Azaren Luxury Yoga Retreat with Zephyr Wildman 4-10th June, 2018

I am so happy to announce another wonderful Yoga retreat in Morocco at Azaren. For those of you that have heard me talk about it, this is one of my favourite places in the world for a Yoga retreat.  Its exotic, luxurious, serene and welcoming and that just describes the bedroom suites.  I love Azaren because it is on the doorstep of history where modern architecture and art meet the ancient footsteps wandering the souks of Marrakech. Time passes a bit slower at Azaren and the stillness of the morning with the call to prayer in the distance is only surpassed in beauty by the sun setting on the Atlas Mountains at the end of a desert evening. Practicing Yoga in one of the most beautifully serene and thoughtfully designed environments is for me one of the most fulfilling experiences and I am grateful to be able to invite you to come join me.

The Details- 6 Nights/7 Days

Yoga and Meditation twice a day, massage & hammam treatments, sun & pool, hikes & good food all resting in the most heavenly place. Pure bliss!

The food is outstanding. Always delicious, healthy authentic-Morrocan cooking. The chef uses vegetables from the garden, traditional bread is baked daily in a red clay, wood-fired oven. The food is fresh, and local with a wide variety of dishes with an emphasis on vegetarian, prepared daily. Dietaty requirements are catered for.

Azaren is located 30 kms south of Marrakesh in the famous Ourika valley. It’s airport benefits from excellent connections both with low cost and regular airlines.

Places are limited as the property only can accommodate a small group. This is a private residence which is ours for a week and while there are all kinds of amazing opportunities to explore Marrakech, Essaouira and the Atlas mountains with your free- time, not leaving the property is just as inviting as this is a 16 acre true desert oasis.

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I am an Addict

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The subject of neurology has been on my mind (pun intended) since I recently put down the book “Upward Spiral” by Alex Korb. The book as well as my own personal findings gathered along the way explain what is happening when our hungry brain craves dopamine, the natural chemical secreted in our brains when we feel pleasure. Sounds like a pretty mundane subject but in my experience and study I have found that it is at the root of so much suffering in life. Addiction and depression to name a few. It is also, as I will discuss here, the key to fulfilment in life and a vital ingredient and tool in Yoga and for those seeking recovery.
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Cornish Coast Yoga & Walking Retreat with Zephyr Wildman at Tresaton Hotel

 

Tresanton Hotel

St Mawes, Cornwall TR2 5DR

Tel: +44 (0)1326 270 055

info@tresanton.com

@hoteltresanton

www.tresanton.com

I am so excited to collaborate with Tresanton Hotel in offering a special long weekend get away with Yoga & beach walking around the Cornish Coast line. Have a look at this unique getaway click here to see photos and to book click here.

Dates: Wednesday 15th – Sunday 19th November 2017

Single Occupancy: £1550

Double Room Occupancy: £2200

This includes:

2 hours of energising vinyasa yoga in the morning and 1.5 hours of restorative yoga every evening with Zephyr Wildman.

Four nights of accommodation in the Tresanton.  There are 4 dog friendly rooms available at the hotel if you want to bring your dog, these will be subject to an additional charge of £25.  Room 1 has a terrace and Room 31 has its own garden.

Delicious breakfast, vegetarian lunch and dinner with a focus on fish/chicken.

Transfer to the Hotel Tresanton from St Austell train station for those catching the 6pm train from Paddington on Wednesday 15th November and returning on the 1.57pm train on Sunday 19th. Read More

Alateen & Alanon Groups in London

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Ala-teen is for 12-17 year olds who’s lives have been affect by addiction. I am one of a few very lucky Ala-teen sponsors in London, creating a group where teens can share their stuff, laugh about life and support each other through the complicated relationships they have with their addicts and others. On average, for 1 addict it affects 10 people. Their is AA, NA, DA, OA, SLA & Alanon too. We heal together, as a community with a common denominator in which we courageously face our stuff with a great amount of compassion and empathy. Go to http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/to find out more about Ala-teen and Alanon. We are an anonymous group, however not secret. I am consciously breaking my anonymity to make london aware we are here to support if needed. #alanon #alateen #alanonlondon #alateenlondon#recovery #recoverylondon #12steps

— in London, United Kingdom.

