This weekend may be your last chance at some solid leaf peeping in middle Tennessee until next year. Hiking up to a gorgeous bluff overlooking a spectacular golden valley was just one highlight from a recent tour of the Isha Institute of Inner Sciences in McMinnville.
A 1400 acre yogi retreat in Tennessee? No.Way. I had no idea thousands of yoga enthusiasts were coming from all over the world to rural Tennessee every month; and some even end up staying for decades at a time to live and volunteer at the retreat.
I imagine it’s the acres of lush grounds for hiking and mountain biking, meditation and hatha yoga classes, made-from-scratch vegetarian fare and the endless opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation that draw individuals to the locale.
First, our day started out with an intro-to-yoga class at the dome shaped Mahima Hall, where we learned a bit about Sadhguru’s, the founding guru, philosophy. The poses we learned were simple, yet oh-so challenging and I’m no professional yogi, but I know my way around a mat.
Then it was off to lunch-by far the absolute best vegetarian food I’ve eaten in my entire life. The 100% made-from-scratch or locally sourced food is prepared by volunteers from all over the world that live and practice yoga at the retreat. Sample recipes from our lunch include Green Gram Coconut Salad and Simple Dahl. Lunch is $10 on Free Yoga Day.
Next up-the hike. No explanation needed for these views. If venturing out solo isn’t for you, there are several guided hikes available throughout the day.
Once back at base, we attended a cooking class in which we were able to sample a few tasty bites featuring mung beans, tumeric and other exotic spices that promote healing.
We then went back to the domed Mahima hall for a beginner’s guided meditation class. I was a little out of my comfort zone as the guided meditation I’d previously experienced was nothing like that of Sadghuru’s techniques. The class was challenging and rewarding, none-the-less.
Finally, we wrapped up the day in the awe-inspiring Adobe of Yoga (Adi Yoga): a massive, powerful, energy filled meditation space that’s open year round from 8am-8pm. Check out the view from the front entry way below.
After a full day at the breathtaking Isha Institute, it’s easy to understand why many come from across the globe to experience the stress free vibes. I intend to go back and if you have a few extra hours (or years???)-it’s definitely worth a trip to McMinnville!