Yoga and Surfing
The west coast of Morocco is one of the world’s best surfing destinations, with a non-stop source of Atlantic swell creating waves for all abilities on neardeserted beaches. Even though it’s only a three-hour flight from the UK, Morocco has a totally different climate, and a landscape similar to the Southern Californian coastline back in the day. Now is the time to go – investors have moved in and in five years this rugged coastline will be lined with soulless five star hotels and golf courses. Accommodation is in the luxury Killer’s Bay apartments, which look out over the legendary Killers and Anchor Point spots.
Vicki Boswell is classically trained in Sivananda Yoga (and positively radiates health and serenity), the basis of which is powerful Hatha with elements of Ashtanga. Two-hour classes are held at sunrise and sunset, under a wooden pagoda with breathtaking views of the ocean. These are built on over the course of the week to encompass all 12 basic asanas postures/poses) and their variations, incorporating techniques to improve the strength and suppleness of the muscles used for surfing.
As soon as breakfast is finished, as if by magic, surf guides appear with wetsuits and long boards to whisk you off in 4x4s to the most suitable break of the day. Be it just down the road at Mysteries, or further afield to the long peeling wave of Imsouane, just perfect for beginners to get up on. There’s no better place to learn to surf and with the gentle, clean breaks and four hours of instruction from the Surf Maroc guides every day, you’ll be standing up in no time.
Food is up there with yoga and surfing in terms of importance at the retreat. A healthy breakfast, including freshly made smoothies and juices, is served on the balcony overlooking the sea, but it’s the evening meals where Australian chef Devi really comes into her own, creating a mouthwatering variety of vegetarian dishes influenced by her time in India and Morocco.
A trip to the Hammam (steam bath) in Agadir is part of the retreat, and a gommage (exfoliating massage/scrub) by a topless Moroccan lady comes highly recommended (40Dh). There’s an optional mid-week day trip to the colourful fishing port town of Essaouria, where you can practise your bartering in the souks. For those brave enough, you can gallop an Arab/Burba stallion along the beach, sans hat (160Dh/hour).
Fall off the wagon
The retreat runs an honesty bar and there’s a plentiful supply of local wines and beer to have with your evening meal. Alcohol isn’t served in the restaurants of Taghazout, so if you want a night out, Agadir is the nearest big town (100Dh each way for a taxi).
£549 pp/pw includes airport transfers from Agadir, accommodation (twin sharing), breakfast, lunch and dinner (six nights per week), four hours of yoga each day, transport to the surf, board and wetsuit hire, surf guiding and surf lessons. Retreat dates are 18th-25th April and 21st May-28th May.
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Yoga and Climbing
Gozo, separated from mainland Malta by a 5km stretch of sea, is distinctly different from the tourist haven that is Malta. Gozo is rural and simple, its culture and way of life rooted in fishing, and in primitive pastoral and agricultural activity. The Ta Sbejha apartments – clustered around a stunning swimming pool, surrounded by palm trees – are located just outside the picturesque village of Gharb on the west of the island, close to the famous Azure Window.
The yoga taught is based on Hatha with slight variations of Iyengar, Sivananda and Ashtanga. The retreat runs like a course to build up strength and skill as the week progresses, with pair-yoga, breathing techniques and cleansing postures thrown into the mix. Morning sessions are flowing and dynamic, while the afternoon sessions are floorbased and restorative. Both are tailored towards the strength, balance, flexibility and endurance needed for climbing.
The climbing in Gozo is limestone and graded in the French system starting at 4 up to 8a. Inland routes range from 15 to 30 metres on average – there are a number of bolted lines and more are being developed, while traditional climbs are also plentiful. The new thing is deep water soloing with over 200 lines recorded around Gozo and Comino mostly accessible by boat. Yoga Traveller work with a local company (gozoadventures.com) to offer experienced guides with local knowledge. Climbing, abseiling, coasteering, deep water soloing and biking cost 35 euros per person for a half day, 60 euros per person for a full day (including pick up/drop off in Gozo and equipment hire).
Yoga Traveller works with local companies to support the community – all the food they serve is locally sourced, the accommodation is locally owned and run, and during the week guests are encouraged to meet the friendly locals. Getting the local vibe?
£450 pp/pw includes transfers, accommodation (twin sharing), breakfast, two evening meals, yoga, and group activities including a guided hike. Yoga Traveller also do yoga and skiing/snowboarding in Wengen, Switzerland, and yoga and diving/snorkelling in Thailand.
