There is a growing number of yoga retreats around the world and yet, if you are looking for an Ashtanga yoga retreat, you may notice there aren’t that many. When we focus our attention on Europe in particular, you may find that there are not that many exclusively Ashtanga yoga retreats.
And so this article aims to uncover some beautiful and potentially life-changing Ashtanga yoga retreats around Europe.
Before we move on, let’s have a look at the different types of yoga retreats, so as to have a better idea of what to look out for.
There are generally 3 types of yoga retreats
One teacher retreat
This type of retreat is set up by one person. This person does all or most of the teaching, and so generally one type of yoga is taught.
Many teachers retreat
This type of retreat generally hosts a variety of teachers, and so teachers are invited to teach for a set duration (e.g. 1 week) and so in this type of retreat, you will have a different teacher and type of yoga depending on when you booked to go.
Traveling teacher retreat
This type of retreat follows a teacher who travels to different locations and brings their teaching with them. These teachers may teach in a ‘Many teachers retreat’ or they may teach in locations where retreats don’t normally happen.
A typical example of a ‘many teachers retreat’ is Purple Valley in Goa, India. They host a wide variety of generally well-known teachers and have a focus on Ashtanga yoga. So with this particular example, you know that any time you go, you will get to practice Ashtanga yoga with an experienced teacher.
Ashtanga yoga retreat
The retreats mentioned in this article fall into all categories of yoga retreats. And so if it is an Ashtanga yoga retreat you are looking for, it then becomes a matter of deciding on the country you want to visit and then checking the dates you can travel so you can find out who is teaching on those dates.
It is also worth pointing out in all types of retreats, as a general rule Ashtanga yoga is taught in the morning and then the afternoons generally focus on particular elements of the practice.
If you are still looking for why to go on a yoga retreat, you may find my article interesting: 30 Reasons To Go On A Yoga Retreat
And for those who are new to the yoga retears experience, you may find my other article interesting: 21 Things To Expect At Your First Yoga Retreat & 9 Tips For Beginners
So without further ado, let’s now have a look at my top 7 Ashtanga yoga retreats in Europe.
Finland – Kadermo Conscious Living
Kadermo Conscious Living is a ‘one teacher retreat’ and is actually one of the first Ashtanga yoga retreats in Europe! It was set up in 1994 by Stefan Engström, who is the owner and resident teacher of the Kadermo Yoga Retreat. Teaching generally begins around the middle of June and goes on till the end of August.
As the Kadermo Conscious Living website mentions:
“Kadermo Island offers a unique opportunity to experience yoga in a peaceful, untouched and idyllic surroundings. There are no shops or cars and hardly any other people on the island. During summertime the days are long and the sun barely sets. The retreat is set in a protected oak forest area of the island where some of the oak trees are 300-500 years old.”
People come to this yoga retreat form all over the world. Given its unique setting on a secluded island tucked away in a beautiful part of Finland, you really do get the chance to escape and fully retreat.
Stefan Engström is a wonderfully charismatic teacher with many years of teaching experience. In the mornings he teaches Ashtanga yoga (Led and mostly Mysore style) and in the afternoon he always teaches pranayama and then a variety of topics depending on the schedule of that week:
- Yoga of Presence & Wholeness
- Function & Form
- Yin Yoga
2. Spain – Mysore Yoga Paris
Kia Nedermier is the founder and main teacher at Mysore Yoga Paris. Every summer she travels to Spain, to Sierre Nevada specifically. There she teaches 2 yoga retreat sessions, of 12 days each. This is an example of a ‘traveling teacher retreat’.
As the Mysore Yoga Paris website mentions:
“Join Kia Naddermier for a retreat in the magnificent mountains of the Sierra Nevada to deepen your practice and understanding of yoga as a whole – allowing its subtleties to unfold and blossom.
We open our mornings with Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Style classes, where you receive individual guidance from Kia. Some led classes focused on specific aspects of the practice will also be offered.”
Thanks to her traveling, Kia has a strong following from France, Sweden, Norway, and Scotland. Ticked away in the mountains, you really do get the chance to escape and fully, well, retreat.
Kia Nedermier is a beautiful teacher, inside and out. In the mornings she teaches Ashtanga yoga and in the afternoon she teaches a variety of topics:
- Kriyas (yogic purification techniques)
3. Portugal – Luke Jordan
Every summer, Luke Jordan organizes an Ashtanga Yoga Summer School in Colares, Portugal. This is an example of a ‘traveling teacher retreat’ and one I had heard so much about but did not manage to go to due to the crazy events of 2020! Accommodation and tickets were booked but with a heavy heart, I had to cancel.
