realize how beneficial yoga is, and when they go on vacation, they don’t want to leave it behind.”

Most retreats run for a week and take participants to natural locales. Yoga is practiced at least twice a day, and usually some (or all) meals are included. The trips, which attract a mix of singles and couples and a range of ages, are generally suited for yogis with moderate experience. Some leaders build in a lot of group-together time (think summer camp for grown-ups), while others leave room for excursions or lounging in the sun.

“Most of us work too much and don’t have enough vacation time,” says Benner. “Here’s an opportunity to get away, recharge and just enjoy yourself.” Ready to start packing? Here, five upcoming trips that head out from Philly.

Uma Ubud, Bali
When: July 22nd to 28th.
Why: White-water rafting and rice paddy hikes are on tap for adventure seekers.
Organizer: Philly yoga instructor Simon Park.
Cost: $1,295.*

Maya Tulum Resort, Mexico
When: September 22nd to 29th.
Why: A spa treatment and a full-day tour of the Coba ruins are included—as are all your meals.
Organizer: Philly-based yoga instructor Maura Manzo.
Cost: Starts at $1,599.

Dolphin Dream Retreat, Bahamas
When: September 23rd to 29th.
Why: When else will you get to swim with wild dolphins for six days?
Organizer: The Yoga Center of Medford.
Cost: $1,595.

Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, Aruba
When: October 20th to 26th.
Why: Sip a piña colada, then try yoga atop a paddleboard.
Organizer: Wake Up Yoga.
Cost: $1,300.

Xinalani Resort, Mexico
When: January 12th through 19th, 2013.
Why: Hot yoga in the tropics means the ultimate toxin release.
Organizer: Dana Hot Yoga, Bala Cynwyd.
Cost: Starts at $1,400.

*All prices exclude airfare.