Choose from 13 destination yoga retreats with local teachers

Courtesy of Tarra Dahlke

For many yogis, the idea of a few days away from home with a to-do list including “yoga, yoga and more yoga,” the concept can be undeniably alluring. Next, add in beautiful locales such as the beaches of Tulum, Mexico, or a mountaintop sanctuary nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and it can be a downright obligatory experience for travel junkies.

Luckily, there are plenty of Charlotte-area yoga teachers to guide students on journeys that include activities such as waterfall rappelling, Mayan saunas and Ayurvedic nutrition lessons between sessions on the mat.

There are benefits to traveling with a local yoga teacher as opposed to joining an already existing retreat in your destination of choice. Think about your practice after returning home, the teachers say.

“Traveling with a teacher local to you gives a great opportunity to cultivate a connection with them and others on the retreat before leaving,” said Kelley Carboni-Woods, a local yoga teacher who is hosting a retreat in Guatemala. “You have the chance to go to their Charlotte-based offerings and feel more comfortable with their approach and intentions.”

When calculating costs, keep in mind none of these retreats include airfare. Most include airport transit and at least the majority of meals. Not all excursions are included, and you’ll almost always want to set aside extra for spa services, gratuities and spending money. Check with your individual retreat organizers for details.

Now, it’s time to update your passport, pack your favorite yoga clothes and pick the corner of the world to find your zen. Here’s our guide to some of the upcoming yoga retreats originating from Charlotte:

(1) Mary Powers and Jeffrey Shoaf

Photo by Andrew Keaveney / Courtesy of The Art of Living Retreat Center

Join Mary Powers and Jeffrey Shoaf at their Blue Ridge Mountain getaway, which will focus on calming the over-zealous mind.

Practice with the teachers locally: Powers teaches at Cornwell Center, Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte and Yoga for Life. Shoaf teaches at NoDa Yoga, Cornwell Center and Yoga for Life, in addition to private classes at his studio, 726 E. Blvd.
Destination: Boone
When: August 24-26
Where you’ll stay: The Art of Living Retreat Center
Why: “We all live in a highly overstimulated world, leaving our nervous systems in a state of near constant ‘overwhelm,’” Shoaf said. “This retreat, entitled ‘Start Where You Are,’ is designed to give the student the opportunity for a profoundly healing weekend of gentle yoga, meditation, silence, and stillness for deep peace and inner healing.”
How much yoga: About two to three hours per day; styles include gentle yoga and meditation
Other adventures include: Hiking, optional spa treatments, evening bonfire
Total spots: 40
Cost: Starting at $552
How to sign up: Visit the web site.

(2) Be Yoga: Boone

Courtesy of Be Yoga

Be Yoga’s ayurvedic spa getaway will offer several options for yoga practice each day as well as meditation and journaling while surrounded by nature.
Practice with the teachers locally: Be Yoga
Destination: Boone
When: September 27-30
Where you’ll stay: The Art of Living Center

Why: “Leaving town helps us shed our daily routine and trappings that might be holding us back from discovering our fullest potential. It is the opportunity to fully immerse in the experience and reap all of those rewards,” retreat leader Wendy Swanson said.
How much yoga: Two-three times daily; styles include an optional sunrise yoga flow, yoga asana, meditation, prana flow, restorative yoga Nidra
Other adventures include: group exercises, sound healing journey, energy gathering and building
Total spots: 26
Cost: $630-$1,080
How to sign up: Visit the web site.

(3) Carrie Wren

Courtesy of Carrie Wren

Fall asleep to the sound of the ocean waves and wake up to flowing vinyasas taught in a beachfront yoga shala with Carrie Wren in Costa Rica.
Practice with the teacher locally: Be YogaNoDa Yoga, Okra Yoga
Destination: The Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
When: October 14-20
Where you’ll stay: Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa
Why: “I make it my mission to share with my retreat adventurers some of the most special places you may ever visit and promise to co-create an experience of thoughtfully prepared yoga, joyful community, and lifelong memories,” Wren said.
How much yoga: Two specialty yoga classes each day; styles include vinyasa, partner yoga on the beach and meditation
Other adventures include: Onsite garden tour, beachfront access, including guided jungle hikes, horseback riding, waterfall expeditions, surf lessons, zip-lining and volunteering with the local animal sanctuary
Total spots: 18
Cost: $1,697
How to sign up: Visit the web site or send her an email.

(4) Tai Dorn and Kasey Robson

Courtesy of Tai Dorn

Escape to the mountains with Tai Dorn and Kasey Robson, where in addition to yoga, bonding is sure to happen over s’mores, movies and popcorn and mala making.
Practice with the teachers locally: Dorn teaches at Okra Yoga and Yoga One. Robson teaches at Yoga One.
Destination: Roaring Gap, N.C.
When: October 26-28
Where you’ll stay: TBD
Why: “This retreat is for the soul seeker who is looking to create an intentional vision for future goals, connect to yourself and the community at large by bringing your highest self and gaining insight into practices to support you throughout your daily life,” Dorn said.
How much yoga: Once a day; styles include deep stretch, slow flow and vinyasa flow
Other adventures include: Mala making, s’mores making, oil making, plastic-free product making, movies, popcorn and face masks
Total spots: 13
Cost: TBD
How to sign up: Visit the web site (details TBD).

