Top 10 Yoga & Wellness Retreats

This week we are opening up our Editor’s “little green book” of top secret awesome yoga and wellbeing retreats.

We receive so many inquiries from people needing to take some time out to recharge, reflect and rejuvenate and wondering where in the world to go and do that.

Below is a list of personally experienced and recommend retreats where space is created and held for healing and transformation. Please feel free to respond or write to us if you have personally experienced a wellness retreat that was amazing. We are also interested in hearing from you if you are creating or hosting retreats.

Sunflower Retreats

A beautiful Italian Medieval village called Casperia forms the backdrop for a peaceful week of daily yoga classes, delicious food, cycling and hilly rambling. Conveniently only 1 hour from Rome.

I practised yoga there with Advertising Exec turned Ayurvedic Doctor and Yoga teacher, Jo Heath who is teaching there again this summer as the yogi in residence.

Casperia

Ibiza Yoga

Stay in a Balinese pagoda, a teepee or a room in a shared luxurious villa. Yoga classes are 2 hours every morning with a roster of world-renowned teachers. There are many healing holistic treatments on offer throughout the day as well as a delicious organic vegetarian lunch included at this wellness centre located next to beautiful Benirras beach on the hippie “quieter” side of Ibiza.

I trained there with Edward Clarke, founder of an experimental dance company called Tripsichore Yoga.

Ibiza Yoga

Yogabeats Holidays

Worldwide yoga holidays throughout the year with David Sye in The Canary Islands, Greece, Cuba, Ibiza and Dahab Egypt. I attended his Dahab retreat and found the combination of sunshine, moonlit desert meditations and red sea scuba diving to be out of this world. This holiday literally changed my life and set me on the path to becoming a yoga teacher myself. I also ended up assisting as an apprentice and making a lot of videos with David after becoming qualified as a yoga teacher. He is a truly amazing teacher and person.

Yogabeats

Desa Seni

A slice of heaven on earth at this paradise escape in Bali. Desa Seni is a year round wellness and yoga centre where guests stay in interior designed antique wooden joglos and eat organic vegetarian food grown in the gardens which surround the studios. The good vibes from the yoga and meditation classes also help the fruit and vegetables to grow.

I attended a powerful Satori Breathwork training retreat here, run by Dawn Delgado & Beau Robb of  Transformation Vacations

Desa Seni

PachaMama

Located deep in the jungles of Costa Rica, PachaMama is an Eco community setup by an Israeli Guru turned wildlife photographer named Tyohar. All sorts of wellness and yoga retreats happen here year round, the most popular being the cleansing, fasting and vision quest experiences. Community ground rules include one that all residents must gather to sit in silence in the great hall for one hour each day. This place is a jungle utopia for the inner Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, built entirely by it’s residents who also have their own school for the community children and their own monetary currency.

Pacha-Mama

Blue Spirit

A luxurious place to restore and unwind. All sorts of interesting wellness retreats are run here year round on a quiet beach in the un-touristy Nosara area. There are some great surf spots nearby and the yoga studio has one of the best possible views I have ever seen whilst meditating. It is an extension of the Omega Institute in the U.S so many of it’s retreats are linked to the Omega teachers and teachings.

Blue Spirit

Sacred Circularities

Jaguar Mary is a world traveller who runs these empowering hula hoop retreats in Sedona and in Bali. These weeklong retreats are focused on intention setting and workshops to expand dance and hooping techniques. I attended as a hooping novice and left that week with new friends, a fit body, trim waistline and surprisingly strong hooping skills.

Photo by Cadencia Photography
Photo by Cadencia Photography

Jungle Yoga

This place is so incredible, I almost do not want to share it! It was the most beautiful and powerful place I have ever visited and a magical weeklong retreat with world famous Yogi, Shaman and Singer/Song-writer Danny Paradise. After a one hour boat journey deep into a National Park you find a cluster of floating bamboo glam shacks and one large floating yoga studio.

We spent a blissful week practising and learning from Danny’s years of experience for 4 hours everyday and the rest of the time was filled swimming the huge lake, canoeing and observing the abundant wildlife. Every evening we had a musical jam led by Danny, with other talented (and famous) musical guests joining in too. I returned from this retreat the strongest and fittest I have ever felt in my life and still dream about it, hoping to return there one day.