Azaren, Morocco Luxury Yoga Retreat 18th-22nd October 2017 with Zephyr Wildman ***SOLD OUT***

***SOLD OUT***

to be put on the waiting list email: zephyrbw@gmail.com

Azaren Luxury Yoga Retreat with Zephyr Wildman

18-22 October, 2017

I am so happy to announce a wonderful Yoga retreat in Morocco at Azaren. As you can see, this beautifully created holiday home is fill with aesthetically stimulating details, spacious surroundings to curl up, renew oneself and soaking up the Moroccan sun which is all perfectly woven into the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains.

Yoga and Meditation twice a day, massage & hammam treatments, sun & pool, hikes & good food all resting in the most heavenly place. Pure bliss!

The way of eating in Azaren, on a yoga retreat, is delicious, healthy cooking. The chef uses vegetables from the garden, traditional bread is baked daily in an outdoor wood red clay oven. The food is fresh, authentic with a wide variety of vegetarian dishes prepared daily. Dietaty requirements are catered for.

Azaren is located 30 kms south of Marrakesh in the famous Ourika valley. It’s airport benefits from excellent connections both with low cost and regular airlines.

Places are limited.

To book, contact: zephyrbw@gmail.com

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Photography by Sophie Fauchier

Accommodation

*There is ample space for the bedrooms to be made for two separate single beds if not sharing a bed. Each Suite and Villa have generous ensuite bathrooms.

Rooms with Double Beds Only:       The Master Suite        Coral Suite        Saffron Villa

Rooms with the option to turn Double Bed into Single Beds

The Blue Suite     Lavender Villa      Red Villa      Orange Villa    Purple Suite     Turquoise Villa

£1800 Single Accommodation

£1200 Sharing Accommodation

Including :

Accommodation, 3 meals, non-alcoholic beverages, 4 hours a day of yoga & mediation classes, Yoga mats & props provided, daily house keeping, pool towels, use of the amenities (swimming pool, tennis court, billiard room, steam room), wifi-internet, airport transfers (when arriving with the group).

Extras :

Taxi if you don’t arrive with the group, alcoholic beverages, Spa treatments, Hammam £35, Table Massage £40, transport (4×4 with driver about 100€ per day) for exploring the medina of Marrakesh or the nearby villages.

To book, please send £300 non-refundable deposit to reserve your place and your room preference. The balance will then be due by 15th August 2017 via bank transfer. Email zephyrbw@gmail.com to receive details.

Highly recommend that you invest in travel insurance for your trip to ensure peace of mind.

Look forward to another wonderful Yoga Holiday at Azaren.

Beaming you all blessing, laughter and future Yogic adventures!

Zephyr x

Advice for new yoga teachers

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I recently was interviewed by Niraj Shah from The Present of Yoga who wanted my “senior” or established teacher’s perspective in helping those who are just finishing their yoga teacher training or who are new to teaching yoga in the community. So, I reached out to some of my students who are in different stages of completing their training from Yogacampus, to hear what they would like answered as they enter this career in yoga teaching.

Niraj picked out his top 5 he wanted answered and I have written about the remaining questions below. To listen to the interview follow this link to www.bit.ly/ZephyrTPOY 

 

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How do you make sure your classes are enjoyable for all the different levels of student who attend?

It is always challenging to work with different levels of understanding and abilities. I try to design my sequences starting from a more simple asana gradually gaining more complexity as the sequence progresses. At the same time I try to have that same sequence energetically direct the student from the external to the internal subtle experiences. In other words as the sequence gets more physically and mentally demanding, the subtle body (energetic body) is less tasked to find a balance within the sequence at all stages. 

I do encourage students to listen to their own ‘inner teacher’ and give them options in preforming stage 1,2,3 in order to give them back the responsibility in deciding to “turn the volume” up or down depending on their needs that day. 

I also plant the preamble or theme of class throughout. For those who are new, sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other as they can be so distracted with the physical feat of a pose they don’t usually hear it. However my more advanced students use the injection of yogic philosophy to inspire them to travel deeper in their practice, even if it is a simple pose. 

What’s the best way to teach your students to listen to and take care of their own bodies during class?  

I always try and make sure students feel comfortable “taking a break” or slowing down by repeating throughout the class options, like take child’s pose, downward dog or vinyasa. I offer different stages and make an emphasis that usually stage 1 might be the most profound. Humour also snaps people out of self punishing, distraction and taking the practice too seriously. 

