It’s difficult to find a resort or five-star hotel that doesn’t offer yoga in some shape or form these days. Why? Simply because it works. Part of the 5,000-year-old philosophy of Ayurveda, yoga can help keep the body flexible and strong, the mind clear and focused, the spirit happy and compassionate.

And in today’s increasingly demanding and stressful world, practising asana postures, meditation and breathing brings back a modicum of space, time, purpose and balance. Helping the body, mind and soul self-heal, relax and regain perspective can only benefit our work, relationships and overall lives.

So book into one of these Asia-Pacific retreats and come home feeling energised and enlightened.

Radiance YOGA Retreats, Byron Bay, Australia

Byron Bay is wellness central in Australia, and one of the town’s best-known yoginis (women proficient in yoga; the term for men is yogi) is Jessie Chapman, who has been leading retreats there for many years. There are several upcoming  Yoga Cleanse & Pamper Retreats, which will run in September, November and over the new year at Sangsurya Retreat, a short walk from Byron Bay’s beaches and town centre.

Designed to develop your yoga while relaxing and inspiring, September’s retreat runs over four nights and the programme will include two yoga classes per day, guided walks, mindfulness meditations, chanting, yoga nidra (lucid sleeping) towards the end of the day, and other yogic classes. She and her fellow instructors teach a mix of  Vinyasa, Hatha, Iyengar and restoration yoga.

Sangsurya is an eco retreat with hand built cabins set around the yoga hall and ozone pool, with views over the ocean. Some spa treatments are included, as are three meals a day starting with early morning healthy juices and continuing with organic dishes free of meat, dairy, sugar and alcohol.

September’s retreat starts at A$1,585 (US$1,250) twin share per person. In November the five-night, six-day retreat starts at A$1,945/US$1,535 twin share per person, while over the new year six nights and seven days is from A$2,375/US$1,875 twin share per person. 

Yangshuo Yoga, China

Against a backdrop of monolithic karst mountains is the chilled out town of  Yangshuo, in China’s famous leisure city of Guilin. It’s here that founder David Sharpe and facilitator Kailash lead their Mini, Discovery and Immersion retreats. These can begin at any time, making joining very flexible. Sharpe is a personal growth teacher and leads the retreats in the hope that students will find clarity, balance and purpose.

Days start with meditation, followed by yoga and a healthy breakfast (the only meal included), with the second daily class in the late afternoon. The rest of the time is free for rest or exploring the local area. Join  Yoga on the Rocks (Sharpe is a keen rock climber) or other group activities. Afternoon yoga classes are based on Hatha for strength and flexibility, Vinyasa Flow, which focuses on poses and breathing, or  Yin Yoga, which stretches the body with long, passive asanas.

Students stay at one of two homes, The Sanctuary or Cosy Garden, in the pretty village of Shi Ban Qiao by the Li River. Simple and rustic, here you will be swapping luxury for affordability and charm.

Mini Retreats (four days, three nights) start at RMB1,600 (US$260) for a double bed single occupancy, RMB1,300/US$210 double bed double occupancy per person; Discovery Retreats (six days, five nights) start at RMB2,400/US$390 or RMB2,000/US$325, and Immersion Retreats (eight days, seven nights) from RMB3,300/US$540 or RMB2,500/US$410, respectively. 

Desa Seni, Bali, Indonesia

Full of wildflowers and birdsong, Desa Seni is the perfect place to reconnect with Mother Nature. Created – sustainably of course – especially for yoga retreats, it also offers dance, music and Traditional Chinese Medicine classes.

A favourite yoga centre for the island’s inhabitants, Desa Seni offers a range of schools of yoga and practices with drop-in classes daily. Standout offerings include the Yoga Therapeutics Personal Retreat, Deepen Your Yoga Personal Retreat and Tantra For Couples Private Retreat. Retreats start with a consultation and include several private and group yoga classes, meditation sessions and massages.

You’ll stay in cabins and houses that are original Indonesian homes restored to comfortable and colourful sanctuaries, and eat organic food, much of which is grown in the centre’s own gardens.

The  Yoga Therapeutics Personal Retreat costs US$1,650 per person for five nights, Deepen  Your  Yoga Personal Retreat is US$1,450 per person for five nights and Tantra for Couples Private Retreat is US$2,450 for two for five nights. 

Vikasa, Koh Samui, Thailand

Vikasa lives and breathes yoga. The cliff-side retreat was created and is led by Latvian Konstantin Miachin, inventor of the Vikasa yoga style. His retreats focus on the physical asanas and promote a healthy lifestyle via food, community, wellness, detox and meditation. A stay here is about increasing awareness, creating deeper connections, and becoming healthier and happier.

