Yoga programs in many forms are taking hold in all types of club and resort properties—and proving to be one of the most flexible ways to attract, and retain, a wide range of devoted participants.
Yoga is more than another wellness trend. For many who have taken up the discipline, it’s proving to be an essential part of a balanced lifestyle that is not just a form of exercise, but also a key component of emotional health.
For club and resort properties, yoga holds out the potential for being much more than just another activity to offer to members and guests. Those that have embraced it have not only been able to expand their offerings to existing members and guests, but also enhance the appeal of their properties to potential new patrons from desired demographics, including women and Millennials. And strong yoga programs are proving to be one of the best ways to get those who practice it to come, and stay, at a property on a regular and extended basis.
Snee Farm Country Club, in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (a suburb of Charleston), is a private golf and country club that hosts a twice-weekly Hatha yoga class that is open to the public. Laurie Clarke has been conducting classes there since 1995, when the club’s manager, who had been attending her yoga classes at another location, invited her to also teach at Snee Farm.
“Yoga appeals to a really broad range of people and benefits everyone,” says Clark. “It’s ideal for an athletic young person who needs a restorative yoga class for physical and mental balance, for any age or fitness level. It’s great for people as they age to help with mobility, and actually there are specific poses that help avid golfers and tennis players.”
In fact, golf’s Tiger Woods and tennis’ Andy Murray are both avid practitioners of yoga and at the head of the ranks of athletes who have embraced it as an important component of their workout routines. Yoga enhances a player’s game through both sharper mental focus and the physical stretching that increases flexibility and strength.
Clarke’s classes focus on the adaptive and restorative elements of the program. She’s had some people in her classes who have been there since the beginning, while others just come occasionally or for a short time.
“I teach adaptive yoga classes using lots of props, like blocks, blankets, and pillows, for cancer and cardiac patients,” she says. “Some of my students find that yoga is helpful as they start not getting around as well as they used to; the goal of yoga is to age graciously.”
Clarke’s classes begin with meditation and breathing exercises, include slow, gentle poses, and end with relaxation, something that appeals to the club’s main demographic: people who are middle-aged and older. Clarke also teaches at the Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms outside Charleston, where she says the groups are more varied, with guests coming from all over for vacations and attending yoga sessions while there.
Going With the Flow…and “Bros”
Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., underwent a $27 million renovation and expansion in 2016, and one of the main goals of the project was to expand the club’s fitness offerings, including adding more space for yoga.
“We have a real yoga program here, as opposed to just offering yoga classes,” says Kim Pace, Assistant Director of Fitness & Group Exercise. “We have integrated yoga into our community.”
Woodfield offers roughly 70 classes per week, ranging from cycling to Zumba. Of those, yoga programming makes up about 25% of the schedule—about 13 classes total, with at least two classes offered each day.
The style of the classes that are offered vary as much as the neighborhood demographic (Woodfield is part of a community where residence requires joining the club, and the membership is unusually young for a Boca Raton neighborhood, with an average age of 49 and roughly 1,200 children). For yoga, the club offers restorative and yin (made up of slower movement and poses), foundational classes like hatha and yoga basics, along with vinyasa (flow) yoga, Tai yogalates, tai chi, aerial yoga and even belly dancing and “yoga for bros.”
“Our 9- to 12-year olds are our juniors group,” says Pace. “We have their moms; a group of younger, very fit grandmas; members that have musculoskeletal concerns; and our ‘yoga bros’—the men in our community who play golf or tennis and need to do additional stretching,
“A member can come in and start a fitness program and we’re able to help get them to meet the guidelines for someone to be fit and healthy,” she adds.
Specialty events that take place outside of the traditional yoga classroom are also popular with member-residents, she notes. These include: “Brews and Bros” (with beer added to the stretching): “Vino and Vinyasa” (adding wine); “Full Moon Yoga” and “Meditation Under the Stars” (adding an outdoor element) and “Poolside Yoga” (held on the pool deck). “Members really enjoy the added social component of these events,” says Pace.
Yoga From On High
In Vail, Colo., two unique yoga offerings engage visitors and locals alike and are an added attraction for the resort’s summer season. Both yoga classes bring energy to the town’s off-season and attract both residents and those visiting Vail.