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Lotus Yoga

A beautiful collection of simple tree-houses open to the surrounding nature yet offering complete privacy whilst decorated with beautiful antique Indian furniture. It is set inland from the quiet clean beaches of Patnem, Goa. Yoga is offered every morning and some evenings as well as a daily range of Ayurvedic and other healing modalities and the organic vegetarian food is delicious.

hut

The Findhorn Foundation

Findhorn is a world famous eco village and model of sustainability. Retreats and courses run all year at their Cluny College Campus and almost every week there is an “Experience Week” where visitors can get stuck into community life working in the gardens, the kitchens and care for the eco homes and Castle-like Cluny campus. It is a life changing experience and a very healing place. Many people who go there end up deciding to stay for years because they feel so happy and at peace there.

I trained as a “Sacred Dance” teacher there for a few months and loved it. I have returned several times since then to unwind and recharge and also for the annual Festival of Sacred Dance.

Findhorn

Cluny College

 

And here’s a bonus 11th retreat that I am on right now….

Vitala Yoga & Yoga Suite

High up in the Italian Valtellina Alps is an ancient spa town where I am on a family friendly yoga and hiking retreat specifically tailored to Parents and kids. This is run by a Nautropathic Doctor, yoga teacher and studio owner Beatrice Giampaoli and the “perfect Yang to her Yin” studio owner and teacher trainer Yoss Giancarlo Miggiano.

In my research, I found few retreats that welcome and offer comforts and services to help make it a relaxing experience for “Mummy and Babies or Mummy/Parents and Kids”.

I am being so held by the power of these magnetic mountains and have great babysitters organised so I can grab some quality “me time” for restorative yoga, hiking and soaking in the “aqua curativa” ancient healing thermal waters. Naturally, I am in bliss!

Bormio

© Lightening Magazine 2016

Highlight : Mynoo Maryel

MYNOOLIGHTENINGGOOD
What if you woke up one morning to find that your world had completely transformed?  Imagine that everything you once believed in simply makes no sense anymore: your luxurious life, your successful career, your loving partner — all of it now feels like a never-ending dream that you’ve somehow been trapped in. It’s as if you’ve been desperately trying to wake up, to swim to the surface of the water, and just cannot break through. The dream, which had originally looked as though it would be comfortable and appealing, has now become a monotonous, endless nightmare. And then, as if by magic, the ground opens, and… a hole appears. You can take the plunge and escape, not knowing where your leap will lead. Or you can choose to remain stuck in the comfortable nightmare, in familiar territory.   

This happened to me, in London. Like Alice I chose to go into Wonderland, down the rabbit hole, diving deep into my inner world. I didn’t know whether or where, when or how I would emerge on the other side (or even who would emerge). And by choosing to leap I embarked on the most thrilling, enchanting, challenging, expanding, romantic adventure I could possibly imagine. It has been and continues to be the adventure of a lifetime.

My personal spiritual journey has been full of its own dynamic twists and turns. It began in Bali, where I reconnected with my Source, my unique mastery; this is the essence of who I am and what I bring to the world.  Each of us has this mastery. My own journey has enabled me to create my 7 pillars to living an extraordinary life with ease, grace and joy, where all aspects of my life can, and do, coexist.

Putting these pillars into practice, my physical world changed dramatically. I was drawn to the ancient rocks and expansive skies of Western Australia.  This in turn connected me to the spirits of nature and to the Milky Way galaxy.  The kangaroos, emus, dolphins, mongoose, spiders, snakes and sharks, all of them became my teachers.  I started communicating with the beings of the animal and plant kingdoms and began writing down the wisdom that started to flow through me. The hardiness of the Australian bush and the deep blue oceans supported me, and gave me the courage to implement what I’d received through my writings, applying the lessons in my own life.

I understood that we are all magnificent beings in human disguise and that it is the human disguise that gets fractured (not the human being). All we have to do in order to connect to the magnificence in ourselves and in others is to embrace those fractures unconditionally.

In my rabbit hole, I shaved my head, was headhunted to lead a global women’s network in the USA and returned to Bali via Mount Shasta in California, knowing that I was ready to receive and bring into fruition the calling of my soul.   

