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Blog: Mongolia Yoga & Meditation Retreat “The Retreat of all Retreats”

“Mongolia is the most incredible visual poem. The skies, the colours, the swift change of weather, the mist circling around our yurts in the morning, the open space, the feeling of going back to what life’s about, the people. I can go on and on.

If you’re looking for the retreat of all yoga retreats this is it: strong and sweet yoga classes with one of the absolute best Jivamukti teachers on earth, works of art on your plate to eat, heavenly massages and spending time with a global satsang of radiating fellow travellers.

Go, see, experience and enjoy the Mongolian silence! Just do it!”

Sharon Bartel, August 2017

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Our yoga retreats in Mongolia are powerful and heart warming experiences for us all. We have been running yoga and meditation retreats in Mongolia for three years now and we can’t wait to go back again. We are back there 28 July to 5th August in 2018. Mongolia is definitely one of those “trip of a lifetime” retreats that inspires and challenges you in equal measure.

What makes Mongolia so special?

Landscapes: Mongolia is a remote place and much of it is uninhabited. Spending time in its vast, empty landscapes can have be profound. The Gobi desert is “a place like no other” with its ancient rock formations and sandy moonscape terrain. In complete contrast the Khan Kentii region is a lush, green paradise where herds of wild horses graze in lush meadows. Mongolian skies are worthy of their own blog post!

People: Our Mongolian team feel like family now and our yoga retreats are a shared experience with them. They look after us so well, they have embraced our yogi ways, they love Emma’s kirtan and sing back to us the most hauntingly beautiful songs. We make jokes and laugh together even though we don’t speak the same language. We all cry when we have to say goodbye. It is a very special bond and this wonderful relationship means our yoga retreat guests are part of something far beyond a “tourist experience.”

Culture: Nearly half of the population are nomadic pastoralists, living in yurts (they call them gers) and tending to their herds of horses, cows, goats and camels on horseback or motorbike. There is something very thought-provoking about encountering this kind of lifestyle, especially if you live a busy city life.

Horses: Riding in Mongolia is so much more than just the ride, exploring on horseback in the company of a local herder is a truly exhilarating way to enjoy the Khan Kentii wilderness. Experienced riders are in their element here – mastering the Mongolian riding style on semi wild horses, splashing across rivers, up mountains and through forests. (If you are really keen to ride and are not experienced, please take some lessons before you come).

Yoga and meditation: Practising Jivamukti yoga with the inimitable Emma Henry is at the core of our yoga retreat experience. It is strong style of yoga that includes chanting, flowing vinyasa sequences, alignment exploration as well relaxation and meditation. The twice daily yoga practice on our retreats provides the foundation of this trip. The yoga teachings guide you through the highs and the lows, inspire you to connect completely to yourself and your environment, encourage you to confront your discomfort, support you and put you back together after a long day.

Food: The very excellent Bettina Campolucci Bordi and her Mongolia crew create the most delicious plant based food on this yoga retreat. It’s filling and sustaining and very tasty! Mongolian’s are generally not vegans but the kitchen crew have mastered the art of creating yogi menus and it is quite amazing to see them at work in their yurt kitchen. With limited ingredients and a solar powered fridge, it is not without its challenges but our guests say the food is another highlight of this yoga retreat. This year Bettina was out at 5am with her team foraging for wild onions and herbs. It seems that Scandinavians and Mongolians are a match made in heaven when it comes to getting out in nature at all times of the day (and night) to look at flora and fauna!

Digital detox: Being completely cut off from the outside world for a week is becoming an unusual experience these days. It is surprisingly easy to let go of your “normal life” and embrace being very present. It can be challenging too but we support each other and enjoy such precious time connecting to the world around us (and not the world in our phones!)

Camels: Camels are just very cool aren’t they? We have our own herd in our Gobi retreat camp. We met this dude when he was a baby last year, now he is a teenager! The camels are often at work (fetching water, pulling carts etc) but in-between you can head out for a ride to explore the strange and wonderful landscape around the camp.

