Keeping the Yoga Retreat Alive During a Pandemic | By Lisa Blake

Craving a retreat but still want to honor social distancing recommendations and steer clear of the novel Coronavirus? You’re not alone.

A nod to this deep need for cup-filling self care, Anahata Yoga recently announced a three-day camping yoga retreat ($295) from August 30 to September 1, 2020 along the banks of the Colorado River that quickly sold out at 30 guests.

Photo Credit: Anahata Yoga

Owner Chelsea Winters believes offering these mini getaways is crucial for mental health. “Right now we are seeking connection and positive vibes and this is offering that, while still maintaining social distancing,” she says.

In Spring of 2021, Winters will take 25 guests on a Haramara Radiance Retreat (starting at $1,575) near Sayulita, Mexico. Everything from the retreat’s private cabanas and bathrooms to the yoga shalas and dining room are open air, reducing the likelihood of coming into contact with germs and, hopefully, easing COVID-19 concerns. It’s half booked already — a clear sign the collective retreat desire is holding strong.

Announcing soft retreat dates with outdoor offerings and private bungalows, or camping-style accommodations along with flexible cancellation policies, is emerging as the yoga world’s answer to COVID-19.

Frisco-based Well Fit Human Retreats postponed its Belize fitness and wellness retreat in May and, with travel restrictions and mandatory self-quarantine measures in place, anticipates shifting an October 2020 Croatia retreat to a fall Colorado social-distanced glamping experience October 4 to 8 at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa ($3,500).

Founder Wendy Yates is hopeful for 2021, mapping out a retreat menu that includes Montenegro, Bali and open-air treehouse stays in the Dominican Republic. Yates notes human and environmental safety as top priority in designing lifestyle travel, a term she’s coined to describe her retreats centered around positive humanitarian impact, personal development and fitness.

“The pandemic is a challenge, but who are you going to choose to be on the other side of it?” she says. “We can still do so much and do it in a safe way that doesn’t stop our personal growth.” In July, Well Fit Human announced a single-day August 28 mountain retreat experience that is swiftly filling up. The Frisco Paddle Talk ($59) meet-up takes 12 guests on paddle boards and kayaks to an island on Dillon Reservoir to connect, workout and enjoy a personal development coaching session followed by a catered prepackaged lunch, intentional conversation and volunteer time on the beach packing food bags for children in need.

For YogaKoh creator Jolie Manza — Gwyneth Paltrow’s former live-in personal trainer — it’s all about “reclaiming your 2020” through the healing power of nature. Manza’s international retreat company recently revealed the return of its Yoga x Wellness Retreat (starting at $2,150) September 30 to October 5, 2020 at Dancing Spirit Ranch in Whitefish, Montana. The experience offers free onsite parking and access to nearby Glacier National Park, appealing to two COVID-induced trends: road trips and park visits.

Photo Credit: YogaKoh

“We strongly believe in the power of in-person experiences and have found that most others feel the same, so this is something that we are not willing to let go of,” Manza says, pointing to amplified sanitizing practices and a list of guest requirements that include self-isolating two weeks prior to joining a YogaKoh retreat.

“What we are offering through our retreats is a space to process emotions, fears and hopes and celebrate some of the things we were unable to during these challenging times,” says Manza. “We want people to come away with some coping strategies as well as a newfound community as we move forward day to day.”

Creating a safe space for people to unload, refresh and reload is key, says Emily Danica Steingart, co-founder and owner of GOYO Adventures. The Breckenridge-based retreat group is moving to local and day trip retreats after canceling three May and June trips.

Photo Credit: GOYO Adventures

Organizers crafted a Colorado camping wellness retreat for eight to 15 people from September 18 to 20, 2020 (starting at $450), where guests sleep in personal tents, enjoy cooking classes, social-distanced yoga, optional massages, sound healing and endless hiking and biking.

“I couldn’t think of a more crucial time for wellness, yoga and meditation — a chance to bring your whole nervous system back to balance,” Danica Steingart says. “We will walk aimlessly to free our minds, we will burn the things we no longer need, plant seeds of intention, we will gaze into the darkness to find the light.”

Lisa Blake is a freelance writer living in Breckenridge, specializing in dining, outdoors, ski resorts and wellness. She is happiest on her mountain bike, yoga mat or in a raft with her husband, son and pug. Her work has been featured in Aspen Modern Luxury, Purist, and Find her at

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