Yoga and travel go together like peanut butter and jelly—two distinctly wonderful things on their own, but when combined, make something even better. Mother Earth gave us so many awe-inspiring places to visit and so many places to study yoga, detox for the weekend or drop in for a day.
First step is to decide what you’re looking for: a spiritual awakening? A silent meditation retreat? A weekend detox? A yoga teacher training? A deep dive into a specific type of yoga? A few weeks with a revered Guru? Or just a bit of yoga love on your already planned journey?
After that, you have the easy part—pick from one of these five yoga meccas below and find your (yoga) center:
1. Pune, India
Located in Pune, Maharashtra is the heart and soul of Iyengar Yoga and a must-visit for the yoga devotee—the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI). This institute is dedicated to Smt. Ramamant Iyengar, the wife of Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar.
We have guruji to thank for popularizing yoga around the world and spreading the light through his books, teachings and practice. Even the design of his center is significant; the three floors represent the body, mind and soul. At 71 feet high, its 8 columns represent the eight limbs of yoga—yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.
2. Mysuru (Mysore), India
Ashtanga devotees will agree with me when I say, Mysuru (its name changed from Mysore in 2014) is one of the best places to visit to study Ashtanga yoga. With many schools and retreat centers to choose from, yoginis can study anything from Ashtanga to yoga philosophy, yoga mudra, pranayama, Ayurveda, and much more.
Boasting amazing temples for a spiritual excursions, a beautiful bazaar filled with spice stalls and incense sellers, Mysuru will fill your yoga tank and your travel tank, all in one.
3. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
While India may be the birthplace of yoga, Bali is its second home. Bali, the Hindu island of Indonesia, is home to incredible temples around every corner, rice fields that stretch for miles and miles, good restaurants, shops and cafes, and most importantly, the compassionate, warm, wonderful Balinese people.
So it’s easy to see why Ubud has become a destination, and home to some of the best yoga teachers around the world. It’s the perfect spot for yoga teacher trainings, retreats, intensives, workshops and studios for daily practice. Make your heart smile with a yoga journey through fabulous Ubud.
4. Tulum, Mexico
Wake up at sunrise from your own private cottage, salute the sun and sea from a studio on the light sand beach, feel the sand between your toes as you meander down the beach for a delicious organic superfood brekkie, before napping in a hammock cooled by the fresh ocean breeze.
With its incredible coastline and beach that stretches for miles, Tulum’s natural beauty is only increased by its spiritual aura. Tulum is home to some awesome yoga centers that offer retreats, teacher trainings, weekend getaways or simply drop in classes for the non-yogaholic traveler who wants to OM out. I mean, could it get any better?
5. Costa Rica
With a motto like Pura Vida (pure life), no list of yoga meccas would be complete without Costa Rica. Another stunningly beautiful country, there are heaps of yoga retreats, centers, teacher trainings, and studios to choose from for your journey.
And as the eco-tourism capital of Central America, you can also feel good about your trip. From surfing killer waves to preserving wildlife, there is so much life to live in Costa Rica. Living in the moment is not just a yoga teaching in Costa Rica—it is a way of life.
While a yoga asana course or retreat may take you to this yoga Mecca, it’s the way the Costa Rican people practice yoga in everything they do that you’ll hopefully take away.
Luckily for us, we live in a time when yoga is popular on every continent, and there are fabulous teachers spreading the yoga light around the world. I think we’ll probably have to make another fifteen of these lists to capture them all! Where would you love to go and practice yoga that we didn’t include on this list? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit: Cetin Cetintas