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Farm-fresh yoga: 3 small, cheap retreats near New York City

Pigeon pose, Waterfall House Yoga Retreat in the CatskillsKripalu and Omega are the mega stores of yoga retreats. Marquee-name teachers and wellness gurus flock to these new-age Disneylands in the Berkshires and outside Rhinebeck. But there are intimate farmhouse-style getaways with fantastic yoga teachers from New York City where you won’t have to deal with cafeterias, airplane-hanger size yoga studios, or more than 20 other guests. Expect twin beds, shared baths, and rates of about $125 per night including yoga, food, and lodging. Unlike the mega retreats, these bindi-dot–size getaways don’t publish big glossy course catalogs that they leave in every NYC health-food store. So you’ll have to visit their websites and check out their clunky calendars, but it’s worth it. Here are three to keep your eye on:

betty ford guest room at Heathen Hill

The Betty Ford guest room at Heathen Hill

Heathen Hill
The yogi-innkeeper Susan Lip studied with Cindy Lee and Rodney Yee, who’s teaching here in the fall. Her adorable Delaware County farmhouse is set on 10 rolling acres with a pond for swimming. Expect two single beds per room (or camping), plus marshmallow-roasting and hot-tubbing, and no cell-phone signal. The 18-person yoga studio gets natural light, and meals are mostly vegetarian (bacon at Sunday brunch is the exception). “It’s sort of like going to stay with your favorite aunt who tells jokes that make your mom wince and who can cook like the dickens,” says Marisa Sako of Bend & Bloom and Kula Yoga Project, who just lead a retreat there and will again in September. Rates start at about $385 per person, per weekend; www.heathenhillyoga.net

The Villa at The Garden yoga retreat

The Villa at The Garden

The Garden
Two New Yorkers—Maria Gray, an architect, and Dages Keates, an integrative nutritionist—run retreats from this lovely restored 18th-century villa near Beacon in the Hudson Valley. Organic vegetarian cooking lessons and massage (for an extra fee) are often part of a yoga weekend with teachers like Alana Kessler (Sangha Yoga Shala), Holly Horvath (ViraYoga) and meditation with Sarah Barab. Most rooms have two twin beds; some have a queen. The Garden’s events calendar needs updating, but Max B., a Well+Good reader who just attended a retreat, said she learned how to make kale in half the time, loved the yoga, and “returned with a light around her that her friends hadn’t seen in ages.” Rates about $350/$575 per person, per weekend; www.GrowInTheGarden.com

Yoga at Waterfall House

Yoga at Waterfall House

The Waterfall House
Many NYC yogis have make the pilgrimage to this popular 1852 farmhouse near Kenguragara Waterfall and surrounded by 50 Western Catskills acres. The main house feels like a David Lynch country inn with its antiques, quirky mementos, a kitchy game room, and vintage bar. Two other houses provide lodging for groups up to 25. Here you’ll find yoga led by instructors from NYC, like Go Yoga in Williamsburg, and Boston, as well as Pilates retreats. You can also book bodywork and private instruction upon special request. Rates about $400 per person, per weekend; www.nywaterfallhouse.com

Not sure how to pick a yoga retreat? Check out Resolve to Retreat for tips and advice.

2 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. June 11th, 2010 at 10:37 am

    We are not exactly a weekend place from NYC, tho NYers do come in for 3 days weekends. We have been offering a similar style of small very personalized yoga retreats for 5 or more days in our historic home, 3 meals a day, B and B feel and lots of good reviews over the years. For NYers who really want a change of scenery and pace in Maine. I have been a teacher in NYC for 25 years and do still teach there winters.

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