Is Mongolia for you? You’ll need to be fit, strong and healthy for this yoga retreat. You’re going to be living in a remote and wild environment. We are off the grid and there is no phone reception and hardly any people – just incredible nature and you! If you have never been to a place like it, it can be hard to imagine and prepare yourself for it but here are some things to consider:

Reclaim Your Self Mongolia Yoga Retreats

No ensuite bathrooms: Our yurts are beautiful and we have chosen luxury yurt camps for you, but there are no ensuite bathrooms. This is true glamping and a very “outdoorsie” yoga retreat. The toilet is a short walk away from camp. Water has to be collected by camel or yak, so your showers need to be pre-booked.

Embrace the journeys: It takes time to get to Mongolia and if you have come from Europe it is a big shift in time zones, meaning you’ll probably feel pretty tired and have jet lag for the first day or so of your retreat. Mongolia is a big country and epic journeys are very much part of this trip. It takes all day to get to each camp (by train and jeep) and some of it is off-road and it’s bumpy! The yoga and massages help and we have a sauna yurt at our second camp that really does make you feel amazing.

It is physically demanding: This yoga retreat involves a lot more physical activity than your average yoga retreat: Lots of travelling, early starts, strong yoga (and plenty of it), horse riding, camel riding, trekking and climbing mountains. For you yoga gym bunnies this is right up your street. Its definitely not for the lie over a bolster and sigh type!

 

Is this the retreat for you? Do you think you will fall in love with Mongolia (like us)?

Email us if you want to know more. Enjoy our videos…

 
 
 

Thank you to Bettina Campolucci Bordi and Emma Henry for sharing your images.

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Blog: Our best retreats for beach lovers

Beautiful beaches, incredible sunsets, delicious food and loads of yoga. India and Sri Lanka rank high as perfect yoga retreat destinations.

If you are looking for one of the best yoga holidays in the sun, India has a lot to offer. It is truly magical place: Crazy, fun, inspiring and powerful, India is a place that fills up your heart and inspires you connect deeply to yourself.

Our yoga retreat in Goa takes place close to Morjim beach. It’s a big wide sandy beach, lined with beach shacks and juice bars. Goa is a tourist destination so you’ll find plenty to do within easy reach, from markets to spice farms and temples.

Practicing yoga in India can be a powerful experience, it is the home of yoga after all. On our yoga retreat we create a quiet space away from the tourist bustle. Yoga teacher Faye Riches teaches soulful, dynamic vinyasa flow yoga. Her classes reflect and honour the sacredness of your surroundings in India.

Sri Lanka is known for its gorgeous beaches and big surf scene. Yoga holidays in Sri Lanka are blissful with delicous food and fabulous spas in abundance. Our Sri Lanka yoga retreat takes place in Hiriketiya, a beautiful horseshoe shaped cove with a small reef and beach surf break. The ocean has a gentle swell and perfect waves ideal for swimming, snorkelling and beginner surfers. The retreat villa is set back from the beach in the jungle and we’ll be immersing ourselves in plenty of yoga with Adam Husler. Between classes get into the beach holiday vibe and relax in the sun.

Much as we love our chefs Bettina and Saba and would love to take them with us everywhere, we also have a policy to work with local teams where ever we can. Our yoga retreat locations in India and Sri Lanka come with experienced local retreat chefs who will be creating Asian yogi menus for us. Yum…

Reclaim Your Self India Yoga Holiday

 

 

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Blog: Our best UK yoga retreats and weekends

We’ve been running wellbeing retreats in the UK for more than 10 years now.  In recent years we have focused on luxury yoga retreats that take place in a private manor house an hour north of London.

Our yoga weekend location is a small, traditional village in the countryside. The 17th Century manor house and renovated stable yard complex are set within beautifully landscaped gardens and fifty acres of private land. Along with a peaceful yoga room looking over a parterre garden, we have our own labyrinth and a meditation lodge nestled in secluded woodland. It is the perfect, peaceful weekend retreat.

Our upcoming UK yoga retreats

Our yoga and digital detox with Emma Henry takes place 17-19 November 2017. Guests are invited switch off their phones, leave laptops behind and enjoy three days of peace and quiet in the countryside. We hosted a writer from Queen of Retreats last year.

Adam Husler has a luxury yoga weekend from 24-26 November 2017. This weekend retreat will appeal to those who enjoy a strong, smooth flowing class and want to deepen their practice.

