A different kind of getaway

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Travel industry getting enlightened to yoga vacations

Don’t just take a vacation. Change your life. The purveyors of yoga and wellness vacations promise more than mere relaxation, they promise transformation.Ask why someone would choose a yoga vacation — and the meditation, body contortions and discipline that goes with it — and the answer repeats: People go for life-changing experiences. Three years ago, Tiffanie Archie, a senior project manager at an online financial services firm in Washington, D.C., decided to take a vacation to the Miraval resort outside Tucson, Ariz. Miraval — in which AOL co-founder Steve Case bought a majority stake in 2005 — aims to take the spa experience into something more spiritual and holistic.

Now Archie says her vacation has become about more than de-stressing from work and daily life. It’s as much about “finding inner peace.”

From luxury hotel resorts to rustic retreats, yoga offerings and yoga-centric vacations have increasingly become a carrot to lure vacationers that want more than a fabulous place to stay and entertainment. The past five years have seen growth in yoga vacations that is emblematic of a larger trend in the travel industry, says Allen Kay, spokesman for the Travel Industry Association.

Yoga vacations come in many incarnations. The high end can range from packages at luxury resorts to all-inclusive vacations to India, Chile, Bali or elsewhere. The spectrum of choices includes more austere retreats that offer the bare bones — more meditation than amenities — and cost much less.

The Feathered Pipe has been offering yoga retreats at its ranches in Montana since 1975.

In October, the Feathered Pipe will bring about 30 people on a 10-day, $8,000 trip to a resort in Kerala, India, headlined by popular yoga personalities Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman. Ted McDonald started his business, Adventure Yoga Retreats, in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2005 with the idea of combining the market appeal of adventure travel with yoga. The idea was to market to “the people who know yoga is beneficial but who aren’t yogis … (and) tap into a whole market of people who travel, who love to be healthy.” Full Article

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