Zen Dens: Yoga Retreats
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Where: Bali, Indonesia
Guru says: Bali seems tailor-made for serenity: The Balinese culture is based on harmony, and locals couldn't be more hospitable. If you don't come away from here feeling balanced and fulfilled, you need a personality replacement. The only decision is how upscale to go. The tippy-top is Como Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri, where the guest villas are architectural masterpieces and the sumptuous spa overlooks the Ayung River. Yoga instructors are on staff, and the hotel hosts retreat weeks throughout the year. But Balinese tranquility isn't limited to the elite. Australia-based yoga studio Inspya Yoga offers a handful of affordable Bali retreats each year, most of them hosted by renowned teacher Lance Schuler in the town of Ubud (just a stone's throw from Begawan Giri). Retreat guests are lodged in a simple but comfortable compound with two-story bungalows, an open-air restaurant, and a spring-water swimming pool.
Classmates: Donna Karan at the Begawan Giri; attractive, down-to-earth Aussies with Inspya Yoga.
Om factor: Spirit saturates Bali. There are thousands of temples on the island, and even if you don't know anything about Hinduism, it's hard not to be intrigued.
Prerequisites: Wheel pose. Bali attracts types that do full back-bends in their sleep.
Extracurricular: Visit the mother temple complex, Pura Besakih; scale the sacred Mt. Agung volcano; dive in the pristine waters of North Bali; or learn to surf on the south coast.
When to go: Lance Schuler's next Bali retreat is in July 2007. Begawan Giri announces its retreat week calendar in November 2006; check the website for details.
Begawan Giri: Doubles from $495, including daily yoga; retreat weeks from $3,882. Inspya Yoga: 10-day retreats from $1,009, including accommodations
Tel: 62 361 978 888
Inspya Yoga Retreats
Tel: 61 2 6687 2717