Yoga retreats are an exercise in reflection and connection. During a retreat, yogis reflect on who they are, their pasts, and their desired future. It’s about connecting with yourself, others, and the world. So why are yoga wellness retreats eco-friendly?
Eco yoga retreats are destinations dedicated to practicing yoga and responsible ecotourism. The ultimate eco-yoga retreats encourage mindfulness and reflection through yoga and, as a result, are committed to protecting natural resources and heritage.
Eco-yoga retreats are the guilt-free, tension-free travel you need. Their commitment to sustainability, responsible tourism, and well-being will elevate your retreat and banish post-holiday dissatisfaction.
Below is a short synopsis of the benefits of many yoga retreats and my choice of the top retreat centre to visit.
What Makes A Yoga Retreat Eco-Friendly?
One of the principal philosophies of yoga is self-awareness. Yoga reveals an awareness of practices harmful to the self and the universe.
It helps you declutter your mind and reorient to the internal self and how it interacts with the world.
According to the innate teachings of yoga, I should offer back what I take from the earth.
With the growth of yoga’s popularity and humanity’s unfailing desire for travel, yoga retreat leaders have taken it upon themselves to lead eco-friendly retreats that encourage yogis to shift their lifestyles.
Yogis have become increasingly interested in outdoor yoga and the forgotten connection to nature.
The travel of yogis to these green hotels benefits local communities and leads to eco-conscious reforms.
Green Retreats Save The Planet
Sustainable hotels, Eco-Lodges, or green retreats are accommodation that makes a conscious effort to minimize their impact on the natural environment.
Sustainable hotels contribute to conservation and education on sustainability and are considerate of local cultures.
The hospitality industry significantly contributes to water waste and carbon emissions. Eco yoga retreats minimize these concerns.
They are usually found in remote destinations surrounded by protected nature and, as such, need to follow strict sustainability guidelines when building and designing the resorts.
Sustainability requirements at eco-resorts include using renewable energy sources, local and organic food, environmentally friendly cleaning products, and transport. They also cut waste by recycling, using less plastic and greywater.
Responsible tourism asks that all people involved in travel are held accountable for the sustainability and effect of tourism. Eco yoga retreats do this by:
- Involving local people in professional ventures and decision-making.
- Giving back to the community through education, economic advancement, and employment.
- Providing culturally sensitive experiences for guests and locals.
Top Eco Yoga Retreats Around the World
Eco yoga retreats can be found in many far-flung reaches of the planet, popular destinations being India and Bali.
Many types of health retreats have emerged in the past decade, with yoga and detox retreats seeing great growth. Read on for my pick of eco-conscious yoga retreats.
Vida Pura, Portugal
This destination is perfect for a technology detox and reconnecting with the natural world.
- Water Waste: They have three different sustainable water collection methods. They collect and filter greywater through a reed system and feed the filtered water to the valley to nurture the nearby trees.
- Agriculture: Vida Pura harvests food from their organic garden.
- Power: The resort is off-grid, and each structure has a separate renewable energy source. Water is heated through separate water panels placed on the villas’ roofs. All houses have an A+ energy certification.
- Waste: They have a recycling station and compost waste.
Vida Pura offers morning yoga classes, with optional organizable afternoon qigong yoga classes tied into your accommodation cost. Classes run throughout the week, with Sunday being a rest day.
Guests can build unique yoga workshops, including yin yoga, African dance workshops, a meditation program, and sound healing.
Vida Pura’s owner, Robin, calls this “tailor-making your own mini retreat.”
After exploring their website, the amount of yoga and qigong classes you can add seems infinite. The ease of planning on their site shows their dedication to customer satisfaction.
Outside of yoga daily classes, you can go hiking, biking, or surf lessons in the area surrounding the retreat.
Otherwise, stay onsite and help care for the resident animals, swim in the natural lake, or take advantage of one of the many contemplation zones.
Travel into the nearby town to try the local culture or fare or taste wine.
Accommodation And Booking
The villas and houses on the property are made from locally sourced and environmentally friendly materials. Constructed from a combination of straw, clay, hemp, and rammed earth.
They have three types of accommodation available: Tepee, the main retreat building, and apartments.
- Each accommodation type has an outdoor area, a separate dining hall, and an outdoor yoga pavilion.
- The guest can plan their stay; the basic package is a minimum stay of 3 nights. When booking, all yoga classes, activities, and accommodations can be planned through their site.
- Contact Vida Pura’s planning team or create a self-led tailor-made yoga retreat of up to 18 people.
