Readers of my blog (all 14 of ya’ll) know I’m into yoga. I’ve gone on a retreat in Tuscany, and gotten my downward dog on in a Japanese garden and on a lavender farm. In between these trips, I have a great home practice.

A few months ago, I spent a week in a beautiful villa in Provence (Bastide Avellane), being mindful and stretching my body in a way that my normal day-to-day doesn’t always allow for. I came back refreshed and with new perspective on life.

Here’s why, if you’ve never gone on a yoga retreat, I think you should.

1. You Step Out of Your Life

giant chess

When you’ve got family to manage, a job to work, and groceries to buy, it’s really hard to come up for air. Even if you have leisure time in your life, really physically traveling outside of your normal routine works wonders on the heart and soul.

There were no groceries to buy or kids to check on.

We really didn’t have to make any decisions except what to eat for breakfast.

There was something so comforting in being taken care of when we were accustomed to being the caregivers back home.

There were times I felt completely unmoored from what was happening back home (and this was when earthquakes, tornadoes, and shootings were running rampant in other parts of the world), but I needed that distance from the familiar, if only for a while.

2. You Find Kindred Spirits

yogini

It stands to reason that if you spend the time and money to do something you really enjoy, like yoga, you will meet people you’ll end up clicking with. Yoga people are warm-hearted, self-aware, and so much fun. A poll at dinner one night led us to discover that about 80% of the attendees were left-handed! Guess we creative types stick together.

I’ve let go of trying to make a yoga retreat all about being alone, and now embrace the bonding I experience with my yoga buddies.

3. Your Body Will Thank You

gorges du verdon

At home, I do yoga maybe 2 or 3 times a week, in between other forms of exercise. On this yoga retreat, I did it twice a day, typically. And I could tell the difference. After a day or two, I was more limber. Even after walking all day, I didn’t feel stiff.

And I got hooked. Even if we’d drink a bottle (or three) of rosé at night, we’d still manage to be in our yoga clothes (albeit downing coffee) at 7:30 the next morning.

4. It’s a Great Way to See the World

moustiers sainte-marie

I love travel. I love yoga. What better combination could there be?

Because Lisa at Mindful Fitness does an amazing job of partnering with villas that offer a host of activities and tours in addition to providing gorgeous settings for yoga, we explore the area we’re in with locals who show us the inside goodies. On this trip, we visited Saint Tropez, Aix, Gorges du Verdon, and Moustiers Sainte-Marie. I can’t say I would have seen all those on my own otherwise.

Clearly I’m a fan of traveling for yoga retreats. But this is just the beginning folks. I have doing yoga in India on my bucket list next!