At a time when everyone could do with some rest and relaxation, yoga retreats are a popular short break option. There is something to suit everyone, from the very high end to one-day workshops that will reset body and mind. Some have stunning locations, some are known for their food, and all have your wellbeing at heart.
Nestled in the heart of the MacGillycuddy Reeks district, Aloha House is a tranquil, holistic retreat centre and guest house. Their retreats are inspiring and relaxing and are good for experienced yogis and those that are simply looking for rest and restoration.
Its August 2022 retreat starts from €360 and features three yoga or Pilates classes, sound healing, Kambal meditation and healthy vegetarian meals. There are massage and reflexology treatments available too at an additional cost.
This is surely one of the most stunning retreat centres in the country. Your yoga practice takes place in a studio with huge glass windows that make you feel as though you’re suspended over the cliffs. Retreat accommodation is in a beautifully restored 19th-century farmhouse and the vegetarian meals are both nutritious and delicious.
Summer midweek retreats start at around €600 for two days of yoga, meditation, beautiful views, food and pure relaxation.
This tranquil lodge, nestled in the green hills close to New Ross, is the perfect destination to retreat to for relaxation and wellness. The modern accommodation is media-free, so you can enjoy a break from technology, and they offer retreats year-round.
Breaks generally start from around €400 and include accommodation, meals, classes and activities. The Creacon’s Zen retreat runs during May and June and includes meditation, yoga, sound healing and delicious, nutritious meals from their ‘Food is Medicine’ programme.
The purpose-built retreat space is located in the Drombane hills, outside Thurles and offers a variety of weekend programmes, residential retreats and customised personal retreats.
The emphasis is very much on the yoga here and two-day weekend retreats are €100, with accommodation in the house extra, though very reasonable. There is a focus on deep relaxation and developing awareness in the tradition of the Bihar School of Yoga, India.
If you’re time-poor but would still love to relax and unwind, a one-day retreat is perfect for you.
On July 24, Yoga West Cork is running a day of yoga, Somatics and meditation. Taking place in Timoleague, the retreat costs €95 and includes a vegetarian lunch.
If yoga isn’t for you but you would still like to go on a retreat, Dzogchen Beara is a Buddhist centre with retreats for anyone looking to reset their mind and body. The centre is set high up on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and runs various courses throughout the year.
Though there is self-catering accommodation on site, it is limited but there are plenty of local options nearby. Courses generally start at around €270 but Dzogchen Beara has a policy of not turning anyone away for financial reasons and is happy to discuss flexible payment options or donations from their retreat fund. Courses include vegetarian lunches and light evening meals, and accommodation is extra.
Picking the right course for you can be tricky. Elena Romero from Practiceyoga.ie shares her guide to knowing what retreat is the one for you.
1. The type of experience you want
Work out what type of retreat you need. Do you want a luxury break with a little yoga, or do you want a full weekend of practice with nourishing food, no alcohol and time to reflect? There are a lot of offerings on the market, so you need to decide that first.
2. The level of yoga
Think about what kind of yoga you want to practice. Different retreats offer different styles and it’s important to choose one you are familiar with and enjoy.
3. The length
I like something that is a minimum of three days so that you get the chance to immerse yourself fully, but you should choose the option that’s right for the amount of time you have. The longer retreats are really restorative if that is what you need.
4. The schedule
I don’t want to be micromanaged, but I don’t want to be left with too much time on my own. When searching for a course, I suggest you consider other activities around the yoga practice.
5. Food and drink
A retreat should nourish the body and mind, so look for good, wholesome food.
There are retreats to suit every purse so work out what’s important to you. If you like a little luxury while you rebalance and can afford it, that’s great, but some people like a simpler approach that focuses on yoga and is a more price-friendly option.
Meeting lots of people consumes a lot of energy, so I prefer a retreat with smaller numbers. Ten or 15 people is fine, but more than that can feel like a school holiday.