Heralded for its breathtaking scenery, exquisite farm-to-table cuisine, and outdoor activities, the Hudson River Valley is a gem. Now that the warm weather is upon us, there’s no better time to get out of the City and see why the eclectic, health-conscious region was named one of the top places to visit by Travel + Leisure.
Before you get overwhelmed by planning potential travel itineraries, we’ve already done the research for you. The following retreats, outdoor classes, workshops, and festivals showcase the best of the region, and have also been selected specifically for those who need public transportation to make the trip. These excursions are a delight for solo travelers, but we’re pretty sure you won’t have a tough time convincing your friends and loved ones to join you—should you want company. Everything is so close by!
This Ulster County monastery offers Dharma teachings and retreats in the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The class meets weekly for 60 minutes, in the Amitabha Shrine Room, and no previous meditation experience is necessary.
First-timers looking to transition from movement practices to stillness can feel welcome even in the formal space. Casual visitors are not offered meals, so be prepared to visit one of Woodstock’s eateries after your class, which is taught by Special Projects Coordinator Jan Tarlin.
Start your weekend off right with Linda Lalita Winnick, co-owner of Woodstock Yoga Center and founder of Shakti Yoga Studios, which is right around the corner. After class, on the B&B's charming pool deck that overlooks a small pond, you’re welcome to take a refreshing dip in the in-ground salt-water pool. Leery of the sun's rays? No problem. The Enchanted Manor deck boasts a roof-covered area that’s sure to protect even the fairest of practitioners.
Price: $12 per class (Preserve members), $14 per class (non-members)
As if a day trip to Mohonk Preserve wasn't already worth looking into, the Preserve's summertime yoga classes, that overlook the Catskills, are a treat for visitors and hotel guests alike. Join Jacqui Nash, co-owner of the Yoga House in Kingston, as she guides students through beginner-friendly classes in the Slingerland Pavilion. If eating in the hotel dining room is above your budget, on your way home, head down the mountain into New Paltz. The historic college town has tons of delicious and inexpensive places to try: burritos from Mexicali Blue, a hearty-but-reasonable entree from The Main Course, or bar apps at Bacchus, just to name a few. BYOM.
The Stand Up and Paddle (SUP) yoga trend is on the rise for good reason, and Westchester's first floating yoga studio is pulling up its anchor and preparing to launch another gone-too-fast summer season. Making your water-infused yoga experience invigorating and safe, SUP Om Yoga’s owner, Debra Bisaccia, is a licensed physical therapist, RYT, and Pilates instructor who offers asana on a surfboard to students of all levels, several times a week. Heads up: the schedule varies, so be sure to check online and reserve ahead.
Is there a better way to spend the day besides practicing yoga and doing manifestation-centered arts and crafts for adults? Led by yoga and holistic health teacher Jeanne Licurse, this 2.5-hour workshop is divided into two parts. After an hour of asana focused on opening your heart and letting go, you'll be given time to create your own unique Vision Board through pictures, words, and color. Organic gourmet snacks and teas will be served, so bring your appetite. If you plan to go the first week, maybe consider tacking-on Mountain Jam to your visit?
Dates: Saturdays at 10:15am, June 6 through July 25
Price: $15, $12 (seniors), $8 (students; children under age 4). Members free.
Four seasoned instructors rotate each week to lead alfresco classes at this historic sculpture park. Walking meditation and tips for practicing mindfulness are included, but you can also check out the park’s celebrated collection, exhibitions, and charming cafe. With a slew of quaint B&Bs and other draws in the area, maybe even make a weekend out of it? BYOM.
Let's cut to the chase: This 18th century Hudson Valley garden villa and its grounds are stunning. With yummy vegetarian meals, cooking classes, and free time to relax and visit the Dia Art Foundation or the Storm King Art Center, this all-encompassing experience might feel a bit like a fairytale. The weekend is led by yoga teacher, therapist, and doula Deborah Bagg, but The Garden also hosts other retreats during the summer, with different instructors, as well. All are worth looking into, if you can't make these dates work.
