Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Top California Yoga Retreats

Top California Yoga Retreats
These unbelievable resorts offer the perfect serene getaway for yoga, meditation, and relaxation

If your desire is to improve your yoga practice and recharge in a beautiful place, California offers some world-class options any time of year. Here is a half-dozen picks, listed south to north, for luxurious getaways that deliver wellness benefits that linger long after check-out.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Rancho Santa Fe

This five-star, five-diamond property in San Diego County’s tony Rancho Santa Fe amounts to a perfect 10 on the serenity scale. The Mediterranean-inspired resort is nestled on 45 acres of peaceful gardens and olive groves just a few miles from the Pacific, and The Spa at Rancho Valencia has set the bar for luxury wellness retreats. Whether you drop in for a yoga class (at the aptly named Serenity Yoga Pavilion) or come for one of the resort’s renowned workshops or multiday wellness retreats, you’ll be treated to thoughtful, first-class service—like a just-pressed juice elixir placed in your hand at the end of class. Our perfect day: Start the morning with a Yoga Flow session then head out for an exploratory nature walk with panoramic ocean views; dine on fresh, organic fare at the new poolside bar, Rein; then visit the spa for a restorative 90-minute Elemental Massage.

The Pearl Laguna

Laguna Beach

At this Laguna Beach luxury retreat property, the foundational belief is that transformative, positive change can be found through one approach: an immersion in yoga and nature. Nestled near the ocean in Laguna Canyon, this sanctuary accommodates just 14 guests at a time (for weeklong visits), which makes for a more intimate, personalized stay. Each day is bookended by yoga sessions—an invigorating Power Yoga in the morning and evening Flow Yoga to stretch and unwind—and meditative practices (breathing exercises, tai chi and chakra healing). Guests also venture out daily for a three-hour guided hike exploring some of the coastal canyon’s 20,000 acres of open space. (Tired bodies are rewarded with a daily therapeutic massage.) An organic, cleansing cuisine is also core to The Pearl Laguna retreat experience, and guests dine on a completely vegetarian menu that includes healing teas, juices, and broths.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Ojai

About 80 miles north of Los Angeles (and roughly 15 miles from the ocean), this historic luxury resort sits in a valley that has been believed by many throughout the years to be an energetic hotspot, or “vortex,” that holds mystical powers. Whether you believe in the Ojai vortex, or not, you’ll marvel at how the sun casts a pink glow on the surrounding mountains at sunset and the peacefulness you’ll feel entering this charming enclave with a creative spirit. Yogis have their pick from a robust class schedule that spans the style spectrum, from Gentle Yoga, which is more of a meditation with stretches, to Yoga Sculpt, which uses resistance and weights as you move through the postures. Guests can also head to Meditation Mount, a meditation center with sweeping views of Ojai Valley, for sunrise and full-moon yoga. This resort also offers some rare mind-body wellness experiences, like Kuyam, a treatment that combines the therapeutic effects of intense dry heat, self-applied desert clays, and inhalation therapy. There is also a Somadome pod, which involves light and sound therapy during a truly unique 20-minute meditation session that promotes mind and body alignment.

Bacara Resort & Spa

Goleta

This posh resort, which sits on 78 acres of oceanfront property just north of Santa Barbara, has Wellness Choreographers who will design your stay itinerary to make sure you’re getting the most benefit from the varied health and fitness classes. Take your practice outside for Beachside Yoga, where you’ll breathe in the fresh ocean air and soak in the ample sunshine. If you want to boost mental focus, the resort’s Yoga Integration Training class is designed to align the brain with the body by encouraging mindfulness and meditation. A visit to the renowned, 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center should also be on the docket. Try the Herbal Bolus Body Ritual—a compressed, heated ball of locally sourced organic herbs and salts used to soothe muscles and joints “to open the flow of energy, creating a healthier mind-body connection.”

Post Ranch Inn

Big Sur

Currently, the only way to get to Post Ranch Inn is via helicopter from Monterey (due to recent mudslides that have caused road closures on Highway 1) but the temporary remoteness only adds to the off-the-grid experience. Visitors are encouraged to completely unplug, and there are no TVs or alarm clocks in the luxury-rustic guest rooms. You won’t want to leave the clifftop infinity-edge spa (there are two), a sublimely peaceful perch to take in the expansive views of the Big Sur coastline. From morning yoga classes in a yurt to afternoon meditative hikes to late-night stargazing (the resort has a high-powered telescope and an in-house astronomer), Zen-inducing activities are abundant. The Post Ranch Inn Spa offers a variety of holistic body treatments focused on restoring balance and health, as well as “intuitive healing arts” services—meet with a shaman or experience a fire ceremony and other energy clearing and balancing rituals.

The Coast Ridge

San Francisco Bay Area

At this retreat near San Francisco, meditation takes the form of sunrise yoga and long hikes along the rugged coastline through redwood groves and along coastal trails. There are a variety of fitness classes (with elements of yoga incorporated into all), and each day includes a relaxing massage and ends with restorative yoga. Learning how to follow a diet of whole foods is a big focus here, and the retreat chef whips up detoxifying yet delicious vegetarian meals using organic, seasonal ingredients sourced locally. Attendees of the four-day Reboot stay in The Coast Ridge’s secluded estate, which overlooks Stinson Beach.

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