Yoga retreating || Ibizan heaven with Steffy White x

Flying Solo At A Yoga Retreat…

Until last month I’d never been on a Yoga Retreat before. I’d worked at one – Soul & Surf, Kerala in southern India – but I hadn’t been a guest fully immersing myself in the zen.

Nor had I ever been to Ibiza. – So when my first & favourite Yoga Teacher, Steffy White, announced her 2017 summer retreat, I jumped on in.

I say ‘jumped on in’, but was probably a little more hesitant that that.

Not because I was unsure about Steffy’s yoga (I go to 2 or 3 classes with her most weeks so I know how much I love the Yang and Yin she offers). And I need zero persuasion to be get to the beach. The hesitation was the idea of going on holiday on my own…

Steffy was totally encouraging when I asked her about going at it alone and sharing a room with strangers-who-inevitably-turned-friends; reassuring that lots of people fly solo on a retreat – and that I’d be spending a week with like-minded souls, all there for a similar reason.

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So with that I booked my first ever solo holiday.

It was a totally liberating moment, knowing that I’d worked hard enough over the year to be able to treat myself to a trip that was all my own. A chance to spend hours practicing what I love doing most, delving deeper into my practice, relaxing and re-energising – and all with a teacher that I admire and really resonate with…

And of course knowing that I’d be heading off to Ibiza was pretty amazing as well!

Down to the details…

The Retreat was through Steffy’s company White Light Yoga

The theme, Journeying Through The Chakras...

Sharing Steff’s fascination with the subtle energy system of the body and the way in which we can use yoga (yin and yang) breathing and meditation to unblock and rebalance ourselves – the theme of her Ibiza retreat more than resonated with what I am (and my teaching) is about.

I recently furthered my teacher training with a 20-hour course in Mandala Flow & The Elements with The Yoga People. (I will be going on to take the full 100-hour Mandala & Shamanism Course in Goa next March). But thanks to my 20-hour introduction to Jamie and Dulce’s Mandala training, I have some understanding, and come to feel the benefit, of creating yoga and meditation practices and classes centered around the connection between each Element and its corresponding Chakra.

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My key learning from the training, and what I most looked forward to (and subsequently, absolutely loved about Steffy’s retreat) was delving into Chakra and Elemental focused yoga practice and understanding how this offers up an intention to bring healing to our first four energy centres (the lower four Chakras / the lower parts of the physical body), of which each is connected to an element (Earth, Water, Fire, Air).

I knew we would be working deeply (both physically and spiritually), to connect the breath with a still mind and the subtle energies of the body, via creatively sequenced, inspiring dynamic and soothing practices. – With a teacher I couldn’t trust and love to learn from more.

So, what was included?…

Where we stayed

We were so lucky with our villa. Steffy found the most perfect home at the stunning Casa Lakshmi Luz. Casa Lakshmi Luz is a true oasis, a heavenly space that holds the group energy, amidst the peace and tranquility of the beautiful Ibizan countryside.

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The interior is bright, spacious, welcoming and tranquil. A home from home where you can fully relax, unwind and breathe into your retreat.

Step outside onto the pool terraces and chill-out gardens and outdoor yoga deck, with Moroccan influences, there are many spaces to rest your head, siesta, relax and dream – choose from sun or shade, comfy sun lounger or colourful hammock.

Casa Lakshmi Luz is located ten minutes from the golden sands and turquoise waters of Cala Nova and only a 15 minute drive from (now) one of my most favourite beaches in the world, Benirras.

The yoga

We woke up around 7am each morning an honoured a silent hour (Vipasana) – it’s amazing. Spending the first hour of your day with yourself, in silence. Perhaps meditating, perhaps writing your journal by the pool; perhaps making yourself a giant Quinoa Milk Latte and sitting in the hazy early morning sun smiling – rather than sleepily and mindlessly chatting – to your fellow retreaters.

It’s beautiful. Peaceful smiles and morning nods of the head to acknowledge each other, while you’re with yourself and a slow morning mind as you pick up your mat, bolsters and blocks to make your way over to the stunning Shala for 2 hours of insanely amazing dynamic flow.

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I’ve tried at home to keep the Vipasana up with Jamie – just 10-15 minutes of silent acknowledgement in the mornings to meditate, set intentions for the day – and enjoy coffee in bed in peace – sometimes we manage…

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Every morning with the exception of a rest-day mid week, we practiced a two-hour dynamic, creative Vinyasa and Mandala Flow; focused on a particular chakra (moving from root to crown) connected to its corresponding element.