It was on Mount Shasta, on 11/11/11, that I was gifted a surprising entry into the metaphysical world of ascended masters (a world of which I was completely unaware at the time). It is a world that is now as real to me as the swimming pool I am looking at as I write these words. St. Germain, Swami Yogananda, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Mother Theresa, the many Archangels and many, many other energies became regular visitors to my meditations and shared a whole new depth of wisdom with me. They gave me the practical processes, steps and actions to take to transform, heal and release all that is no longer in service to our highest good.  

My health transformed within a very short time. Parasites were gone, thyroid function returned to normal, irregular heartbeats normalized, high blood pressure was no longer an issue, type 2 diabetes disappeared, hormonal imbalance normalized and all other related disorders settled down.

I received a series of practices, meditations and vibration recalibration games that brought my world into alignment.

When I arrived in Bali along with my entourage of friends, guides and mentors from the metaphysical world, I received the mission of my soul. It is: “To expect and accept miracles, and to have them become the norm.”  I also received that a miracle is when something beautiful occurs that makes my heart sing. 

As I remained true to my Source, implementing the calling of my soul, I entered my own Palace of Extraordinary Miracles, The PoEM.  Miracles take place with the click of a finger, in the blink of an eye — that is the divine blessing I experience now. The miracles are there, in each moment. 

Now is the time to complete all that heals the past, because what is required as the planet activates into its new planetary grid has different frequencies, different healing vibrations and different resonances that werent available or accessible to us before.

As healers, weve already stepped into the calling of our souls, to play our part in the healing of humanity, of the beings on this planet, and of the planet itself. And weve done it, it has been achieved, mission accomplished! The planet is now in its new frequency. And that new frequency now requires that we shut off any attachment to the ways we knew.

So my invitation is to begin with your own self-healing, releasing yourself from attachments, reclaiming your original intention for becoming a healer in the first place, and stepping forth with a resolve to provide your unique capacity to heal, recalibrate and retune.

Weve moved for the first time into the energies of the New Earth. Weve shifted from the energies of command, control and competition into the 2016 vibrations of collaboration, cooperation, co-creation, coexistence, certainty, choice and charm. I invite you to leap up onto your surfboard and ride this wave! And I willingly and openly make myself available to support you, with grace and in collaboration with masters from this plane and beyond.

* * *

For Lightening readers interested in accelerating their completions of the past and catching this New Earth energy wave to ride it all the way through, I offer a Clearing the Way session that may serve you well. More at http://bit.ly/mmsweetrelief and http://www.mynoomaryel.com

MYNOO

About Mynoo Maryel

Formerly a high-flying executive and pragmatic serial entrepreneur in Europe, Asia and Australia, beginning in 2010 Mynoo Maryel (fka Mynoo Blackbyrn) experienced a series of spiritual awakenings and connected with the true mission of her soul. She entered periods of silence, during which what she now calls “downloads” — profound wisdom about restoring miracles, childlike wonder and sublime well-being to our lives — were revealed to her. She then undertook for herself what has now become The Journey Into Miracles(sm), actively applied the received wisdom to her own life and transformed, almost beyond recognition. Her own inner guidance has become her guru and guidestar, and her Journeys, for herself and with others, have been expanding ever since.

Mynoo is now the founder and visionary for The PoEM (The Palace of Extraordinary Miracles), a movement dedicated to making miracles the new norm. The PoEM’s initiatives include transformational media, vitality and wellness programming, lifestyle products and services and eco-luxury resort and retreat development.

 It is Mynoo’s great joy to share what she has learned with the world, inspiring others to discover and refine their own inner guidance and trust that it is their best teacher ever, the “guru” they have long been waiting for. That trust in turn opens the way to a life full of miracles — those beautiful and awe-inspiring experiences that make our hearts sing, fill us with gratitude, and bring us truly alive.

http://www.mynoomaryel.com

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxhp7VtiwuFoMs2nSqZdhKA

http://www.poemresorts.com

© Lightening Magazine 2016

Highlight : Anthony Abbagnano

lighteningmagcover1

A 13 month-old toddler wobbles towards the side of the road, just as a car approaches. “Toby! Stop!” his mother screams as she runs towards him. In that moment before he breaks into tears, the child freezes, his breath trapped in his chest. It’s a moment his being will never forget.

