Looking for Om in 2014? Here are some Yoga Trips for You

Namaste

Namaste

We all know yoga based vacations are gaining popularity with travelers looking for a balance between wellness and exploring a new place and intriguing culture. Our readers love ‘em! Rachel Quinn, Head of Group Sales for Holidays for Humanity, also states that over 35% of their enquiries now include requests for yoga, alongside some other vacation “must haves” like white sandy beaches, water sports, and tropical encounters.

So, we thought we’d share several new ideas of yoga trips to kick off the new year right!

Yoga Vacations for Sailors in Turkey

This sailing journey is an exclusive one-of-a-kind voyage that offers guests a chance to practice yoga among the enchanting blue waters of the Turkish Mediterranean coast. The striking coastline, with its pristine beaches, idyllic villages, picturesque coves and remote ancient civilizations is waiting to be explored. This is an excellent opportunity to experience a taste of traditional Turkey in the unhurried pace of staying aboard a sailing yacht. Sit back, relax and let their experienced captain, crew and chef take you on an unforgettable journey. Rates start at $1399 per person based on seven-nights shared accommodation.

Yoga Vacations for Surfers in Costa Rica

Founded in the spirit of adventure, Rip Jack Inn in Playa Grande, Costa Rica is known for tropical bliss and friendly ambiance. They are just steps away from Playa Grande’s main surf break, and offer daily yoga classes in their beautiful shala. If you love to surf, practice yoga, and love great food, you’ll feel right at home here. Rip Jack Inn is also a member of Pack for a Purpose, and supports local community outreach programs. Expect prices around $170 night/based on double occupancy.

Yoga Vacations for Purists in India

Shreyas is dedicated to promoting the authentic spiritual tradition of yoga in a holistic manner and is recognized as one of the finest yoga retreats in the world. What makes Shreyas unique is that, whilst yoga is taught in traditional ashram style (daily yoga, meditation sessions, chanting classes, a strict vegetarian, no alcohol policy and community service), their guests live in a luxurious environment normally associated with a star rated hotel. They enable their guests to integrate the ‘manifold facets’ and benefits of yoga into their daily lives without the austerity and rigor usually associated with ashrams. Expect prices around $550 night/based on double occupancy.

Yoga Vacations for Beginners in Mexico

With personalized yoga, pranayama and meditation classes the Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita is a great place for beginner wellness travellers. Set on 14 acres, including a picturesque sugar sand beach, the resort is perfectly positioned along Cancun’s famed Riviera Maya. Intimate in design, with only 90 luxury suites, they offer a completely new kind of vacation experience focused on wellness, serenity, and romance, balanced by a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Expect prices around $750 night/based on double occupancy.

Yoga Vacations for Nature Lovers in Nicaragua

Aqua’s explicit vision statement is to “lead luxury sustainable development in Nicaragua” and as such, they built, and operated their resort in close partnership with the local communities, and in complete concert with nature. Additionally, they are completely committed to sea turtle conservation, and encourage their guests to join along. They provide opportunities to work with trained staff in caring for the turtle eggs, protecting them in the nursery, and for those fortunate enough to be there during hatching, to help release them back to the ocean. Daily yoga takes place on their palm-thatched open air, ocean-side platform. Expect prices around $280 night/ based on double occupancy.

About Holidays for Humanity: www.holidaysforhumanity.com

Holidays for Humanity connects travellers with vacation options that appeal to their self, as well as their soul. By working with partners that promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices they offer a range of travel options including eco resorts and hotels, health and wellness, volunteering abroad, cultural and culinary and expeditions and tours.

Get Ready! It’s COMO’s First US Property in Miami…

Miami hip hotels

Listen up!

COMO Hotels and Resorts will open its first US property, Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach in December.  If you’re not familiar with their properties in Turks & Caicos, Bali, London, and beyond… take note. This 74-room hotel occupies an original 1930s building in the heart of the city’s Art Deco District and will have direct access to the beach and a private swimming pool, two restaurants, and a COMO Shambhala Urban Escape spa.  A daily schedule of complimentary yoga and Pilates will also be available to guests, reflecting the company’s commitment to wellness. Pst… they’re famous for their spa, y’all.

Located on Collins Avenue and 24th Street, the property has views that stretch across the Atlantic to the east or the Intracoastal Waterway to the west, flooding rooms with light. Interiors are by the Italian designer Paola Navone, who preserved the hotel’s Art Deco heritage and contrasted it with an urbane, contemporary spirit in shades of peppermint green and dusky grey, with surfaces of cool white marble and shining chrome.

The hotel will feature two restaurants.  The Traymore, the headline restaurant, will showcase Floridian seafood, with an emphasis on fine dining and traditional service; the poolside restaurant will be more relaxed, with wood-baked pizzas and easygoing pick-up food to enjoy during the day.  The Met Bar will offer premium spirits and Champagnes, while the rooftop COMO Shambhala juice bar will be a space to revitalize with a bespoke juice blend after a workout, beachfront run, or massage. Love ‘bespoke’ juice.

