The words “yoga retreat” usually conjures up images of exotic locales, but the United States has a lot to offer too. If you’ve ever had any interest in attending a yoga retreat but you don’t have the time or money to spend on a weeklong yoga retreat outside of the country, consider trying one in your own backyard. Yoga retreats can be found all over the country, in almost every state, but finding the right one for you depends on what kind of yoga retreat you are looking for.

No matter what yoga retreat you end up escaping to, the benefits will be the same. Attending a yoga retreat will help take your yoga practice to the next level, gain a new perspective by visiting a new place, provide you with the right environment for meditation, and help you relax and de-stress. Plus you’ll have healthy food provided to you without having to put in any work and you can digitally detox, create new habits, make new friends, and step away from home long enough to start appreciating it again.

Here are 5 of the best yoga retreats in the US for your next vacation:

White Lotus Foundation Retreat Center, Santa Barbara, CA

The White Lotus retreat center was founded in 1983 by Ganga White, one of the country’s most well-known yogis, and has served as a gathering place for devoted yogis for decades. The campus sits in the mountains overlooking Santa Barbara with a view of the Pacific Ocean in the other direction. At the White Lotus, you’ll feel close to nature while saluting the sun surrounded by mountains and sea. Retreats are offered year-round with scheduled activities like daily yoga, hiking, silent meditation, swimming, and gourmet vegetarian meals.

Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY 

The Omega Institute is set on 250 sprawling acres in the breathtaking Hudson Valley. The nonprofit center devoted to well-being offers rigorous and restorative yoga workshops as well as wellness vacations. Retreats are available spring through fall with daily classes in yoga, tai chi, movement, and meditation.

Big Sky Yoga Retreats, Bozeman, MT

Big Sky Yoga Retreats is located an hour north of Yellowstone National Park and is surrounded by lush green forests, snow-capped mountains, and refreshing waterfalls. This yoga retreat center is best known for its offerings of a blend of yoga and horseback riding. All levels of yoga are accommodated, and the retreats offer two yoga sessions per day including lessons in restorative and vinyasa flow yoga. Escape to this yoga retreat to enjoy starlit nights, a mountain-themed cuisine, and a superb wine list.

Sedona Mago Retreat, Sedona, AZ

The Sedona Mago Retreat center is perfect for stressed-out vacationers who want to enjoy the 163-acres of red rock formations, Native American ruins, majestic mountains, and lush green gardens. Sedona Mago allows you to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life and enjoy specially curated programs for holistic healing like Stress to Strength. Additional offerings include yoga classes, chakra readings, meditation classes, and mindful breathing.

Kalani, Pāhoa, HI

If the mainland United States doesn’t interest you, then escape to Kalani, a yoga retreat center located on 120 acres of Hawaii’s Big Island. Founded by Joel Tan, the yoga center is nestled between the tropical jungle and the Pacific Ocean and includes rich offerings in exploring Hawaiian culture. One of the largest yoga retreat centers in the region, Kalani offers more than 50 classes per week in a dozen styles of yoga.

Read More

Mala Beads

Posted by January 4, 2018

Yoga can be very physically demanding. However, the hardest part of yoga derives from the mental ability to meditate rather than the physical capabilities of the body. Even the most practiced yogis have a hard time clearing their minds in order to get the most out of a yoga practice. The true benefits of yoga do not only strive from the movements of the body but also from the meditation of the mind. Mala beads are a beautiful addition to yoga practitioners because they help aid in the mental aspect of the practice.

Mala beads show a devotion to the yoga practice. They consist of 108 beads with the addition of a guru bead that is specifically used for meditation and prayer. These mala beads include gemstones that expel certain energies and are sacred to the yoga practice. The reasoning behind the 108 beads is derived from Hinduism. 108 is considered a sacred number in the Hindu religion. 1 representing your own highest truth, 0 representing emptiness in spiritual practice, and 8 representing infinity and timelessness. The mala is a representation of whatever the wearer wants it to be.

Different gemstones add different energies and meanings to a mala. Two examples of gemstones used in mala beads are jade and turquoise. Jade is used to bring relaxation and prosperity to the practice. Traditionally, jade has been used to bring good luck to those that wear it. Turquoise is another power gemstone to use in a mala. It is used to bring healing to the practice by repairing both physical and mental injuries. Turquoise is also used to aid the wearer in warding off negative influences. The type of gemstone chosen by the practitioner is connected to what they wish to achieve during their practices.

Mala beads are very simple to use. To use mala beads for meditation, you must first choose a comfortable spot to sit with your spine straight and eyes closed. After finding a comfortable position, a few deep breaths should be taken to center and align yourself. A mantra can be used here and chanted aloud or repeated silently.

  1. The mala beads should be held within your right hand, draped between your middle and index fingers.
  2. Begin at the guru bead and use your thumb to count each of the 108 smaller beads until you reach the guru bead again.
  3. If you want to meditate more after circling back to the guru bead, simply count the beads again in the opposite direction.

Clarity and calmness can be extremely hard to achieve but are a necessity in both meditation and yoga practices. Mala beads are a great way to achieve this clarity and calmness by counting the beads during meditation or simply wearing it during yoga practice. The gemstones also are beneficial in adding more to the mala beads with their specific energies. Mala beads can also be used outside of meditation and yoga. It is becoming more common for people to wear their mala beads as a necklace or bracelet on a regular basis. This helps people to keep their affirmations and alignment throughout daily routines.

However, some people see mala beads as very sacred and keep their beads in their sacred place. Mala beads kept in sacred places offer a beautiful energy and add unique texture and color to space. Each mala is special and should always be chosen for the specific needs and wants of the wearer. The right mala can bring a wonderful sense of energy to meditation and yoga practice and help the wearer grow physically and spiritually.

Read More