Accommodation ranges from $71-$150 (2-4 days), including morning yoga classes.
[EDIT] Unfortunately, Vida Pura was recently burnt down in a wildfire affecting the Algarve Valley they are located. If you’d like to support the rebuilding efforts, please click this GoFundMe link
Hariharalaya is a tropical yoga retreat that exemplifies inner strength and connection. This retreat is for those seeking a strict disconnect from the digital world and reconnection with the self through silence, breathwork, and creativity.
- Agriculture: Hariharalaya believes in serving food that works with nature. They create delicious vegan meals using locally harvested, seasonal, organic whole foods. They also have an onsite herb garden.
- Water Waste: To keep water waste to a minimum, they do laundry and turn down services every Saturday, and provide a purified water drinking station where you can fill your bottle.
At 6 am, the gong sounds, beckoning for guests to rise and begin with personal practice. Following this is two hours of Asana and meditation.
Then in the evening, an hour of yoga and meditation as the sun goes down. Daily there are four hours of yoga and meditation.
During the yoga sequence and breathing workshop, total silence is required to create a space of focus and respect.
This aligns with their principles of intent listening, which mandates total silence on Thursdays and after 10pm each night.
Further yoga talks, consultations, and fitness classes are available for booking.
In addition, to their yoga classes, sign up for one of their healing packages that include massage therapy, feedback from a yoga specialist, spiritual readings, acupuncture, and cupping.
You can also enjoy rock climbing, ice baths, gardening, ping pong, creativity workshops, dancing, or a dip in their Lotus Pond.
Accommodation and Booking
Retreat dates are laid out a year in advance and can be found on Hariharalaya’s website.
Retreats come in 6-day and 16-day packages with private and shared accommodation available.
- 6-Day Yoga Package: three vegan meals per day, six-day yoga program, includes other activities and access to facilities.
- 16-Day Healing Journey: two retreats with a four-day break between exploring Cambodia or resting and enjoying the facility.
Prices range from $495-$2395 based on accommodation, number of guests, and package type.
Keemala is a space of luxury and tranquility found in a lush and enchanting forest canopy. They care for your physical and spiritual being, using the four elements and chakras to access renewal and nature.
- Agriculture: Keemala offers organic, seasonal meals harvested from their gardens based around the vibrant cuisine of Phuket. The gardens themselves are recognized by AHEAD for their natural and respectful integration with the surrounding environment.
- Water Waste: They have received sustainability awards and certification from Green Pearls and Green Sign. The hotel has met a high level of sustainable management through the null use of single-use plastics and natural non-potable water.
- Waste: Excess foods are redistributed to the local community or composted and returned to Keemala as fertilizer.
For more information on their sustainability practices, contact Ratiporn for access to Keemala’s Green Book.
The yoga team at Keemala believes yoga is a process of balancing the body and mind to reach natural health and energy.
Their fitness activities show their dedication to providing a proper balance of mind and body. Various yoga packages are available, with additional yoga classes bookable at $55.
Guests praise the retreat for their waterfall, private rooftop, and sunrise yoga practice. My Keemala correspondent suggests that the most defining factor of the yoga experience is its forest venue, which assists in finding inner peace.
In your free time, try traditional art or embark on a healing journey through local sacred treatments at the Mala Spa. For further body training, join a personal or aqua fitness class, or take up Muay Thai.
Other stimulating activities include making coconut milk in a Thai cooking class and rehabilitating rescued animals. Keemala is also an excellent spot for honeymooners or destination weddings.
Accommodation and Booking
Keemala’s holistic retreats come in for options: purify, energize, unwind, and rejuvenate.
- All packages include at least a one-hour yoga class, a massage, and refreshments, which can be completed in 3-6 days.
- The best holistic retreat for yogis would be their Energize option. This package includes a daily yoga class, massages, steam rituals, and meals.
- All accommodation is in private pool villas themed around mythical cultures in Phuket (made from canvas or clay, suspended from trees, or made to resemble a nest) and sits along the hillside.
Accommodation is $1,330 per night. Retreat packages are paid separately from the accommodation, with the wellness energize packages ranging from $840-1384, dependent on package length and the number of guests.Check Availability
Bodhi Khaya, South Africa
Located on the East coast of southern Africa, within Grootbos nature reserve, Bodhi Khaya is a unique space for mental renewal and appreciation of nature.
They are primarily involved with native reforestation efforts and encourage visitors to participate.
