I have recently returned from a 10 day whirlwind trip to France and 6 of those days were spent at a yoga retreat, Kaliyoga France.
Oh where to begin? There are so many great things to say about this retreat: the romantic and historical hamlet that Kaliyoga France calls home, the food (oh my gosh the food, this topic gets its own section), the people, the atmosphere, the guided hill walks, the peace, the serenity…somebody stop me!
Kaliyoga is a life-affirming experience, not just a holiday. Combining the lifestyle benefits of yoga with delicious organic cuisine, holistic therapies, hill walking and inspirational workshops. Kaliyoga is for those who seek authenticity in life and it’s also a great place to meet new people, catch up with old friends and have a thorough break from stress.
Kaliyoga has two retreat locations owned by Jonathon and Rosie Miles; Kaliyoga Spain set in the Alpujarra mountain range and Kaliyoga France set in the lavender and thyme-scented hills of Provençe.
Jonathan and Rosie created Kaliyoga almost 10 years ago so that guests may have a place to practice yoga, enjoy good food and feel nurtured in good company. And I can attest firsthand that they have been successful in their quest.
Kaliyoga France is nestled in a historic hamlet in “Le Luberon” a mountainous collection of small villages in Provence, the south of France. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and while that may be true, there are no words to describe the breathtaking view when you first arrive at Kaliyoga France.
The only way I felt I could describe what I was seeing was to say that I felt like I was in a movie. I had to remind myself that what I was seeing was not being viewed through a TV screen but a real life wonder seen through my own eyes.
Upon arrival the senses of peace and tranquility immediately fill your mind. The fresh mountain air, gorgeous hillside views and calming sounds of nature help to create this notion.
The guest rooms range from large apartment style quarters to quaint one bedroom spaces. I called ‘Maison Rouge’ home for my six-day stay. With a comfy bed, warm down filled duvet and a small table for writing and meditation, I felt truly at home.
The art displayed throughout the hamlet is another aspect that can only truly be appreciated by seeing it yourself. Everywhere you turn there is an interesting and awe-inspiring piece of art that helps to add to the eclectic, romantic and exotic feel of Kaliyoga France.
Using the term “staff” doesn’t seem to do these wonderful people justice and before too long they feel like family members more than anything else. Jackie “Jax” is the manager of Kaliyoga France but I like refer to her as the ‘house mom’. She has a loving nature and it quickly shows that she has her guest’s best interests at heart. She’s always available for accommodating your needs or just for a good, old chat.
The other members of Kaliyoga also have a huge impact on the family- feel that this retreat offers and their personal touches make you feel right at home.
Never have I enjoyed food so much as I did at Kaliyoga France and I have Sophie and her husband Patrice to thank for that. Together these live-in house staff care for the grounds and provide their guests with amazing, healthy and organic meals. From Tarte aux Moutarde to Beetroot & Goat Cheese tart to hearty soups and luscious salads, the food could perhaps be the number one reason to attend Kaliyoga France.
Since returning home I have attempted to recreate a few of Sophie’s dishes; while I may have come close, nothing will ever quite compare! Each meal is made with tender loving care and my only regret is that my French is despicable and I was not able to communicate with Sophie well enough to let her know just how much love I interpreted through her creations.
Note that they are able to accommodate many dietary requirements and allergies.
The yoga offered at this retreat is called ‘Dynamic Yoga’ lead by Tashi Dawa.
Tashi is a warm, loving individual who exudes passion for all things yoga, healthy living and meditation. She is extremely knowledgeable in her area of study and shares a wonderful energy with her students.
There seemed to be a certain amount of misinterpretation on the term “dynamic yoga” as some students (myself included) had expected the yoga to be more vigorous in nature and less restorative. While we did work through some traditional hatha poses, the yoga we worked on seemed a little more gentle than expected by some.
Tashi explains Dynamic Yoga like this:
We teach this method, coined in the mid 90′s as Dynamic yoga, as developed by Godfrey Devereux. We practice to fertilise both movement and stillness while integrating the dynamic of the bandhas (the integral structure of the hands, feet, pelvic floor, lower ribcage and throat) in the whole body. We use movement to enable a deep intimacy with breath, body, mind and consciousness.
Tashi also lead us through some really fun and very interesting partner style yoga. This really opened my eyes to the abilities of the human body and the possibilities working with others in an otherwise individual practice can bring.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO
Whether you are a yoga enthusiast or not, you will benefit from the relaxation that a retreat at Kaliyoga offers; the yoga aspect offers a wonderful opportunity for those looking for a meditative, restorative experience while the environment offers a playground for rest and peace.
The guided hill walks (optional) allows for socialization, exercise and sight-seeing which adds to the overall experience.
The intimate family feel that both the staff and the other guests create ensures that you will feel right at home and at the very least, you will walk away with a sense of regeneration and life-affirmation.
CONNECT WITH KALIYOGA
Kaliyoga France runs retreats in May and June and spaces are almost full. Kaliyoga Spain runs from May to November.
There are so many more things to say about Kaliyoga France but I only have so much space. If you are interested in booking with Kaliyoga France and have any more questions that I didn’t answer here, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be more than happy to share more of my experience with you.
Thank you so much to everyone at Kaliyoga France (staff & guests) for making my first trip to France and my first yoga retreat an experience I will never forget!
Disclaimer: I was compensated for my review on Kaliyoga France, however my opinion on my experience is completely my own.