If daily drudgery and the tasks of the day are downward dogging your progress toward enlightenment, limber joints and a stress-free life, consider escaping to one of these LGBT yoga retreats around the world.
Set on Playa Tamales on the idyllic Osa Peninsula, the gay-owned and -run Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa has the glittering ocean in front and a swath of atmospheric rainforest at its back. Those attending the weeklong retreats can swim in the ocean each morning and surf between sessions.
Blue Osa also offers monthlong immersion yoga-teacher training. The next such offering is June 19 through July 18, 2015. The next gay men’s yoga program takes participants on a Tantra yoga journey and runs May 23 to 29, 2015.
Situated close to the dramatic lava flows of the Big Island, the LGBT-owned and -operated Kalani offers an extensive list of yoga retreats, many for the LGBT community. It’s a very appealing way to escape winter. Gay men can pick from a calendar that includes men’s yoga retreats, a men’s hula retreat, a men’s yoga and massage retreat, and a men’s tropical holiday. The New Year’s Naked Men’s Yoga Retreat runs Dec 27, 2014 to Jan 2, 2015, overlapping with Thrive New Year’s Retreat for Gay/Bi Men (Dec 29, 2014 to Jan 3, 2015).
Hawaii Blue Hands Yoga and Massage Retreat takes place from March 31 to April 5, 2015. Kalani offers lesbian-specific retreats during the year, as well as popular women’s retreats, such as the Pulse of the Radiant Feminine Heart and the Kalani Experience. Trans guests are welcome to participate in the year’s array of workshops and retreats, including men’s and women’s retreats. Other Kalani workshops focus on hula, Hawaiian culture, massage and performing arts.
Harbin Hot Springs
More and more gay men (and a few gay women) are making for Middletown, just north of the Napa Valley, in Northern California, for the slew of workshops and retreats put on at Harbin Hot Springs. Popular with Bay Area naturists, Harbin has amazing massage and yoga offerings, plus beautiful trails and an enticing selection of those eponymous hot springs. Yoga and meditation classes take place almost on the hour from 7am until 7pm daily, with added bonuses such as Reiki, belly dancing and weekend movies. Harbin is set on 2,000 hectares, and guests can choose to camp or to stay in tent cabins, dorms, private rooms or cottages.
Finca La Maroma
In lovely Andalucia in southern Spain, gay men’s guest house Finca La Maroma looks out over valleys of almond and olive trees just a few kilometres from the coast. It offers occasional yoga retreats, such as Exploring the Heart (held from May 3 to 8, 2015) and Rhythm and Flow (held from May 10 to 15, 2015), both naked men’s retreats. These book up quickly, so reserve your places early. Guests can add a “chill-out weekend” before or after at a discounted room rate. In addition to yoga, the program includes meditation, massage, delicious home-cooked food and use of a heated pool, Jacuzzi, gym and sauna. Run by the charming Mark, Tom and Nancy, the relaxing, romantic Finca has an enthusiastic roster of devoted return guests who come back year after year to this hidden gem.
Frog Meadow bills itself as a “country bed and breakfast and massage oasis for men” and runs a summer men’s gathering each July. Yoga, pilates and guided massage-exchange sessions all star, along with workshops and excursions to the gay men’s beach at Rock River and local distilleries and artisans’ studios. Other optional activities include soaks in the wood-fired hot tub and saunters along the leafy trail network that surrounds the 25-hectare property.
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
Sacred Sexualities, a retreat for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, takes place from March 6 to 8, 2015, led by the Reverend Irene Monroe, a lesbian feminist theologian who has been featured in Oprah Magazine. The retreat centre is perched on a hilltop that overlooks Lake Mahkeenac and the woods below. The centre is a vast 15,000-square-metre facility on 50 hectares. More than 750 programs are on the calendar each year.
Over the Rainbow
Over the Rainbow is a gorgeous restored Georgian mansion on seven hectares of woodland on Cardigan Bay, close to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the craggy and dramatic western coast of Wales. Castles, dolphin-spotting opportunities and quaint towns crammed with tearooms and antique shops abound in the immediate vicinity. This vegetarian, lesbian guesthouse is the site of several lesbian yoga retreats during the year, run by Jenny, one of the founders of the UK’s Inner Yoga.