Faye Riches leads our popular New Year yoga retreat from 26-28 January 2018. Created to give people a goal to work towards post holiday season, there is lots of yoga and action on this one.

Our UK weekend retreat chef is Saba Rahbar. Saba owns Treehouse Kitchen, a wholistic catering business in Ibiza. She also heads up retreat kitchens all around the world and has pioneered her own brand of sell out farm-to-table events. Having moved from Doha to Ibiza last year, Saba is one to watch in the healthy cooking world. She creates delicious plant-based menus and makes sure our yogis are well fed and nourished. You can read about Saba here.

Last but definitely not least we have our massage therapists. Reclaim Your Self was founded by a massage therapist so we have only the very best people on the team to soothe, heal and relax our guests. This year we have Lucy de Barr who specialises in a therapeutic bodywork and energy medicine therapies and Marina Kyriacou, who does blissful hot stone treatments as well as deep tissue massages, reflexology and Indian Head Massages.

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Blog: Yoga Retreat Chef Saba Rahbar

We are delighted to introduce you to yoga retreat chef Saba Rahbar. You’ll find Saba creating her delicious yoga retreat menus in Tuscany and Iceland and on our UK yoga weekends this year.

We also have some very exciting news to share: Saba will be launching her own Wholistic Cooking Weekend next year. In response to loads of requests from our guests, Saba will be sharing her kitchen secrets at our new luxury yoga retreat location in Sussex in February 2018.

We recently sat down with Saba to find out more.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into cooking for yoga retreats?
I was on the contraceptive pill for 8 years to help balance my hormones. It seemed to help at first but I was unaware of the side effects, one being liver disease which I found out I was suffering from.

This made me seek other forms of medicine to heal my body, and soon after I met a Maya medicine healer who was willing to help me. Under his supervision I went through a year of intense liver cleansing in order to get my physical and emotional health back on track.

Shortly after, I moved to Qatar from London and when I got there it was almost impossible to find the ingredients I was using to keep my health in check. This inspired me to make my own products and set up a catering company. I started running healthy cooking workshops, became certified in plant based nutrition, hosted women’s circles and supper clubs. Three years down the line, through a string of interesting events, I was introduced to the wonderful Jools and worked on my first yoga retreat with her in Tuscany!

Continue reading Blog: Yoga Retreat Chef Saba Rahbar

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Blog: Retreat Chef Bettina Bordi

Retreat Chef Bettina BordiOur fabulous plant based chef, Bettina Bordi, is passionate about the difference a healthy lifestyle can make to mind, body and spirit.

Her plant based journey started off as an experiment after she started to run yoga retreats where she did all the cooking and the food had to be plant based, gluten free and free of refined sugar. Bettina started to create dishes that tasted familiar, were comforting during a sensitive week and did not compromise on flavour or taste. This sparked a love affair with creativity, ingredients and ways of using them.

After experiencing her own health issues Bettina realised the impact that healthy, detoxifying food can have and what had started as an experiment at the yoga retreats became her life and the foundation of her career. You can read more about Bettina’s story here.

Bettina lives in Spain with her husband and daughter Ayla. And for Bettina, her young daughter plays a key part in the reason she does what she does.

“She is a part of the new generation that will hopefully help us all make a shift in what we eat and how we treat our bodies. For her to learn the importance of food, where it comes from and how to prepare it, is my biggest wish.”

Continue reading Blog: Retreat Chef Bettina Bordi

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Yoga blog: On sustainability

Yoga retreat in Zanzibar
Chef Bettina Bordi with her Zanzibar kitchen crew

With our founder’s background in international development it has always been an important part of our work to support local economies. When we work abroad we seek out locally owned venues and we work alongside local teams, skill sharing and learning from each other in a culturally sensitive and engaging way.

There is no “them and us” – we are all one team. Sometimes when we work in a new location, our local teams think we are a bit odd, especially if they haven’t encountered yoga before. So we take the time to involve them in what we do, hoping they will understand why we spend hours making strange shapes in a room and eating food that is sometimes quite different to what they eat!

We absolutely love getting to know our local teams: How they work, what makes them tick, how they deal with challenges and what makes them laugh.

There is so much to learn from everyone, and we experience great joy in sharing our yoga retreat journeys.

