Wanderlust Meets Wellness: Adventure Yoga
They say a big city is an assault on the senses. A retreat is, by definition, wonderfully the opposite – no matter how experienced you are on a mat.
Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to have my senses soothed with an unforgettable experience thanks to Adventure Yogi.
A first-time retreatee and undeniable beginner in the beautifully bendy practice, it’s fair to say that I was initially a bit apprehensive about the whole experience – but I was quickly proved wrong.
Upon arrival to at the sanctuary of serenity that is Yewfield Vegetarian Guesthouse in the UK’s gorgeous Lake District, I was quite literally welcomed with open arms by Adventure Yogi Co-Founder and MD Michelle King and the inspiringly insightful instructor for my retreat, Wenche Beard.
After settling in, the weekend’s first yoga and meditation session was held in what was to be our studio; warmed by a crackling fire and overlooking the renowned Lake District scenery with floor to ceiling windows. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, talking briefly of our experience with yoga in the past.
Suffice to say that the days when Downward Facing Dog was wrongfully reserved just for ‘hippies’ or spandex-sporting ‘yoga bunnies’ are long gone – Adventure Yogi retreats are attended by people of all ages and experience levels with not so much as a hint of judgment or exclusivity.
Founded in 2007 from a desire to create “yoga holidays with a twist of action” by intrepid entrepreneur Michelle King, Adventure Yogi retreats offer the ultimate getaway for zen-seeking city slickers and experience-appreciating active (or not-so-active) types alike.
Which is fortunate really, because on day one my Vinyasa Flow was far from graceful.
To describe the schedule, each day started and ended with 1.5 – 2 hours of yoga and meditation with the brilliant Wenche Beard. All meals were provided and delicious, and if you really wanted to treat yourself (which I did, obviously) holistic therapies and massages were also available.
If you were happy to hang at the house and read a book or watch a movie, you were more than welcome to. For the keen beans, there was the choice of activities to embark on in the local area – including cycling, horse riding or swimming – and I chose to go on the 5-hour hike. This, in hindsight, was fairly ambitious for someone who considers walking up the tube stairs once a fortnight a solid dose of cardio – but the view from the top of theLingmoor Fell route even made the decline worthwhile.
My experience is one of many offered by Adventure Yogi. There are a variety of different holidays and retreats to choose from; each tailored to the kind of experience you seek (e.g detox, wellbeing, relaxing) and what kind of adventure you want to have with it (e.g skiing, surfing, diving). Seasonally designed, the retreats are held all over the world throughout the year, in the likes of Egypt, Sri Lanka and the French Alps – to name just a few.
While the craze of yoga retreats has been steadily catching fire for the past few years, the expertly crafted formula of outdoor activities and therapeutic practice is unique to Adventure Yogi.
Co-Founder and MD Michelle King, who has been practicing yoga since the age of 17, said: “I wanted to create something that was both adventurous and relaxing at the same time. I was fortunate to have an international upbringing, between Venezuela, Kenya and the French Alps. I’d always had an active lifestyle and after living in Japan to pursue my love of snowboarding, I developed a real interest in health and holistic living.”
“Adventure Yogi is all about balance; combining an active way of life with nourishing food and peaceful experiences. A big thing of importance for me is creating a welcoming environment – whether you need a break from busy city life or just want to get away, everyone can benefit from a bit of yoga!”
For more information, head to http://www.adventureyogi.com/