Yoga retreats: 5 to try in B.C. and Alberta

Downward dog. Child pose. Sun salutations. And lots and lots of stretching.

I’m surrounded by strangers, all stretching quietly in a quiet, dimly lit hotel room, and I’m blissfully happy. I’ve dropped for a morning weekend yoga class during a quick hotel getaway and from the moment I walked in, I knew it was the right decision. Within an hour, I’m calm and collected. All of the weekday stress is behind me, and I feel ready to face the week ahead.

And a full weekend — or week — of yoga? Even better.

Wellness retreats have been around for years, but these days, they’re popping up everywhere, to fit a variety of budgets.

Here are a few to consider the next time you want to put a pause on real life and reconnect with your inner self.

Don’t see what you need or want? Ask the team at your favourite yoga studio; they’ll likely have a suggestion or two.

Evolve Retreat Co.

Carefully selected locations in Alberta give the Evolve Retreat team a chance to meet one-on-one with clients looking to make meaningful change in their lives.

Some retreats even feature legendary Canadian trainer and fitness coach Tommy Europe. Don’t be scared, but he was the charming but tough guy on the TV shows Bulging Bride and The Last 10 Pounds Boot Camp. He also played football with the BC Lions, the Montreal Alouettes and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Then there’s Sarah Harvie, who leads the Evolve yoga classes. For the past decade or so, she has been working with the National Outdoor Leadership School, leading backpacking, whitewater canoeing, rafting and backcountry ski trips.

Along the way, she trained as a yoga instructor, as well as a massage therapist and a CranioSacral Therapist. Like Europe, she’s the real deal, helping you unwind, rebalance and figure out where you want your life to go next.

Evolve Retreat Co. offers a range of yoga and wellness retreats throughout 2019. Past retreats have featured classes led by legendary trainer Tommy Europe.

Evolve Retreat Co. /


But, depending on what you sign up for at Evolve, you’ll also try meditation, clean eating, healthy cooking demonstrations and personal wellness consultations.

If this is all new to you, don’t worry, says Evolve’s retreat planner, Tina Green.

“We pride ourselves on offering a very welcoming and customized retreat for people of all ages and aptitudes,” Green says. “And on any multi-day retreat, there is always plenty of time for one-on-ones with our team. Evolve is for anyone looking to make a meaningful lifestyle change.”

Locations vary, but recent retreats have taken place at Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Baker Creek Mountain Resort and Sunshine Mountain Lodge.

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria offers wellness packages that feature seaside yoga (depending on the weather!) and hot mineral baths that overlook the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. Each package includes a spa credit, too, so if it’s pouring rain and you can’t do the downward dog outside, you can at least get a massage to chase away your real-life aches and pains. Each wellness package includes a welcome gift, too; the custom blend of bath salts is lovely.

Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria offers yoga and wellness retreats, with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.

Mike Pepperdine/Oak Bay Beach Hotel /


The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

In late 2018, the team at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise unveiled five wellness retreats for 2019. Each retreat is different, but they all focus on one thing: transformative travel experiences, geared toward people looking to make or continue positive lifestyle changes. Canmore yoga instructor Jeff Mah has led taught workshops and led retreats across Canada and as far away as Costa Rica and Hawaii, while Colorado-based psychotherapist and yoga instructor Kim Roberts led a recent getaway looking at “the relationship between contemplative practice and creative expression.”

Then there’s Calgary yoga instructor Tracey Delfs, who will head up the upcoming mindfulness and yoga retreats. Depending on the weekend, that may include three 9-minute yoga classes or two 60-minute classes. You can attend solo or with friends; each package includes healthy meals and plenty of like-minded people.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is offering wellness retreats throughout 2019, including yoga getaways.

Nick Fitzhardinge /


Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort

Located in the southern Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia, Nimmo Bay is remote. Majestic. And still luxurious, even though it’s not easy to find. In fact, you can’t get to Nimmo Bay unless you’re travelling by boat, helicopter or float plane.

But once you’re there? You can unplug, disconnect and relax. Really relax. And, of course, you’ll have Instagram-worthy private accommodations and views, but really, who cares? Chasing those anonymous likes won’t matter after a few days at this glorious wilderness retreat.

The luxurious Nimmo Bay Resort on the West Coast can only be reached by helicopter, float plane or boat. It offers exclusive retreats that include yoga.

Jeremy Koreski/Nimmo Bay Resort. /


Yoga Shala Calgary

Want to combine helicopters, hiking, yoga and a retreat? Then Yoga Shala Calgary has just what you need: the Heli Hiking and Yoga Retreat, June 30 to July 3 at the CMH Bugaboo Lodge. Popular Calgary-based yoga instructor Dana Blonde will lead the classes, and yes, there will be gourmet meals, wine and plenty of time for exploring the natural world around you. Pack your bathing suit for the roof-top hot tub.

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