- Reforestation: In connection with Greenpop, one of Bodhi Khaya’s most notable feats is its reforestation project. They aim to rehabilitate the native coastal forest that connects them to the Platbos reserve by planting over 10,000 trees annually.
- Community: Guest lodging assists in funding the study and preservation of local fauna and flora. Furthermore, they run educational programs, remove alien species, and partake in organic permaculture and sustainable waste management initiatives.
- Waste: Bodhi Khaya has optimized its waste management through recycling, composting, and using waste for feeding animals.
While Bodhi Khaya does not have a Green Key certification, correspondent Olivia reassured me that they take sustainability seriously.
My experience with Greenpop and the annual Reforest Fest at Platbos confirms their unfailing passion for rehabilitating the natural landscape.
Bodhi Khaya runs a regular personal retreat schedule with daily yoga and meditation classes. The program emphasizes wellness and rejuvenation with breaks for organic vegetarian meals from their garden.
Alternatively, host and plan a group yoga retreat within an enriching natural environment for the most amazing experience.
Experience a reconnection of self with nature through yoga and meditation in one of South Africa’s most luxurious and eco-conscious destinations.
Enjoy your time at Bodhi Khaya with a reflexology massage, a stroll through a labyrinth of indigenous plants, a hike up Witkransberg Mountain, a swim in their spring-fed dam, or go horseback riding along the beach.
In the nearby town of De Kelders, you can visit ancient caves or take a guided walk-through of indigenous fynbos. Additionally, you can participate in the reforestation project by planting a tree.
Accommodation and Booking
Bodhi Khaya has several retreat options, ranging two-to-seven-night stays.
- Each retreat has a theme, from simple yoga and meditation to sacred chocolate and silent wellness retreats.
- Depending on how many people you travel with, Bodhi Khaya has single monastery-style, twin courtyard, and double-bed garden rooms. Book a room in the communal farmhouse, camp under the stars around a fire pit, or rent one of their four sleeper self-catering cottages.
- Most packages include daily yoga and meditation, daily meals, tree planting, and forest bathing.
Guests can pay anything from $100-1,000 for their stay at Bodhi Khaya. Pricing varies depending on package type (length of stay and activities) and chosen accommodation.
Choose The Perfect Eco Yoga Retreat
When deciding to go for an eco-yoga retreat, you want to be confident that the yoga is phenomenal and that the destination lives up to the ecological part of eco-yoga.
Eco-Lodge or larger Eco-Resort venues often offer yoga activities but may not specialize in yoga.
Tips for choosing the best eco-yoga retreat:
- Ask yourself what you plan to get from the retreat. Are you in good health? (In which case, traveling to remote destinations may not be for you!) What kind of yoga do you want to do? How intense of a program are you planning to follow? Are you looking for general wellness as well as yoga?
- Choose accommodation based on your needs. Is the location available for the length of your planned stay, and do they have the amenities you need? Consider how many people are going and their food or other preferences.
- Check whether the destination is certified eco-friendly and investigate its sustainability and community efforts. How do they protect the natural environment, and how do they contribute to the local community?
- Look at reviews from prior guests on trusted platforms.
Getting Ready For Your Eco Yoga Retreat
The more people visit sustainable destinations, the more popular and widespread the idea will be. Responsible tourism, mindful packing, and being culturally sensitive are some ways to do this. Check out our post on sustainable travel tips for the full list of how to travel sustainably.
Packing sustainably for your trip:
- Pack versatile and practical clothing items and a lightweight yoga mat.
- Try not to pack in any single-use plastics or wasteful and harmful products. Pack in your reusable water bottle and shopping bag, pack eco-friendly toiletries, and consider bringing snacks with recyclable packaging.
- Sweating, tropical weather, and bugs can affect your BO; consider packing in non-toxic sunscreen, bug repellent, and natural deodorants.
How you can be mindful when traveling:
- Respect and give back to the locals by learning about their culture and shopping locally.
- Stay for more extended periods – several days rather than a weekend.
- Create less waste and minimize your carbon footprint through wise destination planning.
- Do not remove nature or animals or buy products that harm the natural landscape.
Conscious travel is vital in a world constantly struggling with environmental and social upliftment.
Attending an eco-yoga retreat encourages sustainability and cultural consciousness values in the broader global community.
It enriches your life by reconnecting with the great outdoors, enhancing wellness and your present self.
The goal is to bolster the values of these destinations and their environmental efficiency.
While long-distance travel may not be sustainable, if you are bound to travel anyway, travel somewhere that advances your mind and body, gives you a wonderful experience and has a positive environmental impact. Namaste!