Spa + Wellness

Zen Dens: Yoga Retreats

by Adam Skolnick

Where: Kangaroo Island, Australia

Guru says: This family-owned property on secluded Kangaroo Island, off the coast of Adelaide, oozes character, with three distinct villas that include the Cliff House, reminiscent of a '70s rock'n'roll crash pad, and the earthen Sky House. A pre-arrival questionnaire not only includes queries guests about yoga habits but also favorite tunes, dining preferences, and even comforting smells from childhood (it isn't unusual to arrive to find an apple pie in the oven). Rachel Hannaford, a former personal chef who's fed the Dalai Lama and is now LifeTime's general manager/yogi/head chef, teaches yoga every morning at eight, and an Introduction to Tibetan Meditation class in the evenings.

Classmates: American couples here to view the island's diverse wildlife; group retreats full of fit Aussies.

Om factor: Up to you. Hannaford can discuss Buddhist philosophy if you like, but she's more than happy to keep it light.

Prerequisites: Chair pose or child's pose. A disciple of Baron Baptiste's athletic brand of hatha yoga, Hannaford uses techniques that'll make quads rattle and brows drip.

Extracurricular: Humans are outnumbered ten to one by mobs of wallabies, kangaroos, seals, and koalas. Romp with them (or close enough) around the stunning, unspoiled coastline.

When to go: Australia's spring and summer, October through March.

Retreats from $493 per person per night, all-inclusive

LifeTime Retreats
Tel: 61 8 8354 2368

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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