The classes were amazing, inspiring and pushed you (in a kind way) to try the things the mind will often tell you you can’t do – but when in the breath and an open space – the body might just take you.

We played with inversions, closed with Yin and enjoyed a long, sweaty savasana before an amazing breakfast buffet feast of plant based goodness was served.

In the evening we luxuriated into long-hold Yin practices, working with the same chakra. It was intense, soothing and hazy – quieting the mind and surrounding to a deep restorative pose for minutes at a time is the perfect balance to the morning’s yang – leaving you feeling pretty stoned.

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Steffy’s practices are creative, soulful, well prepared, fun, functional and spiritual.

The food

The food was off the chain! Staying with us was Sarah of Bondi Kitchen – who when she isn’t feeding grateful retreaters her homemade Lifechanging Loaf (a vegan, gluten free loaf using seeds), clean, raw peanut butter cups, baked granola, falafel and watermelon gazpacho; is the on-set chef for the likes of Wonder Woman – giving her that paleo power, or cooking at home for Will Smith.

We were utterly spoiled with nourishing, vegan, seasonal, plant-based, locally sourced, heavenly brunches, lunches, snacks and dinners.

The Bondi Kitchen is launching in Wholefoods soon with resealable protein balls – def worth checking out!

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Typical Schedule

  • 7.30am: Teas, coffees and juices
  • 8-10am: Dynamic Elemental flow
  • 10am: Breakfast
  • Free time: beach/nap/sunbathe/pool/journal/explore/book in for massages and therapies/ do whatever your heart desires!
  • On some of the afternoons there were optional inversion workshops, a workshop on creating your own self-practice at home, Reiki massages and a Gong bath.
  • 6-7.30pm Yin yoga
  • 7.30pm: Dinner

During the days we either chilled by the pool, visited the old town or headed to beaches to sunbath (we hired a couple of cars between us to get around). On the last night we watched the sun set with cocktails at Experimental Beach Club.

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I honestly had the best time. In the middle of the week I took myself off to Benirras beach and spent a solid 10 hours moving from sand to sea. (I had aggravated an old injury in my back so wasn’t allowed to yoga for a day).

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I think it was the first day of the entire year that I didn’t have something to do or somewhere to be and while floating around in the sea a whole lot of everything was dropped. It was my favourite day of the year. Utter bliss.

The week was amazing. I’d recommend booking onto one of Steffy’s retreats, either with friends, your lover, yourself – dropping any expectation and being open to everything you delve into on the way.

2018 Retreats will be listed here soon

 

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Listen to your body | Feed your soul

Hip n healthy honey and Founder of ROOTED London, Pandora Paloma is a smart, switched on and soulful London-based yoga teacher and food coach encouraging the next generation of wellness warriors to listen to our bodies and feel our souls with the first in a series of ROOTED Intuitive Eating and Self-love healing workshops.

The first of its kind, ROOTED’s: INTUITIVE EATING AND SELF-LOVE HEALING WORKSHOP begs the questions….

When did we start focusing solely on what we were eating, and forgetting why we eat the diet we do?

When did body image become only our size?

When did we lose the ability to love ourselves unconditionally?

…Aiming to workshop the answers using a mix of yoga, breathe work, self-love and healing tools, cookery demos and intuitive eating, at Blank 100, De Beauvoir Rd, N1 4EN this Saturday (8th April).

No yoga experience is needed – and food tolerances are catered for – during these four hours (11:00am – 3pm) of bliss, connecting to our deeper intuition, our bodies, and to find true self-love.

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If it sounds overly-Ommm think again. This is a constructive workshop, where guests can learn tools to use over and over again, plus learn a little bit more about why we eat the foods we do and the importance of the relationship we have with our diet, perfect for anyone who…

–  want to build a happier relationship with food
– want to connect to their intuition on a deeper level
– want to find room for a little more self-love
– quite simply love yoga and food
– want to learn more about a plant-based diet
– wants to take time out for some me time
– I could go on….
PANDORA PALOMA ROOTED LONDON YOGA LISBON
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Frustrated with the lack of health advice that felt real and balanced, Pandora retrained as a naturopathic nutritionist and yoga teacher and in 2013, launched ROOTED with a view to get people eating better, and moving more.

