Fad Yoga Vs. Yoga Retreats

Yoga has progressed from esoteric to mainstream and has now gone hybrid! Yoga studios seem to be popping up faster than Starbucks and almost every fitness club offers various disciplines of yoga, so it’s never been easier to get started. Yoga is now an established form of exercise and wellbeing for the general public in Western societies. Fad yogas are going viral! There is Paddle Yoga, which is done on the water on a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP); Broga, which caters to men (who can’t touch their toes); Aerial Yoga, which infuses acrobatics; and even Snake Yoga which incorporates live reptiles!

It’s no wonder that there is a backlash from purists who are seeking out dedicated yoga retreats to get back to basics to focus on the traditional principles of yoga that have proven themselves for thousands of years. Yoga retreats are suitable for anyone from inflexible beginners to inverted yogis. Instructors offer personalized attention to every student by offering options for varying degrees of difficulty and correcting the positioning of postures to ensure safety. Experienced instructors, often the most highly qualified in their field conduct small classes with individual attention given that is seriously lacking in many of the fad classes in pop up studios. 

Why Choose a Yoga Retreat?

Yoga retreats are for someone who is looking to progress in their practice through intensive yoga sessions. Most retreats offer a variety of disciplines (e.g., Hatha, Ashtanga, Bikram, Vinyasa flow) but some retreats keep it simple and only offer the most basic yoga, such as Hatha Yoga. Many speciality yoga retreats offer unlimited yoga sessions throughout the day for the hardcore but most retreats offer morning and evening classes. Sessions can be held both indoors and outdoors which is a unique experience not available in urban yoga studios.

In addition to the yoga practice itself, yoga retreats offer a closed environment without distractions where you can focus on your practice and be surrounded by like-minded people who offer a supportive social network. Most yoga retreats serve strictly organic vegetarian /vegan cuisine and prohibit alcohol. A restricted diet aids in advancing your practice through detoxifying the body. When you aren’t holding a pose or hitting your flow, you can participate in workshops on the breath (Pranayama), enjoy traditional Ayurvedic cleansing treatments, relaxing massages, and aromatherapy. 

A perfect compliment to yoga is meditation which helps to focus the mind during yoga and provide clarity and relaxation outside of your practice. Meditation classes are available for all levels from beginners, so if you have never had the experience, it is the perfect time to start. It is much easier to reach deep states of meditation while you are detoxing and away from the distractions of your life at home.  


I think that short yoga retreats in spa settings are the best choice for beginners. More experienced practitioners will find benefit from longer retreats in sequestered Ashrams where the focus is more intense. 

My favourite retreats at the moment are offered at –

  • Ananda: This is the ultimate destination for serious yogis looking for stripped down yoga in the Himalayas – where it all began.
  • Chiva-Som: This is a fabulous spa in Thailand with programmes of varying length and is appropriatefor all levels.
  • Absolute Sanctuary: This is a great choice for beginners and offers a variety of yoga styles for you to try out to determine which one best suits you.

By Spa Samurai

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