Alongside specific retreats, the resort offers Yoga Vacations, which can be booked any time for any number of days. Daily meditation, morning and evening yoga (good for any level), plus meditation and Pilates take place in the open-air yoga pavilions to the sounds of the ocean. Between sessions you’ll be fuelling up on organic food in the restaurant or blissing out during spa treatments (not included in price).

Yoga Vacations start from US$75 per night for single occupancy of a Zen Bungalow, or up to US$210 per night for an Ocean Room for two.

Mandala Spa and Resort Villas, Boracay, Philippines

It’s no hardship to make your way to Mandala Spa, Boracay’s longest established spa retreat above the island’s famous White Beach. Leafy grounds are home to free-standing villas, spa treatment villas, a central restaurant and pool.

Mandala’s three-day Stretch and Relax, five-day Submerge and Learn, or the seven-day Emerge and Revive retreats are suitable for beginners or experienced yoga students and include daily yoga, with a focus on gentle stretches, yogic breathing, meditation and more to aid relaxation, improve posture and calm tension.

Healthy breakfasts get days off to a good start (it’s the only meal included, although the restaurant prepares raw foods, salads and light dishes all day) while daily spa treatments help ease sore muscles and emotions.

The Stretch and Relax Retreat (three days, two nights) starts from US$560 single occupancy or US$300 per person double occupancy; Submerge and Learn (five days, four nights) costs US$1,120 single or US$600 per person double occupancy; the Emerge and Revive (seven days, six nights) retreat costs from US$1,670 for single and US$898 per person for double occupancy.

Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh, India

Situated in the Himalayan foothills, Ananda is a stunning wellness retreat that’s half maharajah’s palace, half contemporary hotel. The gardens include beautiful pavilions, waterfalls, an amphitheatre used for yoga and a pool that often mists over due to the high elevation. Once night falls, you can see the twinkling lights of the town below.

The  Yogic Detox is a retreat of private yoga classes, meditations, pranayama (breathing) and spa treatments designed to cleanse the body, mind and spirit. Pre-breakfast yoga group classes take place on the palace roof overlooking the forest, a great way to start the day.

The programme lasts five, seven, 14 or 21 nights and starts with an Ayurvedic consultation in which the doctor will discover your dosha (body type), indicating the foods best suited to your healing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He will also give you a debrief at the end of your stay. Activities include an evening in Rishikesh – often referred to as the world capital of yoga – to witness the famous Ganga Aarti sunset ritual.

Rates start at US$630 per night for single occupancy of a Palace View room for five nights up to the end of September, and US$860 from October 1 to December 31.

Six Senses Laamu, Maldives

At Six Senses Laamu, if the ocean air and sound of the waves aren’t enough to coax you into a deep sleep, let the Yogic Sleep programme and its ambassadors assist.

The programme starts with a consultation where sleep patterns are discussed and expert advice given on overall fitness, nutrition and stress management.  Yoga classes include yoga nidra, pranayama and guided meditation, all of which help to calm the nervous system and prepare the body for some quality shut-eye.

You’ll find your villa has also been transformed into the optimum sleep cocoon with conducive temperature settings, ambient lighting, essential oils and herbal teas as part of the turndown service.

The resort’s sustainably created villas, over-water and beachside, offer calming turquoise views of the Indian Ocean. Food spans east and west, with much grown in the organic gardens, and spa treatments are always available. Try the Laamu Bliss, a Maldivian-inspired massage with coconut oil.

The retreat runs four, seven or 14 nights with prices per person set at US$750, US$1,240 and US$1,450, or for two people sharing a villa at US$1,230, US$2,121 and US$2,370, (exclusive of tax) respectively.


Yoga streaming

Just open your laptop and move to the front of your mat. The world’s first online yoga studio, Yoogaia’s live streaming classes feature specialists in their chosen schools of yoga, including Ashtanga and Hatha, plus short sessions such as Seated Stretch (15 minutes) and Glute Max (30 minutes). There’s also Tai Chi and meditation. The two-way, real-time connection means teachers can take into account your personal needs. Monthly subscriptions start at US$22.

For clicking and playing a yoga class at any time, DoYogaWithMe is a website of Canadian teachers who are streamed completely free of charge. Founded by yogi David Procyshyn, standout classes include Fiji McAlpine’s Rise and Shine, Kim Wilson’s yoga/Pilates fusions and Procyshyn’s hip flexor openers.

In-room yoga

Starwood’s in-room yoga with model-turned yoga instructor Tara Stiles takes the virtual class to a new level, with a dedicated TV channel, FIT with Tara Stiles, offered at 46 W Hotels worldwide for free, 24/7. There are four yoga workouts on offer: Need a Boost, Feeling Jet-lagged, Big Night Out and Need to Recover.