Whether you are an expert yogi or just casually practicing yoga you should give a retreat a shot! Where better to try one than in South East Asia – people from all around the world have been coming here for the best yoga experience. Laos, PDR (People’s Democratic Republic or also short for Please Don’t Rush) is one of South East Asia’s most chilled out places. Unlike other countries, you don’t hear the sounds of motorbikes beeping on the frantic streets and everything in general runs at a slower pace here.
Laos yoga retreats offer various programs throughout the year. The Ayurveda yoga retreat takes place over 4 days in February at the Mandala Ou Resort nestled in the sleepy town Nong Khiaw just north of Luang Prabang town. The resort is fully booked out so during the time of your retreat no one else is staying at the resort which really adds to a relaxing, fulfilling yoga experience and taking time for yourself.
How to get there?
Minivan from Luang Prabang (70,000 Laotian Kip or $7).
A minivan to Nong Khiaw can be booked for you through your hostel or accommodation. You can take it directly from Luang Prabang to the small but beautiful riverside town of Nong Khiaw. The journey will take just 3 hours but brace yourself for a bumpy ride, generally, there is a lot of construction, potholes and road conditions overall in Laos aren’t the finest. From the bus station in Nong Khiaw, it is a mere 3-minute walk to the Mandala Ou resort where the retreat takes place.
Cost and what is included?
For $290 you will get:
- 3 nights shared accommodation. (Before booking you can ask to share a room with another person attending the retreat or pay a little extra for your own private room – up to you!)
- A delicious breakfast buffet each morning with a wide range of fruits, cereal, croissants, jams, granola, scrambled egg, toast, tea or coffee. After breakfast you won’t have room for lunch, it is so good!
- An organic dinner each evening which includes about 5 different courses with a lot of tasty vegetarian options.
- Lunch is not included in the price however if you are feeling hungry you can order off the resort’s lunch menu.
- A refillable water bottle upon arrival to use for the duration of your stay at the resort
- Access to the beautiful infinity pool overlooking the Nam Ou River and into the mountains and cliff faces. Poolside towels are also supplied. You will have time in between yoga sessions to relax, read a book or explore the town of Nong Khiaw.
- Two 2 hour yoga practices each day in the morning and evening overlooking the river – the view is truly amazing. Including Yin Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, and meditation techniques. The morning yoga will begin as early as 7:30 am before breakfast. The retreat supplies herbal teas and bananas if you feel you must eat something before 9:30 am. The evening session begins at 5 pm until 7 pm.
- A handbook is provided at the beginning of the retreat which will tell you more about yoga practice and Ayurveda.
- A workshop and introduction to Ayurveda practices led by your yoga instructor. She will pass on information on ways to improve your life by following certain eating habits, rituals to begin your day. For example, taking some time for yourself before rushing out of bed in the morning, oil pulling and tongue scraping.
- A hike led by the instructor to the Nong Khiaw viewpoint. The start point of the hike is about a 10-minute bike ride from the resort.
Hike time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Entrance fee: 20,000 Laotian Kip or $2
The views overlooking the town and the river are stunning and well worth it.
- Yoga mats, blocks, and blankets are provided by the retreat.
- Bikes are available from the resort and free of charge.
- Return minivan from the resort to Luang Prabang on the final day.
What level of yoga do you need to have to join the retreat?
The group has a total of about 14 people of all different levels from complete beginner, to advanced training instructor level. The retreat caters for all skill sets and the instructor will meet with you individually at the beginning to discuss.
What to bring to the retreat?
- Warm gym or exercise clothes. In February in Nong Khiaw, the temperatures plummet in the mornings and evenings so make sure to bring long pants and long sleeves to your yoga practices.
- Notepad and pen.
Rules at the retreat
- Silent mornings:
At the start of the retreat, we were asked by our instructor not to speak to each other and remain in silence until the first yoga session of the day was completed and the first “Oom” had been collectively sung.
- Turn off technology and communication from external sources:
Our instructor recommended that we turn off our phones and not to check our emails for the duration of the retreat to fully relax, unwind, experience the retreat fully and reset the mind without any external distractions.