Taking part in a yoga retreat at Lanzarote Retreats
Michelle was recently invited to join a yoga retreat taking place at Finca de Arrieta, here she shares her experience.
Bellatrix or “Bella” runs the popular Yoga Studio Ouddorp in the pretty seaside town in the Netherlands, where we’ve visited her and her family on several occasions. She also hosts regular beach yoga at different beachside locations around Ouddorp throughout the summer.
Having holidayed with Lanzarote Retreats for many years, Bella first decided to bring a group to our eco-village Finca de Arrieta five years ago. Finca de Arrieta makes the ideal setting for a retreat: Bella chooses to base the group at the Eco Luxury Farmhouse thanks to its ample kitchen, generous outdoor shaded dining area and private pool. With additional accommodation provided in the adjacent Eco Cabin and then various yurts as required.
This year, the group consisted of myself and one other Brit, a German and ten Dutch participants. We were a diverse bunch, with both men and women, and ages ranging from eighteen to late fifties. Having been away in the UK planning our newest glamping project, I arrived in Lanzarote at the same time as the rest of the group, checked into my yurt accommodation and switched off my phone. My personal challenge being a digital detox for the first time in 30 years!
The first activity was…going to the beach. I can’t tell you when the last time was that I simply sat and enjoyed sunbathing at my local beach. It was the perfect opportunity to relax and start getting to know my fellow yogis. And without a phone, emails, and WhatsApp messages to distract me, I was able to sit and really be present.
With no published schedule, each day was a moveable feast. Bella was able to tweak and adjust her daily plans depending on the weather – was the sun too hot for a midday session outside, was the wind blowing from a certain direction – and the general mood of the group. This also meant we weren’t constantly thinking ahead to what was next. Each day came as a lovely surprise.
We had sessions focused on hip and shoulder openers, standing poses, balance and Q&A workshops where we could take the time to study how we individually approach each asana. I even found myself loving the dreaded breathing exercise that I’d been keen to avoid. Aside from Bella’s incredible knowledge and insight, what made each session unique was the different settings she had carefully selected. Whether that was at a secret white sand beach, beside the crater of a volcano or sitting to meditate on sunbaked earth around a stone circle. I found myself repeatedly thinking that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone to that beach/ slept so well / laughed so much.
There was a lot of laughter, fun, introspection, and some tears. We ate like kings and queens, enjoyed coffees together, drank wine (and the odd mojito) and learnt plenty about each other and ourselves. I made friends for life. What’s more, I took time out for myself.
When Bella asked at the end what I had enjoyed most about the week, I struggled to narrow it down. Yes, the yoga sessions had been fantastic but what I’d truly loved was being able to take a step back and appreciate the amazing location and yoga retreat as a guest. The opportunity to experience the beautiful utopia our family has created.
We’ve already set a date for the next retreat in May 2023, I’ll see you there!
If you have any questions about our retreats, please get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org