Spiritual seekers who like to stretch need not travel to India, Costa Rica, or Bali for an enlightening and envigorating yoga getaway. The following destinations are accessible by car from Long Island. Each one promises an escape from the pressures of modern life through yoga, meditation, massage, and more. Healthy, mostly vegetarian cuisine and beautiful outdoor surroundings come at no extra charge.
Monticello, New York
On the grounds of the old Kutsher resort upstate,YO1 (yo1.com) opened in 2018 as a luxury hotel/wellness retreat hybrid. This isn’t your grandma’s Catskills. The hotel sits on a 1,300-acre property overlooking a lake. Rooms have bathrobes, pillowtop mattresses, wifi, and flat screen tvs (unusual at yoga retreats) On check-in, you’ll meet with an Ayurvedic and naturopathic practitioner who will help you create a custom program of Indian healing therapies tailored to your goals and needs. Guests can focus on areas including detox and rejuvenation, pain management, weight management, and relaxation. Hydrotherapy, mud baths, reflexology, massage, and acupuncture take place in elaborately tiled pools and sparkling new treatment rooms. Vinyasa and Hatha yoga are taught in light-filled studios overlooking the water. Indoor and outdoor theaters host evening lectures by prominent wellness experts. A dining room offers “conscious cuisine” in an elegant setting. Cooking classes teach you how to prepare healthy meals after you leave. A salon, boutique, tea café, and juice bar contribute to the luxury hotel feel. Packages starting at $599/night.
Phoenicia, New York
Menla Retreat and Spa, (Menla.us) which is affiliated with Tibet House, the Dalai Lama’s cultural center in New York City, bills itself as Tibet in the Catskills. Situated on a 325-acre private preserve criss-crossed with burbling streams and walking paths, the retreat is a nature-lover’s delight. Deluxe hotel rooms in chalet-style buildings are simply decorated with Tibetan accents. More modestly priced cabin rooms have shared bathrooms and kitchens and are good for small groups. Create your own getaway, or join an organized retreat: themes include yoga in tumultuous times, devotional chanting, and Sufi dance. In addition to yoga and meditation classes in light-filled yoga studios with bamboo floors and colorful altars, there is a spa offering Tibetan KuNye massage as well as herbal baths, vibrational sound therapy, and conventional massage and facial services. There is also a Finnish sauna, far infrared sauna, and steam room. Guests can go on guided hikes, relax by several outdoor fire pits, and play tennis on two courts , weather permitting. Organic vegetarian meals made with produce from Menla’s garden are served buffet-style. A Native American sweat lodge and astrological consultation are also available with advance booking. Personal getaway weekends (2 nights accomodations plus meals and one yoga class and one meditation class per day) from $398.
Rhinebeck, New York
A short-ish drive from Long Island, Rhinebeck boasts one of the four Omega Institute (eomega.org) locations (the others are in Costa Rica, California, and NYC). The mission of this holistic learning center is the integration of personal growth and social change, and it sees itself as part of the global Omega community. To understand what it’s all about, you can book a cabin, single dorm room, or a hybrid cabin/tent (you can also bring your own camping equipment and pitch your own tent in the warmer months). A typical day is packed with classes in meditation, yoga, tai chi, and movement. Workshops on subjects ranging from divine light healing to past life therapy to handcrafted herbal body care give focus to your stay. Free time can be spent wandering the labyrinth, gardens, and nature trails on the 250-acre campus or spending time in the meditation sanctuary. A program of evening concerts, films, and community gatherings brings the day to a close. Three mostly vegetarian meals, sourced from Hudson Valley vendors like Ronnybrook Farm Dairy and Little Seed Gardens are included. Weekend program rates (2 nights/meals/classes/workshops) start at $398 for a single dorm room with shared bath. eomega.org
Kripalu (kripalu.org) began as a training center for yoga teachers, and is today the largest yoga-based retreat center in the United States. During an R&R retreat, guests can participate in up to three yoga classes (all levels are taught) a day here as well as attend nightly workshops in topics like yoga and Shamanism, Kung Fu Yoga, and Yoga for Back Care. But this serene lakeside school in the Berkshires offers much more. The daily schedule also includes guided hikes, meditation seminars, and creative expression workshops. A spa features Ayurvedic facials and Kripalu massage. There is an intriguing menu of “metaphysical services” including tarot, psychic readings, and henna art. Plant-based cuisine is served buffet-style. During breakfast, dining is silent. Rates start at $92/night for dorm housing, $207 for a private room (3 meals included) plus a daily tuition fee of $85 to $95. Guests also have the option of staying at a local hotel or b&b (options include the Briarcliff (briarcliffmotel.com), a hip roadside motel and the elegant Inn at Stockbridge (stockbridgeinn.com) and purchasing day passes to participate in classes and workshops.
Island Falls, Maine
Near Mount Kathadin, where the sun first hits the East Coast as it rises, expert yoga instructor Donna Davidge hosts intimate yoga retreats in an antiques-filled farmhouse built by her great grandfather in 1865. Sewall House (sewallhouse.com) offers a variety of on-site yoga and meditation classes for small groups of guests. The schedule is flexible, but the day usually starts with meditation and then a yoga class before breakfast, free time for exploring, reading, journaling, or massage before lunch, more yoga before dinner, and an evening in the sauna or Jacuzzi. Beginners and experienced practitioners alike are welcomed, and classes are small and personalized. Depending on interest, kundalini, hatha, vinyasa, and ashtanga yoga are taught. Paddle board yoga might be offered on select weekends. Food is vegetarian with plenty of vegan options. No alcohol is served but guests are free to bring their own. Visitors can hike, bike, or canoe nearby. In the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country ski excursions can be arranged. Right now, Davidge will be open two weekends in February for retreats. Groups of four or more can have the house to themselves at other times, yoga and meditation included, by pre-arrangement. Transportation from the Bangor airport available on request. All-inclusive rates start at $260/night per person.
Boone, North Carolina
If your ideal reset takes place on a mountaintop, head to this compound in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, A bit farther than some other destinations (a long road trip will get you there; a quick and cheap plane ride to Charlotte will get you close) The Art of Living Retreat Center (Artoflivingretreatcenter.org) is a choose-your-own-adventure spiritual and wellness resort. Book a simple but comfortable room with a mountain view and then join a group for a weekend of Chakra Yoga Immersion, Gentle Yoga to Reinvigorate the Mind, or Yoga and Meditation for Relaxation. Or tailor your own retreat. The offerings are plentiful and varied, and include meditation instruction, pottery workshops, community singing and chanting, a walking labyrinth, nature trails, and an evening fire circle. The Ayurveda spa offers unusual treatments like Marma lymphatic massage and Shirodhara relaxation therapy with warm oil. Globally influenced vegetarian cuisine—a varied menu that might include coconut mango rice, Tuscan bread salad, sweet potato and sage soup, and semolina cakes with apple-mint chutney-- is served in the dining room. If you arrive by car, you can explore King Street, with its book shops, coffee bars, restaurants, and galleries in the charming town of Boone. Rooms from $298/night including meals and yoga classes.