In addition to a kirtan concert led by Gaura Vani & The Mayapuris, this vibrant portion of Newburgh’s annual festival also features Ayurvedic foods that are native to several Indian locales. Don't miss Yoga Mela, the Celebration of Colors' collaborative yoga retreat that showcases a variety of Hudson Valley instructors teaching their specialties—and supplemental healing modalities—in classes throughout the day. If you’d like to pivot a bit, the festival will also feature pop-up art shows, music headliners Saul Williams and Corey Glover, and a marketplace brimming with health and beauty products, crafts, jewelry, sweets, and more!
Surround yourself with 77 acres of beautiful Catskill land in this secluded upstate destination, rooted in classical Yoga and Vedanta. Led by Swami Hridyananda, the Yoga Ranch retreat provides three daily yoga classes, a vegetarian brunch and dinner, workshops, and morning/evening satsang. In your free time, commune with nature and quiet the mind by roaming the ranch’s grounds and hiking trails.
Practice and give back, simultaneously! Join yoga communities in the Hudson Valley as they come together for this all-day event to raise funds and energetic healing for Nepal. Summer bloom will be in full swing and a robust schedule of yoga classes, kirtan, and holistic practices are scheduled for attendees, on the estate’s grounds. All proceeds will go to those in Nepal who need it most via Direct Relief. Bring a picnic and enjoy the nature preserve’s magnificent gardens, and views of the Hudson River—all for a good cause. BYOM.
If you’ve been curious about Ayurveda but weren’t sure where to start, this seminar is just a little over an hour from the city. Providing a comprehensive introduction to everything from the doshas to nutritional awareness, chakra-balancing color therapy to medicinal herbs that can be found in your kitchen, Dr. Vasant Lad will lead 12 classes and a two-part talk. The highly respected Dr. Lad founded the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM, and has published several notable books on the subject.
It's far off the beaten path, but Susan “Lippy” Orem’s hideaway and skillful instruction is well worth the trip. (Orem annually assists Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman at Kripalu.) Bring your bathing suit and indulge in a weekend of relaxation, flavorful grapes, and asana. There is a pond and hot tub to delight in, the organic garden provides as many ingredients as possible, and the wine tastings are expertly selected by Sean Sant Amour, the wine director of NYC's Blue Ribbon restaraunts.
Just how much does your seat—also known as “zazen”—impact your practice? In this sukasana-focused retreat, Barbara Boris will guide participants through the intricacies of seated asanas. After exploring and assessing your seat, suggestions will be offered to make the posture more easeful, with additional attention placed on opening the groins, hips, back, and shoulders. Boris, who travels annually to India, has taken multiple courses with the Iyengars and is a resident instructor at the monastery. All retreat participants will be immersed in the disciplines of monastic Zen training, so do your research before signing up.
Get ready for some name dropping. At the place that Krishna Das calls one of his favorite retreat centers in the world, join Yoga Vida instructors for a weekend of yoga and frolicking in nature. Nestled in the foothills of the Catskills, Menla is run by Robert Thurman—Uma's dad—co-founder of Tibet House US. When you’re not practicing yoga, or eating one of three daily vegetarian meals, explore the venue’s spa services, go swimming or whitewater rafting, or just stroll along Menla’s 325 acres. FYI: Daily discussions on the Bhagavad Gita will be helmed by Dr. Satya Narayana Das.
While the full schedule won’t be available until June, this two-day celebration of yoga and music already has a strong lineup of Hudson Valley teachers and performers. Located in the mindful community where one of Upstate’s premier ski resorts resides, the festival allows you to float between yoga classes, sacred music performances, chanting groups, and guided meditation circles. Highly lauded for the annual fall foliage, be sure to book your accommodations sooner rather than later as Upstate hotels and B&Bs often meet their capacities quickly.