Living in California may feel like you are on holiday, but let’s face it, sometimes you need an actual vacation. The challenge is finding the time and means to do so. Not everyone can hop on an airplane tomorrow. Well, do not despair! There is hope and it is in your very own backyard – attend a local yoga retreat in California. These long weekends have everything you need except your passport. Living in California makes finding retreats easy, and each location is more beautiful than the next. Retreats are held year round throughout the state. Whatever you are looking for, California has it right next door.
The Great Next Door
The state of California spans the majority of the west coast of the United States. The coastal terrain varies from expansive beaches to astonishing cliffs. In Southern California inland will bring you to vast desert, while further north you can explore mountains and lakes. I remember snowboarding in high school and a fellow chair lift rider remarking, “where else in the world can you surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon?”
Many people speak as if California were divided into three different states (Northern California, Southern California, and the Central Coast), because of the incredible differences in climates and vibes. Wherever you choose to go, from the northernmost point to the southernmost is no more than a day’s drive and what a beautiful drive at that.
The Beauty of a Local Yoga Retreat in California
For people in Northern California, yoga retreat options are plentiful. The most prominent retreat center in Northern California (perhaps the world) is Esalen. Running year round retreats since 1962, it regularly lands on top 10 lists for wellness vacations. Perched amidst the cliffs of Big Sur, this spectacular center will make you feel as though you have transported to another world, not just driven down the road. For wine lovers, many teachers hold retreats in Napa and Sonoma. While outdoor adventurers can find yoga retreats in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. From the redwoods to the Pacific, Northern California has much to offer.
California is also home to a “spiritual vortex” in Ojai. This tiny town is just over one hour from bustling Los Angeles. Vortexes are said to have strong magnetic pulls and healing properties. Many spiritual gurus settled in Ojai over the years and it is not uncommon for Los Angeles locals (especially yoga teachers!) to retire there. These days, people rent villas to host their yoga retreat in California. Whether you want to spend time in town shopping or venture into the mountains for a hike, Ojai has it all. Just west and slightly north of Ojai is beautiful Santa Barbara and another well-known retreat center and yoga school, White Lotus Foundation. Built on sacred land, retreat goers have been enjoying this beautiful center since 1967.
San Luis Obispo county is perfectly sandwiched in between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with charming sea towns like Moonstone Beach, historic culture, and famous Paso Robles wine. Whether you are coming from the North or the South, the drive along the coast to SLO (as the locals call it) can be a retreat unto itself. SLO is called the “happiest place in America” and after spending time amidst the grapevines and pebbled beaches, one understands exactly why! Teachers commonly host yoga retreats at Sagrada Wellness Center and Sycamore Springs Hot Springs. My personal favorite, The Lodge at Oak Creek Ranch is set on a secluded 163-acre property in Santa Margarita.
Take advantage of this glorious state. Whether or not you choose to relax on a yoga retreat in California, whatever you’re looking for, California has it in its’ very own backyard! So gas up the car, grab your sunglasses and get ready to go all the way next door.