When I unwrapped my (rather large) review copy of Taschen’s Great Yoga Retreats, I became instantly mesmerised. I immediately stopped everything I was doing, and pored over the pages as I sank deeper and deeper into a daydream: of doing Sun Salutations in open-air pagodas in the hot, humid climates of India and Thailand; of exploring drishtis and mudras along both pristine and rugged coastlines, the waves gently lapping on the shore. This hard cover, coffee table book is for yogis and yoginis as much as for anyone interested in being swept away to sublime locations for a bit of restorative tranquility and an energizing change of pace.
As the world becomes more chaotic, and our lives become more demanding, there is an ever-growing need for some “time out for the soul.” Yoga is one activity that provides practitioners with a little Feng Shui for the body, mind and spirit, and Yoga retreats are fast becoming the Mecca of tired, overworked, and disconnected individuals. In Great Yoga Retreats, author and journalist Kristin Rübesamen and editor Angelika Taschen showcase some of the world’s most exquisite and inspirational Yoga retreats. They cross the globe, highlighting Yoga paradises in Asia and Europe, and North, Central and South America. You may prefer to immerse yourself in a spiritually oriented ashram, or take advantage of a luxurious 5-star resort. This book has all options covered.
It is this very aspect – the diversity – that I enjoyed so much about this book. There truly is somewhere for everyone, whether you prefer the ancient or modern, the fancy or the plain, the beach or the mountains. Each of the (more than thirty) retreats featured comes with contact details, directions, and a description of what the retreat entails. This includes information on the style of yoga offered, the teachers, how many rooms there are, what type of food is on the menu, and other leisure activities to be enjoyed while you’re there. All of the text is presented in three languages: English, German, and French.
Taschen has a knack for presenting high-quality, low-text books, and Great Yoga Retreats certainly hits the mark. The absolute highlight – the driving force behind this book – is the photography. It is what this book is all about. Utterly exquisite, open this book up anywhere, and you will be drooling over the imagery, hearing the nature rustle in your ears as you wish so hard you were already there. This is a visual delight, a pictorial journey through exotic scenery, retreat accommodation, and yogis practicing, a delight that can be appreciated by anyone.
Of course, it is important to be wise and do your research before embarking on any journey across foreign waters. Just because there is a book featuring a place, does not mean one need forego this part of the vacation planning. Explore your dream destination thoroughly before you pay your money and pack your bags. That said, Great Yoga Retreats is a magnificent first-rate brochure, giving you a fantastic idea of what’s out there, and where you might be able to disappear to, to cleanse, purify, and revitalise.