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If you are looking for the perfect place to salute the sun, the world is full of them. To make the choice easier, ask yourself what you want out of your yoga break: spiritual enrichment, detox, relaxation, catharsis or an adventure.

Here is a selection of the world's best yoga retreats.

Best spiritual bang for your buck
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram has a beautiful location near Neyyar Dam Tiger Reserve in Kerala. It is renowned for its hatha yoga courses, which run for a minimum of two weeks. There is an exacting schedule (5:30 am to 10 pm) of yoga practice, meditation and chanting, but with plenty of breaks between sessions.

Best with hot springs
At Dunton Hot Springs you stay in log cabins set in the incredible craggy landscape of Dolores, Colorado. Start the day with ashtanga and an organic breakfast, then soak in a natural hot spring, or take a hike to explore the Rocky Mountains.

Most peaceful
Angela Farmer and Victor van Kooten's yoga hall is situated deep in the Greek countryside, in a quiet olive grove in the Eftalou Valley, only five minutes from the beach. The only sound you will hear is the distant jingling of sheep bells. There are three hours of asana each morning and evening meditation and pranayama on the upstairs terrace.

Best with dolphins
Take a trip to the Caribbean island of Bimini in the Bahamas and combine beach-basking and swimming with dolphins with yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. If this does not recharge your batteries, nothing will.

Most epically green
The Clare Island Yoga Retreat Centre in Ballytoughey, County Mayo, is situated on a 240-acre island off the west coast of Ireland. There are soul-feeding views of County Clare, yin and ashtanga yoga and meditation classes, organic meals and hillside hiking. Accommodation is a traditional island cottage, complete with solar panels and wood-burning stoves.

Most dynamic bootcamp
The self-proclaimed life-transforming Baron Baptiste Bootcamp in Cambridge, Massachusetts, combines Power Vinyasa Yoga, meditation, a cleansing diet, hiking and swimming. The focus is healing and empowering the body and soul, getting real, and being awesome.

Best simple paradise
The Maya Tulum is an intimate retreat sited on a beautiful strand of pristine sugar-white beach on the Mayan peninsula, Mexico. It has a strong following among yoga devotees, offering accessible classes, spa treatments and healthy local food and fresh juices. Make sure you book a beachfront cabana, so there is nothing but sand between you and the ocean.

Best for adventure
Combine Alpine and cross-country skiing with yoga at Big Sky in Montana, connecting both techniques to the practise. The setting is a log cabin, and the yoga space has floor-to-ceiling glass windows, overlooking majestic Lone Peak, the ski hill.

Most venerable
Make a pilgrimage to the heart and soul of Iyengar yoga: the BKS Iyengar Institute in Pune. To attend classes here you need to have practised for at least eight years. A technique developed by Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, one of the Pune institute directors, Iyengar is meant for all and is a way of life, integrating the body, mind and emotions. Props such as belts, ropes and cushions help practitioners achieve perfection in any asana.

Most luxurious
COMO Shambhala Retreat is a remote resort in the Maldives with sea-view suite or cottage accommodation for those who remain unconstrained by the new age of austerity. Various combination spa treatment packages will soothe and pummel you into shape, and there is an open-air pavilion for the regular yoga practice, located on the sunrise side of the island.

Abigail Hole is co-author of Lonely Planet's Rome guide.

 

© 2010 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘The world’s best yoga spots’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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