EXOTIC YOGA RETREATS
Exotic Yoga Retreats blends yoga and inner discovery with the sensory experience of visual beauty, sumptuously healthy cuisine, cultural enrichment and outdoor adventure. We stay at boutique hotels and eco-villas, on yachts and at other creative venues around the world.
Each destination is carefully selected for its serene beauty, gourmet food and that “magical something” in the atmosphere that opens hearts and minds to see the world differently.
WHO LEADS THE YOGA RETREATS?
Gayle Olson, the founder of Exotic Yoga Retreats, is the principal retreat leader. Gayle, author of The Yoga & Fitness Guide for Women, has taught Hatha, Iyengar and Vinyasa yoga around the world for over 20 years. Gayle integrates her expertise of hands-on massage adjustments into her teaching. For more on Gayle’s background, see her full bio.
Gayle also collaborates with a talented, dynamic team of experienced teachers and leaders from a range of disciplines: Yoga instructors, artists, musicians, physicians, chefs and winemakers—offering you new ways to see the world differently!
WHO COMES ON AN EXOTIC YOGA RETREAT?
Most of our guests are solo travelers seeking a healthy, rejuvenating holiday in an exotic setting. If you are coming by yourself, you will not be alone! We have also welcomed couples, friends, mother-daughter and father-son pairs, and groups.
IS YOGA MANDATORY?
All of our activities, including yoga, are optional. We aspire to offer each guest a peak experience of health, relaxation and inner and outer exploration. Yoga can be a wonderful means of self-discovery, but we understand it’s not for everyone. We welcome you to enjoy a bike ride, a walk or a rest? instead. What’s most important is to balance good health and good living, enjoy nature, meet new people, spend quality time with those you love and ultimately see the world differently.
WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE?
Our meals are gourmet: beautifully presented, healthy, local and whenever possible organic. There are always vegan and gluten-free options and, on most retreats, there are also meat and fish options. At mealtimes we emphasize moderation and “mindful savoring,” and while our retreats are not specifically geared toward losing weight, you may find that you return home a few pounds lighter.
WHAT DOES A SAMPLE DAY LOOK LIKE?
We design our daily schedule to accommodate activity, relaxation, yoga and a dose of indulgence in healthy pleasures.
MORNINGS begin with fresh juice, an Italian cappuccino or a healing Ayurvedic tea depending on where we are in the world. A morning serenity walk on a tropical beach, in lavender fields or in the rolling hills of Tuscany invites you to savor the tranquility and rejuvenating power of nature. We meet for yoga around 8 am, followed by a well-earned farm-to-table brunch on a beautiful terrace.
AFTERNOONS are for beach lounging, cultural excursions or other adventures. On touring retreats, there may only be one official yoga class each day, with stretches along the way. But on most, we have a sunset restorative, pranayama and meditation practice.
EVENINGS are pure magic, as we savor the simple luxury of a slow-food, healthy gourmet meals, with fine wine and wonderful company!
CHECK OUT OUR NEWEST PROJECT!
Yoga holidays inspiring you to see the world differently!
Everything about this retreat was special. I have the most beautiful memories, new friends and experiences that I will cherish! The retreat combined the perfect blend of yoga, meditation and fun excursions. I also enjoyed the flexibility in our daily schedule... I had time for myself, to re-align and reflect on my life; as well as meet great like-minded people. Meeting Gayle has been a true delight. Her loving and positive energy was very present and made this retreat a real joy for me. I recommend the Puglia retreat to anyone looking to 'switch-off', re-balance and have a lot of fun!—Hala Darwazeh, Jordan
“Thank you for this retreat; every minute was worth it! It was such a mind, body and heart opening. . . and so much fun! It’s helping make my day-to-day life magical, and I can give so much to others as I have feel so fulfilled inside! Thank you again, and can’t wait for the next retreat!” — Jennifer Clarke, France
The retreat was amazing! I learned so much about breathing, postures, abdominal toning, and loving oneself and beauty. Gayle was a true inspiration to me... through her strength, passion, love and courage, I know that life is full of endless possibilities! — Samantha Brennan, USA
“Before meeting Gayle I had tried a number of teachers, some of them with excellent reputations in London and India, but yoga never really came alive until I started studying with her. Gayle’s intuitive, sensitive and phenomenal teaching skills helped me to totally live inside my body and find new depths in my practice. Gayle makes yoga both accessible and challenging. She brings the spirit of healing and freedom into her classes and all the fellow students I’ve met, find her an unforgettable teacher.” —Deborah Poland, Canada
"Healthy hedonism" set the tone for a playful week of yoga and mindfulness, laughter and connection. Each morning, Gayle guided us through blissful meditation, followed by a combination of vinyasa flow and stretch sequences. She really took the time to tailor the class to each of our needs so it felt more like one-on-one tuition a lot of the time. I'll never forget the energy we created as a group or the peace, joy and friendships which blossom there.— Joanne Joseph, Australia
“Gayle is an inspirational teacher! The Retreat could not be faulted… we were led on a path of discovery and enlightenment that I never thought was possible in such a short space of time. It was an amazing experience filled with so much love and happiness. Thank you! ” —Iona Goldstein, England
“The perfect healing at the right moment! I feel another person since this retreat – a more comfortable one! I hope to do another retreat soon to feed my curiosity!” —Mariapaula Ferrari, Italy
An Exotic Yoga Retreat is an executive woman’s dream vacation. Blackberry and office demands are put aside for a week so one can focus on yoga, relaxing, healthy eating and off the beaten path sightseeing. I came back recharged and plan to repeat my experience annually.” —Pat Dunn, USA
“Gayle very clearly is a remarkable teacher because she transmits the essences of mindfulness and balance in enough dimensions so you actually get it!” —Jerry, USA
“Gayle has been an inspiring, lively teacher that has proven to be a steady underlying force in my life. She has a way with words that helps me focus on my body and my feelings in a true effort of open inquiry. I feel safe and loved in her presence. She is energetic, compassionate, and authentic. Her love for yoga is not only conveyed to students in her teachings, but also in her vibrant love of life. With her example she encourages us to look deeply inside, enjoy the never-ending discovery in yoga, and laugh and live fully in the process of it all.” —Penfield Chester, USA
“I remember feeling intimidated at the thought of taking a yoga class–that I wouldn’t get it, didn’t meditate at all, wasn’t spirtually qualified. Gayle put me immediately at ease. She has a warmth and knowledge that is inclusive and deeply instructive. As my practice evolves, I welcome her hands-on body alignment adjustments, natural grace and energy, and life perspective. Classes with Gayle are a gift everyone should give themselves.” —Deborah Phillips