Me and my friend and fellow adventurer Natalie have just been on a most lovely yoga holiday at Les Passeroses retreat centre near a village called Nonac in south west France.
It was such a beautiful setting. Think traditional old farm buildings
in a beautiful luscious garden
set among rolling hills
Our room had honeysuckle outside the window
and it overlooked the gorgeous turquoise swimming pool.
This yoga workshop with Suzanne Lahusen and Graham Burns was called 'Sequencing For The Deeper Dimensions' and was one of the Yogacampus intensives. All of the participants were yoga teachers or trainee teachers. Except me. I'm just in love with yoga and want to learn and learn and learn...
Of course the setting helps but really its the people that make the retreat and this bunch were particularly lovely.
We had plenty of time to get to know each other....
around the table
whilst enjoying the incredible food
and out walking all the local country lanes.
We shared our stories while we passed vineyards,
and made our way through old crumbly farmsteads.
There was time to smell the roses
and the geraniums.
There was time to take in the sun sets,
take lots of photos
and breathe in the country air.
We met some grumpy mules,
we said 'bonjour' to the sleepy farm cats,
and tried to rescue Francois the frog from the swimming pool but he wasn't having any of it!
You may think by my photographs that it was sunny all week but in fact it mostly rained...torrentially. There were dark billowing clouds and thunder but it didn't dampen our spirits. When the sun made an appearance we were out like a shot getting our shoes wet in the soggy ground.
There was a big pond down the lane full of noisy frogs and toads and one night me and Nat thought we thought we saw an otter
so we all went down one evening for a closer look.
It turns out they were coypu. I didn't take this photo (thanks whoever did) of this south american water rodent initially introduced for the fur trade that has wilded itself in France. What a guy! I'd never heard of them before although my Dad tells me there were loads in Suffolk when he was a lad,
In the middle of the week we had an excursion to the nearest city Angouleme
and we enjoyed exploring the back streets
sitting in cosy cafes
and looking in pretty shops. C'est tres jolie.
We discovered a trend for strangely beautiful and little bit freaky door knockers!
Angouleme is the 'home of the cartoon' and has a cartoon museum and huge murals on many of buildings around town.
It was nice to get out but lovely to come back to Les Passeroses again.
Rufus the cat was waiting for us
stalking the sweetcorn field in the sunset.
The yoga teaching was extraordinary. I have learned soooo much this week and I've had revelations about my personal practice. Being in the company of all the teacher training students has really inspired me. Even though yoga is a huge passion of mine and I have seen it transform my life, my creativity and my business - well my life really, I have always been afraid of the idea of teaching because it is so vast! I am often asked 'why don't you teach' or told 'you should teach' but I have never felt like it is my path. But something changed this week. All those students were scared but they were doing it anyway, bravely and beautifully. One day Elizabeth gave me an idea. She planted a little seed and it kept me awake all night while it started taking root. I could teach yoga and creativity. I could marry my two passions together.
This little idea has given me a new sense of purpose and passion and I have come home renewed with a new mission! It feels absolutely right and the work begins now....
Such big thanks to my yoga friends. How can after just one week they feel like family. That just speaks volumes about the power of this beautiful practice that I am grateful for every day.
On our last day Rocio wrote this beautiful little poem for us.
'As a flower, as a bird...everyone of us has our own unique beauty.
Own yours, completely, radically!
Then shine it out, and spread it into the world.'