International Yoga Day: Places to experience ‘Yoga for Peace’ across SA

2018-06-21 06:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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When it comes to rejuvenating your body, soul and mind, nothing is quite as effective as embarking on yoga retreats and spiritual getaways that give you the opportunity to restore balance to your body, while bringing calm and peace to your mind.

If you feel you’re overdue for a tranquil escape, then make the most of International Yoga Day to unwind and balance your chakras.

SEE: #FindYourEscape at these relaxing solo getaways in SA

International Yoga Day has been acknowledged on 21 June since 2015, following a decision made by the United Nations General Assembly after it was suggested by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The day aims to promote global health, harmony, peace and raise awareness of the benefits of yoga, with this year’s theme being Yoga for Peace.

If you can’t celebrate Yoga Day today, then take the time to gain inner peace and tranquillity over an upcoming weekend or on a day off work.

Grab your yoga mat and treat yourself to serenity at these places in SA:

Buddhist Retreat Centre - KwaZulu-Natal

The Buddhist Retreat Centre near Ixopo is said to be an oasis of serenity and calm, offering a number of wellness programmes for the body, mind and soul. The centre is immersed in nature and the area has been declared a Natural Heritage site.

The centre has a line-up of a number of retreats throughout the year. Yoga retreats are conducted by veteran yoga practitioners, and the Centre houses accommodation lodges and cottages, an art studio, library, meditation hall, the labyrinth, the Zen gardens, the deer park and the Buddha Boma for reflection and contemplation.

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De Hoop yoga retreat – Western Cape

A three-day Yoga Retreat is set to take place from 3-6 August 2018 at De Hoop Collection at the historic Melkkamer Homestead.  A basic background of yoga is needed before heading off on this retreat which includes restorative yoga and nature walks at its core.

The retreat also includes yoga workshops, pranayama, asanas, sun salutations on the Koppie Alleen dunes, sundowners to enjoy while watching the pelicans and flamingoes on the vlei, stargazing, bird and marine walks at low tide along the shores to Koppie Alleen and a picnic outing. Click here for all the details.

Yoga Works – Gauteng

Escape the bustle of city life in Johannesburg and take the time to relax and restore your balance with Yoga Works, offering regular outdoor yoga in the park sessions.

You can also enjoy yoga on the dam, private yoga sessions and yoga at different yoga studios around Johannesburg. Click here to join a session that suits you.

SEE: Winter Getaway: De Hoop yoga retreat weekend

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Emoyeni - North West

Surrounded by the majestic Magaliesberg Mountains, Emoyeni, which means “Place of Spirit”, follows Buddhist values and meditation. “Our approach includes the practice of mindfulness and an attitude of non-harming towards all living beings,” says the centre, which offers an escape that’s bound to get you calm and relaxed.

Accommodation and other facilities are basic, with the emphasis on functionality rather than luxury, as the centre encourages “introspection and inquiry” and does not offer facilities such as swimming pools, games and television. Click here to see its full list of retreats.

ALSO SEE: Tranquil spots for yoga poses and self-reflection

Water Reflections Trail Retreat – Western Cape

'The Way of Water' and 'Alchemy of Spirit' 5-day trail retreat promises to renew your spirit. Set in The Crags in Garden Route, it allows you to tap into your natural intelligence and reignites your essential creative spirit.

Perfect to relax and recharge, every morning begins with a yoga session, while the day’s line-up includes a number of nature walks, spa treatments and meditation sessions.

The Water Reflections Trail Retreats run monthly from June to October for a minimum group of 4 participants. Click here for prices and details on how to book this unique retreat.

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Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge - Limpopo

Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge in Magoebaskloof offers a serene getaway in nature, surrounded by mountains, indigenous forests and bushveld. Here, simple log cabins offer spectacular views of the surrounding areas, while visitors can partake in yoga, meditation and other wellness therapies.

You can also enjoy hiking trails, sunset 4x4 drives, adventure mountain bike trails, guided birding and nature walks, learn fly-fishing or go on an immersive village experience.

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The Edge - Eastern Cape

Disappear into fairy forests and magical waterfalls in Hogsback in the Eastern Cape – and The Edge on its cliffs offers views that will appease any restless soul. Their gardens of beeches, oaks and azaleas are the perfect spot for outside yoga.

The Edge is also home to Hogsback’s famous labyrinth – an ancient meditation maze that symbolises protection. As you walk through it to the centre, you think about all the things that stress you out and leave it behind when you reach the centre where you can attain spiritual focus.

Leopard Mountain Safari Lodge - KwaZulu-Natal

Connect with the animal kingdom in the Manyoni Private Game Reserve in Zululand, in between meditation workshops and yoga sessions. This wild bush yoga experience combines South Africa's natural heritage with the Asian lifestyle to restore inner balance - an ideal combination to heal your soul.

SEE: Wildlife spotting and photographing 101: Tips from a bush pro insider

Bodhi Khaya Retreat - Western Cape

Based on a farm in Standerton in the Western Cape, Bodhi Khaya is a wellness sanctuary for those who need to reboot their systems away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. The name is a fusion of Buddhist ideals and South African culture that expresses enlightenment in a place where you belong.

They often host retreats combining workshops on yin yoga with nature art where you can not only tap into your inner eye but also your artistic eye in the natural world.

Stoep Zen on Poplar Grove Farm - Northern Cape

You can get your Zen on at Poplar Grove Farm’s Stoep Zen in Colesberg, Northern Cape, with accommodation geared towards contemplative self-reflection in the quiet of the Karoo.

They offer various silent retreats throughout the year where you are led by the resident Zen Master, and for those who want something a bit different to the usual noise of New Years can join in the annual end of year retreat, where you go to bed at an exceptionally early time.

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