The Best Places for Yoga

by Jennifer Weatherhead and Stephanie Gray

Bali
Attracting thousands of visitors yearly who come for enchantment near pristine beaches, thriving culture and deep spiritual roots, the Indonesian island of Bali is an idyllic destination to practice yoga. With incredible surfing conditions, this island encompasses the best of both worlds, as both surfing and yoga are so closely related. Surf Haven Bali retreat, for women only, is centrally located near the airport in Seminyak and offers its guests luxury five star villas, gourmet spa cuisine and experienced yoga and surf instructors. If your goal is to leave feeling pampered, rejuvenated and restored, the pure bliss of this surf/yoga retreat more than satisfies.

Best Place for Yoga-field

France
While beaches and yoga definitely go hand-in-hand, the countryside of France is a charming destination where rolling hills, lush vineyards and grand châteaux make up the scenery. Nestled in the Pyrenees valley you’ll find the 17-acre estate of Domaine de la Grausse, a yoga retreat run by yogi Dagmar and her husband, Mike. Offering twice daily yoga and weekly meditation classes, the itinerary is very flexible. Two self-contained barns make up the quaint accommodations. Both come with fully equipped kitchens so you can prepare your own food at leisure. Local markets and restaurants are nearby. It’s a perfect getaway to explore the French countryside while re-centring with daily yoga.

British Columbia
Overlooking Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia, the Yasodhara Ashram is tucked away amongst picturesque snowcapped mountains. During your stay at the ashram, expect to devote yourself entirely to the practice. A typical day starts with yoga and ends with chanting in the Temple, with plenty of reflection in between. Vegetarian meals, eaten in silence, are prepared with organic produce grown in their sustainable garden. Accommodations, primarily shared, offer laundry facilities, pay phones and limited email access. While you may not have all of the luxuries of home, the natural surroundings provide a tranquil atmosphere to help you reach your spiritual goals.

Peru
There are few places in the world more majestic than Peru. Steeped in rich Inca history and bordered by 1,500 miles of exquisite coastline and beaches, there are numerous ways to reach a spiritual high. The Samana Chakra in Máncora (near the Ecuador border) offers yoga retreats that incorporate ropes, chairs and props to achieve inner peace and better alignment. The hotel’s beachside setting eases away stress with private or shared accommodations. If you are seeking a healing retreat that encompasses Peru’s Inca heritage, venture into the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu region in the heart of the Andes. There, nestled in the jungled mountains, is Willka T’ika, where practice occurs in sunlit studios or in lush gardens encircled by mountain views which are sure to elicit a feeling of solace.

Best Places for Yoga - Turks

Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos
This ultra-luxe part of Turks and Caicos is frequented by celebrities such as Donna Karan, Bruce Willis and Paul McCartney, not only for its beauty, but also for its secluded privacy. So what better place to dig your feet deep in the sand and get in touch with your inner Zen? The COMO Hotel at Parrot Cay offers sessions for its guests on a daily basis free of charge. Take your pick from beach Yoga, group discussions, Pilates classes and more, in either a group or private setting. Weeklong retreats (five hours of practice daily) taught by visiting yoga masters are also available. Whether you meditate at a leisurely pace or seek an in-depth practice, your energy is easily recharged in a week at the COMO.

Top Picks for Springtime Travel

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Dabble’s Travel Contributors, Stephanie Gray and Jennifer Weatherhead, suggest the best places for springtime travelling.

Where: Paris

Why: While the weather might be fickle (you may see rain one day, sun the next), we bet you’ll quickly overlook any gloomy days upon seeing the gorgeous blooms and lush trees that decorate the already beautiful landscape. Not to mention the height of tourist season in Paris comes in the summer, so you’ll be in town when the locals are. For those who are tennis fans, consider planning around the French Open which occurs every May at Roland Garros.

Travel Tip: Beat any weather woes by dressing in layers and packing a chic umbrella.

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Where: Amsterdam

Why: There’s nothing that says spring more than tulips and Amsterdam in April is the month when this flower blanket fields all across the Netherlands. It’s also the same time you can experience the annual Tulip Festival held at Keukenhof Gardens. Running from March 22 to May 22, 2012, it’s a gorgeous park filled with more than 7 million flowers that will instantly put you in spring mode. If partying is a must (come on, you are in Amsterdam), consider staying on April 30, Queen’s Day, when the streets turn into a giant party.

Where: Arizona

Why: Visitors come to enjoy this state all-year round, thanks to the hot weather, stunning natural landscape and world-class spas, but if you’re hoping to save a bit of cash and beat the heat, a late spring trip is your best bet. In the desert areas like Phoenix and Scottsdale, the highest hotel rates are from January to April, so waiting a little later in the year can be easier on your wallet. Plus it’s a great time to see the Grand Canyon, as it’s not as crowded and the temperatures will be nicer too

To find out what other locales need to be on your Spring Travel list, go to Pretty Chic Travel

Check out Stephanie and Jennifer’s top picks for where to drink tea recently featured in Issue 7: Apr/May’12

The Best Places for Yoga

Surf Haven Bali

Bali
Attracting thousands of visitors yearly who come for enchantment near pristine beaches, thriving culture and deep spiritual roots, the Indonesian island of Bali is an idyllic destination to practice yoga. With incredible surfing conditions, this island encompasses the best of both worlds, as both surfing and yoga are so closely related. Surf Haven Bali retreat, for women only, is centrally located near the airport in Seminyak and offers its guests luxury five star villas, gourmet spa cuisine and experienced yoga and surf instructors. If your goal is to leave feeling pampered, rejuvenated and restored, the pure bliss of this surf/yoga retreat more than satisfies.