Each trauma we experience makes us contract, the reaction becoming a habit until as adults we become used to denying our body a full and free breath. Even a small rise in tension is enough to make it short and incomplete. Yet our breath is our most important bodily function. Without it we are brain dead in just ten minutes. In fact our brain consumes as much as 20-25% of our oxygen intake, and over the last 200 years, since the industrial revolution, we have steadily diminished the supply due to pollution, lack of exercise, and living in closed, air-conditioned environments. Our air quality has become so bad that in hospitals, the very place where health should be protected and restored, we now contract mysterious illnesses we have never seen before due to the lack of plain old ‘fresh air’.

The truth is, Breath is the greatest gift we never received.

My life is a joy because I travel the world and teach The Alchemy of Breath. Day after day I witness what happens for those who are prepared to explore the simple practice of breathing consciously. I have seen lives change direction in a day, marriages revived, addictions abandoned and depression defeated. What is it about conscious breathing that makes life change so quickly?

I believe it to be information. When we breathe consciously, its not just the oxygen supply we increase, it’s also what comes with it. There are three ways that conscious breathing can make a difference to our health; physical, psychic, and spiritual.

Let us start with the physical body. The more we research oxygen, the more we become aware of its benefits. Many diseases cannot survive in an oxygenated environment. Recovery time from serious surgery has been cut enormously by using simple conscious breathing practices. Likewise, we are developing diagnostic techniques that use the breath as the information source. Cancer can be detected in the exhale, imminent heart attack can be revealed by breath analysis, and of course for those who drink and drive, they are well aware that alcohol levels have been easily determined by examination of the exhale for over 50 years! Diagnosis as a whole is set to change over the next 5 years as a result of the understanding the Breath. It will become instant and non-invasive, as the information required is already there, in our exhale.

Google ‘breath’ and ‘detox’ and see the myriad of information about how to use the Breath for cleansing the system!

If we consider our psyche, and the example I used at the top of this article, we have found that by using the Breath we can release trauma that has been embedded in the body for a life time.  The ‘freeze, flight or fight’ reaction to traumatic impact embeds or archives the event in our body and our psyche. The loss of breath associated with trauma ensures that the memory is stuck deep inside our awareness, and thus we are easily ‘triggered’ or re-minded of the trauma in later life by outside circumstances. In order to make life more bearable, we develop coping systems that protect us from the fear of aggression or trauma, and these systems then become the shell or the shield we hide behind for safety. We lose our self-confidence and freedom of expression. Our relationship with the unknown becomes fearful, and we learn to accept a life with limited potential. We may idealise hero’s and celebrities on the outside, but inside we are dominated by limiting core beliefs that tell us we are not good enough, we don’t deserve love, or we do not belong.

The simple act of breathing consciously shows us a different story. Each free and full breath opens the veils of protection, strengthens our trust in the beauty of life, and restores our self-belief.

After one breathing session an elder woman came up to me with tears in her eyes: “My husband,” she said. “For the first time in twenty-five years he told me he loves me!”

Now if we consider the Breath in a spiritual context, let us look at the word ‘inspire’, the origins of which are to imbibe spirit (in-spirit). The dictionary of etymology (or word origins) tells us c. 1300, “immediate influence of God or a god.

For those who are greedy for spiritual uplift, Breathwork is an instant way to import information from the higher realms. As we learn to breath openly and fully, keeping each cycle of breath connected to the next, we breath into new levels of trust. Once the obstacles of trauma and the mind are out of the way, and with a regular breathing practice, this new spiritual access becomes embodied, providing us with a very clear understanding that we are spiritual beings above all, and even though our journey on this material planet may be challenging at times, by simply using the Breath we can reconnect and re-pair with our true purpose.

What seemed like problems in the past take an entirely new perspective. The trauma that has limited our lives is dissolved, and we are permitted unlimited spiritual alertness. Many times after a Breathwork session I am told “I finally understand what God is.” Or, “Now I know God is everywhere, as inside as outside.” Our connection to the divine is re-stored, and we are gifted with the knowing that duality is but an illusion after all. The inner peace that comes with this awareness is a salve to the soul.

