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Yoga For Everyone

It is more important than ever to look after your wellbeing. I for one appreciate keeping busy, keeps our minds active but taking time out in the great outdoors is relaxing, rejuvenating and for me re-kindles my passions. Yoga is something you can do all year round, in your backyard or at the side of a beautiful lake. Here is why yoga is for everyone.

Yoga at Lake Moubra, Crans-Montana, Switzerland ©Crans-Montana

Yoga For Everyone

History of Yoga

The ancient practice of yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India. Stemming from the Vedas - the Indian holy texts that were composed around 1900BC. The word 'Yoga' is derived from the Sanskrit root 'Yuj', meaning 'to join' or 'to yoke' or 'to unite'. It was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda.

The Vedas were a collection of texts containing songs, mantras and rituals to be used by Brahmins, the Vedic priests.

Brahmins/Sadhus at Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal ©MDHarding

Yoga is very popular with famous A-listers such as Madonna, Russell Brand, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Katy Perry, Nicole Scherzinger, and many more.

Gwyneth Paltrow has been said to set her alarm clock at 4.30 am to practice yoga six days a week.

“… yoga has completely changed me. I try to do it every day, and the effect is amazing. It’s not just during the hours that I’m practicing. It’s about how it filters through into the rest of my life. It makes all the other bullsh*t dissipate. Who I am has emerged, and everything else has gone by the wayside.” 

As with all exercises please consult your medical physician and learn from an expert.

Yoga Retreats

One of my favourite and unique experiences was at an Ayurveda resort in India. If you haven't been to one, I highly recommend it. India is the birthplace of Yoga and one of my favourite destinations. The Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort is a paradise on earth located in the south of India, in the popular region of Kerala. You can enjoy the delicious food, massages, as well as, of course, meditations and yoga in the serene and beautiful setting.

Re-wind, Relax, Rejuvenate at Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort. Can you imagine yourself here? ©MDHarding

Trentino, Italy

Up in the beautiful region of Trentino in Italy, you can stay at the family hotel - Eco Park Hotel Azalea. The sustainable and green at heart hotel is ready to welcome you. Enjoy the delicious dishes including vegan and vegetarian as well as activities including yoga in the great outdoors surrounded by the majestic Dolomites. Having visited the region just last year, I can't wait to return! You can read more about what you can enjoy and experience in Duomo To The Dolomites - Italy.

© Eco Park Hotel Azalea

31 July – 02 August 2020 Morzine, France

With its magnificent mountains, lush green meadows, far-reaching forests and good old-fashioned fresh air, Morzine is the perfect place to visit.

Welcome to the 2nd summer edition of Avoriaz Yoga Festival in the beautiful French Alps. Retaining much of its Old-World charm, Morzine remains free of high-rise buildings with many original wooden chalets still in service, and despite its modern facilities, the resort has a traditional-village feel with boutique hotels, independent shops and a weekly market featuring local produce.

Join a three-day festival dedicated to yoga & well-being, by discovering different yoga techniques and joining classes that inspire you the most. Meet a team of professional, worldwide leading yoga teachers from all around the world. Various passes are on offer, with prices ranging from half-day €40 to €300 for the unlimited three days pass. Beginner and advanced levels are welcome. Experience outdoor yoga classes surrounded by majestic mountain vistas of Avoriaz: Liquid Flow with Simon Park, Yoga Dance with Cecile Roubaud and Nadia Stragliati, Thai Massage & Yoga with Julien Levy and many more. Gain perspective from the epic mountain landscape, bring stability and calmness to the mind by slowing down, focusing on the body and the present moment.

Yoga: It’s time to head to the mountains to understand the interactions between body and mind that come into play during hiking. At 2300 metres, you will perfect your technique and discover the different ways of getting fit with walking. The different combinations of yoga poses will allow you to tone your body and experiment with different breathing techniques that can help combat all types of stress.

Watch the sunrise at 3330 metres: The Mont-Fort is the highest accessible point of the area four Vallées. During the summer, you can access it with the mountain lifts and enjoy the unique panorama on the 4000m peaks of the Alps, such as the Matterhorn, the Mont-Blanc or the Grand Combin. For the early birds, enjoy the sunrise at 3330m high and as a reward, enjoy breakfast at the restaurant Col des Gentianes. Dates: Every Thursday Price:  Sunrise (cable car access all day) + continental breakfast + yoga = CHF (Swiss Franc) 88.00/adult, CHF 81.00/youth/senior, CHF 64.00/child

Yoga at Altitude, Verbier, France © D Carlier

Crans-Montana, Switzerland

The two neighbouring resorts of Crans and Montana are situated at an elevation of 1500 metres on a beautiful plateau above the Rhone Valley in Switzerland.