Best Place for Yoga-field

France
While beaches and yoga definitely go hand-in-hand, the countryside of France is a charming destination where rolling hills, lush vineyards and grand châteaux make up the scenery. Nestled in the Pyrenees valley you’ll find the 17-acre estate of Domaine de la Grausse, a yoga retreat run by yogi Dagmar and her husband, Mike. Offering twice daily yoga and weekly meditation classes, the itinerary is very flexible. Two self-contained barns make up the quaint accommodations. Both come with fully equipped kitchens so you can prepare your own food at leisure. Local markets and restaurants are nearby. It’s a perfect getaway to explore the French countryside while re-centring with daily yoga.

British Columbia
Overlooking Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia, the Yasodhara Ashram is tucked away amongst picturesque snowcapped mountains. During your stay at the ashram, expect to devote yourself entirely to the practice. A typical day starts with yoga and ends with chanting in the Temple, with plenty of reflection in between. Vegetarian meals, eaten in silence, are prepared with organic produce grown in their sustainable garden. Accommodations, primarily shared, offer laundry facilities, pay phones and limited email access. While you may not have all of the luxuries of home, the natural surroundings provide a tranquil atmosphere to help you reach your spiritual goals.

Best Places for Yoga - Turks

Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos
This ultra-luxe part of Turks and Caicos is frequented by celebrities such as Donna Karan, Bruce Willis and Paul McCartney, not only for its beauty, but also for its secluded privacy. So what better place to dig your feet deep in the sand and get in touch with your inner Zen? The COMO Hotel at Parrot Cay offers sessions for its guests on a daily basis free of charge. Take your pick from beach Yoga, group discussions, Pilates classes and more, in either a group or private setting. Weeklong retreats (five hours of practice daily) taught by visiting yoga masters are also available. Whether you meditate at a leisurely pace or seek an in-depth practice, your energy is easily recharged in a week at the COMO.

Peru
There are few places in the world more majestic than Peru. Steeped in rich Inca history and bordered by 1,500 miles of exquisite coastline and beaches, there are numerous ways to reach a spiritual high. The Samana Chakra in Máncora (near the Ecuador border) offers yoga retreats that incorporate ropes, chairs and props to achieve inner peace and better alignment. The hotel’s beachside setting eases away stress with private or shared accommodations. If you are seeking a healing retreat that encompasses Peru’s Inca heritage, venture into the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu region in the heart of the Andes. There, nestled in the jungled mountains, is Willka T’ika, where practice occurs in sunlit studios or in lush gardens encircled by mountain views which are sure to elicit a feeling of solace.

Words by Stephanie Gray and Jennifer Weatherhead

Best Places For… Art Lovers

Dabble’s resident location scouts Jennifer Weatherhead and Stephanie Gray share top spots for art appreciation.

Basel, Switzerland
Basel’s Old Town
The annual Art Basel (June 15-19) hosts 300 galleries from around the world, eager to showcase their modern masters and new talents to the more than 62,000 visitors— collectors, curators and enthusiasts. Beyond the fair, Basel’s Old Town has much to offer. Fondation Beyeler is an art dealer’s private collection- turned-public-foundation with works by Picasso, Giacometti and van Gogh. Kunstmuseum Base holds the largest and most significant art collection in Switzerland spanning the 15th century to the present.

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Untitled (Barbara in a Burka), by Robert Longo, Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg.

Brooklyn, New York
No doubt The Met and MoMa are top of mind when it comes to art museums in the Big Apple. However, by branching out across the bridge to Brooklyn you’ll find a diverse art scene, ranging from large museums to local artists’ co-ops. The biggest of the bunch is the Brooklyn Museum which houses 1.5 million pieces from the ancient world to the contemporary. Opening March 4, the museum’s Great Hall will be transformed into an interactive architectural installation by Situ Studio. Just to the west is Zora Space, a café-meetsgallery showcasing a broad range of artists in a cooler than cool setting.

Paris 3rd Arrondissement
A neighbourhood that deserves focus in a city built for art lovers is the 3rd Arrondissement, also known as the Upper Marais. The twisting streets of this trendy neighbourhood are dotted with museums. Musée des Arts et Métiers is home to an eclectic mix of scientific gadgets and instruments. There are some independent galleries like Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin whose namesake has an uncanny knack of seeing the magic in emerging artists, and is credited with discovering the likes of Damien Hurst. Don’t miss Daniel Firman until April 30. Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac specializes in European and North American art and features Robert Longo’s religion inspired towering charcoal drawings (March 22-April 23).

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Niark1, Lost. Courtesy of West Berlin Gallery.

Berlin’s Brunnenstrasse
Berlin’s current It spot, Brunnenstrasse, was once a rough and tumble street before the rise of its 2007 artistic movement when dozens of galleries, tiny cafés (the best croissants at Rée Kaffee) and trendy restaurants opened. New galleries pop up on a regular basis, like the bold works featured at Martin Mertens. Eclectic art lovers will enjoy Galerie Peter Herrmann where the focus is an African theme, while those who like an urban edge should take a look at West Berlin Gallery which specializes in street art and illustration. Catch the tortured graphic imagery of Sebastien Feraut (aka Niark1) (March 3-April 16).

London’s Shoreditch
Booming with hipsters, designers, musicians, up-and-coming artists and new galleries, London’s Shoreditch is a hub of creativity. Lovers of celebrity artists like Anselm Kiefer (March 11-April 9) should stop by White Cube in Hoxton Square. One of the original 1980s’ East End spaces, Flowers Galleries, stays true to the flourishing neighbourhood by showcasing developing artists and photographers. We are loving their current Jiro Osuga show of Tokyo musings until March 26. Idea Generation is a working gallery and art PR company that specializes in pop culture like ex Pink Floyd member turned photographer Syd Barrett (March 18-April 10).

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Jiro Osuga, Vending Machine. Flowers Galleries, London.