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Yoga Retreats Around the Country

It's been a long time since yoga meant excruciating macrobiotic diets and sessions with Ram Dass. Or any sort of material renunciation, for that matter. Even if "peace, love, and light" isn't your mantra, yoga retreats can still offer a slice of nirvana. Below, some of the best, from local to remote, rigorous to restful.

THE FIFTH DIMENSION — WITH STRETCH

FEATHERED PIPE RANCH
Helena, Montana.
If you can swallow the chanting and the crystals, you'll find yourself in the company of expert teachers. For 25 years the instructors at Feathered Pipe have offered an intriguing blend of yoga and Native American rituals. You don't have to buy into the shamanism to appreciate the yoga, however; Feathered Pipe offers workshops at every level and in most styles. Teachers include famed yogis Patricia Walden and Rodney Yee, both of whom have put out their own videos.

WHAT TO WEAR
Fringed leather. Spurs. (Okay, Birks and cotton.)

WHO GOES
Multicultural mavens. Those who spell women with a y. Mainstream practitioners who tolerate the above.

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN
Lots. You can study stress management, for instance, as well as "Wakantia," a form of self-purification based on ancient (presumably Native American) rites. Among the various styles of yoga taught, Iyengar and hatha predominate. Iyengar is yoga for perfectionists, noted for the precision it demands of students (and teachers, who train for years); even child's pose becomes serious exercise.

WHERE YOU'LL STAY
Your choice: the main lodge, a tepee, or a yurt.

THE FACTS
406/442-8196; www.featheredpipe.com; from $995 a week.

MOUNTAIN TREK
Ainsworth Hot Springs, British Columbia.
Tesh, a.k.a. Nateshvar Ken Scott—the guy who keeps Demi Moore's body cover-worthy—leads retreats throughout the year. Equal parts Inner You and Outward Bound. You'll hike, you'll meditate, you'll levitate. 1352 North St.; 800/661-5161 or 250/229-5636; www.hiking.com; from $2,139 a week.

THE ASHRAM
Calabasas, California.
Asceticism for Hollywood legends and starlets. This eight-room spa, 30 miles from LAX, sleeps 12—you'll probably have to double up. Here yoga is an integral part of a hiking, fasting, total-body makeover. 2025 N. McKain St.; 818/222-6900; from $3,500 a week.

CAYUGA YOGA & MEDITATION CENTER AT NEW AGE SPA
Neversink, New York.
A Catskills spa with heated indoor and outdoor pools, an indoor waterfall, and a fully equipped gym. Much of the food is cultivated in New Age's own greenhouses. Expect a fair amount of ethical stuff with your hatha yoga—principles of nonviolence, how to live in truth. Rte. 5; 800/682-4348 or 845/985-7600; from $123 per night, including all meals and classes.

NOTHING BUT THE BASICS

KRIPALU CENTER FOR YOGA & HEALTH
Lenox, Massachusetts.
The mother of all yoga retreats. Kripalu offers a gentle, trippy form of yoga—called, not surprisingly, Kripalu yoga. As you hold your pose, concerned instructors correct your form. Everyone cares deeply. The caring even extends to the manicured landscape of this former Andrew Carnegie estate. If you tend toward skepticism, watch out: you'll be encouraged, without a hint of irony, to hug a tree.

WHAT TO WEAR
Modest clothing. Seriously. Kripalu was once a Jesuit institution and hasn't lost its inhibitions—guests are discouraged from wearing short shorts and tight shirts.

WHO GOES
Everyone and his dad. The real question is, Who goes more than once?It's a select group—those who can abide by the rules: no caffeine or booze; silence at breakfast.

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN
Kripalu. You can also hike with a herd of llamas and model your proud warrior pose on the stately mammal's posture.

WHERE YOU'LL STAY
Private rooms, shared rooms, and dorm beds available. Don't expect much.

THE FACTS
West St., Rte. 183; 800/741-7353 or 413/448-3400; www.kripalu.org; programs range from $77—$224 per night, including all classes and meals. There is a two-night minimum.

SEWALL HOUSE
Island Falls, Maine.
Some 90 miles north of Bangor, this B&B—style retreat offers intense classes in kundalini, a form of yoga that stresses controlled breathing. This is where Theodore Roosevelt—who had a weak heart and asthma—came to get his strength back while pondering his future. Crystal Rd.; 888/235-2395 or 207/463-3428; www.sewallhouse.com; doubles from $160, including all classes and meals.

SIVANANDA ASHRAM YOGA FARM VRINDAVAN
Grass Valley, California.
People at Sivananda are given to saying things like "there is only one kind of yoga." But the one kind is pretty athletic. Luckily, after your required yoga and meditation sessions, you can retire to the cedar-lined sauna. 14651 Ballantree Lane; 800/469-9642 or 530/272-9322; sivananda.org/locations/ashrams/yogafarm/index.html; from $70 a night for a private cabin, meals, and classes.

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