Putting to good use the equipment that’s more frequently used in the winter months, the Vail Mountain Top Yoga Series offers yoga at 10,000 feet overlooking the Gore Range from the deck of the 10th Restaurant. The class is $10 or, with the scenic gondola ride to the top of the mountain, $40. Chair massages and lunch are available after the classes, letting guests make a day of the event.
Vail Mountain Lodge houses the 18,000-sq. ft. Vitality Center and Vail Athletic Club that is open to both members and drop-ins and offers spa services. The Vitality Center offers Outdoor Community Yoga at no cost, taking place every Saturday at the lawn in front of the Solaris property in the center of Vail Village.
“Summer community yoga classes are a great chance to socialize and connect with the shared intention of health and embodiment,” says Karen Anderson, Yoga Director at the Vitality Center. “There’s no better backdrop for yoga than Vail Mountain. We’re glad we’re able to offer free weekly yoga to give back to the Vail Valley community.”
Sunup to Sundown
The Salishan Resort, with the tagline “Basecamp for your soul,” has a focus on wellness programming for its guests. The property, in Gleneden Beach, Ore., features golf, a spa, restaurants, and fitness classes with an emphasis on nature (including “forest bathing,” the latest wellness trend, as the resort backs up on the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge).
Salishan hosts a weekend-long event—the Mindfulness & Meditation for Peace, Vitality, and Inspiration Retreat—in conjunction with Sarah McLean, a best-selling author and founder of the McLean Meditation Center in Sedona, Ariz.
“Salishan is embracing the core values of our holistic hospitality brand, Soul Community Planet, by offering programs like yoga,” says General Manager Ryan McCarthy. “More and more, travelers want to refresh their bodies and souls and experience the ‘place’ they are visiting.
“With that in mind, we wanted to go beyond the spa experience,” McCarthy says. “Salishan’s landscape provides a natural location for yoga, meditation, and wellness practices. Our daily yoga program provides guests with the opportunity to interact with the acres of forested property and the Pacific Ocean that are right at our doorstep.”
Salishan’s programming appeals to the range of guests that stay at the resort, but is also a great option for corporate group retreats or as a break from meetings, McCarthy says, noting that the groups find it makes a great start to the day or as a mid-day break, to refocus attention.
“The resort was designed to be in harmony with the environment, and our buildings blend seamlessly into the coastal Oregon landscape,” he says. “Many of our guests arrive looking for a deeper connection to nature and the outdoors.”
Practitioners at Salishan include everyone from first-timers looking to relax to experienced yogis on vacation. The resort changes its yoga programming seasonally, too, and is also open to local residents for a small fee.
In fall, there is a sunrise yoga class, held outdoors if weather permits, and summer offerings include “Poses and Pints” (pairing yoga with local craft beer), Sunset Yoga, and Forest Bathing.
Snee Farm CC, a private club in South Carolina, hosts a twice-weekly Hatha yoga class that is open to the public. Classes conducted by Laurie Clark, who has been teaching at the club since 1995, emphasize the adaptive and restorative elements of the discipline, including specific poses designed to help golf and tennis players.
One of the main goals of Woodfield CC’s recent $27 million renovation and expansion was to expand the club’s fitness program, and specifically to add more space for yoga. “We have a real yoga program here, as opposed to just offering classes,” says the club’s Kim Pace. “We have integrated yoga into our community.” Yoga now accounts for about 25% of Woodfield’s total fitness schedule.
Vail Mountain Lodge makes the most of its surroundings to emphasize yoga as a strong attraction for the summer season. “Summer community classes are a great chance to socialize and connect,” says Karen Anderson, Yoga Director at the property’s Vitality Center. “There’s no better backdrop for yoga than Vail Mountain.”
The Salishan Resort in Oregon “provides a natural location for yoga, meditation and wellness practices,” says General Manager Ryan McCarthy. “Our daily yoga program provides guests with the opportunity to interact with the acres of forested property and the Pacific Ocean that are right at our doorstep.” Yoga is also proving to be popular as an option for corporate groups using the resort for retreats or meetings, to get a clear start to their day or refocus attention through a mid-day break.