Lets Gets, France

There is nothing like high altitude wellness with the crisp mountain air, beautiful landscape and Keolan Yoga.

Keolan Yoga is suitable for all stages of life, from prenatal, postnatal, children and seniors with reduced mobility (chair yoga).

Lets Gets in South-eastern France is offering yoga for kids with playful and creative sessions. Would you like to learn pottery too? Combine both with a two-hour workshop. Connect back to nature while anchoring, balancing and clay modelling in the idyllic setting of the hamlet of lassare. I don't know about you, but I'm there (wink).

Keolan Yoga, Lets Gets, France ©Lets Gets

Get Your Yogi On Further A Field

Connect the mind, body, and soul in one of these unique and beautiful locations.

Rainforest Yoga, Denver Colorado  Try yoga with a difference at the Rainforest, Butterfly Pavillion, and surround yourself with exotic plants and beautiful butterflies. An hour-long class will provide a nature-centric yoga experience that will rejuvenate your mind and body. No matter your skill level, Rainforest Yoga at Butterfly Pavilion provides a unique opportunity to de-stress, unwind, and revitalise.

Yoga At Altitude - Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver, Colorado 

Travelling yoga fans can experience a downward dog at a mile high in one of the USA’s most iconic outdoor music venues, Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Surrounded by views of Denver and the plains, visitors can join up with others at high altitude for a (literally) breath-taking sunrise yoga session. In addition to the stunning views, research shows that there are great benefits to working out at altitude, it helps improve your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles and therefore, better prepare you for lower oxygen workouts.

Grab your mat and head into the hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh is home to some of the most diverse landscapes in the U.S. most of which provide peaceful settings for a spot of yoga. With over 165 parks, from regional to small neighbourhoods, Schenley Park is by far the largest spanning 456 acres and boasting beautiful views of the city skyline. Frick Park is known as Pittsburgh’s woodland park and visitors should head to Clayton Hill and surround themselves with over 100 species of birds. Finally, Emerald View Park offers yogi’s a wealth of vistas in which to lay down a mat and take up the lotus position while enjoying the view. 

Be Luminous Yoga, Seattle To commemorate International Yoga Day (21st June 2020) - Be Luminous Yoga in Seattle are offering fun live online classes, their classes are all-levels, so jump into any class no matter your experience level. Additionally, Be Luminous has free weekly Meditation and Connection events, anyone can join in for a moment of stillness and community. Be Luminous yoga studio also hosts strength training classes which are scheduled on - Mondays and Wednesdays at 4pm GMT.

Worship the sun on Florida’s Paradise Coast, Florida  With 30 miles of pristine, white sandy beaches to choose from, beach yoga is a daily pastime for visitors and locals throughout Florida’s Paradise Coast. Marco Island, just south of the hustle and bustle of Naples, is the ideal space to step into and take a moment to yourself. Looking out onto the bright blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, with the Floridian sunshine on your face and the sound of the rolling waves provides the perfect backdrop for mindfulness. 

Find your flow in Greater Palm Springs, California  This desert oasis is well renowned for calling those who wish to relax and rejuvenate and seems only fitting to start the day with a sun salutation to a destination that receives over 300 days of sunshine. If you’re looking for a more adventurous yoga experience, why not try aerial and trapeze yoga. Using silk hammocks and straps adds the benefit of gravity to traditional yoga poses for increased strength and flexibility. Open to all levels, this playful practice is offered at Bikram Yoga in Palm Desert and Yoga Bliss in Palm Springs

Paddleboard yoga in Newport Beach, California  Relax and test your balance on the calm waters of Newport Beach with a Bliss Paddle Yoga session. With no distractions to disturb your inner peace, yogis can practice balancing and breathwork with knowledgeable instructors. In a truly glorious Californian setting, this workout will be good for the mind, body and the soul. 

Beach yoga in Huntington Beach, California  Listen to the calming sound of waves against the shore with a Sun and Sea Healing yoga class on the sandy beaches in Huntington Beach. In surf city USA - Huntington Beach both individual and small group classes are available every evening as the sun sets, allowing attendees to channel their inner Zen in a beautiful setting. 

