By Karen Asp
The Active Times
Forget room service. If you really want to unwind on vacation, head to a yoga class -- but don't let it cut into your sightseeing time.
Not only could a session be welcome relief for travel-stiff muscles, but it could also offer a powerful way to connect with your destination: take a helicopter ride to a secluded yoga spot in the Canadian Rockies, or salute the sun at Ala Moana Beach in Honolulu as it dips into the Pacific. And it doesn't really matter if you're a newbie or stiff as a rock -- yoga is an activity anybody can try regardless of age, shape or flexibility, especially since many styles of the practice are less goal-oriented than conventional strength training workouts. (Though you might want to tread carefully if you have health concerns or injuries.)
You might find that taking your first class in the serene quiet of a gothic cathedral or in a treehouse overlooking the Caribbean's peaceful blue waters dovetails with your goal of finding a relaxing escape. Recent research into the health benefits of yoga indicates that regular practice can have the therapeutic effects of lowering heart rate and blood pressure, as well as helping to ease psychological ailments like anxiety and depression.
As yoga's popularity continues to soar -- between 2008 and 2012, the number of American adults practicing yoga grew by 29 percent, according to a Yoga Journal study -- it's no wonder that this ancient Indian practice is popping up in unlikely settings.
With this carefully curated list, even beginners can enjoy a vinyasa voyage.See Slideshow >>
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