If I sense that it is a challenging class (physical or energetic) I have them pause in between kramas (linking sequences), either standing or sitting, so which to digest, listen and assimilate the energetic residue of the sequence, instead of pushing through. Reminding them that they are “human beings” not “human doings.” It is kind of like eating at a 3 Star Michelin restaurant and powering through the meal without ever stopping and noticing the subtle flavours. I know people who approach their practices like this and never taste the benefits of the practice.

Do you teach different sequences/ explore different themes in a public class as opposed to a one-to-one or private class?

I always plan my public classes and choose the theme and sequence for each week (which can vary slightly depending on the “weather”). This gives the student an experience of what it feels like to do the same sequence through the week and notice in themselves how they react to it as they change (dosha imbalances) every day. It also teaches them techniques in how to bespoke their practices to meet their immediate needs. 

With my private clients, if I know what they are going through, I might loosely pre-plan to guide them. However, I usually open myself up and trust I receive divine intervention to guide them as I don’t know what I will be working with. I enjoy bespoking the practice to the private client and their needs, not imposing what I want to do. This is where study, practice and trusting your intuition comes into play. I am forever a student but not just a student of yoga. I open myself to psychology, physiotherapy, massage therapy, acupressure, nutrition…the list can go on. I find if you are an amazing student, you will be a great teacher.

Are there any poses you would only teach in a one-to-one session, rather than in a class? 

Yes, there are poses that if I teach them to a class the majority wouldn’t be able to do it safely or effectively. These poses I find are for workshops or small groups which I know the students and trust they have the ability to take responsibility for themselves. It is important for me as a teacher to progress the level of yoga to students that are conscious of the potential of hurting themselves or that they know how to energetically conserve and not “burn out” or “dry up” or “spin out.”

In a multi-level/ability yoga class any of the Sirsasana/Headstands, Urdhva Dhanurasana/Full Wheel or just any of the poses that only two or three people out of 30 can do, I avoid. I have learned from watching other teachers in multi-level classes, that demonstrate extreme yoga poses then ask the students to do them, are really just doing it for their ego, not in service to their students. I try to make my classes powerful, interesting and accessible not to exclude people, but to include.

One-to-one, I will guide them through the stages, making sure that we have time, correct alignment and they have the strength, stamina and self-knowledge in why they are preforming the pose.

How do you take your teaching beyond asana to introduce your students to the more subtle aspects of yoga or the philosophical/ psychological context? 

As most of my students know I am a big fan of preambles. I always start with introducing philosophical and psychological yogic methods. I enjoy weaving them through an asana class, flavouring the experience for people to feast off of what comes up in experience for them.

I also love sharing practical application of certain yogic topics in class like Koshas, Gunas, Kleshas, Kriya, Doshas, Chakras, Granthis, and more. Using my stories, my teachers and my students experience to tell stories. This excites me and through my enthusiasm I hope to attract students to apply them to their practices and beyond the mat too.

How do you make sure your Om’s are in tune if you don’t have a very good singing voice?  And what if no-one joins in the om?

Pray! I have a terrible singing voice and never know what is going to come out. I do know choosing a higher pitch is uplifting, where going low can be dangerous as one never knows how people will follow. Lower OM is grounding. Practice OMing at home. Become comfortable and familiar in your range. Try just one opening or closing OM. There is no rule regards to how many. From my understanding we OM verbally 3x to represent waking, sleeping, dreaming states and the last OM is silent representing Turya, the 4th state.

There are certain religions that don’t like yoga chanting, however a yoga friend of mine who lives in Italy, was able to make OM more accessible for those who struggle with it being sinful. She said, what do you do when you have a lovely meal? Ohummmmmmm. So OM is at the end honouring the wonderful class you just had.

How do you avoid giggling if someone farts very loudly? 

Oh, if you are like me and stuck in your “lower chakra” development, any bodily function will make one laugh OUT LOUD. It takes a lot of self-control and distraction to not laugh and therefore publicly shame a student. I have been known in the past to say it as it is, most yoga is wind releasing poses, it happens. Most of the time, the British, want you to ignore it as if it didn’t happen and carry on. After almost 20 years living in London, I have adopted that attitude, turn away and crack on with the next pose. Oh, and don’t look at anyone who is shaking with laughter, it will start you off!

You have been teaching for over 18 years, how do you always keep things refreshed and avoid getting bored?