I have identified here the three levels of the breath, how it reaches our deepest subconscious through our physical body, and connects us with the higher realms. When these three levels are connected and aligned, miracles are normal. Just as when our chakra are aligned, instant healing takes place, and permanent insights replace the impermanent concepts and notions we have clung to in the past – revealed as mere illusions that have limited our relationship with life itself.

In The Training, a one year journey with The Alchemy of Breath, we focus not just on the experiential value of a Breathwork Session, but also on what happens between the sessions. How can we best integrate this new awareness into our daily lives? We use inquiry, Alchemy Meditation, exercises, and group support to unravel the tight knots we have learned to carry inside, and dismantle the old and rusty architecture that has held us back in life. The Training is also designed to bring the student to Practitioner level, and can be supplemented to become a Trainer as well. But perhaps most important of all is the understanding that we cannot provide Healing for someone else. We can only work on ourselves, and by accepting this as our truth, then we can be alongside others in their healing journey, enabling and supporting them in their own empowerment, reassuring them that our presence cannot be shaken. Healing is not just a process but a state of being, each moment offering us the choice to renew and regenerate.

My own journey to breathwork was sequential, beginning as a young man. I remember as a ten year old, when a friend handed me a paper bag and said “Breathe into that for a minute, deep long breaths.” I did as I was told and in seconds I had collapsed and ‘saw stars’. I became a father at 18 years old, and learned and coached my wife in the LeBoyer technique over the pregnancy, which contributed to a painless natural birth of my son. Over the ensuing years I explored many breath practices, including Pranayama, Sufi Breathing, Holotropic Breathwork and Rebirthing.

But it was a near death experience that finally strung all these experiences together, when I lay in bed for three months in the paralysis of pain. Breathing was all that was left. My mind sought escape. What must I learn to end the hell?  But it was the Breath that gave me the support I needed to let everything fall to pieces, all the ideas and constructs of who I thought I was. I saw the emptiness inside the success I had achieved, and I learned to turn around to look at what I feared most in my life. By finding the dark hole in the centre of my fear – not with steeliness or resolve, but with softness and surrender – I had found a portal. What seemed the end became a new beginning, and the richness of life that I had never yet seen was shown to me.

Then I knew what I had to do.

Each inhale is the embrace of life, and each exhale is the letting go. Each inhale is an opportunity to absorb the new, and each exhale the chance to let go of what no longer serves us. There was no way I could refuse the call, and even today as I facilitate groups of up to 200 people, it is easy to see those who are called to be facilitators. There is no greater gift than to bear witness to the transformation of the human soul. If you feel the call, then you are called.

We can be the change we want to see, one breath at a time.

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Anthony Abbagnano is the founder of The Community of Healing, an international organisation that promotes the union of Western medicine with all other healing modalitiesHe is also the founder of the ARK foundation in Bali Indonesia, a centre dedicated to community health and growth of consciousness. With 8 years of personal daily breathing practice, Antonio has explored many different styles of the breath, including LeBoyer, Holotropic, Transformational, Sufi Breathing, and Pranayama.
As a result of his own healing journey, including the survival and transformation from a near death health crisis, Anthony holds tender space for the depth some need in their own healing path as well as supporting the celebration of joy and ecstasy that a breathwork practice promotes. Now a Clarity Breathwork practitioner, Anthony brings his life experiences of Motivational Speaking, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Bodytalk™ Therapy, Conscious Loving and Conscious Living Life Coaching (Hendricks Institute) to the practice. He also incorporates Sound Medicine and Aromatherapy into his Breathwork practice.
Living in Europe during the summer months and on the island of Bali the rest of the year, Anthony has created The Alchemy of Breath group workshops and private sessions.
Anthony will be offering Alchemy of Breath workshops at The Bali Spirit Festival on April 1st 2016. Alchemy of Breath Video

For more information about international online and residential trainings and a free accompanied Alchemy of Breath session that you can use at home on your own, contact Anthony Abbagnano info@alchemyofbreath.com

The Alchemy of Breath is a member of The Community of Healing.

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© Lightening Magazine 2016