Yoga Retreats for Backpackers to Get Their Self-Care Fix

Travelling isn't always about an adrenaline-fuelled drive looking for lions in the Masai Mara or cliff jumping off waterfalls in the Philippines. Sure, these once-in-a-lifetime travel adventures have undeniable appeal, but slowing down and unwinding when you travel is equally important too. Even for die-hard adventure junkies like me. And whenever I start to crave slow travel, I always turn to my travel self-care favourite - a good yoga retreat.

Yoga retreats are brilliant because they come with the traditional travel perks - like exploring a brand spanking new destination and meeting cool new travellers - but also a healthy dose of self-care. Fitness writer Dashama Gordone, from one of my favourite wellness sites LiveStrong, outlines all the health benefits of a yoga retreat, which include a total mind + body reset and increased mindfulness.

And I’m certainly not the only yoga retreat devotee. Even Bey - yes Beyoncé - turns to yoga when she needs a break from all that hustling.

But if you’ve never been to a yoga retreat, fear not - they are not exclusive to celebrity-style budgets. Even backpackers with tighter pockets can find reasonably priced retreats on the road.

And - believe me - they can be a welcome respite after months of trudging about the globe and not sleeping on uncomfortable sleeper buses. And if you start to suffer back pain from the grind of constant travel with a heavy backpack in tow, yoga can be the perfect remedy on the road. Andy Murray, whose back pain almost ended his tennis career, turned to yoga to recover from surgery, get back on the court and stay injury-free. And he went on a win another Wimbledon title as a result. So you can only imagine what it can do for a tired traveller’s muscles.

Here are a few brilliant yoga retreats to check into around the world, so you can unwind, practice a little travel self-care and, yes, treat yourself a bit too:

Haramara Retreat, Mexico
As you know, Mexico is one of my favourite countries on the planet. So combining a visit with a yoga experience is literally my idea of heaven. If you want a retreat that’s also bound to be a social affair, Haramara Retreat - found in beautiful Sayulita, a hippie town along the Pacific coast - is for you. And with the sea and hills as the backdrop to your downward dog, what’s not to love? Here you’ll meet plenty of fellow yogis and squeeze in some extra relaxation lounging at the resort pool or the stunning beaches nearby.

Absolute Sanctuary, Thailand
Run by Thailand’s largest yoga studio group, the folks at Absolute Sanctuary offer guests world-class service and superior yoga expertise. Their experienced instructors cater to any experience level so you’ll feel right at home whether you’re a total newbie or a seasoned yogi. Not to mention it’s ideal for those - like me - who always want variety. You can participate in anything from detoxifying yoga to hot yoga flow.

Blooming Lotus Yoga, Indonesia
If you’re a backpacker, you need a yoga retreat that doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet. And Bali, one of the world’s health and wellness capitals, leaves any wellness junkie truly spoilt for choice. But what’s great about Blooming Lotus Yoga is that despite being a more affordable option, it still offers a premium experience that feels truly indulgent for weary travellers. Blooming Lotus is also renowned for connecting you with the pristine nature nearby, with classes held in the heart of the jungle or on the banks of a nearby river.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch, New York

You know I love a good digital detox to support self-care on the road. And if this is right up your street too, then you’ll love an escape to this ashram in New York’s Catskill Mountains, where you’ll be required to switch your phone into airplane mode as soon as you arrive. This makes it easier to get some serious headspace and savour every second of your Hatha yoga classes, veggie brunches and silent meditation walks. Their accommodation also caters to varying budgets. You can book a private room, share with fellow yogis or even camp on site if you prefer.

Maderas Village, Nicaragua
Before I go on, a caveat: Given the current political situation in Nicaragua, this resort is (sadly) temporarily closed. And, as a word of precaution, if you are planning a trip to the country, read up on travel and safety warnings before booking a trip. However, if the situation should improve, I highly encourage a visit to this beautiful Central American country - and to Madras. This tropical jungle escape boasts the most magnificent view of Nicaragua’s signature swells. And if that’s not reason enough to visit, then the adventure activities you can also enjoy, like surfing and horse riding, should be enough to sway you. Their eco-chic lofts and cabanas are stunning, though there are more budget-friendly shared options for those on a strict budget too.

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