There is some debate in the yoga world over whether the discipline is best practised with eyes open or closed. Some say the latter helps quiet the mind, while others use techniques that centre on the gaze. Perhaps it really just all depends on where you decide to unroll your mat. Add some variety to your practice by taking your downward dog beyond the conventional studio to one of these beautiful locations across Canada. In these four places, you’ll most certainly want to take in the sights.
Nectar Yoga B&B – Bowen Island, British Columbia
A short ferry ride from the coast of B.C. is Bowen Island, a small island community of sheltered bays and lush forests. It’s there that Nectar Yoga B&B welcomes guests to take part in restorative retreats focused around meditation, healthy eating, and of course, yoga. A typical day starts with breakfast delivered to your door—think vegan chia pudding, organic granola, and flaky croissants with homemade jam and local honey—to provide fuel for an early morning yoga session in a dreamy geodesic yoga dome. The semi-sphere structure is nestled amidst the trees creating an ethereal space to calm the mind. In the evening, guided relaxations are the perfect send-off for a restful night’s sleep tucked under organic cotton sheets in a loft cottage. And if all that wasn’t enough to completely melt away your troubles, opt for an in-room, deep tissue massage.
The Art Gallery of Alberta – Edmonton, Alberta
Every spring, fall, and winter, the swirling contours of the Art Gallery of Alberta become a haven for art lovers and yoga enthusiasts alike. The gallery is a tranquil setting for an eight-week course that draws themes for each class from the surrounding artwork: an exhibition of Canadian landscapes inspires participants to draw on the harmony of nature to find their own balance, while a session taking place behind-the-scenes of the AGA encourages inward reflection for a slow-moving yin class. For a complete day of quiet contemplation, complement your yoga class with a stroll through the gallery or by taking in city views with a cup of tea on the third-floor Terrace Café.
Mountain Trek – Nelson, British Columbia
Mountain Trek, a fitness and health retreat in southeastern British Columbia, is a scenic and serene place to find your “om”. The yoga studio features floor-to-ceiling windows so you can enjoy lakeside mountain views while flowing through a sun salutation. While it has been named Canada’s second best resort according to Condé Nast Traveler‘s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards, Mountain Trek is not your typical resort. Guests are given a complete schedule for a six-day immersive program that involves, in addition to yoga, limited Wi-Fi access and a caffeine-free, unprocessed diet. But this clean-eating program is not all kale and flax; the resort creates gourmet clean meals like lemon ricotta pancakes, chicken and leek soup, and crab cakes (they’ll even send you home with a cookbook).
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – Lake Louise, Alberta
Nestled into the dramatic forests of the Rocky Mountains, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hosts numerous retreats throughout the year providing participants with the opportunity to relax and unwind through guided meditation, mindful nature walks, and flowing yoga classes. Itineraries also provide plenty of free time to indulge in a spa treatment—try a refining anti-oxidant vitamin C facial or the Fairmont’s signature aromatherapy spa ritual—or simply take in postcard-perfect views of Lake Louise’s emerald-blue waters and the iconic Rockies.
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