(5) Kerri Flanigan and Nicole Galuski

Courtesy of Kerri Flanigan

At Kerri Flanigan and Nicole Galuski’s Central America retreat, you can learn to surf and get certified in an aerial training program.
Practice with the teachers locally: AIR Aerial Fitness
Destination: Central America
When: November 2-9
Where you’ll stay: TBD
Why:  “Travel is not only a great way to learn about other countries and cultures, but an amazing and eye opening way to learn about yourself,” Flanigan said. “Traveling with a group of like-minded individuals is key to success, and going with a group from your hometown can help ease some of the discomfort of traveling on your own, having others along for the ride with you.”
How much yoga: Three classes offered daily; styles include aerial, acro and deep stretch yoga
Other adventures include: Beach workouts, snorkeling, Ayurveda workshop, essential oils workshop, surf lessons
Total spots:  20
Cost: $1,400-$2,800
How to sign up: Contact Flanigan via email.

(6) Jaimis Huff and Lauren McAbee

Courtesy of SweatNET
Jaimis Huff and Lauren McAbee

Disconnect from your daily life for a moment with Jaimis Huff and Lauren McAbee in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, where your retreat will focus on self-love and a deeper practice.

Practice with the teachers locally: Huff is a SweatNET ambassador who also teaches at bloc., Om Yoga and Vibe5. McAbee is the owner of Essential Thrive and she teaches Chakti yoga at MoveStudio.
Destination: Puerto Morelos, Mexico
When: November 4-10
Where you’ll stay: Casa Om

Why: “This retreat will be about self-care, putting yourself first and doing what makes you happy. For some, that will be lots of yoga and meditation. At the same time, if you feel like sleeping in and skipping practice — we encourage you to,” Huff said. “Sometimes we go on vacation and get back in need of another vacation because we’re exhausted. Our goal is for every person to return home nourished, with their cups overflowing — so you can be the best version of yourself.”
How much yoga: Twice daily meditations and yoga practices; styles include power vinyasa, slow flow, Chakti, Kundalini and restorative.
Other adventures include: Inversions and backbends workshops, daily teachings on self-love, aromatherapy and holistic/Ayurvedic nutrition, dance parties, a new moon ceremony
Total spots: 22
Cost: Shared rooms start at $1,550 (sign up with a friend and you each get $200 off: use code BFF200).
How to sign up: Visit the web site.

(7) Adam Whiting

Courtesy of Adam Whiting

Explore Bali with Adam Whiting and spend your days deepening your practice with vinyasa and restorative yoga sessions.

Practice with the teacher locally: Charlotte Yoga
Destination: Ubud and Bali, Indonesia
When: November 4-10
Where you’ll stay: Yayasan Bali Purnati Retreat Center

Why: “We give ourselves the opportunity to completely remove ourselves from our routines and immerse ourselves in a new culture with new smells, new food, new faces and new adventures. And then wherever we are in the world, we can always come home to our mat and to our yoga practice. The memories that are created on these retreats sink right into the heart space and leave an imprint that impacts our yoga practice for years to come,” Whiting said.
How much yoga: Twice-daily practices and meditation; styles include vinyasa and restorative yin
Other adventures include: Excursions to Balinese Water Temples, sound healing sessions
Total spots: 15
Cost: $1,300
How to sign up: Visit the web site.

(8) Tiya Caniel and Kelley Carboni-Woods

Courtesy of Kelley Carboni-Woods

Join Tiya Caniel and Kelley Carboni-Woods on an off-grid, eco-friendly retreat in Guatemala with a focus on liberation, yoga and getting out of town.

Practice with the teachers locally: Carboni-Woods teaches a community yoga class on Sundays at Dupp&Swat’s Plaza Midwood location and she teaches workshops and private lessons. Caniel is based in Statesville and Troutman.
Destination: Lake Atitlan near Santiago, Guatemala
When: January 16-22, 2019
Where you’ll stay: Mystical Yoga Farm and Hotel Stofella in Guatemala City

Why: “By stepping away from our norm and day to day distractions and responsibilities, we are embodying the practice of the yoga principle of #Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) with the intention of gaining new perspectives, reaffirming our true nature and grounding ourselves in our collective power,” Carboni-Woods said.
How much yoga: Daily yoga and bedtime meditation
Other adventures include: Access to paddle boards, kayaks and library, fire ceremony, Temazcal ceremony (traditional Mayan sauna), tea ceremony with a poetry reading and tea education, workshops
Total spots: 10
Cost: $1,125
How to sign up: Visit the web site.

