By Megan Taylor Morrison
The Active Times

When it comes to building a stronger mind and body, yoga can be one of your best tools. A regular practice can reduce stress, improve fitness, and help manage chronic conditions from heart disease to high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

While a yoga class twice a week can have a positive impact, a full-fledged retreat can help you magnify the physical and mental benefits of yoga, as well as dive more deeply into your practice. With daily classes, incredible outdoor settings, and healthful meals, a yoga retreat can be like your average vacation on steroids.

Not surprisingly, wellness tourism -- including yoga -- is expected to be one of the top getaway trends in the United States in 2013, according to an annual forecast report by SpaFinder. If you want to get in on the action and up your Om, you should consider the following.

Because yoga retreats can vary widely, you need to know what you’re looking for. A getaway in a remote, wild location? Or easy access from a big city? Do you want a program focused entirely on yoga, or one that offers cooking classes, hikes and sightseeing? Other things to think about include the meals (many yoga retreats only provide vegetarian cuisine and don’t allow alcohol), type of yoga and who will be teaching. While some retreats have resident instructors, others bring in teachers from around the world.

For this story, we featured 12 excellent yoga retreats that can meet the needs of a variety of yogis. Take a look to find the spot that’s best for you.

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