Pandora’s philosophy is ‘listen to your body and feed your soul’. Her aim is to get people off endless dieting and jumping on the next green fad bandwagon and instead, adopt an approach to diet and lifestyle with balance, appreciation and enjoyment. Her passion is to drive people to feel and experience a deeper mind and body connection, from what they put in your body to how they move. Specialising in intuitive eating, she focuses less on what we are eating, and more on why, looking at our relationship with food on a deeper level.

ROOTED: INTUITIVE EATING AND SELF-LOVE HEALING WORKSHOP

SATURDAY 8TH APRIL | 11AM – 3PM

4 hours of pure bliss to include:

10.45am – meet and greet

11.00am – self-love yoga flow session

11.45am – opening ceremony – self-love healing

12.15pm – finding your intuition workshop

1.15pm – intuitive eating – cooking workshop

2.30pm – closing ceremony

3.00pm – finish

BOOK HERE

 

The Coolest Ways to Sweat your Mind & Body in London this Month

Spring is stepping up… Finally we can see the light and shake off the saddest of the seasons with a healthy mind and body by checking out some of London’s most inspired ways to work out this month….

For the blissed out babes… Saturday 11th March | 2:45-4:45pm

DETOX YOGA WORKSHOP with Bess (Frame Kings Cross)

Recover and recharge with the beautiful Bess’s specifically designed yoga workshop. Expect lots of juicy twists, breathing exercises and restorative elements to leave you ready for the week ahead.

This workshop will begin with yin yoga to relax and prepare your body, before warming and detoxifying with sun salutations,twists & breathing exercises. The session will end with blissed out yin yoga to leave you completely restored.

This workshop is open to all levels, offering more advanced postures for the pros and modifications for the beginners and of course it will be lots of fun! Come one come all!

For the Red Priestesses… Sunday 12th March | 4:30-6:30pm

THE SEAT OF FEMININE FIRE-FLAME AND RECLAIM! with Beth (Stretch Broadway Market)

A specifically designed strong physical yoga practice that creates and generates heat, highlighting the seat of the feminine fire within the body.

This strong and transformative practice will be followed by deep relaxation, and meditation.

This awareness is then directed through energetic channels connecting to the heart and mind. The direct experience of this cultivates the insight and clarity to use this fire to purify and burn through that which no longer serves, and confidently and passionately conceive a more vital and energised daily existence.

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For the #girlboss in you…Thursday 16th March | 7.30-9pm

WERK IT  with Katherine Ormerod (FRAME Queen’s Park)

Have a business idea but don’t know where to start? Learn how to grow your side hustle when you work full time by joining Frame in conversation with consultant and editor of WorkWorkWork.co Katherine Ormerod over a glass of bubbles and nibbles.

After a start at MatchesFashion.com, Sunday Times Style and then a freelance stint, she joined Grazia and, later, Lyst while launching a successful editorial and content consultancy on the side. Today, Katherine works full time on WWW and helping brands build out content strategies across social and digital platforms.

How did she know when she could take her side hustle full time? When did she know she was ready? What’s the reality of working for yourself? All will be revealed…

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For the hot mamas… Saturday 18th March  | 2:45-4:45pm

PRE-NATAL PILATES  with Emma Hayward (FRAME Kings Cross)

Join Pilates instructor and Osteopath Emma Hayward for a dynamic flowing pregnancy pilates class with a focus on optimal fetal positioning and birth, followed by a talk about how osteopathy can help prepare your body for birth and beyond.

A dynamic flowing pregnancy pilates class aimed at woman wanting to stay active and comfortable during their pregnancy whilst prepare their bodies for birth. Full of tips and moves to help support your body and baby during labour.

Followed by a discussion about the importance of pelvic and hip alignment on optimal fetal positioning and how osteopathy can help.

For the Chaturanga Chiccas…. Sunday 19th March | 10:00am-1:00pm

TAKE FLIGHT – FROM YOUR PERFECT CHATURANGA with Jennilee Toner (Stretch Broadway Market)

Join Jennilee Toner, international yoga teacher and author of The Perfect Chatuanga: A Comprehensive Guide to the Human Body, through the Practice of Vinyasa Yoga, for this 3 hour DYNAMIC, FUN, INFORMATIVE and PRACTICE-CHANGING workshop!

