Zen Dens: Yoga Retreats
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Where: Shimla, India
Guru says: Yoga was invented in the Himalayas, in caves where acolytes of Tantric bliss experimented with astrology, nutrition, sex, medicine, and asanas (postures). But cave dwelling is so 5,000 years ago: Stay instead at this cliff-side manor, once home to British commander-in-chief Lord Kitchener and now a luxury Oberoi property. Instruction with local masters who grew up practicing yoga can be arranged in private sessions or with a group. Most programs last one week and include spa and Ayurvedic treatments.
Classmates: Wealthy Indian families looking to escape the heat of New Delhi and Mumbai, as well as many European couples. The Himalayan environment attracts a steady stream of fit, young professionals into adventure travel.
Om factor: Didn't we mention yoga was invented here? Teachers are often part of a guru-disciple lineage dating back centuries.
Prerequisites: A simple mountain pose. Better: the sweat-inducing headstand.
Extracurricular: Day-trips on the white water of the Sutlej River, hikes and single-track mountain biking trips leading to king-of-the-world views, tennis in the summer and ice skating in the winter.
When to go: The summer is warm, but not hot; wildflowers bloom in late spring; and snow falls regularly in January and February. Take your pick.
Doubles from $390; morning yoga classes included, individual yoga programs extra
Tel: 800 562 3764