Kripalu retreat upstate

Dear Flannery,

I’m looking to escape the city and have a weekend (or more) of wellness. Do you recommend any yoga retreats that are easily accessible by train (amtrak/metronorth/etc.?) Thanks!

Dear “Yoga Escape”,

Take 10 days off and head up to the Berkshires for a FREE Vipassana Yoga experience. Food and lodging are free, paid for by unsolicited donations by students who have participated. Volunteers feed you and silently help you around. See, you won’t be talking. Or doing yoga, per se. Or texting or writing in your dream journal. Vipassana is a regimented practice of early rising, simple vegetarian meals, and days spent sitting, standing, and walking in silence (for more info and to sign up, visit

Full disclosure: while I have practiced the technique in shorter intervals, I have never been able to successfully schedule a retreat. Best to do so 6 months in advance, particularly if you’re a woman. Men can often get a reservation with shorter notice. There are Vipassana locations worldwide offering the same 10 day format. After participating once, you can attend again as a participant or a volunteer, cooking meals, attending to students and chatting. Eventually you can build to 30 day practices.


Trains, bus or carpool can get you up to the Massachusetts location, which is about 3ish hours away.

Omega in Rhinebeck

If you’re looking to spend a lot more money to self actualize with the help of a well-marketed modern guru serving their brand of yoga, head north to Omega, nestled on the Hudson near Rhinebeck, or closer to the Vipassana retreat there’s Kripalu, founded by a defamed yogi with a hedonistic bent. These locations host Rest and Relax weekends, that include simple yoga classes and great food. Omega and Kripalu both are not for profit organizations.

Goodyoga can arrange a private midrange option for you in Germantown, between Hudson and Rhinebeck in an idyllic setting with chickens, wild turkeys and a large herd of deer all making appearances regularly. We have a Goodyoga trained teacher living nearby who will happily offer private sessions on the property. Enjoy a juice fast during a 3 day weekend with no temptations, except, of course, Otto’s Gourmet Market, owned by a former Whole Foods buyer, which has everything a spoiled New Yorker “needs”: chemex coffee, British nostalgia products, and a packed deli counter. The liquor store is next door if you decide the cold pressed juice would be great mixer, but this is a yoga retreat, remember?  Equally nearby is adorable Hudson, or Greenpoint North. Swallow coffee is your caffeine and internet fix. Take yours to go and walk the avenue well-curated vintage furniture shops. You can find incredible deals at some of the more casual establishments. There’s even a Le Gamin outpost on the Main Street. You’ll feel right at home. Contact Goodyoga at 718.349.2983 to arrange this kind of custom retreat.

Good luck!


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