Escaping to your local yoga studio for an hour-long class can feel like a mini-vacation, but sometimes you need more. Fortunately, vacations that marry yoga with other activities like rock climbing, surfing, or acrobatics are on the rise, and most retreats accommodate a variety of skill levels for both the activity and yoga class. Here are seven spots to find adventure on and off the mat.—Kelly DiNardo
Yoga and Rock Climbing
WHERE: Arizona and California
Arizona Climbing and Adventure School runs three- or four-day courses that teach rock climbing and rappelling in a safe and supportive environment combined with a daily yoga class to build the strength, agility, balance, and focus to complement climbing. The retreats, held in Joshua Tree National Park and Prescott National Forest, start with “ground school” where participants learn about climbing equipment, basic skills, and safety protocols. Then the group moves to protected climbs of up to 150 feet and finishes with nature hikes, meditation sessions, and storytelling around a campfire.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Joshua Tree National Park Guide
Yoga and Surfing
SwellWomen began holding yoga and surfing retreats along a stretch of Ka’anapali Beach in Maui in 2003. The seven-day adventure offered throughout the year includes morning surf and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) lessons for all levels, free time to lounge by the pool or beach, and an evening yoga class. Throughout the week, there’s time for a massage, catamaran cruise, shopping, and play.
Insider Tip: The retreats became so popular that SwellWomen now offers similar programs in Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, and Mexico. In 2017, they’ll add Sri Lanka, Thailand, Anguilla, Dominican Republic, Morocco, and Portugal to the list.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hawaii Guide
Yoga and Hiking
Balanced Rock leads nature-based retreats through Yosemite with the hope of slowing things down for guests so they can cultivate personal balance. The courses, led by a certified yoga instructor and Wilderness First Responder Certified guide, include two optional yoga classes each day, morning meditation, hiking and gentle peak climbs, and the occasional swim in a river or alpine lake. Balanced Rock offers five backpacking retreats, two campground-based retreats, two one-day workshops, and custom journeys throughout the year so guests can choose the option that best suits them.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Yosemite National Park Guide
Yoga and Running
Each October running coach Elinor Fish leads Moab Mindful Running Retreat, which draws on yogic principles of breath and movement to make running a mindful practice. The four-day, three-night retreat includes two restorative yoga practices at a local studio, practical clinics, and wellness workshops meant to build strong, healthy, injury-free runners who recover better and “find more flow in running and life.”
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Utah Guide
Yoga and Horseback Riding
WHERE: Montana and Costa Rica
Get in touch with your inner cowgirl as you take your yoga skills from the mat to the saddle. Big Sky Yoga Retreats include yoga and riding to improve balance, flexibility, and awareness as well as lessons in horse care. A Cowgirl Cookout is offered in Montana May through September and in Costa Rica in November and January. Don’t worry if you’re not interested in roughing it; yogis choose a deluxe B&B or classic ranch setting, and there’s plenty of gourmet cuisine.
Insider Tip: Big Sky also offers Nordic skiing and yoga programs in the winter.
Kripalu, a yoga and wellness retreat center two hours west of Boston, offers an annual CircusYoga retreat that blends yoga, circus arts, and play. Participants learn partner acrobatics and circus skills like juggling, diabolo, devil sticks, spinning plates, tightrope walking, and clowning. Yoga classes complement the circus skills with lots of balancing postures. The center runs two simultaneous CircusYoga retreats—one for adults and one for kids 7 years old and up—so the whole family can get in on the fun.
Insider Tip: When not clowning around, guests can hike through the woods, swim at Kripalu’s beach on Lake Mahkeenac, work out in the fitness room, and relax in the sauna. At night, the center hosts concerts, drum circles, and dances.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Massachusetts Guide
Yoga and Canyoneering
WHERE: Washington and Utah
Yoga in the Wild combines yoga and meditation with canyoneering, hiking, and natural history in the dramatic alpine landscape of the North Cascade Mountains in Washington and the southwestern desert of Goblin Valley State Park in southern Utah. Twice-daily yoga practices include vinyasa or hatha classes in the morning and restorative yoga in the evening. Retreats are held twice each year in May and October, but the company also offers custom trips throughout the year for groups of six or more. The trips are open to all levels.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s North Cascade Mountains Guide