Stop saying that Summer is over! Kids are finally back in school, beaches are at long last quiet, it’s time to plan a yoga holiday, friendos! I know many of you (including myself) often look towards South East Asia or South America for a retreat, but when the budget is tight and the time is short, there’s no need to go too far afield, as there are amazing options for a yoga retreat in Europe. And while some countries may seem more appropriate than others for a relaxing holiday because of their proximity to beaches or nature, I’ve found that there are fantastic options literally everywhere!
If you come here regularly or follow me on my social media, you probably know that yoga takes a very big role in my life. Beyond the fancy headstands (and don’t be shy from trying them! check out those inversions for beginners) and strange contortions I sometimes photograph myself into, yoga established itself as a daily practice in my life when I started backpacking through South East Asia. Spending long hours in crammed public transport or walking with a heavy backpack for several kilometers ended up taking a toll on my shoulders, back and hips and I found that daily stretching and yoga was the best way to keep my body limber and pain-free. So today is all about yoga.
Bali has become known in the health-minded sphere to be an incredible location for all things spirituality, wellness, veganism, and yoga. And when it comes to taking a yoga retreat Bali is truly like nowhere else. For years now, people have been flocking to the island at all stages of their yoga journey to experience all the incredible energy and rejuvenation retreats the island has to offer. If you think you’re not advanced enough or not good enough, here’s one of many yoga quotes I truly love: “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” There are yoga retreats in Bali for everyone.
I knew Ashtanga was going to be a challenge. I knew because I had already tried and failed not that long ago, at a time where I wasn’t mentally prepared. One thing you may not know about me, if you aren’t so close to me or haven’t been a reader of many years, is that the last three years were the most difficult of my life. A heartbreak lead me first to great heights, with a powerful adrenaline rush that propelled me from Kuala Lumpur to Berlin by bicycle on almost a single breath. But arriving in Berlin was an entirely different story. I fell from high up into the depth of a depression, something I hadn’t before experienced and that I have been a little shy of discussing here.
I hit the gym most evenings after work before I became a full-time traveler. While this was a perfectly enjoyable way to spend a few hours by myself and unwind at the end of a long day (especially on cold winter nights where exercising outside in the dark had absolutely no appeal), it quickly became either impossible or too expensive once I started traveling to far flung destinations. It also made no sense to trap myself in an air conditioned room with all this warm and wonderful tropical nature around me to use as a playground. The answer came organically: yoga.
I randomly met a friend in Chiang Mai who told me about this yoga teacher training she’d signed up for in India in February. “I’d love to go to India to do yoga”, I sighed absentmindedly. I’d been practising yoga most days since leaving Canada in January 2014, but it never occurred to me that my practice was strong enough to consider a teacher training, and this was not part of my plan anyway (in hindsight I realize that I did not actually have a plan – and I still don’t), so my words didn’t really mean much.