I consistently study and practice. My practice has changed over the years and I hope it continues to evolve as I do. I see myself subscribing to the title “seeker” to know myself better, to understand human nature and to remember what I have ultimately forgotten and that I am apart of the whole. I am awake and at any given time, I just have that very human defect of forgetfulness. I teach what I need to learn and in being of service to others as they awaken through yoga, I feed my soul’s purpose (being a teacher). 

What would be your top 3 do’s/don’ts tips for new teachers? sequencing?

Do’s: 

  1. Teach appropriately for your audience’s level, ability, injuries, ailment, etc. Create a class that includes everyone, not excludes. Donʼt overwhelm the students with too much Sanskrit words, concepts or Yogic Philosophy to show them what you know and leave them feeling even more alone, confused or less than.
  1. Teach from the simple asana to the complex asana. Start with a dynamic breath-centric movement to static holding with breath focus. Encourage the students to observe, feel and sense the practice from the outside to the subtle inside. Be prepared to modify. Teach from the modification to the peak asana. Build from the ground up!
  1. Teach and sequence to have a Sattvic effect: balancing, restoring, reconnecting even if the class is Sattva-Rajasic class: stimulating, dynamic class or a  Sattva-Tamasic class: restorative, restful. Leave time to digest, absorb, integrate and reflect on the effects of the asana, krama and practice. This will help with burn up or out.

Don’t:

  1. Don’t stop studying and practicing. Keep up the commitment for yourself. Fill your spiritual, physical and energetic well, so you are best of service to your community. Also, be in contact with your teacher to keep yourself accountable and responsible in how you are passing down these teachings, rather than making stuff up. All great teachers have amazing teachers of teachers. Seek one to carry a living practice to your students.
  1. Don’t impose or exploit others. See teaching as being of service. Students should perform the asana for their body that is most effective and powerful for them and that shape doesn’t need to look like the ideal asana found in magazines. Encourage students (and the teacher) not to force their body to fit the asana. Keep healthy and ethical physical, energetic and sensual boundaries, to protect your students from you and yourself from the students. People of all stages of mental, physical and emotional vulnerability enter a class, we never know what they are going through. Be mindful and compassionate with your motives and how you navigate your interaction, adjustments and conduct in class and outside of class with your students. Don’t exploit sexually, monetarily and/or energetically your position as a guide/teacher/healing facilitator. 
  1. Keep your ego in check.  Apply the Yamas & Niyamas to your practice and life as well as your teachings. Svadhyaya: self-study, self-reflection, self-inquiry, self-knowledge is so important for a healthy ego and compassionate heart. Yoga is about Self-Mastery of Knowledge and the Powers/Siddhis one can attain. Yoga makes one very powerful, however if you are an arsehole – yoga will just make you a powerful arsehole. Power without Knowledge is dangerous. Knowledge without Power is ineffective, so give your energy to both.                                                                                        Finally, you don’t know everything and are (presumably) not a trained as a doctor, psychotherapist etc. Reach out to other professionals when your student needs more than a Yoga Teacher’s help. I also work with other professionals by referring my clients to who them and then I consult with those professionals. Respecting Doctor/Patient confidentiality, but sharing information to treat client more effectively is a real benefit to the client. I have a skilled chiropractor, an osteopath, a physiotherapist, a personal trainer, a podiatrist, a EMDR trauma therapist, a CBT therapist, a drug/alcohol treatment centre, a child psychologist and more that I often refer clients to. All of whom I learn from and deepen my understanding that it takes more than just me to support a student/client. Let go of your ego and remember “I don’t know” can be the most profound statement to learn. 

How do you explain the popularity of an ancient art/philosophy that came from the foot of Himalaya thousand years ago to our hard-core urban current western environment?

In every culture there are forms of dance, movement, physical disciplined practices, etc. There is a way of using the body to have spiritual experiences as well as the basic maintaining good function of the body, process of emotions, trauma, hormones and creating mental clarity. We as human beings have a unique capacity to experience something beyond our common conscious thought. By using the body as a refined tool in which to train the mind we receive an evolutionary upgrade where we have a greater impact to whatever we direct our attention to. I feel there is so much wisdom from the origins of Yoga that directly apply to managing life now in this era of suffering, over-stimulation, elation, fear, over-work…the list goes on.

However, we now view yoga as a commodity and if we can objectify, sexualise and trademark it, yoga becomes big business with regard to customer consumption. Ugh. This is the world we live in today!

The subtle body is not a subject that is really taught in depth in teacher training courses, what advice would you give new teachers who want to learn more about it and weave it in their classes?

