Tourist Tip #367 / Mind Meets Body at Yoga Weekend in the Desert

The Arava region, just north of Eilat, hosts a weekend-long yoga retreat that features more than two dozen yoga workshops for practitioners of all levels.

If your mind is already in a transcendental state thanks to the recent SPIRIT international film festival in Tel Aviv, your body can get in on the action, too, at the annual Yoga Arava event – a weekend-long retreat featuring more than two dozen yoga workshops for practitioners of all levels.

For the fourth year in a row, different communities in the Arava region are hosting yoga workshops led by some of Israel’s leading teachers and special guest yogis from abroad – all against an om-inducing desert backdrop. Participants must choose a workshop in advance, and stick with that group and teacher for the duration of the event. Organizers are happy to help students select a workshop that best suits them, which might be necessary considering the vast range of styles being offered: Iyengar, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Vijnana, Shivananda, Vinny Yoga, Anusara, Dharma Yoga, Power Yoga, funky Yoga, and a special yoga teachers’ training workshop are all on the roster.

All Yoga Arava participants will come together Friday night for a “unity meeting” and sunset yoga – for which participants are being asked to bring white clothes – at Timna Park, about 25 kilometers north of Eilat. There will also be a dance performance and Kabbalat Shabbat.

As far as food and accommodations go, the price of a workshop (which runs from about NIS 930 to NIS 1650 depending on your choice) includes lodging – at campgrounds or B&Bs – and six vegetarian meals. Check with the Yoga Arava information center for more specific details.

So what should you bring? A yoga mat, comfy clothes, shoes and a hat – and also some warmer layers as it tends to get nippy in the desert in the wee hours this time of year. (Low temperatures this week could reach the teens Celsius, or 50s Fahrenheit.)  The event includes walks and meditation, and organizers suggest bringing a notebook as well so you can jot down whatever profound thoughts bubble up from deep within.

Yoga Arava, October 31-November 2. For information about workshops, getting there and more, visit http://www.yogaarava.co.il/en/, call 052-366-5935 or email yogaarava@gmail.com.

AP