*The number in brackets indicates the previous rank in 2016.
1. India (1)
If you took a look at our list in 2016, you’ll realize that our highest ranked country hasn’t changed much; India remains rock-solid on top of the podium. And unless a catastrophe occurs, we don’t really see it changing for a good while. After all, it is where yoga originated and is by far the best place on earth to experience a truly authentic yoga retreat.
One of the things that make this place so special is that millions of people from all over the world come to India to radically transform their lives through the teachings of yoga and meditation. Here, you don’t only practice yoga, you get to live out the 8 limbs of the philosophy. That’s why many experienced practitioners travel to India for a yoga teacher training and become certified instructors.
The most popular places in India for a yoga holiday are: Goa, Kerala and Rishikesh.
2. Thailand (2)
With sunsets like the one above, who wouldn’t love to go on a yoga retreat in Thailand? It is one of the most visited countries in the world for many good reasons; from its delicious food, to the warm weather, the beaches, its friendly people, and a very affordable way of life, Thailand is just the perfect destination for travelers of all kind, including yoga practitioners!
With over 300 yoga retreats available for yogis who want to deepen their practice in this Asian jewel, we’re certain there are options for all budgets, preferences and length of stay. The most popular destinations in Thailand are: Ko Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Ko Phangan.
3. Indonesia (3)
Indonesia is easily one of the most famous yoga destinations in the entire world. Its gorgeous beaches, Ubud’s rainforest, the characteristic rice paddies, and the Zen atmosphere in Bali, are some of the main things that attract a lot of yogis from all over the globe.
Similar to other destinations in Southeastern Asia, there are many affordable yoga retreats in Indonesia for yogi travelers on a budget. And thanks to all the gorgeous beaches all along the islands, it also offers the possibility of combining yoga with surf. A match made in heaven!
Most popular yoga places in Indonesia: Bali (Balian Beach, Ubud).
4. Spain (5)
Its warm weather, spectacular beaches, exquisite cuisine, and a cheerful population make Spain the top yoga destination in Europe and number four in the world. Each year, this folkloric country seems to offer more yoga holidays, which has helped for its steady climb on top of the list. In 2015 it was number 6, and in 2016 number 5, so who knows? Maybe next year Spain will finally debunk one of the Asian yoga monsters listed above for a spot among the top 3.
If you can’t travel to Asia and are looking for a place to do yoga in the European continent, then don’t hesitate and book yourself to a yoga retreat in Spain! Good wine, delicious food, and yoga… what else do we need to be happy?
The most recommended destinations for yoga in Spain are: Ibiza, the Canary Islands, Tenerife, Malaga, and Alicante.
5. Greece (not listed in 2016)
This year, Greece has skyrocketed on our list of top yoga destinations. It wasn’t even ranked in 2016, but this year, its rich history, splendid architecture and warm culture make for a terrific setting for a yoga holiday, which has aided its cause to position it as a top 5 yoga destination in the world.
Crete, Kythira Island, Paros are some of the most popular options in Greece that you have to strike your best asanas if you’re looking to travel for a yoga retreat.
6. Italy (9)
Beaches? Check. Mountains? Check. Joyous people? Check. Great food? Check. Rich history? Check. In other words, Italy has everything you need to travel and do yoga!
Privileged by its geographical location, this southern country offers diversity in its territory and nice weather to practice outdoors most time of the year. This makes Italy really attractive for organizers looking for a good location for a yoga retreat, which results in almost 200 options available for you to choose.
The most visited areas in Italy by yogis are: Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia.
7. Portugal (8)
The fourth and last European country on the list, Portugal surely deserves a spot with its breath-taking beaches, nice hills to hike and, like Bali, a characteristic surf culture that combines yoga and surfing sessions to make it an ideal destination for active yogis.
And if you’re not so much into water sports, you will still feel the Portuguese magic with all the cobblestone streets, impressive castles and picturesque vineyards. The Azores, Lisbon, Porto and Algarve are the main places to visit in Portugal if you’re looking for a yoga retreat.
8. Costa Rica (4)
Costa Rica, the lone but proud representative of Latin America, fell 4 spots compared to last year. But don’t get fooled by its drop, Costa Rica still has no rival when it comes to wildlife, beaches, sunsets and relaxed lifestyle.
Though it has a relatively small territory, it offers almost 350 yoga retreat programs and yoga teacher trainings. Puntarenas, San Pablo, and Montezuma are some of the most concurred destinations in Costa Rica, but to be fair, no matter where you are you’ll be greatly impressed by the beauty of this tropical country.
9. USA (6)
As long as California and Hawaii remain part of the American territory, it will be tough to remove the United States from this list. The array of retreats and yoga studios in the state of California is incredible, thus it’s no surprise how popular the practice is in this state of the US. And with so many options, if you have the fortune of living here, you don’t even have to travel more than one or two hours to find yoga programs that combine it with detox, surf, Ayurveda, meditation, Reiki or any other activity you can think of.
If you feel like going to a more tranquil place, Hawaii and its ever-positive vibe will be happy to host you. Other yoga options in the US aside from this two are: New York, Colorado, Florida and Maine.
10. Sri Lanka (not listed in 2016)
What a pleasant surprise it is to have Sri Lanka completing our list! This island in South Asia wasn’t intimidated by the fiery competition of other big nations and cracked the top 10. A yoga retreat in Sri Lanka is a great way to nurture your spirituality and gain mindfulness in a little paradise. Being an island, you can imagine that most accommodation is offered next to the beach, which makes it ideal to go fishing or do some other water activities such as SUP yoga or kayak.
The hottest yoga spots in Sri Lanka are: Kandy, Kalutara, Tangalle and Ahangama.
Honorary Top Yoga Destinations
These destinations barely missed the top 10 list, but they are all highly recommendable and we thought they deserved a mention at least:
11 France, 12 Australia, 13 Morocco, 14 Mexico, 15 United Kingdom.
*This article is also available in Spanish.
Ready to make your choice and go on a yoga retreat in one of these heavenly destinations? Go to BookYogaRetreats.com and start off 2017 with the yoga holiday of your dreams!