Study with a teacher who can introduce and point you in the direction in which to experience it first and then start to teach it. A lot of what is written is not always true: Half-truths. Most of the concepts of deep subtle body teachings you receive from a respected teacher.

However, studying cannot be overemphasised. Topics I would suggest: Gunas, Koshas, Chakras, Granthis, Nadis, Mudras, Kriyas, Prana Vayus…there are many teachings that can help other seekers understand these concepts. These are different maps that take you inwards, however they are not the same map. They interface with each other and a good teacher can weave them into a practice. This takes patience, practice and time.

I have a list of recommended reading on my website that I would point you to.

How do you deal with people with injuries you’ve not heard of before?

I am honest with the student. I am not a trained doctor or therapist. I am honest with them. I would research it, ask my teacher/mentor or a professional doctor to advise me and get back to them.

The most spiritually profound statement one can make is “I don’t know” it’s okay. Ahimsa, keep them safe and ask them to take care of themselves during the class and once you have more information then you can help bespoke the appropriate modifications or suggestions needed.

How do you build a good base of private clients?

Word of mouth mainly. A website and business cards is helpful if you cover classes, meet people in other environments that give you the opportunity to spread the word. Private clients want reliable, responsible and respectful teachers. Make sure you are on time and consistent. Life is very busy for people and that hour for them they are looking for support and space to process life. Be kind, compassionate and have boundaries.

After graduating a 200hr yoga teacher training, how soon after is it a good idea to do advanced 300 hour teacher training?

This is a difficult question as there are many factors that will shape everyone differently. However, I recommend taking some time to put into practice what you have learned and feel confident in what you teach. I myself am still a student and every time my teachers have a week long training in London I am on it. I do online courses about yoga, trauma, neurology, etc. I take other courses not relating to yoga, however compliment my teachings. Be a great student and take time to absorb it in yourself and practice passing it to your students. 

How do you keep up to date with discoveries in anatomy studies?

I take trainings with my teacher Doug Keller who specialises in applied anatomy and physiology. Even if I have done the workshops before, I always absorb more and he always brings new ides and perspectives to the subjects. I also do online courses via www.yogainternational.com and other platforms. Read tons of books and have tons of reference books. Always a student!

What are the biggest obstacles you face as a yoga teacher? 

Balance. We are natural nurturers and guides. We are teachers and students.  We are of service to our community and to our families. Getting the balance of where, how much and why we give our energy is very important to keep in check. There is only so many hours in the day. A lot of teachers stop practicing as they are working so hard travelling and teaching all over to make enough that they are exhausted and slip into bad habits and lose their commitment to themselves. This leaves a teacher resentful as they are not feeding themselves a practice that keeps them balanced and thriving. 

Another obstacle is that everyone wants to be a yoga teacher. In big cities it is saturated and there is a lot of competition. Studios, gyms and events don’t pay very well. A lot of people think that they will be able to leave their jobs and make a good living as a Yoga Teacher, however they quickly become disillusioned with how hard it is to establish oneself. This leaves people supplementing their income and becoming frustrated.

The last thing I can think of at this moment is how you want to come across as a teacher. I started teaching well before websites and social media became a source of attracting students. I didn’t have a website until 2 years ago, which my husband had to strongly suggest that this was the “way of the future” as if I was this primitive beast that only relied on word of mouth. I always knew I wanted to be a “great” yoga teacher in my community and as social media started becoming more of a platform to share the interest of yoga, I embraced it. But I also saw yoga teachers objectifying and sexualising it to get followers and sell it. This confused me.  I love studying the physical shape, skill and technique. However, I found that it (more and more images on social media) started creating separateness aiding in the negative behaviour of comparing one’s insides to someone else’s outsides. This, in my opinion, promotes a feeling of being less than, as the observer can’t do that particular pose or doesn’t have that bendy body. So I have made a conscious decision to try to post pictures of me in hopes that people think, “I would love to feel like that” rather than “look like that.” We attract a crowd, so be very careful in what message you are sending out there as the young, naive and the perverse will be seeking your services. 

To listen to the interview follow this link to www.bit.ly/ZephyrTPOY 

Sweat Life Lululemon Festival Saturday 22nd July 2017!

Lululemon Sweat Life Festival

I will be there offering my Yogic Experience to the festival!

A one-day festival packed from morning to night: sweat. yoga. learn. party.