Private yoga, meditation and shaman sessions in the Big Sur forest - Post Ranch Inn, California Voted as Conde Nast Traveller’s best hotel for design, and Travel + Leisure’s best hotel in California, Post Ranch Inn is one of the world’s leading resorts for luxury, relaxation and ultimate privacy. Located high atop the cliffs of Big Sur, the resort offers organic products, natural healing elements and intuitive healing arts, such as Shaman sessions, fire ceremonies and drum journeys to go alongside private yoga and meditation sessions. The yoga session includes traditional ‘asanas’ (postures), balance poses and ‘pranayama’ (breath work).

LA Rooftop yoga in West Hollywood, California  You can take in another terrific view of the Los Angeles skyline at the Andaz West Hollywood. One Sunday per month, guests and locals meet for a one-hour yoga class on the rooftop panorama lounge. Complimentary Zico coconut water beverages are available and after class yoga attendees receive 20% off a bottomless brunch at Riot House Restaurant on the first floor. 

Mountain yoga in Mammoth Lakes, California  Mammoth Lakes is nestled into the breathtaking Eastern Sierra mountain range and is the perfect backdrop for you to develop a deeper connection with your practice. Mammoth Yoga Festival (27 - 30 August 2020) will provide you with accessible yoga for all levels, educational immersions, speaker panels, live music, a yoga market filled with artisanal vendors and more. If you can’t make the festival then you can still make that connection at local studio Mountain Sol Yopa, which offers community meditation sessions, Ayurveda, kids yoga, tweens & teens yoga, yoga with your baby and family yoga classes available. Mountain Sol also hosts workshops in yoga, art and other wellness modalities. 

Yoga whilst staring at the bottom of South Lake Tahoe, California / Nevada Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga is your chance to push your limits in a safe environment and make you feel reinvigorated once you're done - but can you handle the distraction of doing it over crystal clear water on Lake Tahoe? Rent a paddleboard so you can enjoy yoga as you’ve never done before - looking down through the fresh turquoise water into the bottom of the lake! If you want guidance to join a lesson with Lake Tahoe Yoga at Lakeview Commons.

Beer yoga in Sacramento, California Do you love Yoga and Beer? Or love beer and are curious about Yoga? Check out ‘Beer Yoga’ every Sunday at Big Stump Brew Co, Sacramento. For $25 you get a 1-hour Yoga class and a Big Stump Brew after class. It's the perfect Sunday Funday, and you can get a good sweat before enjoying your Sunday beer. Alternatively, if the sun is out and nature is showing off, you might find a free yoga in the park experience somewhere in the city on.

Practice under the palm trees in Tahiti, The Islands of Tahiti Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or looking to start practising, Tahiti has something to offer,  all set to the backdrop of the island's tropical flora, waterfalls and pristine beaches. The secluded beaches which surround the island are the perfect setting to work on your flow,  and yogis can enjoy a post-workout coconut straight from the tree or a refreshing dip in the South Pacific Ocean. Try the Ohana Yoga School Tahiti who offers both classes and full courses. 

Practice yoga in a Buddhist temple, Japan You'll find yoga studios in every big city, with classes varying from traditional yoga styles to modern variations, such as hot yoga. If you're looking for something more unusual, it's also possible to take classes in a Japanese style of yoga known as shin-shin-toitsu-do, translated as the way of mind and body unification. This style dates back to the 1920s but is still relatively unknown outside Japan. For the ultimate detox from modern life, try a yoga retreat held in a Buddhist temple, where you can combine your yoga practice with meditation sessions and other traditional Japanese ceremonies. Many of these are offered with English-language instruction, making sessions accessible to tourists.

Morning yoga by the shore, Hachinohe, Japan Relax your body and mind with a morning yoga session on the beautiful Tanesashi Coast, Hachinohe. Hosted every Saturday morning from 7:00 AM on the Tanesashi Natural Lawn, both beginners and more advanced yoga practitioners can enjoy the experience at their own pace. Part of the Sanriku Fukko National Park, it is known for its contrasting scenery of rich green, blues, and whites. This slice of serene nature is the perfect spot to relax and refresh, take part in one of the country’s most unique yoga experiences.

Yoga Equipment

You don't need much to start practising yoga at home. I use a mat and wear some comfy leggings/pants. Over the years I have also invested in some DVD's but you can also use YouTube. I've found the breathwork 'pranayama' really helps.

Hope you have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed writing Yoga For Everyone.

Till next time, stay safe, happy, and well. x


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