Exotic Yoga Retreats blends the worlds of yoga and inner discovery with sensory experiences of visual beauty, health-giving sumptuous tastes, cultural enrichment and outdoor adventure.

Set in boutique hotels, eco-villas, yachts and other creative venues around the world, each destination is carefully selected for it’s serene beauty, nutritious food and that “magical something” in the atmosphere that opens hearts and minds to “see the world differently.”



Gayle Olson is the founder of Exotic Yoga Retreats.  As a principal retreat leader on many retreats, Gayle integrates her expertise of hands-on massage adjustments into her teaching. Author of The Yoga & Fitness Guide for Women, she has practiced and taught Hatha, Iyengar and Vinyasa yoga around the world for over 20 years. Through EYR, Gayle collaborates with a talented team of teachers from a range of traditions and disciplines—dynamic yoga teachers, artists, musicians, doctors, chefs and wine-makers—offering you new ways to “see the world differently”!



A majority of participants who join our Exotic Yoga Retreats are people traveling solo looking for a healthy and rejuvenating travel holiday in an exotic location. If you are coming by yourself, you will not be alone!  We also welcome couples, friends, mother-daughters, fathers-sons and groups on retreats. For this reason, the yoga is optional!  Our goal is to provide everyone on the retreat with a peak experience of health, relaxation and inner and outer discovery. For us yoga is a great vehicle towards this; but we understand it’s not for everyone. You are welcome on our retreats even if you prefer a bike ride or walk on the beach. We keep the bigger goal in mind—to balance good health and good living, enjoy nature, meet new people, spend quality time with those you love and ultimately “to see the world differently!”



We think of our trips as yoga retreat holidays — balancing good health with good living. We design our daily schedule to accommodate rest, relaxation, yoga, slow-food meals and a decent dose of indulgence in healthy pleasures!

MORNINGS  begin with a fresh juice, an Ayurvedic tea or a frothy, heart-warming cappuccino, depending on the type of retreat you are on.  At 8:00 am there is an optional serenity walk – on a tropical beach, under ancient olives or in rolling Tuscan hills – inviting you to savor the tranquility and internalize the rejuvenating power of nature. Around 8:30 am we start yoga. Practices are an hour and a half, though they can be shorter or longer depending on the activities of the day ahead. Following yoga we enjoy a well-earned healthy farm-to-table brunch usually outside sitting on a beautiful terrace with views.

AFTERNOONS  are for lounging on the beach, going on cultural excursions or other adventures. On touring retreats, there may only be one official yoga class each day, with stretches along the way, but on most retreats we have a relaxing yoga practice before dinner.

EVENINGS  are pure magic as we savor the opulent tastes and simple pleasures of healthy slow-food gourmet meals, fine wine (unless it’s a detox retreat) and great company!



Gayle Olson, founder of Exotic Yoga Retreats and author of The Yoga & Fitness Guide for Women, has taught and practiced Vinyasa, Iyengar and Hatha yoga around the world for over 20 years. Gayle has developed a unique method, Adjustment-Massage For Vinyasa Practice, giving students hands-on adjustments during class — it’s like receiving a full-body massage during a vinyasa practice! Whether a practice is fiery and energetic, or soft and receptive, Gayle guides students to maintain a strong meditative focus on breath — and on the joy of yoga!

Attracted to the internal world that yoga opened up for her at 17, Gayle began what has become her life’s path. She’s lived and traveled everywhere from Thailand and Tuscany, to Burma and Bombay, and now splits her time between San Francisco and Nice, France. Gayle blends the best of both worlds—a Gallic sense of joie de vivre with a can-do creative American spirit—into her transformative yoga retreats at exotic destinations around the globe.

Exotic Yoga Retreats’ variety of holidays and adventures reflects Gayle’s unique brand of mindful enjoyment. Rather than teaching traditional yoga philosophy, Gayle guides students to appreciate the “spiritual within the simple”. Through yoga, life coaching and a variety of meditative and reflective activities on retreats, Gayle encourages people to integrate simple practices that bring a visceral sense of joy, balance and health into the daily life. “The touch of sun against skin, a hand placed on the sacrum during yoga class, the taste of an Italian grown tomato drizzled with fresh olive oil— these small sensory experiences, combined with awareness and gratitude—greatly enhance our emotional and physical well-being.” says Gayle.

Gayle has devoted her life to helping people discover their unique paths to health and happiness. In 2007, Gayle trained as a life coach (CTI) to better serve people in living their fullest potential. She brings coaching work into her retreats through specially designed exercises to help people stretch—in both body and mind. In addition to offering yoga retreats and health holidays, Gayle trains other yoga teachers in her unique method of hands-on Adjustment-Massage For Vinyasa Practice.

Gayle prefers to keep Exotic Yoga Retreats small and intimate, between 8-12 participants, providing more personalized guidance and richer, deeper connections. Participants depart retreats transformed inside and out, healthy, balanced and rejuvenated. As one recent Exotic Yoga Retreats attendee said, “Practicing yoga with Gayle is pure joy. Her impassioned teaching enables me to flow through class and through life with a greater sense of grace and peace. For this I am truly grateful.”


  • Iyengar Yoga (teachers in the US and India)
  • Ashtanga (Richard Freeman)
  • Slow Vinyasa (Barbara Benagh, Eric Schiffman)
  • Anusara Yoga (John Friend)
  • Vipassana Meditation (as taught by S.N.Goenka)
  • Life Coach training (CTI)