This workshop includes:

  • Embodied Anatomy lecture on the shoulder girdle
  • Tools and techniques to strengthen, stretch and stabilize shoulder girdle for your PERFECT CHATURANGA
  • Flow practice exploring safe and intelligent transitions from your PERFECT CHATURANGA into fun and challenging arm balances and inversions
  • Cool down with heart and shoulder openers

For the full-body-working-femme fatales… Saturday 25th March | 2:00-3:30pm

ARMS, ASS AND ABS Access all areas workshop with Diane (FRAME Victoria)

The ultimate full body workout neatly packaged into 90 mins! Diane will leave no stone unturned in her quest to whip every area of your body into shape.

I’ll Be There | Fare Healthy Festival | Shoreditch (4th – 5th February)

For the first time ever I have succeeded in keeping January a dry month! #DRYJANUARY SUCCESS! And having felt so good for it I haven’t even poured an Espresso Martini down my throat this morning and convinced myself it was breakfast (as I’d initially been counting down the days to do).

*the fact that I was lucky enough to spend January in India, where alcohol is either out of date, tastes like paint stripper or not available was enormously helpful…

Nonetheless I’m really feeling inspired to keep on the healthy path of sobriety, meaning that instead of ending the grape depression (I’m here all week) by reaching for the nearest class of wine, I’ll be heading to Shoreditch’s Truman Brewery for the third annual Fare Healthy Festival – the UKs first and foremost food, fitness and wellbeing festival.

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Perfectly timed to keep those new year good intentions going, the two-day event will once again inspire, educate, entertain and motivate attendees to eat, move, think, and, as a result, #feelbetter.

Open from 9.30am until 5.30pm, the festival is unique in combining food, fitness and wellbeing, with pop-up restaurants and bars, exercise classes, expert panel talks, cookery demonstrations, a bookstore, alongside a market place featuring over 100 brands.

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Fare Healthy has something for everyone with a series of varied exercise classes including Ballet Barre with Naturally Sassy, the renowned SBC experience with Russell Bateman, and yoga classes from two of my favourite teachers; Michael Wong from Boys of Yoga, and the lovely lady I’m lucky enough to have as amy mindful mentor, Annie Clarke of Mind Body Bowl (pre-order her new book here)

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FARE HEALTHY ROOT TO FRUIT BANQUET

For those more interested in the foodie side of the festival, Fare Healthy is also teaming up with four renowned British chefs to launch the festival’s first ever supper club, ‘A Root To Fruit Banquet’, on Saturday 4th February. The Root to Fruit chefs are pledging to create a meal that use zero-packaging to create a zero waste dining experience.

Chefs cooking on the night will be:

● Tom Hunt, eco chef, food waste activist and chef patron of Poco restaurant
● Gill Meller, head chef of River Cottage and author of new book Gather
● Justin Horne, chef and founder of Tiny Leaf, London’s first zero waste restaurant
● Tess Ward, chef, food writer and author of The Naked Diet cookbook
● Peardrop London, catering company & lunch delivery service set up by chef Rose Lloyd Owen, founder of Fare Healthy

The four course menu will be entirely organic, vegetarian, agro-ecological, 100% British and most importantly, will use ingredients in their entirety, from their roots to their stalks, demonstrating how much of our food is thrown away. Cocktails will be available at the Sipsmith and Jax Coco Bar and Pure ionic water will also be available

Root to Fruit Eating means to eat mindfully, reconnecting with our foods origin and nature in order to value our food, the planet and the farmers who produce our ingredients.

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Fare Healthy was created in autumn 2014, a collaboration between self-taught chef Rose Lloyd Owen and a small selection of chefs, bloggers, and fitness instructors. Since it’s inception and launch event in January 2015, Fare Healthy has amassed a loyal following of fans, and tickets for previous events have sold out in less than an hour.

Tickets are on sale now, priced at £25 per person for the festival and at £50 per person for the banquet. The Root to Fruit banquet begins at 7.30pm.

Becoming a Yoga Teacher | What To Consider..

Perhaps you started a yoga practice to reduce stress, reconnect with yourself, work with an injury – or simply as a form of exercise; and maybe somewhere in between your first downward facing dog and mastering anything from a true sense of stillness to an unsupported headstand, a transformation took place.

The benefits of yoga may have opened themselves up to you naturally – or like me, you might have practiced for years before finally coming to understand what it means to have present mind, to notice the calming feeling that carries through your day – and a new (long overdue) love and respect you have for yourself and your body.

