(Lonelyplanet)-Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Yin, restorative, tantric, aerial – you can find all types of yoga in Chiang Mai. (Although there aren’t goat yoga classes…yet.)
Between meditation trainings at Buddhist temples, local and visiting healers, and the famous traditional Thai massage, the northern hub naturally draws wellness warriors from around the world. Chiang Mai is a yoga hot spot.
Many roving international yoga teachers choose Chiang Mai as a base, particularly during the region’s high season from the end of October to the end of January, and a rising number of Thai teachers and studios also offer a range of yoga styles, experiences, settings and prices.
Here’s where to go for your yoga flow…
A woman practicing yoga
Yoga Fly at Yoga Ananda © Alana Morgan / Lonely Planet
Yoga in the park
Drop-in yoga classes in Chiang Mai are typically 250 to 300B with studios offering five- or ten-class passes at a slightly reduced rate. For those on a strict budget, however, you can’t beat the free yoga classes in the old city’s Suan Buak Hat public park. Organised through the Yoga in the Park Facebook Group, where you can find a current listing of free-to-all classes, travelling and Chiang Mai–based yoga teachers volunteer their time holding sessions multiple days a week.
Wild Rose Yoga
Serious yogis head to Wild Rose Yoga. Tucked away on a small neighbourhood soi (side street) close to Pratu Chiang Mai, the studio is set in a traditional teak wood house and always offers a magical ambience with fresh petals lining the walkway, colourful flower garlands blessing Buddha and Ganesh statues, and the sweet, smoky scent of incense wafting throughout. It’s precisely the type of exotic hideaway you’d expect when doing yoga in a tropical country with some distinct Thai touches. Classes here tend to fall more on the advanced side of the spectrum. Make sure to check the online class schedule before stopping by; otherwise, if you’re a complete beginner, you may feel out of your element.
A house behind foliage surrounded by a fence with painted yoga silhouettes
Hidden House Yoga © Alana Morgan / Lonely Planet
Hidden House Yoga
Also in a wooden home, Hidden House Yoga’s convenient location in the old city’s northeast corner (and backpacker hub) makes it an easy spot to drop-in for a morning or evening class. Most classes are suitable for participants of all abilities. If you’re not sure which type of yoga or class is right for you, check out the detailed descriptions on their website. You can also take vegetarian and vegan Thai cooking classes onsite from one of the owners.
Hidden House Yoga’s sister studio, Freedom Yoga, just east of Pratu Tha Phae offers similar sessions and vibes in yet another Thai house. The simple, relaxed atmosphere serves as an inviting space for yogis of all levels and is a good place to meet other travellers.
A bamboo fence leading to the Wild Rose entrance
Wild Rose Yoga © Alana Morgan / Lonely Planet
Blossom Yoga and Movement Studio
On the top floor of a shophouse, the intimate but surprisingly airy Blossom Yoga and Movement Studio fills its schedule with a mix of yoga classes. It offers Hatha, restorative and yoga foundations, along with different dance and movement explorations, such as DANCEmandala, which acts as a moving meditation matched with music.
Founded by a popular teacher in the Thai yoga world, Yoga Ananda’s two locations in Chiang Mai – one on Nimmanhaemin Road and the other near Jing Jai Market – run a wide range of yoga classes, workshops and teacher trainings in both Thai and English. The spaces have more fitness studio vibes than spiritual settings, but the charming instructors create a playful environment where you can’t help but smile. Along with Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa, Yoga Ananda also offers ‘Yoga Fly’ (aerial yoga) classes for both kids and adults.
Two twin size beds with fishnet hanging over them inside a circular room
Suan Sati © Alana Morgan / Lonely Planet
Kids Yoga Garden
When it comes to yoga in Chiang Mai, kids get in on the action too! The welcoming Kids Yoga Garden leads weekly drop-in yoga classes for kiddos as well as family classes, arts, crafts and language workshops, mini-camps and more. All classes are limited to ten participants, with most activities led by two instructors teaching in multiple languages, ensuring each child receives the personalised attention they deserve.
Chiang Mai Holistic
While most studios stick strictly to yoga, Chiang Mai Holistic takes a more holistic approach to wellbeing offering daily yoga in the morning and evening along with a varied array of other therapies and practices. Choose to further soothe your soul after getting your savasana with wellness treatments ranging from gong baths and reiki healing, to Zen meditation and chakra aligning. Sessions are priced individually, or you can opt for a five-time pass. Or – if you’re really in need of some self-care – purchase an unlimited pass good for one month.
Ready to take your practice to the next level? Along with drop-in classes, Chiang Mai is also a hotspot for longer yoga workshops and retreats. Meaning ‘garden of mindfulness,’ Suan Sati’s devotion to self-discovery integrates vipassana meditation (the Buddha’s chosen method), permaculture and yoga. It’s about 45 minutes north of the city centre. Built through a collective volunteer effort, the forested Suan Sati provides those wanting to reconnect with nature and their practice (you’ll be rising before dawn to start your mindful day) with the most affordable nightly stays and retreat options around. Stays include all meals and two yoga meditation sessions per day.
4 huts, one with a thatched roof with a boardwalk path leading to them
Mala Dhara © Alana Morgan / Lonely Planet
Featuring a back-to-nature beauty with a dash of quirkiness, Mala Dhara quickly became one of the region’s most sought-after retreat venues after opening in 2016. One-of-a-kind, natural earthen villas dot the property along with two yoga salas and a saltwater pool all surrounded by lush rice paddies and other organic crops that then provide ingredients for the two-storey vegan restaurant. Private villas and group dorm rooms are available for nightly bookings when they’re not filled with retreats. Mala Dhara also runs special herbal steams and workshops throughout the year. They’re worth the short, 50-minute trek from Chiang Mai’s city centre.
Thailand yoga holidays
For the ultimate luxurious yoga escape, snag a spot in one of Thailand’s Yoga Holidays’ upcoming retreats. Thailand Yoga Holidays primarily helps yoga teachers who want to bring their students to Thailand organise all retreat logistics; however, anyone can check their upcoming retreat schedule and book a spot. From staying in boutique riverside hotels to walking with monks through the valley, the experiences are dreamy in the once-in-a-lifetime bucket list trip sort of way. If you’ve got the cash, the founder (who has been teaching yoga in Thailand for more than a decade) can create a completely customised holiday just for you, travelling throughout different spots in Chiang Mai and beyond.