I’m often asked whether I can recommend any yoga weekends or retreats. It’s a growing market and a Google search will throw up a huge choice. I would suggest trying a UK based weekend to start, to see if you enjoy the intensity of twice a day yoga/meditation.

Vegetarian food is the norm and most people tend go on their own. In my experience, they vary a lot, from luxury breaks with gourmet food, and social evenings with alcohol, to more austere retreats, often with add ons such as an Ayurvedic diet, talks and meditation.

My suggestion is that you carefully check the level of experience and qualifications of the teacher – don’t be won over by the wonderful photos of the venue/pool/exotic location – and don’t hesitate to ask questions before signing up.

I am always happy to chat over any holidays/retreats you are interested in. Here is a list of some of places I’ve tried over the last 15 years or so. I’ve enjoyed all of them in different ways:

Oxford based hatha teacher, Hazel Faithfull has been leading weekends in the Oxfordshire area and week long holidays in France for many years. Her yoga is more gentle and she is good with beginners.

https://www.hazelfaithfull.co.uk/yoga-holiday/

Like Hazel, Linda Morley is an experienced BWY (British Wheel of Yoga) teacher who welcomes beginners and students of all abilities. I went on one of her weekends in Somerset, based in a very comfortable farmhouse guesthouse. She also runs tours of India each year.

http://www.lindayoga.co.uk

Nicole and Gary are a friendly and welcoming couple who have been running hotel-based yoga holidays near their home in the Costa Blanca for many years. I joined their yoga and walking holiday in Altea, which attracted a mixed bunch of all levels of yoga, and was relaxed and well organised.

https://www.yogabreaks.org.uk/retreats/

For those of you who are interested to find out more about the philosophy behind yoga, and fancy trying chanting in Sanskrit, then Michael Hutchison of Two Birds Yoga near Reading runs two Oxfordshire based retreats each year.

http://www.twobirdsyoga.com/courses.php

My first proper retreat was to the Sivananda ashram in the Bahamas. I had recently qualified as a teacher, and ready to try the ‘real thing’. It was an amazing experience (I went twice). There are Sivananda centres around the world which offer the opportunity to totally immerse yourself in yoga. The day begins with meditation at 6am, following by chanting, and a two hour hath yoga class …. All before breakfast!

https://www.sivanandabahamas.org

The first ever yoga retreat I went on was  in a farmhouse near Brecon with a strict Iyengar teacher Sasha Perryman. This was before I ever thought of training to teach myself. I went a couple of times, greatly improving my yoga skills each time. However, it wasn’t quite as much fun as the Bahamas or Spain!

http://www.ciyc.co.uk/workshops-and-holidays.html

My most recent trip was to Goa, India with Jeff Phenix. I must admit I went for the location (Bamboo Yoga Reatreat) on Patnam Beach. Southern Goa is amazing – beautiful beaches, and so is the yoga – lots of energetic ashtanga and vinyasa flow. And the bodies on the beach were equally gorgeous too. Not suitable for beginners, I would recommend this retreat to someone who wants to work hard and try some stronger postures.

https://www.phenixyoga.com/jeff-phenix-yoga