I have dipped in and out of yoga for the last few years, doing the odd bit of ashtanga then getting slightly addicted to Bikram (hot room yoga). I’m a very active person and so have often felt that if I’m not hurting and sweating a lot then what’s the point? How on earth could I find any sort of fulfilment in an exercise that was so, well, so slow?
However, recovering from a knee injury and with grey skies continuing to sit over London I jumped at the chance to visit Kaliyoga in Spain, a low profile yoga retreat that is, as I was to discover, a magical place of restoration, good nutrition and as far as yoga was concerned it was the most challenging class I’ve ever done.
A typical Kaliyoga day
During my stay at Kaliyoga I quickly got into the routine of getting up about 7am, eating a bit of fruit then going for a quiet walk in the beautiful valley with some of the other guests. We would return in time for a shot of wheatgrass (which is surprisingly nice) and the first yoga class of the day at a very civilised 9am.
Dynamic yoga is in many ways very peaceful, it’s about focusing on small details and I found it be exceptionally calming. Our teacher, Tashi Dawa, was an inspiration. Her teaching struck that perfect balance between learning, and pushing yourself, while still respecting your body. No room or need for egos in the yoga shala at Kaliyoga.
The group I was with could not have been more mixed in terms of ability; from those who had barely attended a class before to a fully qualified teacher. As a testament to really fine tuition, we all, whatever standard of yogi, learnt a great deal during our stay. After the two hour class it was breakfast time – each day more amazing than the last!
The second yoga class of the day started at 5.30pm which meant you had plenty of time to relax by enjoying the beautiful gardens, exploring the local area and swimming. There were also many holistic therapies available on site.
As well as traditional massages, the retreat also offers some hi-tech wellness practises. Quantum SCIO uses bio feedback to assess how past events manifest themselves in your present and can also test for food intolerances whilst Bio Magnetic Pair Therapy eliminates virus, bacteria, fungus and parasites from your system.
As a sufferer of colitis, a frustrating inflammatory bowel disease, I was particularly interested in the nutritional focus at Kaliyoga. The focus is on super foods with a leaning towards raw food and a vegan diet (we had no meat and dairy was used sparingly). The meals, prepared by on-site chefs, were staggeringly good. We were also given the unique opportunity to take part in a raw food cookery class and a raw chocolate class.
The evening yoga class starts at 5:30pm and runs for 90 minutes. As with the morning session the class is both calming and challenging at the same time. I have never been able to meditate, it’s just not my thing, or so I thought. Meditation features as part of the class but its inclusion is subtle. Maybe it was the beautiful setting, Tashi’s melodic voice, or maybe it was the healthy nutrition, or sleeping out on the edge of the valley in a teepee every night, but for the first time in my life I found the quiet, the calm and the peace to sit mindfully and truly relax.
Our days ended with an evening meal packed with stories while we enjoyed more incredible food. As far as possible all food is organic and locally sourced. The balance of taste, texture and colour was simply a work of art but in addition to this, the nutritional understanding with which the meal was put together meant that each meal was utterly fulfilling.
Although some party animals were up chatting or sitting in the hot tub long after dinner I was usually tucked up in my teepee by 10:30pm enjoying the soothing sounds of the valley.
Back at home
Since leaving Kaliyoga quite a few things have changed. I have completely changed my perception of yoga and what this practise means and have found a dynamic teacher in my local area with whom I will start practising.
When I arrived at Kaliyoga I had been suffering continual symptoms of colitis for many months; after just a few days the symptoms stopped and have not returned. As a testament to health benefits, I don’t think you can get a much clearer indicator than that.
Why I loved Kaliyoga
– The yoga shala
Hand built and with perfect views of the Andalucian hills
- The food
So delicious and nutritious
- The accommodation
Guests can choose from luxurious rooms in the farm’s courtyard to teepee’s overlooking the valley
- The teaching
Dynamic yoga is practised at Kaliyoga, it focuses on the details allowing a calm and hugely rewarding practise
There is a vast range of therapies available on site, the excellent staff can help you understand their different benefits and what might be right for you
Prices: A 6-day retreat costs from €695.00 to €945.00 including accommodation, meals and yoga classes.
How to get there: Fly to Granada (1 hour transfer) or Malaga (90 minute transfer)
More info: www.kaliyoga.com
Katie Gormley, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine