The best yoga trends of 2023

May 15, 2023 0 Comments

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Whatever preconceived notions you may have about yoga retreats, you can Eat, pray, love-inspired escape?—are contested this year. While there has never been a truly one-size-fits-all approach to these wellness dives, stereotypical beliefs and structures surrounding yoga retreats are giving way to escapes that allow for a focus on yoga, self-exploration, and recovery with equal emphasis on accessibility, inclusiveness, and accessibility.

The trends that follow help you reboot in ways that connect you to activities outside of yoga, like-minded friends, and places that are (inexpensively) close to home.

Yoga trends you’ll see in 2023

A woman practices yoga on a rock in Joshua Tree Park
Joshua Tree provides tranquility and rock climbing to complement your yoga practice. (Photo: Getty Images

1. Two-on-one yoga retreats

Traditionally, yoga retreats allow you to escape to a remote location, immerse yourself in yoga, and take optional excursions. Recently, creative recreation options allow you to engage in other activities, both artistic and athletic, that complement or contrast with your yoga practice.

If you want to improve your balance in yoga poses, try…surfing. Instructors Jenny Klyse and Emily Mearsand co-lead a surf and yoga retreat in Bali with a seven-day itinerary that allows plenty of time for morning surf sessions, followed by afternoon yoga workshops focusing on hand balance and inversions, slow flow and restorative yoga. The retreat is open to everyone, regardless of yoga or surfing experience.

A man climbs a rock wall in Joshua Tree and yoga students on yoga mats in the desert

Yoga retreat attendees balance yoga and rock climbing at Joshua Tree. (Photo: Getty Images; Kaya Lindsay)

Those who are more comfortable defying gravity on the ground can opt for rock climbing. The Joshua Tree Rock Climbing and Yoga Retreat by She Moves Mountains is a three-day camping trip with guided lessons every morning for climbers of all skill levels, whether you’re looking for beginner lessons or rub, crack, or face climbing. In the afternoon, yoga asanas are designed to help climbers improve flexibility, build strength, promote balance and calm their minds before they tackle the next day’s challenge.

Looking for a less physically demanding experience? The Paris Creative Writing Retreat, led by yoga teachers Sarah Herrington and Kevin Montgomery, is an eight-day retreat that aims to explore the connection between creativity and yoga through city walks, nocturnal explorations of the catacombs, and of course, the physical practice of yoga.

Los Angeles-based tantric hatha yoga instructor Kala McDonald combines yoga, mindfulness, and adventure on her South African wellness safari. Located in the Zulu camp of the Shambhala Private Game Reserve, it includes up-close animal sightings as well as daily yoga practices.

MacDonald’s Italy Tour is a 10-day exploration of Florence and Rome that combines physical movement and guided meditation with pasta-making classes and biodynamic wine tastings.

San Francisco yoga teacher Nicole Cronin will join former Twitter executive Ari Font Llitios to lead the Women in Engineering Retreat from The New Club in Mendocino County, California. Training and career development workshops are included, along with redwood hikes, yoga classes and farm-to-table food.

A woman practices yoga outdoors on a wooden deck near the ocean at sunrise
HAUM Yoga Studio offers yoga retreats by the ocean, inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. (Photo: Getty Images)

2. Affinity Group Yoga Retreats

Yoga is inherently based on sangha, or community, which is reflected in the rise of retreats for like-minded people who want to unite around a common cause. Participants can find comfort, connection, and a sense of ease in these groups that they don’t experience elsewhere.

Maya Breyer is a pioneer in bringing people together. As co-founder of the Alliance of Black Yoga Teachers and creator of the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color, she has been at the forefront of creating yoga education programs for the BIPOC community. This year’s retreat, with Breyer, Kisha Battles and other leaders, offers yoga, dance and poetry to help participants “enter a sacred space where you can freely express yourself without social or family expectations.”

HAUM yoga studio in San Francisco, owned by Danny Pomplum, is known for providing inclusive spaces for teachers and practitioners from the LGBTQ+ community. Yoga studio retreats bring this inclusivity and connection to international settings as well as closer to home places like Mendocino.

Express Your Sparkle is a yoga retreat designed exclusively for queer and transgender individuals at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Wellness. Jacoby Ballard, Susanna Barkataki, and David Kam lead a three-day retreat that includes love practices, movement modalities, and exploring queer identity through asana. Retreat leaders have also created gender-expansive dormitories to provide “housing with a sense of belonging and community for transgender, non-binary and genderqueer/gender non-conforming guests, as well as LGBTQIA+ guests and allies.”

Designed by Michael Hayes of Brooklyn-based Buddha Body Yoga, this large-body weekend yoga retreat in upstate New York is a welcoming destination for those seeking intimacy in a judgment-free zone. Hayes focuses on helping larger individuals develop tools to build confidence, increase their flexibility and strength while improving balance and range of motion. His teaching approach prioritizes self-compassion and development over physical ability or asana ability.

There are a growing number of retreat options that seek to create community among male yoga practitioners through movement, meditation, and mindfulness. Sonoma’s Roots to Wings Yoga offers a weekend yoga retreat that encourages men of all ages and walks of life to find realignment and purpose through yoga, martial arts and other movement modalities. Led by yoga and meditation teacher Michael Fong, the experience offers plenty of downtime and a chance to completely disconnect from everyday reality amid the oak trees and rustic cottages of the Valley of the Moon.

Julianna Aiello of Outdoor Yoga in San Francisco offers Soulful Nature Camp Women’s Yoga Retreat in June and Fall Nature Camp + Restore. Women’s yoga retreat in October. Both three-day trips take place along the Yuba River in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains and create an environment where participants can enjoy “the presence of beautiful, interesting, wise women,” engage in “liberating movement,” and “breathe and move intuitively, gracefully, powerfully.” .

A woman practices yoga on a yoga mat in a restored Iowa barn at a yoga retreat
Yoga teacher Andrea Marcum offers yoga from Madison County, Iowa, which she calls the “Tuscany of the Midwest.” (Photo: Luann Gilman)

3. Home yoga retreats

The sad state of the economy makes international yoga retreats a less viable option for many of us. Fortunately, there are more internal retreats than ever before. These less expensive options in low-key destinations give holidaymakers a chance to explore themselves and the country.

If you’ve never thought of Madison County, Iowa as the “Tuscany of the Midwest,” yoga instructor Andrea Marcum makes a pretty compelling case for rebranding. Marcum’s Shelter Close to Home is a love letter to her mother’s home state. Asana classes are held in a restored barn at Lone Oaks Farm with steppes, local cuisine and quiet summer nights.

Explore the philosophical side of yoga as well as California’s grandest scenery with Cronin on a three-day retreat amid the coastal foothills and redwood forests. The focus of the weekend tritu in the Land of the Physician Buddha in Santa Cruz is on the yamas and niyamas, which are teachings about how we interact with ourselves and others. Students can participate in vinyasa flows, yin sessions, hikes, meditations, and more.

A woman practices a yoga dancer pose in a field in Montana while stroking a horse.  Behind her are mountains and a cloudy sky.
Margaret Burns Wap, founder of Big Sky Yoga Retreats, and her horse, Dulce. (Photo: ©2020 Larry Stanley Photography)

Whether or not you’re obsessed Yellowstone or just want to practice in nature, Big Sky Yoga Retreats, founded by Margaret Burns Wap, may be your answer. Located in Montana, the retreat is designed to “help cowgirl yogis realize their big dreams of heaven.” This is not a quick escape from reality. Instead, local Big Sky retreats will help you hone the tools you need to improve your appearance in everyday life after the retreat. Emphasis is on overall well-being through restorative practices and Yin yoga, horseback riding, hiking, wildlife watching, and art making.

4. One-day yoga retreats

Ideally, one could spend weeks immersed in the philosophy of asanas and yoga. Realistically, most of us can only devote a few hours at a time to our practice. Weekend yoga retreats have long been a more affordable alternative to week-long getaways, but one-day immersions are emerging as a solution for those with limited time (and perhaps finances).

Briony Fisher of UK-based Breathe Bend Believe Yoga runs one-day retreats as well as multi-hour options for those who want “more than just a yoga class, but less than a weekend.” Both full-day retreats and mini-retreats provide a ‘powerful reset’ that takes place in the charming English village of Hassocks and includes dynamic yoga, a guided hike and a two-course lunch. The eight-hour daytime option costs £99 (about US$125) and includes time to rest or sleep (!), as well as intention-setting and restorative yoga.

About our contributor

Michel Konstantinovsky is a freelance journalist, writer, editor from San Francisco and a graduate of the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design and technology for publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Scientific American, Glamour, Shape, Self, WIRED, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue and many others . She also served as health and wellness editor at Fitbit, senior health writer at One Medical, and contributing editor at California Home + Design. She completed 200 hours of yoga teacher training in 2018 and is still trying to understand the physics of hand balancing. Follow her at @michellekmedia.

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