Some memorable moments from 2016 yoga retreats: Herding yaks on horseback with local herders crying with laughter at how rubbish we were, (secretly) watching a proud and stern camp manager be moved to tears during kirtan, local kitchen crew proudly posting photos on social media of new dishes they have created and styled, a local massage therapist beaming with pride having her brilliant feedback translated, endless banter with Italian and Indian taxi drivers, having long weather chats with Icelanders in hot pools…

Our other sustainability policies relate to purchasing and waste. We purchase our food from local suppliers and avoid supermarkets wherever we can. Our chefs create menus where they can recycle leftovers into the next day’s meals if needed. We choose locations where we can use water from a spring (UK), a well (Mongolia) or use clean tap water (Italy and Iceland) and strongly discourage the purchase of plastic water bottles.

Below are some images of our brilliant Mongolian team 🙂

Yoga in Mongolia

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Yoga in India with Faye Riches – Reclaim Your Self

Here is the very gorgeous Faye Riches, our India yoga retreat teacher. Faye is possibly one the kindest people we have ever met, she seems have an endless supply of compassion. She is also a strong and powerful teacher (see the middle image below!) taking her students through their paces in her dynamic vinyasa flow yoga classes. It is quite a potent combination.

“My classes are a tapestry of strength, grace, empowerment and clarity woven together with eclectic playlists.”

Faye is a yoga pioneer in her home town of Colchester. Over the past 10 years she has worked hard and built a vibrant yoga community. This year she is taking it to the next level and has recently launched Our Yoga Tribe, where she leads a team of talented teachers who work together to offer yoga classes, workshops and events with a focus on healthy wellbeing and mindfulness.

Faye’s big passion is travel and she has taught yoga in some pretty cool places including India, Ibiza, Bali, New Zealand and the Gambia. This year she is heading to the Caribbean too. Watch Faye practice here. Continue reading Yoga in India with Faye Riches – Reclaim Your Self

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Blog: Yoga teacher Adam Husler

Reclaim Your Self yoga teacher Adam HuslerAdam Husler joined our team this year and we can’t wait to work with him.

Adam has a big love of anatomy, which has led him to specialise in Alignment Based Vinyasa Yoga. He has studied at an advanced level under Jason Crandell and intensively under Budokon Yoga Founder Cameron Shayne and renowned meditation teacher Michael Stone.

“My classes are creatively sequenced featuring long holds, controlled yet dynamic movements, intelligent alignment and deep exploration of depth in postures. They’re also dogma free! Anatomy is my passion, not pretty shapes.”

Ahead of his yoga retreats in Tuscany, Sri Lanka and UK, we had a chat with Adam to find out what makes him tick! Watch a video about Adam here. Continue reading Blog: Yoga teacher Adam Husler

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Blog: Yoga teacher Emma Henry

Yoga retreats in Iceland Emma HenryFor those of you who have not yet had the pleasure, we’d like to introduce you to Jivamukti yoga teacher Emma Henry. You might recognise her from our home page!

Emma has been working with us for the past 3 years. She shares our love of working in wild and wonderful places and together we have created our wilderness yoga retreats in Iceland, Mongolia, Japan and Norway. The combination of Jivamukti yoga and these locations is pretty powerful.

I love the journey and process that we all go through on Reclaim Your Self yoga retreats. It is a blessing to be able to take people on such transformative trips.

Emma is particularly known for her mesmerising chanting and her dynamic, innovative choreography and exquisite sequencing.  Watch Emma teaching in this video.

She leads our UK digital detox weekends. We are passionate about creating retreats for our guests to log off and enjoy quality device free time. Check out this podcast by Michael Stone, an inspiring resource if you are thinking about how to manage your relationship with technology.

Emma also teams up with Adam Husler on our Tuscany yoga retreat, where we invite 30 yogis to our huge luxury estate for an epic yoga journey. This yoga retreat sells out super fast, so if you are a yogi looking to spend a luxury week doing loads of yoga with 2 top teachers, book ahead for 2018.

The images below were taken on location in Iceland by photographer Karen Yeomans (link in the footer).

Reclaim Your Self Yoga retreat Iceland

Reclaim Your Self Iceland