See yogatraveller.com for dates
Next: Yoga and Watersports >>
Yoga and Watersports
Porto Pollo, Sardinia
With some of the most consistent wind in Europe, an incredible variety of spots, crystal clear water and white sandy beaches, Porto Pollo is pretty much the place for watersports. Apartments overlook the bay of Porto Pollo and the archipelago of islands, which are unspoilt, national reserves, and Corsica in the distance.
The morning starts with a general Hatha class for balance and clarity, and increased oxygen flow to the body and mind in preparation for the day’s action. The gentle evening session works to stretch out and relax abused muscles and joints, and varies to include pranayama, meditation and the occasional Yoga Nidra to really let go and enter a state of deep relaxation.
It’s watersports heaven in Porto Pollo and the conditions are ideal for all levels of kite, wakeboard and windsurfers, whether you’re learning the basics or want to go hard. The dive team will take you around Corsica, Sardinia and beyond to experience some of the best shipwrecks, flora and fauna in the Med. There’s awe-inspiring snorkelling at Archipelago Della Maddelena, a protected national park, which consists of a collection of small islands.
They call it ‘vitality food’ as everything is chosen to optimise yoga practice and maintain energy levels. All food is vegan/vegetarian, organic and locally sourced, and inspired by a mixture of “Yogic principles of diet, with an Eastern and Mediterranean flair”.
Co-founder Michelle King is trained in holistic massage, sports massage, aromatherapy, Indian head massage, Thai foot massage, pregnancy massage and Neal’s Yard holistic facials, so all the above are on offer plus acupuncture and reiki.
Fall off the wagon
If you still have, ahem, wind in your sails there are beach bars in Porto Pollo, or the town of Palau is not too far to “fare una camminata” (go for a walk) to get one of the best Italian ice creams you’ll have ever had in your life.
Adventure Yogi has a strong ethical policy and encourages people to get the train or bus wherever possible with the incentive of a free holistic treatment for your efforts. Everything used within the villas is recycled.
£525 pp/pw (£475 if you book before 1st June) includes airport transfers, two daily yoga classes, luxury accommodation, brunch and evening meal. Watersports from £105 for a beginner course, diving £40/hour and treatments £35/hour. Water Yogi dates are 31st August–7th September and 7th-14th September. Adventure Yogi also do Snow Yogi in Chamonix and Surf Yogi in Morocco.
Next: Yoga and Snowboarding >>
Yoga and Snowboarding
Rude Chalets Rudegirls Week
Morzine is fast becoming one of the most popular resorts in the French Alps for the vast Portes du Soleil ski area (over 650km of groomed pistes), the best freestyle parks, including the new Burton Stash and some of the sickest powder troves in Europe. A high concentration of seasonaires and pro riders mean the resort is generally less familyfied than say Les Trois Vallees, and the nightlife banging.
Yoga is integrated into the snowboard week with an hourlong session every evening to stretch and relax the muscles that have been battered on the mountain. Lou Tilbury teaches a creative, dynamic style of yoga growing out of East Coast Australia and West Coast America, set to music, with flow and energy.
Tuition is provided by local snowboarding superstar Angelique Corez-Hubert. All levels are welcome, beginners and intermediates will progres from greens to blues and trying the small kickers in the nano park. The more advanced will get to experience backcountry trails, perfect their piste riding, and hone their freestyle skills in the parks and pipe.
An energy-packed breakfast of porridge, eggs, cereal, yogurt and fruit will set you up for the day, and there’s afternoon tea and cake (justified after riding all day), and a well balanced, freshly made three-course evening meal.
Parapenting (paragliding) on a clear sunny day is a beautiful way to see Morzine from above (approx 65 euros for a tandem flight). Swedish and sports massages can be arranged.
Fall off the wagon
With a limitless supply of wine included in the price, you can get pissed in the outdoor hot tub every night if you like. Or head into town for a pint of super-strength Mutzig beer in Bar Robinson, a cocktail or two at the Buddah bar and a boogie with seasonaires at the Cavern.
£599 pp/pw includes transfers, catered ensuite accommodation, unlimited wine, six-day Avoriaz lift pass, snowboard rental and tuition, yoga, goodie bag etc.
See rudechalets.com for dates