Picture this: Squat, lift, punch, plié, burpee and dance with the best studios in London; downward and upward facing dogs with our local and global ambassadors; run club like you’ve never experienced before; and development workshops that will blow your mind – and that’s all before lunch. Then take in a gong bath (yep, you heard correctly), join a ping-pong tournament let loose on a bouncy castle and finish off with a kundalini yoga rave. Oh, and did we mention the dance party with Grand Master Flash? Mic drop.

Saturday July 22nd 2017 just got better.

Book tickets: http://tickets.thesweatlife.co.uk/

Got questions? Email info@thesweatlife.co.uk

Lululemon Website

Sweat Life Facebook Page

Lululemon Sweat Life Instagram Page

Yoga Garden Party 29th July 2017

The Yoga Garden Party 2017 will take place on Saturday 29th July at Bore Place, (formerly Commonwork Farm), near Sevenoaks, Kent. 

I will be offering a talk at 1pm

Zephyr Wildman– Yoga and it’s Power for Healing

The definition of Yoga has roots firmly grounded in a focus on self-understanding. The more we understand ourselves, our habits and our suffering the more we have choices to align ourselves with the true path and the state of balanced flow. The equilibrium and harmony of a balanced life takes in to account the spiritual, the mental and the physical. Yoga, at its fundamental core is an exercise in developing and refining a strong and balanced state for all three. Yoga puts the same amount of emphasis on, and gives an equal importance to, the emotional health as it does physical health. Through using Yoga as a therapeutic tool we increase our potential to heal on many levels. I look forward in sharing the key concepts that bring a layer of potential healing to our asana practice

and a full practice at 4:45pm

Zephyr Wildman – The Prana Vayus
Prana: Life-force, Vayu: Winds. The 5 movements of shaping the breath to manage our Life-force for optimum health and vitality.

These Prana Vayus govern different areas of the body as well as their physical and subtle functions. This class will offer the application of the 5 stages of working with Prana to draw our attention to the 5 Prana Vayus in a practice. This practical application of:
* sensitising our awareness in how Prana moves within us,
* experiencing the creation of alchemy in asana, pranayama and bandhas
* and finally awakening and intensifying our Prana culminating  into a concentration of Prana which then directs us to higher states of consciousness in our meditation practices. A class focussing on the 5 Prana Vayus and an applied practice using Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Kriya and Meditation.

For the full schedule and to book tickets go to www.charityyogaday.org.uk

Yoga Garden Party Facebook Page

Yoga Garden Party Instagram Page

Trew Fields: Cancer Awareness & Holistic Health Festival 8th & 9th July!

TrewsFestival

I will be teaching on the Saturday 8th July a class for ALL!!!!

A holistic health, cancer awareness, comedy and music gathering launching on July 8th, 2017! Bringing together a community to explore, learn, connect, have fun and feel more empowered around health 🙂

Look forward to supporting this Trew Fields Festival in Thatched House Farm, Dunsfold, Surrey.

To book tickets go to www.ticketsforgood.com

Go to their Facebook Page Trew Fields

Go to their Instagram Page Trew Fields

Azaren & Dunton Hot Springs: Two of my favourite places I have taught Yoga Retreats & Yoga Holidays

Yoga escape to exotic Azaren, Morocco

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The expectations I had of Morocco, when I visited for the first time, did not disappoint. It is exotic culturally, stunningly beautiful and full of friendly smiling faces. The busy souks of Marrakech with the haggling commerce and step-back-in-time sort of feel, contrast magnificently with the breathtaking views and serenity from the heights of Mount Toubkal in the Atlas mountains. Morocco is an ancient and sacred land full of unforgettable sites and smells. In my travels in Morocco I have recently discovered my favourite place in which to soak it all up. It is called Azaren.

Azaren is a private home nestled at the base of the Atlas Mountains, 35 minutes away from the brand new Marrakech Airport. I have been coming here to lead Yoga Retreats for a couple of years now and I genuinely think it is one of my favourite places to take people and practice yoga together. This walled 16 acre estate has 4 main bedrooms and 5 villas spread out around a vibrant and flourishing garden underneath the backdrop of the soaring Atlas mountains.