Metropolitan Miami Beach is the first stateside venture for COMO Hotels and Resorts, which owns, among other properties, two other Metropolitan hotels in London and Bangkok.  The Singapore-based company also owns the private island resort of Parrot Cay by COMO in the Turks & Caicos.  Parrot Cay is a direct 90-minute flight from Miami, allowing for a perfect pairing with this opening, we think.

Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach

2445 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL  33129 

http://www.comohotels.com/metropolitanmiamibeach

Beauty Along the Bosphorus

 

Four Seasons Spa & Hammam Bosphorus

Four Seasons Spa & Hammam Bosphorus

Most spa treatments speak to four of the senses, from sight and smell to sound and touch, but when you really think about it, there hasn’t been one blissfully perfect experience that engages all five — until now.

People have always flocked to the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus for its traditional Turkish hammam treatment, a bathing ritual that activates blood circulation, detoxifies the body and — bonus! — improves the look of your skin. But the decadent new Epicurean Hammam will give you a taste of Istanbul in more ways than one.
Part way through your 25-minute hammam treatment in the hot marble sauna, you’ll be served an olive oil ice cream popsicle to keep you feeling cool and hydrated — just before receiving a luxurious 15-minute foam massage with natural olive oil soap. Next, you’ll be drenched head to toe in a special creamy mixture of strained yogurt and rose water. As the healing yogurt absorbs into your skin, making it look firmer and brighter, a scalp massage will send you even deeper into relaxation.
And at the end of your sensory journey, you’ll rest with a refreshing yogurt with honey to leave just the right taste in your mouth — and ensure you’re feeling good and looking great, inside and out.

So check out Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus  to stimulate your five senses with the exclusive Epicurean Hammam treatment.  Oh, and did we also mention that spa goers voted the Four Seasons Spa & Hammam as their favorite spa in Turkey for three consecutive years in the SpaFinder Wellness Reader’s Choice Awards?

Pair that with your popsicle!

Feel Like Getting Your Travel Yogi On?

Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga in Aruba... what, what?

Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga in Aruba… what, what?

Bali, Santorini, Tulum, Cabo, Maui, Vermont? Yes, everyone I know, including myself, is always looking for that perfect yoga retreat, preferably, if you’re me, on an island somewhere exotic where my hair is just full of curly life. Enter: The Travel Yogi, a specialist in international yoga retreats and yoga adventures, who promises to put you there… with yogis on stand up paddleboards! Seriously, that’s a retreat on April 6-13th on the island of Aruba. But wait… there’s more!

From March 16-23, Bali is host to yogis participating in a weeklong retreat while also taking in the international yoga and music festival: Bali Spirit Fest.  And the best Mediterranean views? Well, those are reserved for yogi guests joining the May 4-11th retreat in Santorini.

Badass Bali Yoga

Badass Bali Yoga

The Travel Yogi is a gem of a concept… expand boundaries through yoga and travel. Founded in 2010, the goal was the following: find balance and personal transformation through yoga practiced in naturally inspiring destinations. We can dig. Engaging truly gifted teachers who can expertly handle all levels of experience and ambition, they distinguish themselves from others in the same space, by discovering and organizing compelling locations that get yogis feeling adventurous in a way that typical yoga retreats may not.

Jennifer Hoddevik, The Travel Yogi founder and owner had this to say: “Warm and inviting island destinations are always popular retreats, because the rejuvenating properties of water and yoga go hand in hand.” We agree, Jennifer, oh do we ever.

So, for example,what’s on deck in Aruba? Seven nights in a boutique hotel with a beachfront yoga pavilion and spa.

This is what yoga in Santorini looks like, folks

This is what yoga in Santorini looks like, folks

Included in the $1,649 per person double rate are accommodation, two yoga classes a day with instructor Maria Santoferraro (Daily Downward Dog blogger), stand up paddleboard yoga class with Rachel Brathen, sunset catamaran sailing with snorkeling excursion and snacks, daily breakfast, two hotel lunches and dinners and two restaurant dinners in town, plus transfers to and from the airport.

A March 16-23 Bali retreat with LA-based teacher Gigi Yogini (yes, you read that right, Gigi Yogini),  is scheduled in Ubud, the arts and crafts center of Bali, to coincide with Bali Spirit Fest March 20-24. This retreat is unique in the overlapping of the international yoga and music festival and the amazing vibe this brings to the already vibrant town of Ubud.  The per person rate from $1,795 includes seven nights accommodation, all meals, yoga workshops, massage, a full day ticket to Bali Spirit Fest, airport transfers and more. Participants are encouraged to extend their stay to include the end of the festival.

