Top 6 autumn yoga retreats in the US

Today marks the International Day of Yoga, and what better way to celebrate than with a yoga holiday. We've discovered the best trips to take in the US this autumn, with endless impressive scenery to help with your 'om'
Yoga on the lake
Yoga on the lake

Fall is the perfect time of year to take yourself on a yoga retreat: those clear blue skies, beautiful red and gold leaves and crisp breezes make it easy to unwind

In Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the autumn is thought to be an important time to take stock of what’s going on in your life, release stress and prepare for the winter. With that in mind, our round-up features the best yoga retreats in the US, ranging from the wide open skies of Montana to the breathtaking California coastline.

1. Big Sky Yoga Retreats, Montana

See for yourself why the great American novelist John Steinbeck wrote, “I’m in love with Montana.” The aptly-named Big Sky region provides a truly epic setting for these restoring retreats, where you can unwind amid mountainous meadows, roaring waterfalls, glacial lakes and pine forests. Big Sky offers relaxing, ranch-based retreats that focus on yoga but can include a range of outdoor fitness activities, from hiking to horseback riding. Suitable for all levels, from yogi pros to those new to the mat.  

Want to take a spa, health or wellness holiday? Let the Insight Guides experts plan your trip

Big Sky Yoga Retreats

2. Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

Perched on the stunning California coastline at Big Sur, Esalen is a true one-off, connected to the likes of Joan Baez, Aldous Huxley and Joseph Campbell (it’s also the place where Mad Men’s Don Draper found yoga). With a whole host of yoga and holistic education workshops available, you’re free to find your own adventure in this area of breathtaking natural beauty.

Workshops range in length, running from three to five days, as well as subject. Choose a style of yoga to focus on, like Power Vinyasa, or combine with another interest, such as Creative Writing. 

Take Insight Guides: California with you on your adventure

Esalen Institute

3. Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Stockbridge, MA  

Founded in the 80s, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health has developed into the largest and best-established retreat center for yoga, health, and holistic living in North America. Retreats available are suitable for all levels of experience and fitness, and cover all yoga traditions and styles. Plus, the center focuses on more than just yoga with programmes focusing on wellness, meditation, nutrition and more available too. 

Visitors can sign-up to Kripalu's signature R&R Retreat, a customised stay including an adjustable schedule of classes, outdoor activities and personal time. Alternatively, take on a specific topic of interest for your programme: take your pick from yoga, health and wellness, spiritual practice, personal growth, and creativity.

Set in New England's beautiful wooded Berkshires, the location adds to the peaceful atmosphere. 

How to get your 'om' on: Top 6 airports with yoga rooms

Kripalu Center for Yoga and & Health landscape

4. Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Rhinebeck, NY

Omega is located on 250 sprawling acres in Rhinebeck, NY, with further programs located in California, Costa Rica and New York City. Wellness vacations focusing on yoga are available year-round for all levels of experience, however, the center's offering includes more than 350 workshops retreats and conferences ever year. It's safe to say, there's something for everyone here. Workshops are featured in one of six categories: body, mind, and spirit; health and healing; relationships and family; creative expression; leadership and work; and sustainable living. Simply pick and choose the right retreat for you. 

Insight Guides can help you plan a restoring and relaxing wellness vacation. Request a trip online now 

Omega Center

5. Shambhala Mountain Center, Colorado

The stunning mountains of the Colorado Rockies provide a suitably still and vast setting in which to go deeper into your yoga and meditation practice at Shambhala Mountain Center. Wander down wilderness trails, take a group practice session or just soak up your surroundings at this peaceful haven.

Founded in 1971 by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the center now offers over 100 different programmes per year, so all levels and interests are catered for. Ensuring all budgets are catered for too, accommodation ranges from private lodge rooms, shared dormitories and idyllic wooded-campsites.

Practical advice and a wealth of inspiration: Don't forget your copy of Insight Guides: Colorado

Shambhala Mountain Center

6. White Lotus, San Marcos Pass, Santa Barbara

Overlooking the pretty city of Santa Barbara, California and the Pacific Ocean, White Lotus is set in a canyon, bordered by San Jose creek – which means there are plenty of beautiful, secluded spots for meditation, walking and swimming. Running over a long weekend, both the Labor Day and Thanksgiving retreats are focused on relaxing, restoring and reinvigorating retreats. As well as classes, discussions, and healthy food, take the time to soak in the hot tub, indulge in a massage, hike in the beautiful surroundings or simply take a nap. Led by well-established teachers, the sessions cater for both professional trainers down to beginners, ensuring each participant is pushed to their peak.

Photo: VectorLifestylepic/Shutterstock

Looking for more trip inspiration?

Take an alternative trip: Where to travel in September, October and November

Leaf-peeping galore: 8 gorgeous places to take in the fall foliage

20 unmissable destinations for 2016 

It's not too late to travel this summer: 9 last-minute holiday destinations 

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  • Vita

    By Ana B. Date: 17 Apr 2016

    I had an assumption that the most beautiful yoga retreats are located only in California. I guess that notion comes from the famous California weather and gorgeous beaches. However, some of your suggestions prove otherwise. I am especially taken by Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado and Big Sky Yoga Retreats in Montana. The scenery looks amazing and I am sure that going on a yoga retreat there can bring a positive change since we are all used to island yoga retreats.

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