A typical day would start with a sunrise filled walk around the gardens lined with pomegranates, moroccan rose and orange trees. This peaceful stroll would lead us to the vast pool where we prepare for our morning yoga. Our view is of the mountains reflecting upon the pool. The call to prayer echoes across the valley from the Minaret as birds sing and welcome the morning sun warming the night’s desert chill. After our poolside practice we would find breakfast beautifully laid out with fresh juices, tea, fruits, moroccan pancakes and freshly baked bread. The tranquil magic of the morning fades as the remnants of our practice sink in and mixes with the stimulation of food and conversation. This is the best part of an Azaren morning. Feeling so blissed with the magic of our surrounding and our practice and beginning to vocalise the experience with one another over a morning cup of coffee.  After the varied conversations of our practice, praise for the food and discussions of everyone’s plans for the day we disperse to all corners of Azaren. Some indulging in a double Hammam and Spa, some resting in the beds around the pool, others on their private terraces with a good book or some jumping into the taxi to Marrakech to explore the souks. By the late afternoon we would all gather to enjoy another more restorative yoga practice, basking in the sounds and smells of the lively garden. Just before sunset we gather again for drinks on the terrace, views of the Atlas mountains and dinner served at dusk. It is the epitome of of relaxation and restoration. I hope one day I can share it with you.

Soaking up the bliss at Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado.

Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado reminds me of HOME. I grew up in the Rocky Mountains, of Idaho. Natural hot springs were abundant in my state and a proper wilderness campsite was not a perfect 10 unless it had a natural hot spring in the vicinity.  Dunton (as the locals call it) is a little more than your average campsite with a hot spring. It is a privately owned, perfectly restored ghost-town just over the mountain from Telluride Colorado. Oh, and it just happens to be a Relais and Chateaux property so one does not have to worry about finding the right tree to pitch your tent under or whether or not bears will roam through your campsite in the middle of the night. All the luxuries of a 5 star hotel are available at Dunton, but the feel to it is rustic comfort in a serene and majestic setting.

Started as a mining town 1885 along the West Dolores River high up in the in the San Juan Mountains of SW Colorado, at it’s peak in 1905 Dunton claimed about 300+ residents. However, the boom and bust cycle of mining towns did not spare even Dunton and by 1910 it was all but abandoned. The current owners purchased the property in 1994 and have restored it to what it looked like as a mining town complete with a Bar/Saloon rumoured to have been visited by Butch Cassidy and his trusty side-kick Sundance. While the buildings on the exterior look weathered and worn, the interiors are luxurious and comfortable. Nothing extravagant, but all the details are attended to. Small rustic cabins dotted along the river for about a mile with the Lodge/Saloon and hot springs bath house in the centre of town. This restored ghost town keeps its rustic authenticity with the intrinsically woven modern country chic presentation. I immediately felt at ease with my surroundings. What a place to spend two weeks practicing Yoga!

Our day would start with a morning walk down to the Yoga Barn which framed the neighbouring mountain and its fertile mix of Aspen, Blue Spruce, Fir and the occasional Ponderosa Pine tree. Often times after class we would spend time walking to the waterfall to absorb the residue of the practice before heading off to the Saloon for breakfast. Each day was filled with different activities. Horse back riding guided by Dunton’s Horse-Guide, Alison Eddy and her team of well kept four legged mountain climbers who kindly take the intensity of being 10,000-14,000 feet (3,000-4,500m) above sea level off the body to explore the many trails that surround the area. There is mountain biking with wild trails full of ascents and long descents and for those who find it too challenging there are bikes with assistance; electric MOTORS! Great for some of the steeper inclines. While I was invited to Dunton to practice Yoga, the abundant free-time and activities kept me busy and what better way to unwind after a full day than a soak in the hot springs and relive the unique experience from home.

As a child and young woman growing up in Idaho I have fond memories of soaking in natural hot springs gazing up into the nights sky, witnessing it with zero light pollution and a billion stars all around. It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Idaho to reacquaint myself with the sensation but as soon as I dipped my toe into the mineral rich, warm springs and assumed the ancient Hindu hot springs soaking relaxation pose, I was reminded of just how amazing the sensation is (might also have had something to do with the high content of naturally occurring Lithium in the pools). Dunton is a mountain oasis where rugged meets relaxation and the Mountain setting humbles the most confident of Yogis. If you ever get a chance to stay in Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado, ask about the Yoga Barn and make sure to soak up every ounce of blissful experience Dunton has to offer.

 

To rent Azaren privately go to www.azaren.ma

To book a room at Dunton or to rent the whole ghost town go to www.duntonhotsprings.com