The first of three scheduled Santorini retreats is May 4-11 with Angel Lucia. Similar programs are scheduled Sept. 14-21 with Dimitra Kotanides and Sept. 21-28 with Giselle Mari and Jennifer Prugh. The program, based at an ocean view luxe boutique property is from $1,995 per person double inclusive of accommodation, morning playful yoga flow, evening restorative yoga, welcome poolside fruit and wine, daily breakfast, four group dinners and airport transfers.

Hoddevik explains that destinations are scouted by The Travel Yogi team and are vetted for suitability to host yoga teachers and guests seeking yoga retreat holidays and vacation adventures with time out for yoga each day. Non-yoga practicing travel companions are welcome to join twice daily yoga sessions, or not. Prior proficiency in yoga is not required and, even for practicing yogis, the yoga is always optional. While the retreats are yoga focused, other destinations offer Yoga Adventures with the opportunity to practice yoga while engaged in other adventure travel activities.

A list of international and domestic destinations for 2013 include, but are not limited to: Aruba, Galapagos, El Salvador, Santorini, Maui, Cabo, Tulum, New Zealand and Vermont. Guests practice and play with some of the yoga world’s best known instructors: Annie Carpenter, Kathryn Budig, Giselle Mari, Jennifer Pastiloff and Ashley Turner, to name a few.

So sign thee up!

http://thetravelyogi.com

All photos (c) The Travel Yogi

South Korea: The Royal Treatment

Victoria Korosi - Jaunt Magazine Contributor

Victoria Korosi – Jaunt Magazine Contributor

My inability to read maps is one thing. Throwing in non sequential numbers on buildings as well is just cruel. Seoul is another of those cities where half the streets don’t have names, addresses are suggestions at best, and even the most savvy local won’t have any clue the hostel you’re looking for (because of course it’s down some ally in the basement of a Karaoke bar).

Having made friends with my entire (ENTIRE) neighbourhood last night I did finally find where I was going- even if it did require a comprehensive wonder around the same six blocks, two stops for kimchi, and finally a private escort by a local shop owner who took pity on this jet lagged traveller.

Finally settled and exhausted from the trek across continents I crashed into the styrofoam pillows of my windowless room looking forward immensely to a night’s sleep. Why after so many years of doing this I still think I can cheat Asia jet lag is beyond me. Aided by the constant absolute dark of my hostel, and the fact that pork shows up in every meal regardless, I have second guessed not only the time (in 12 hour segments) but am generally unsure of what day it is either. It’s 4am here, so what is it, October there?

A massive crab in the Busan Fish Market

Before the nude bath house, check out this massive crab at the Busan Fish Market

For anyone who has followed my writing the past decade or so you know that within about 48 hours of landing you’ll get a commentary on public transportation, social nudity, and/or street food. Not necessarily in that order and thankfully in practice not in tandem.

Social nudity (which I scarily often find myself a part of during my travels) by far the most entertaining.

Lashing rain in Seoul when I awoke  (at 4am again), I took a pre dawn excursion getting out of the city to explore one of Korea’s many 24hr Jjimjilbangs (traditional bath houses).

In fairness, I wish I’d had no prior practice with these, but as it turns out my old local spa spot in NYC (Spa Castle) is a shockingly accurate export of the real thing, minus the hard boiled eggs I just bought at reception. Without previous exposure though I’m not sure how well this would have gone with no English. Basically, the sequence of events is as follows:

1) 10,000 won (about $8) by credit card upon arrival, receive day glow bracelet with locker key and dangerous pay-as-you-go sensor

2) Receive uniform (baggy knee length shorts and a XXL T-shirt), surrender any hope of feeling stylish

3) Leave shoes in the first set of lockers, find a local and follow her to the impossible to locate women’s sauna

4) Oh hello nudity. Other than on co-ed floors, clothing is prohibited, as are some basic grooming habits as well apparently

The fun little outfits at Dragon Hill Spa

The fun little outfits at Dragon Hill Spa

5) Indulge in 17 different jacuzzis, saunas, salt baths, scrubs, and ah yes, the royal oriental medicinal hip washing. It reminded me a bit of my rowing days and having to sweat weight for races – if, in fact, that was done naked, in a tent, and with an herbal steaming pot between your legs. Go ahead and google that one ladies.

6) On communal floors other services such as massage, reflexology, and accupressure are offered. After said accupressure, however, I think I’ll stick to the tamed version I get in Chinatown in the future. Fine there were no needles but there were definitely a few tears. Ironically, the only word of English the therapist spoke was “pain?” question mark?

Dragon Hill Spa's Crystal Salt Room - Seoul

Dragon Hill Spa’s Crystal Salt Room – Seoul

Five hours later, my skin, back, mind (and a few other areas) have been well attended to as I lie on the floor of an aroma sleeping room, side by side a dozen korean grannies and wait for the light-headed ridiculous awe of it all to pass.

An experience worth indulging and once again proving that rainy afternoons should always be spent naked.

Dragon Hill Spa – A Traditional Korean Spa

Seoul, South Korea