Practice – Presence – All it takes is a smile

Creating a bit of heat in our practice this week requires a balance that can be brought with a smile. Sounds simple enough, but being present in the moment often requires that we find a bit of dis-comfort and at the same time find, define and nurture our intention for our practice.

In this Slow-Flow session Zephyr will remind you how being on the mat can be a practice in “being here now” which is a lesson we can all take graciously and use off the mat in our everyday lives. Engaging with those around us, our family, friends or our colleagues and our children is not always the easiest to maintain a meaningful presence. This practice will help with life’s discomforts and give you the tools to be more present and allow you to give and receive a more meaningful and present interaction with life and those you engage with (including yourself!).

A focused breath, a gentle downward gaze and a slight Buddha smile is all it takes.

Preamble – Presence – All it takes is a smile

As a Yogi, we are all working to to find stillness. It is in fact the definition of Yoga (contrary to the popular belief of many of my contortionist colleagues). The whole reason the modern day Yogi movement is such a popular and well populated movement is because when we get the message, when we (sometimes just for a fleeting second) lose ourselves and enter the presence of the moment it tends to feel really, really good and we look for it again. When we find the presence, we can navigate the rest of our day and take the lessons from that experience with us.  The hard part, however, is getting to the presence.

In this podcast Zephyr lets us all in on a little secret to help bring a bit more presence to our practice. She describes how skillful movement whilst being present is not rushed and is certainly not anticipating the next pose. 108 Sun Salutations can bring discipline, but rarely does it bring presence. It takes a Buddha smile and an intention on letting go of what you stepped on to the mat with. Only then can you step off the mat with a clearer presence and be ready to face the day “here and now”.

Azaren Luxury Yoga-Cycling-Hiking Retreat March, 2019

Azaren 25-30th March, 2019

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

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photo by Sophie Fauchier

We had so much fun last year on our Cycle-Yoga-Hiking holiday we are back again this year to bring you even more adventure and surprises.  Azaren is an incredible base for all of our activities and the Yoga-Cycle warm up in the morning and Yoga-Cycle-unravel in the afternoon is nourishing and invigorating. Located at the base of the Atlas Mountains, Azaren is perfect for breathtaking views, challenging bike terrain and awe-inspiring hikes.

With all this activity, you might just work up an appetite.  The menu is always delicious, healthy cooking. The chef uses vegetables from the garden, traditional bread baked daily in an outdoor red clay, wood-fired oven. The food is fresh and Moroccan-authentic with a wide variety of vegetarian dishes (and meat for those who need a bit of protein cycling everyday) prepared daily. Dietaty requirements are catered for.
Your retreat won’t be all eating and activity though, Azaren is well-equipped with all the amenities one would expect for luxurious relaxation as well. Tennis courts, hammam, massages, manicured gardens, (discreet) outdoor showers, and all the fresh mint you can pick for your Mojito by the pool. There will be plenty of time to rest and relax in the warm Moroccan sun.
Details

Azaren is located 30 kms south of Marrakesh in the beautiful Ourika Valley. It’s airport benefits from excellent connections both with low cost and regular airlines. It is a luxurious private residence that is all ours for the six days of the retreat. Spring in Morocco is warm in the day-time and cool at night. It is the perfect time to be outside cycling or practicing Yoga. Cycling is as challenging or as easy as you wish and if you are not a cyclist but your friend/partner is we have priced the trip accordingly. Every effort will be expended to keep you comfortable and safe whilst out riding or practicing Yoga. Prepare to sleep well and rejuvenate, tapping in to the serenity and elation that comes with moving your body and being in good company.

Yoga- what to expect

  • Two sessions daily morning and afternoon in an indoor/outdoor purpose built yoga studio
  • Yoga, meditation and theory lectures, all props and mats provided
  • Cyclists can participate in daily Yoga as each day’s ride will end before the afternoon yoga session. Great way to stretch tired muscles

Hiking-what to expect

  • Breathtaking views across the Ourika Valley. Hiking trails through the foothills of the snow capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains
  • A 3-4 hour max hike with a gradual ascent
  • lunch prepared by Berber locals

Cycling- what to expect

  • Well maintained road bikes with all the accessories (we’re not talking’ Cervelo P5X’s here, but they will get you down the road). Hi-Performance road bikes (Carbon frames) available for those avid-cyclists. E-bikes available for those who might be a bit intimidated by the hills.
  • Daily routes designed for group abilities. Average rides will be anywhere from 25km-75km depending on level of group. Rides will start in the morning and can end in time to meet the group for lunch back at Azaren.
  • More challenging options for those avid cyclists keen on conquering the Atlas (100+km loops with routes of 1600m+ vertical gain)
  • Cyclists should be of recreational to avid cycler ability. Beginners might want to stick to Yoga and Hiking on this holiday.
  • E-cycles are available if hills aren’t your thing.
  • Full van support with food, water, directions, encouragement.
  • Full bicycle mechanical support if needed (you won’t have to change a tyre should it go flat!)

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