(9) Ian Grosh and Alyce Vallejo

Courtesy of Alyce Vallejo

Join Baptiste Yoga-trained teachers Ian Grosh and Alyce Vallejo on a journey to Costa Rica where you will focus on awakening of the senses.

Practice with the teachers locally: Yoga One and Charlotte Yoga
Destination: La Fortuna, Costa Rica
When: February 2-9, 2019
Where you’ll stay: Hotel KorKoro

Why: “When you have the opportunity to go on vacation mode and practice daily, you have the opportunity to get really clear without the distraction. You are in a wondrous place,” Vallejo said. “The ability to learn, grow, and discover is undeniable and invigorating. It propels you forward into a world of possibility. You learn together, grow together, practice, play, cry, laugh, support and discover together.”
How much yoga: Twice daily; styles include power, slow flow and deep stretch
Other adventures include: Visit to an organic farm, where you will pick fresh fruit from trees and harvest food to be cooked and prepared for you, waterfall rappelling, volunteer at a local dog rescue, volunteer at an orphanage, white water rafting, Baldi Hot Springs visit
Total spots: 25
Cost: $950 – $1,700.
How to sign up: Visit the web site or contact Vallejo via email.

(10) Brittany Carleton and Tarra Dahlke

Brooke Michelle Photography

If yoga, sun, adventure and relaxing on a Mexican beach is what you’re looking for, travel with Brittany Carleton and Tarra Dahlke to Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
Practice with the teachers locally: Carleton teaches at Charlotte Yoga and NC Yoga Bar; Dahlke teaches at Charlotte Yoga.
Destination: Puerto Morelos, Mexico
When: February 17-22, 2019
Where you’ll stay: Casa Om

Why: “As you escape from the cold winter weather, this retreat will allow you to press pause on your daily life, and enjoy a fun vacation with a mindful twist as you relax and reset,” Dahlke said.
How much yoga: 1-2 classes daily; styles include hot power vinyasa, yin, deep stretch, back bending workshop and meditation classes
Other adventures include: Snorkeling, exploring the Tulum Ruins, swimming in cenotes
Total spots: 12-26
Cost: $999-$1,799; book with a friend to save $50 each.
How to sign up: Send Dahlke an email with your room preference and let her know if you have travel companions or if you’ll be coming solo.

(11) Be Yoga: Costa Rica

Courtesy of Be Yoga
Wendy Swanson

Spend some time in a Costa Rican paradise with Be Yoga instructors, walking on the beach, meditating, journaling and practicing yoga before retreating to your bungalow each evening.

Practice with the teachers locally: Be Yoga
Destination: Nosara, Costa Rica
When: March 9 – 16, 2019
Where you’ll stay: Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort

Why: “We can have transformative experiences at any retreat and sometimes the trick is how to hold onto that wonderful feeling and growth. With a Charlotte-based teacher, we have the opportunity to check back in easily and have a quick reminder of what we learned while away,” retreat leader Wendy Swanson said.
How much yoga: Two yoga classes per day; one flow class and one flow or restorative yoga class
Other adventures include: Two excursions, salt-water infinity pool
Total spots: 15
Cost: $2,468-$3,720
How to sign up: Visit the web site.

(12) Heather Barb and Tam Burke

Courtesy of Heather Barb

Practice with the teachers locally: Barb teaches at bloc. and Lifetime Fitness, and Burke is based in Boulder, Colorado.
Destination: Costa Rica
When: March 16 – 23, 2019
Where you’ll stay: Blue Osa

Why: “The Charlotte yoga community and its teachers are something special. Maybe I’m biased (ha), but I think if you have the opportunity to travel and learn from any of the amazing teachers in this city, then you should jump on it,” Barb said.
How much yoga: Daily; styles include rocket yoga, power vinyasa, yin
Other adventures include: Inversion workshops, arm-balance workshops, yoga inspired High Intensity Interval Training, professional photography with images for you to keep, jungle beachfront running, walking or swimming.
Total spots: 15
Cost: $1,850 to $2,250
How to sign up: Visit the web site.

(13) Carianna Hebert

Courtesy of Carriana Hebert

Work with Carianna Hebert to create a vision for the next year of your life using meditation and yoga to guide you in Tulum, Mexico.

Practice with the teacher locally: NC Yoga Bar and NoDa Yoga; Hebert also teaches at Free People once a month.
Destination: Tulum, Mexico
When: June 2019
Where you’ll stay: Sanara

Why: “This adventure has been curated to create a lasting shift in our lives, a peak realization in our evolution, through the combined practices of meditation, yoga, and coaching,” Hebert said.
How much yoga: 1-2 yoga classes per day; styles include vinyasa, meditation, power flow, yin and deep stretch.
Other adventures include: Swimming in cenotes, visiting the Mayan ruins, snorkeling, paddle boarding
Total spots: 10
Cost: Approximately $2,800
How to sign up: Visit the web site.


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