I’ve long been dreaming of indulging in a nourishing, soul-expanding yoga retreat---especially as I sit here watching a grey Minnesota winter day pass by, waiting to see what time the snow storm is going to hit.

Perhaps you, too, have been thinking of treating yourself to a retreat for years and years, but haven’t the time or budget to do so. Has the time finally come? Are you ready and willing to have that experience you just know in your heart of hearts will be life-changing?

Rather than travel for travel’s sake, (although, that’s good, too), why not travel to a yoga retreat? You’ll not only get a much-needed vacation, you’ll also have the opportunity to dive deeper into your yoga practice, make like-minded friends from across the globe, and maybe even transform your life in ways you never thought were possible.

To help kick off your travel planning, here are three yoga retreats you'll want to add to your itinerary.

Lumeria, Maui, Hawaii

Lumeria Maui

In all of my travels, the best place (in my humble opinion) for a yoga retreat is on one of the Hawaiian islands. I lived on the big island of Hawaii for nine months and practiced weekly yoga at the Paleaku Peace Gardens in Captain Cook. It was the most enchanting place I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking a yoga class. Hooda, my instructor, along with the blissed-out group of students, made for a truly loving and welcoming experience.

While I’ve never been to a formal yoga retreat in Hawaii, it’s as if everyday is like a retreat here. The islands are brimming with spiritual energy like no other place I’ve ever been. That said, the yoga retreat center of my dreams is Lumeria. It’s located on the north shore of the island of Maui, in the small town of Makawao.

At Lumeria, you can take part in daily classes of yoga asana, meditation, Hawaiian culture, movement, ecology and what they call "new thought." The grounds are stunningly Hawaiian and rustic, and the accommodations "zen-fully" elegant. The food comes straight from the farm, so you’ll be eating fabulous farm-to-table cuisine, and have the beauty that is Maui at your fingertips to explore. If you’d like to experience one of the best yoga vacations on the planet, I would say Lumeria is a great choice.

Nihi Sumba Island, Sumba, Indonesia

Nihi Sumba Island

Nihi Sumba Island is one of the most exotic yoga spa resorts on the planet. Imagine taking a 90-minute hike through a lush southeast Asian jungle only to find a private spa hut waiting for you where you’ll enjoy whatever spa treatment you desire. This is what’s referred to as a "spa safari." It’s the ultimate marriage of nature, wellness and the exotic. You can also enjoy spa treatments in the comfort of your hotel room, in a jungle hut or on the beach.

Your yoga retreat here is a true sanctuary, as you’re surrounded by 567 acres of raw wilderness. Imagine taking your yoga classes with panoramic views of blissful blue ocean and green lush wilderness all around you. Wellness classes on Sumba Island include Hatha, Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Pilates and meditation — all styles are covered. Additional fitness classes, like "The Sumba Method" and "Bikini Fit," are also offered daily. You can even treat yourself to a workshop or private lesson — all with the beauty of nature enveloping and nourishing your spirit.

This "ruggedly luxurious destination" was named the number one hotel in the world by "Travel and Leisure" magazine in 2016. If you choose this resort as your once-in-a-lifetime yoga retreat experience, you will not be disappointed. It will no doubt be one of the most transformational travel and yoga experiences of your life!

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Red Mountain Resort, Utah, United States

Red Mountain Resort

If a drier, mountainous landscape speaks more to your soul, look no further than the Red Mountain Resort in Utah. This one’s much closer to home for North American yogis and yoginis, so it won’t take as much of a toll on your bank account.

(For an even more wallet-friendly option minus the spa treatments, try The Yogi's 'Staycation': 5 Steps to Turn Your Home Into an Ashram.)

Red Mountain Resort is tucked into the canyons and red cliffs of Utah, providing a peacefully earthy experience for the dedicated yoga guy or gal. All the usual blissful spa treatments are offered here, and of course you’ll have your pick of wellness activities: hiking, mountain biking, fitness classes and, of course, yoga classes!

Accommodations here are cozy, with gas fireplaces, luxurious soaking tubs and private balconies to enjoy the rustic views. Food is healthy and hearty, and cooking classes are available for the gourmet health-conscious cook. The resort offers up all kinds of wellness retreat packages. So, if you want to overhaul your health regimen while soaking up the glorious, earthy scenery, this just might be the perfect retreat destination for you.

Blessed Voyage

No matter where you go, your yoga retreat travels are a blessing. If you’re even considering a yoga retreat, you’re amongst the wealthiest, healthiest of humans on the planet. So, always be grateful for the opportunity to evolve and travel in this precious lifetime. The yoga world is your oyster. Have fun and share the love!

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