Volunteer Yoga Retreats for Any Budget
For many the idea of a yoga retreat and budget travel does not seem to go hand in hand. Yet there are still opportunities for yogis to find a way to reconnect, find your center and stretch your wanderlust in even if a far off destination seems far-flung. The following volunteer yoga retreats are more than just tightening the purse strings; instead it’s about giving your time while immersing yourself in local culture.
Here at Seek Retreat we have often focused on great getaways where you can dig deeper and flex your karma yoga. In October, Seek Retreat’s Tess DiNapoli wrote about altruistic yoga retreats (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://seekretreat.com/altruistic-yoga-retreat/ 0offering a way to show service and give your time to others, traveling for a cause. In July, writer Jessica Malloy interviewed (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://seekretreat.com/robertsturma/ )photographer Robert Sturman (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://seekretreat.com/people/robert-sturman/ )about his work with the Africa Yoga Project (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://seekretreat.com/africa-yoga-project/ ).
This time around, I’ve compiled a few special places that welcome visitors to devote time and service in exchange for the chance to learn agriculture techniques, art (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://seekretreat.com/retreats/yogartretreat/ )education programs, culinary training, and experience yoga and meditation in a vibrant, new surroundings.
Similar to the decades-long popularity of WOOFing, which stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, these volunteer-exchange programs are the chance of a lifetime to experience local culture and living workshops. The need for yoga volunteers is growing as more places in the world are exposed to yoga’s ability to create life-changing influence.
When you serve something greater than your own needs, you find tremendous joy.
People who have given themselves to something greater than themselves always radiate with this happiness.
One of my personal favorites includes the Shoshoni Yoga Ashram (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://shoshoni.org/ )situated high-up in the Colorado Rockies just 40 minutes from Boulder. This spiritual community offers advanced yoga training, as well as work-study programs for those who want to deepen their spiritual practice.
The long-term volunteer programs (1 month stay and up) are designed in seva, or karmic yoga, tradition to teach “yoga-in-action” and self-less acts for a community. During work time, volunteers are encouraged to participate in mantra and daily hatha yoga. For anyone looking for a short-term stay, workshops and classes are held year round.
Eco Yoga Park (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://www.ecoyogapark.com.ar/ )in Buenos Aires is just one of many volunteer destinations in Central America that invites people of all skill sets to stay at a sustainability-based ashram. For yoga enthusiasts, educational programs include yoga, meditation, and philosophy.
When staying for as little as $12 a day [$15 per day for less than 2 weeks] volunteers are responsible, or perhaps better said, invited to join in with vegetarian cooking, art construction projects, organic gardening and teaching English in order to earn their keep. Just 60 km away from Buenos Aires, this ashram is rural oasis for anyone wanting to expand his or her knowledge and reconnect with nature.
The Mana Retreat Centre (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/volunteer/articles/volunteer-new-zealand-wwoofing-mana-retreat.shtml )is located on a charitable trust in Coromandel on New Zealand’s (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://seekretreat.com/5-reasons-to-add-new-zealand-to-your-bucket-list-draft/ )North Island and known for its bodywork and holistic healing training. Work exchange volunteers are asked to run day-to-day operations at the resort, including food preparation, organic farming, housekeeping and property maintenance. While not all duties are glamorous tasks, on days off, volunteers are allowed to use the resort facilities (including the sauna, sweat lodge and occasional workshops), go hiking, or find a place of seclusion to reflect on your gratitude for being able to meditate among century-old trees.
For more information about work exchange programs in countries across the world, WOOFinternational.org (https://web.archive.org/web/20150317173758/http://wwoofinternational.org/wwoof-in-other-countries/ ) offers a comprehensive resource for yogis of all interests.