Maybe you have became addicted to the practice. A “yoga junkie” – seeking out classes, workshops, even retreats to deepen your practice and discover more about yourself. You are passionate about the flow. And that passion translates to a desire to learn more, know more, understand more, love more; and spread this  knowledge, understanding and love to yogis far and wide.

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So what to consider?…

  • Accreditation | First you must decide whether training with a school recognised by The Yoga Alliance matters to you – and in my case it absolutely does, so I opted for Yoga London. The Yoga Alliance does not cause the practice to lose its identity and creative flair, but ensures high teaching standards that may be essential to future places of work as a teacher. There is no right or wrong in your personal choice and an unaccredited 2-week course in Goa may be the best option for you. Yoga is about non-attachment and your yogic goals are likely to change and evolve as you progress through our journey, but if eventually becoming a teacher (all over the world) is an ambition then its something to consider…
  • Experience | Like me, you may worry about whether you will be ‘good enough.’ Don’t worry – of course you are! These feelings are natural (and Yoga is for everyone) so with a willingness to learn, you’ll get to where you need to be. At least a year’s experience with a regular practice is advised to help develop your personal practice – but its attitude over ability is what counts.

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  • Motivation | Make sure your decision comes from within you. You may wish to simply deepen your own practice and know that there is the opportunity to teach should you wish to (me at first – the idea of teaching terrified me); in which case you may be pleasantly surprised by the results. You may want to physically improve your own practice and be surprised by the spiritual journey! Again there is no right or wrong, but ethics and intention are an integral part of the yogic lifestyle – and the training comes with a price tag – so consider what you want to get from this investment in yourself – and then let it go 😉
  • Finance | On the subject of price tag, your budget – and commitment to the cost is another key consideration. Let’s hope it’s a given you’re not getting in to this for the money. Still, it’s important to give some serious attention to how you will finance your life (beginning with the training – which can be life long!) as a yoga teacher. Yoga teacher-training courses usually cost around £3,000. Some course providers allow you to pay in instalments making the cost more manageable. A 200hour Teacher Training Course with Yoga London is £3,499 and can be paid at £225 | month over the course of a year – although you do not get your certificate until you are paid up in full

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  • Timing | One of the reasons that I chose Yoga London was because if offers the flexibility of 1-month, 3-month, 6-month and 12-month courses so there is something to suit every need and every path. I opted for a 6-month course to allow me to fit around my full time job (which was tough during extremely busy periods at work coupled with yoga homework and exam revision – but so worth it.) A 6 month course suited me because it kept more momentum that a year course. Each month 2 full weekends (Friday night through to Sunday evening) were spent in training. These are some of the weekends that I will always look back on most fondly. Think about what time you have to commit and what option best suits you – you may wish to ease yourself into a new lifestyle over a year – you may want to head off to Thailand and spend 5 intensive weeks getting qualified!
  • Expectation | Does becoming a yoga teacher still sound like a dream? Well in many ways it is! You get to practice yoga all day every day, doing what you love and getting paid for it, growing as a yogi, meeting wonderful people along the way! But let’s not lose sight of reality: Getting up for classes at 6am before people go off to work, doing the graveyard shift with those who finish late, and of course a lot of weekend work. It’s not all white beaches and penthouse rooftops.  You will need to put the hours in to build your reputation. Yes becoming a yoga teacher is a wonderful life changing experience but that doesn’t change the fact it is often hard work.

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Which school is for you?..

In London there are numerous schools that are Yoga Alliance Accredited offering the foundation 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training so its useful to look at the course prospectus to understand the content covered – and the style taught:

  1. Yoga London Teacher Training 
  2. Vivid Yoga Camden
  3. The Yoga Academy
  4. The Yoga People
  5. Tri Yoga Teacher Training

I opted for Vinyasa Flow at Yoga London because of its balance between philosophy, history, anatomy and physical practice. I also absolutely love Vinyasa Flow and the way it permits and playful, dynamic, challenging way to move your body in an almost dance-like fashion, into stillness. You may want to develop a stricter Astanga practice, or follow the path of BKS Iyenga – these are choices you will have to make.

Yoga London offers a lot of insight into Ashtanga Yoga and The Primary Series, on which our exam sequence was based on, and interestingly enough, while I have opted to take my advanced 500-hour Training with The Yoga People to learn Creative Flow and Sequencing, I am also off to India next month train in Ashtanga Yoga, in the hope of building up a more disciplined, time-honoured practice. – It really is amazing what you will start to learn about yourself, and the ways your goals change, once you begin your Yogic path…

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