Art of Living Retreat Center

CategoryYoga Retreats
Art of Living Retreat Center

About The Art of Living Retreat Center

The Art of Living Retreat Center is a yoga retreat focused on relaxation, revival, peacefulness, and a reawakening of human values. Located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, this resort offers all-inclusive retreat experiences, as well as a la carte accommodations. Yoga, meditation sessions, and guided nature walks take place daily, along with pottery, recovery, and relationship classes.


The Art of Living Retreat Center offers 3 categories of overnight guest accommodations: hotel rooms, retreat rooms, and apartments. Hotel rooms are standard with full or king beds, private bathrooms, televisions, and refrigerators. Retreat rooms are very simply furnished with two twin beds and a desk. These retreat rooms are the recommended option for guests who seek peacefulness and meditation.

Apartments are ideal for guests who are planning to stay 8 days or longer. They include full kitchenettes with refrigerators, stove top and sink. Apartments also include a washer and dryer, private balcony, and flat screen television. Up to 4 people can stay comfortably in these accommodations.


Shankara Ayurveda Spa is the resort’s full service health facility. Ayurveda is an ancient practice designed to support health without disturbing the natural intelligence of the body. Trained practitioners assess guests and design a wellness program specifically for them. In addition to specialty retreat and spa clients, guests staying in the hotel rooms have access to the fitness center and steam rooms at Shankara Ayurveda Spa.

At The Art of Living Retreat Center, fitness is centered around yoga and meditation. There are many different types of these activities that take place every day. Sri Sri Yoga and Hatha Yoga are offered for both beginner and advanced practitioners. Mindfulness classes teach breathing techniques to rejuvenate the body. Guided nature walks take place daily.

Nearby but not offered at the resort are many outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting, horseback riding, cliff climbing, and winter skiing. Staff can help guests make arrangements to participate in the local fitness options.


Vegetarian meals are included in some retreat packages, but can also be ordered a la carte for hotel guests. Drawing on local harvest influences, as well as recipes from Bombay and the Caribbean, chefs create pre-set menus daily. All meals are meant to be healthy and offer proper nourishment and satisfaction. Many fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in the resort’s garden.

There is no meat or alcohol available anywhere at the resort. Guests may discreetly pack alcohol on their trip, but it must be consumed in their rooms.


An onsite pottery studio is open to all guests for several hours each day. All materials, including kiln and clay, are provided. Guests can keep their completed pieces.

The property also includes an outdoor Labyrinth, or meandering pathway that leads to a purposeful center point. The Labyrinth is intended to help each guest clear their mind, find meaning in life, and connect with the planet. It is open from dawn to sunset.

Featured presenters are invited to the retreat center throughout the year. In the past, workshops have focused on Inner Bonding, Soul Mastery, Recovery, Intuition, and Creative Expression.


The Art of Living Retreat Center is located high in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, NC. The area is known for hiking, climbing, and rafting. Some roads are closed in the winter, and the resort does not recommend using GPS for directions, as many routes are marked incorrectly. A useful map is provided on the resort website.

There are several airports within driving distance:

  • Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, NC is 100 miles away.
  • Tri-Cities Regional Airport in Johnson City, TN is 80 miles away.
  • Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, NC is 110 miles away.

The Hickory Hop Shuttle goes from Charlotte to Boone 5 times daily. The cost is $90 per person. All major car rental companies are located at the Charlotte Airport. The resort also suggests using Uber, which can take guests directly to the reception center.


This FitStay is a retreat-focused health resort. Guests can book individual hotel rooms for any length of time, but the best health and wellness experiences are created through the prescribed retreat packages.

Year-round retreats are:

  • Happiness Retreat – These 3-day programs start at $595 per person and include meals, room, and tuition. They are designed to reduce stress and create enthusiasm in life. There is a strong focus on breathing techniques.
  • 2-Night, 5-Night, and 8-Night Ayurveda Cleanses – These programs also include meals and rooms, as well as specific spa treatments. Prices start at $890, $1,645, and $3,925 respectively.

Scheduled retreats occur according to an upcoming calendar. They also include meals, room, and tuition. Some examples are:

  • Gotta Dance! Retreat – 2 nights starting at $413
  • Power, Freedom, and Flow Retreat – 3 nights starting at $717
  • Silent Retreat – 4 nights starting at $895
  • Panchakarma Cleanse Retreat – 8 nights starting at $3,925


The Art of Living Retreat Center is a yoga retreat focused on total physical and mental wellbeing, relaxation, and mindfulness. There is a strong concentration on yoga and meditation. Meals are included in retreat packages. No meat or alcohol is found on the property.

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, this FitStay offers a full-service spa, organized wellness seminars, indoor and outdoor yoga, and nature walks. It is a good choice for people seeking a guided retreat experience, relaxing environment, and vegetarian meals.

The Art of Living Retreat Center Pros

  • Pre-set menus – Chefs prepare universal vegetarian meals for lunch and dinner each day, featuring fresh produce from the resort property.
  • Yoga and Meditation – There is a robust schedule for these programs.
  • A focus on total physical and mental wellbeing – A unique feature at The Art of Living Retreat Center is the resort’s lecture series and educational events.

The Art of Living Retreat Center Cons

  • Lack of organized aerobic exercise and weight lifting activities – Guests who are accustomed to an extremely active physical lifestyle will need to incorporate their own exercise routine into daily activities.
  • Difficult travel – Roads to this mountaintop location are not GPS-friendly and can close in winter.
  • Added fees – Some spa programs and services incur additional charges.

02 Reviews

  • 2 Ratings
  1. 2
    Mmfunk Submission Jan 10, 2020

    Knowing resort type is critical

    One size does not fit all. That is a huge learning from going to this non-profit retreat center. The guest must know it is like a glorified summer camp style accommodation and surroundings. You bus your own trays at dinner, and must like Indian vegetarian food. The lack of programming requires the person to be comfortable with downtime and stillness. The Indian chanting sessions are very authentic, and while you are invited to participate and given a card to follow along, you need to know that’s what your going to experience. The spa has some nice service options, but it’s small and unassuming like this whole center. The facilities are tired. So while the price may look right, know what you’re buying and the challenge your undertaking to travel to the center. Visited in Spring 2018.

  2. 5
    Tw_lerner Submission Apr 16, 2019

    Awesome place

    I loved the art of living center! The food was amazing. Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner with a rainbow of healthy foods and almost all plant based options. I looked forward to every meal and ate so well!! The staff is happy and kind and really seems to walk the walk as far as living a peaceful life, meditating and doing yoga, etc. A chanting session was enjoyable and informative. The view is breathtaking. The building needs a little touch up but it doesn’t take away from the experience. I loved this place and hope to return!

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