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Yoga has been around for 5,000 years, but to many it is still a mystery.  What is the secret to this ancient activity?  Where can you go to experience it at its best?  Before choosing a specific retreat or studio, it is good to understand what components make an environment conducive for soul stretching.  Consider these criteria in your search for the perfect yoga spot, no matter where in the world you want to practice:


1. Warm temperature:  You must be able to have an internal experience.  Extreme temperatures or intense gusts of wind are likely to disturb your focus, and bring your attention to external factors.  It is very important that you practice in an area of calm, moderate climate.  Extreme heat may be cleansing, but it is not how yoga was intended to be experienced.  Yoga was originally to be practiced twice daily; once at sunrise and once at sunset.

2. Fresh Air: Breathing is absolutely the most important aspect of yoga.  In fact, in traditional yoga classes there are usually at least 45 minutes dedicated strictly to pranayama (breathing exercises).  So the air needs to be fresh, plentiful, and clear.  Being surrounded by plants and nature certainly helps.  Any pollution, heavy incense, or bad odors will detract from the experience.

3. An experienced instructor:  The instructor is the messenger.  Their goal is to get you in touch with your breathing, keep your mind focused, and take you gently through the movement between asanas.  If you don’t connect with their energy, you will get distracted.  Their language needs to be sincere, simple, and knowledgeable, and their adjustments must be calming.  A good instructor makes careful adjustments throughout the practice and in Savasana.

4. Good energy:  Its all about the prana.  While yoga was originally intended for a solo practice, many classes today involve a group of students.  It is very important that you can tune in to the collective energy of the group.  If you feel intimidated, you will get distracted. If you sense a friendly vibe, it will enhance your experience.  A class that breathes together is amazing.

5. Flat, even surface: While many people think the beach is an ideal location to practice yoga, this is often not the case. It is extremely important to have a smooth, flat surface, especially for balancing exercises.  Yoga is very focused on balancing the body and mind, so even the slightest difference can change the benefits of an asana.


6. No mirrors: Mirrors are a distraction.  Some people believe that mirrors are helpful so that you can make sure you are doing the pose correctly, but if the instructor is good, they will adjust you and you will be able to feel the difference.  A great yoga class should actually be able to be completed with the eyes closed throughout.  Mirrors stir the ego and detract from the experience.

Yoga is an opportunity to study who you are.  It is a time to forget the past, ignore the future, and simply be present.  So find a place that is relaxing.  Keep the inner peace you create during class with you throughout the day.

Wishing you safe and Attractive Travels.  Carpe Diem!

Kelly Robinson

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