We were thrilled to host our first yoga retreat at India House at the Bastiaanskloof Estate, Bainskloof Pass.
The idea sprung when I had the privilege of attending a week long retreat in Greece on a beautiful island in the summer (my Shirley Valentine holiday) which left me so refreshed and invigorated – I felt 16 again – that I wanted to try to recreate some of that magic for our guests at India House.
On the island in Greece, as serendipity would have it, an old friend from university days appeared, Lisa Jane Wright, a highly inspiring person who has been teaching yoga all over the world since we had last seen each other a loooong time ago. Her Facebook and Instagram posts are always a treat to see – she really does end up “working” in the most amazing places on the planet and leads a life many of us can only dream of!
An avid devourer of magazines and books since my youth, there is plenty of evidence that the need to escape one’s life and especially technology is an increasingly sought after luxury.
There is the slow book movement which encourages people to remember to take time out to read, the slow art of living movement, the slow art of knitting movement – you name it. All things that I remember my parents and grandparents doing as a matter of daily life (all those hand knitted jerseys we used to hate – who would have thought would become considered a luxury item today).
What better place than at Bastiaanskloof to create an escape, where cell phone reception is still not available and one is totally surrounded by mountains, nature and big open skies and to share with others, some of the secret places there.
With this in mind, I met with Lisa Wright and Dvora Sachs and we came up with “Flowing into New Perspectives Yoga and Meditation Retreat” and on the 4th and 5th December we welcomed our 10 special guests to our first retreat.
What we aimed to create was a weekend to restore, recharge, rejuvenate, relax and reflect and a chance to allow ourselves to be still.
Combining the gentle power of a simple daily Yoga practice using body, breath and movement with the beauty and energy of Mother Nature, the retreat aimed to teach how yoga practice and breath are tools we can incorporate into our everyday life.
Mealtimes were also centred around healthy, vegetarian food, sourced locally and from the best suppliers possible and served around a large communal table as part of the aim to allow us to connect with like-minded people.
Daily classes included a simple yoga sequence, vinyasa flow and introduction to pranayama (breathwork), reminding you of the effortless flow of breath and life. The yoga sequence also focused on a Pilates awareness and included some core strengthening exercises.
Evenings included yoga nidra, guided meditation and gentle breathing. The practice of yoga nidra enables one to receive intuition from the unconscious mind. This state is the fountain of artistic and poetic inspiration whereby one’s true nature and integrity manifest.
What guests took home: A simple home practice adaptable to time constraints and daily life. A deepening of your existing practice. An understanding of finding flow and how nature, yoga, breath and balance serve to help access and uncover our inherent inner peace and stillness which is there as ourselves, ever present without effort.
Highlights of the weekend included an early morning climb to our cave on the mountainside for a beautiful meditation session overlooking the valleys and mountains, followed by a gentle yoga stretch and a hearty breakfast. Guests had free time to swim, hike, chat, read or disappear to catch up on some sleep. The weekend was a hot one and doing nothing was easily achieved.
We felt that the weekend was a great success and I was truly inspired by Lisa and Dvora and especially our guests, all unique individuals with amazing life stories – that is the part I love the most and I think what makes weekends/retreats like this so great- people arrive shy and by the end of it are firm friends, sharing life stories and the crazy ups and downs which make us all human.
Next Yoga and Meditation Retreat 26th and 27th May 2016
Our next yoga retreat will take place on the weekend of the 26th and 27th May 2016 – one of my favourite times of the year at the farm – the weather is cooler but one has spectacular sunny autumn days which makes hiking wonderful, and one can still take a dip in the river or swimming pool, and as we will have had a bit of rain, all the waterfalls will be in full force and the fynbos will be displaying its green, gold, purple and pink finery. At night we will be able to make use of the many fireplaces to cosy up next to and cook up delicious winter warming meals in our wonderful kitchen and relax, relax, relax!
I hope to meet some of you soon – book your spaces now!