10 Affordable Yoga Destinations Around the World That’ll Help You Find Your Zen
The traveling yogi life is undoubtedly seductive. It seems like Insta-famous yoga practitioners are always living somewhere new, practicing yoga on the beach, or enjoying organic wellness facials at eco-resorts. If you’ve ever looked into these yoga and wellness retreats, though, you’ve probably noticed that they tend to be really expensive. Most yogis would agree that shelling out tons of cash to relax by the beach is hardly the point of yoga! For a more authentic and affordable yoga experience, check out one of these amazing travel destinations — they’re all set in gorgeous natural surroundings and tend to be a lot easier on the wallet than, say, that chichi eco-hotel in Aruba.
1. Thailand: Thailand is a sprawling and gorgeous country that’s popular with budget travelers because of its low cost of living. It’s known for attracting backpackers, especially those looking to practice yoga and martial arts (as well as, let’s be honest, those looking to party).
Because of the low cost of living in Thailand, you can spend an entire month in the country for roughly $600 USD. There are plenty of yoga resorts and retreats, such as Oasis Yoga, Grounded, Yoga Mind Yoga Body in bustling Chiang Mai, and Ocean Sound Dive + Yoga, which combines yoga instruction with diving (you’ll find lots of multi-dimensional operations in Thailand that combine yoga with other activities, like martial arts, stand-up paddle boarding, diving, and surfing).
2. Bali: Another country with a low cost of living, Bali has become practically synonymous with yoga thanks to Eat Pray Love. You can get away with a living cost of about $650 per month here, though if you decide to take advantage of the island’s many resort and dining options, it’s going to cost you a lot more. Bali is full of yoga resorts and yoga studios such as The Yoga Barn and Naya Ubud, or you could stay somewhere more authentic, like an ashram.
The Anand Ashram Ubud, for example, runs $20-$30 USD per night, but be aware that it’s a place for *serious* yogis… meaning there are rules about “silent times,” no alcohol is allowed on the premises, and you’ll have to put in some community service to stay here.
3. India: India is considered the birthplace of yoga, so it’s a must-visit for yogis who want to learn more about the practice and its philosophy. Travel to Rishikesh, a town located along the sacred Ganges River at the foothills of the Himalayas, to study yoga at one of the countless ashrams and temples in the area. O, head to Mysore to practice Ashtanga yoga in the tradition of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the father of modern yoga.
4. Peru: Peru’s cost of living is a bit higher than that of India or Southeast Asia, but it’s still vastly cheaper than many of the luxury resorts you’ll spot on Instagram (for example, the monthly rent for a studio in Lima will run you anywhere from $350 to a little over $600, depending on the neighborhood). If you’re after a spiritual experience, make the trek to the city of Cusco, which sits in the heart of the Andes a few hours from Machu Picchu. In Cusco and other parts of the Sacred Valley, you’ll find a variety of yoga schools like the Yoga Room Cusco and the Paramatma Holistic Healing Center.
5. Sedona, Arizona: Cost of living won’t be on your side if you travel within the US, but a cheaper flight can go a long way. Sedona is full of spiritual seekers and yogis and is a fantastic place to visit if you’re interested in an immersive healing retreat or yoga teacher training program. There are also lots of spiritual and yoga-related options for connecting with nature that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, such as hiking and meditation.
6. Guatemala: Near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala sits San Marcos La Laguna, a small town known for its abundance of shops, natural beauty, and yoga studios. The Yoga Forest and Mahadevi Ashram are two very different options, with The Yoga Forest offering more of an eco-resort vibe and the Mahadevi Ashram focusing more on tantric yoga and spirituality. The Storyteller Within is another option, a women’s retreat that centers on writing and self-expression and also incorporates yoga and meditation. The cost of living in Guatemala will be in your favor, and flights are considerably less than those to Thailand, India, or Bali. A budget traveler can get away with spending about $800/month total for a stay in Guatemala, not including the cost of the flight.
7. Stowe, Vermont: Here’s another choice for those looking to stay stateside. Stowe is famous for its pristine natural beauty and mountainous landscape — in addition to its reputation as a yoga destination, it’s also great for skiers. A quick Google search of yoga retreats in Stowe will yield you a long list to choose from, including Kula Yoga Center and The Yoga Barn Stowe.
8. Mexico: Sure, there are plenty of pricey yoga resorts in Mexico, but there are also a ton of more affordable alternatives. Head to Sayulita on the country’s western coast for all things surfing, yoga, and wellness. I Love Waves is one example of a service that caters not only to yogis but also to surfers.
9. Costa Rica: Costa Rica is getting more and more popular by the day, but there are still some gems to be found in this gorgeous tropical country. Puerto Viejo offers an abundance of yoga retreats and still boasts a comparatively low cost of living for US residents (it will run you roughly $1,000 USD per month).
10. Yosemite National Park, California: Finally, if you want to stay in the US, there’s no better place to practice yoga than the country’s own Yosemite National Park. In fact, pretty much any national park will be fantastic for your outdoor yoga practice. Yosemite, though, is already popular with yogis and has a plethora of retreats, including those from Satya Retreats, Lasting Adventures, and Balanced Rock.
What’s your favorite place to practice yoga? Tweet us at @BritandCo and let us know!
(Photos via Getty)