Luke Jordan is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher and he practices alongside authorized teacher Sonja Radvila, who is also the author of Young Yogi and the Mind Monsters.
As the Ashtanga Yoga Summer School website mentions:
“This ‘school’ is about much more than the practice of posture, although daily practice does form the central core. We will also delve deeply into the philosophy of yoga through chanting, philosophy, and mythology. Moreover, there will be opportunities to learn Indian Classical Dance, surf, go climbing, take walks in nature and meet others in what has come to be over the years quite a special community.
In offering this school we hope also to provide the space for a coming together as an international community of friends old and new, sharing in that which joins us – the space of yoga both physical and philosophical.”
In the mornings they teach Ashtanga yoga Mysore style and in the afternoon they offer a variety of classes, such as:
4. Scotland – Eco yoga
Eco Yoga is a unique yoga retreat center, located in the Scottish highlands. In its 10th year of operation, Eco yoga is dedicated to teaching yoga and to sustainable eco-living.
This is an example of a ‘many teachers retreat’ as they host a variety of yoga teachers from around the world. Not all teachers teach Ashtanga yoga, and so in this case, it is worth checking out their schedule so as to book your retreat when you see a teacher you like.
John Scott, as well as Peg Mulqueen from Ashtanga Distaptch, have both taught here. In September 2020 Sarah Durney Hatcher is teaching an Ashtanga Retreat which when is currently fully booked.
According to the Eco Yoga website:
“We generate our own electricity by our small hydro-electric power station, plus solar panels; our water comes directly from a natural spring situated just above our retreat, making us both ‘off-grid’ and truly sustainable. Life at Inverliever Lodge is shaped by the seasons and the elements. If you would like to be involved in gardening, chopping wood, forest creation, spotting ospreys, or a myriad of other activities then you can – or simply relax and rejuvenate in luxurious ‘eco’ style!”
5. Greece – Fykiada retreat
When looking through the Fykiada retreat website you instantly get that feeling carefree summer days with sand in your toes, swimming though the blue Greek sea under our blue skies and then eating mouth-watering Greek vegetarian food.
This retreat is another example of a ‘many teacher retreat’ without a strong focus on Ashtanga yoga. The reason they are on this list (well apart form how breathtakingly beautiful it is) is that every year they host Laruga Glasier, now certified Ashtanga yoga teacher.
According to the Fykiada retreat website:
“Alongside the yoga schedule, you’ll have the chance to enjoy your stay at one of the most boutique locations in Mykonos, featuring an award-winning restaurant, a covered sea-gazing shala, and spacious Cycladic-style rooms with a sea-view to the Aegean. To top that, we have prepared a series of outdoor activities for you to get a real taste of Mykonos.”
Laruga Glasier and David Fredriksson are next teaching here 8-13 October 2020.
6. Spain, Mallorca – Balearic Retreats
Balearic Retreats are an example of a ‘many teacher retreat’ as they host globally renowned teachers from different streams of the Yoga world. And so they have a variety of teachers, each teaching their type of yoga.
They also host well-respected and experienced Ashtanga yoga teachers, such as Philipa Asher, Laruga Glasier, and Ty Landrum.
According to the Balearic Retreats website:
“This is what we at Balearic Retreats aspire to do – offering the ultimate getaway experience where our guests can focus on nothing but themselves and their practice. You will take your Yoga practice to the next level, surrounded by the breathtaking, raw landscapes of Mallorca while staying in a beautiful Spanish villa and eating nothing but fresh, delicious and nutritious meals cooked by our talented chef.”
7. Greece – Yoga Plus
Last but not least, Yoga Plus is another Ashtanga yoga retreat worth visiting. It is situated next to a beach in Crete, Greece, and is an example of a ‘one teacher retreat’ only to be accurate, it is a ‘two teacher retreat’.
The two teachers are Radha Warrell and Pierre Seghir. Both have been teaching Ashtanga yoga for many, many years and they generally offer Ashtanga yoga retreats all summer long.
Yoga Plus is actually the first-ever Ashtanga yoga retreat in Europe and so it may come as no surprise to find out that many of Europe’s Ashtanga yoga teachers actually started their Ashtanga yoga journey here such as Stefan Engström from Kadermo Conscious Living.
Due to the Covid-19 their website simply mentions that they have not opened yet. Let’s hope all is well and they are up and running in no time!