I’m super busy and although I try to have a healthy lifestyle sometimes it just isn’t meant to be due to my schedule. And post-London Fashion Week when I was feeling particularly run-down and on the verge of getting ill it was like a god-send when I was invited to experience a four-day Fit, Lean and Clean Retreat at Kaliyoga in the Andalusian mountains in Spain. Yoga, vegan food, no coffee/alcohol, walks in the mountains, fresh air – it sounded like just what the doctor ordered. A four-day total body cleanse centred around yoga? BLISS.
I try to eat as healthy as possible and do actually try to be as veggie and vegan as I can. I do eat meat as well but only a couple of times a week so the thought of four days without meat didn’t scare me at all. It was the no caffeine/no alcohol that initially worried me but only because when someone tells you that you can’t have something you want it more right? For me, coffee or a glass of wine in the evening is more of a psychological thing. I don’t need it but I WANT it.
In regards to yoga I really love it as it connects the mind with the body but my problem is that I never have time to do it. Or it’s more probably that I don’t make time to do it. So, I was keen to see if I could learn some new ways to practice yoga that I could take home with me so that I could carry on the practice even when I returned to London.
Needless to say, in the week leading up to Kaliyoga I was at a low point physically and mentally so really wanted to reset my body/mind and get it back on track in terms of health and wellness. I’m so busy and I never give myself a rest. I had been wanting to do a health/yoga retreat for so long so I was so grateful that the time had finally come to do so. So off to Kaliyoga I went!
I was ready to embrace health and wellness fully upon arrival when I saw the location. Kaliyoga is located about 1.5 hours by car from Malaga and to get there you have to drive through winding mountains which give way to sweeping valleys and stunning views. The ride alone is nearly worth going!
Over the next four days our itinerary would include:
- Daily Mindful Vinyasa Yoga and Meditation classes
- Macrobiotic Ayurvedic Fusion Food (gluten, wheat, dairy, sugar and alcohol free)
- One Holistic Therapy (Thai Yoga, Deep Tissue Massage or Reflexology)
- Hike in the stunning Alpujarra Mountains
- Raw chocolate and fermentation workshop
Upon arrival I could tell just how amazing that the food was going to be over the next four days. We were treated to pumpkin soup and the most delicious salads and nutty breads. It had been a long trip and it was nice to refuel as well as take in the scenery of the beautiful mountains. Kaliyoga is surrounded by mountains and overlooks a huge valley so you can only feel inspired by the scenery. When you are surrounded by nature you automatically feel a sense of relief and calm that living in the city just can’t bring to you. The air was also crisp and fresh so the atmosphere naturally lends itself to being one where you feel that you can reconnect with yourself.
We were given a tour of the Kaliyoga accommodation which allowed me to see what kinds of accommodation you can expect when you stay here with everything from your own little cabin to a shared twin room to a tepee (only in summer). Of course, each level of accommodation varies in prices and the retreats at Kaliyoga last one week which includes all food and 6 nights of accommodation.
Once the tour was over and we had settled into our rooms it was time for the first session of yoga with the lovely and talented Lelly. I could feel myself really relaxing into the yoga session and my achy muscles from Fashion Week felt good being stretched out. In fact, I was so relaxed I nearly fell asleep at the end when we were asked to simply lie down and breathe.
Dinner was delicious – with 3 courses of all freshly prepared food – all vegan. And by the time dinner was over with all the fresh air, yoga and travel I was knackered and hit the bed straightaway. My room was really cosy as well with such a soft, comfy bed. It’s also very quiet in the evening so you feel like you can get to sleep really easily.
The following morning, we were woken up by the sound of bells which acted as our alarm clock (rather nice, actually). It was time to have breakfast and then head into the Andalucian mountains on a hike to the O Sel Ling Tibetan Centre. I think of all the meals at Kaliyoga the breakfasts are the best with everything from cooked oats in coconut milk to smoothies to homemade bread with chia seed jam. YUM!
The hike was led by a lovely and vibrant yoga teacher named Arantza who took us on a 2.5 hour hike in the mountains. The air was literally a god-send to my poor London air-accustomed lungs and although it turned bitterly cold at the end of the hike when a cloud suddenly engulfed the mountain, I felt really good after. It just made me realise how far removed from nature I am living in the city and my body actually craves being in nature the more I’m in it. The views on the hike were incredible as well with sweeping views across the valleys.
After the hike we returned to Kaliyoga where we had another delicious lunch cooked by Amanda and Becs (the onsite nutritionist) and then it was time for our holistic treatments.
I had the Thai Yoga session with Arantza who was fabulous. Thai Yoga is like a Thai Massage where you are pulled and stretched but Arantza had put her own spin on it. Although it was similar to Thai Massage it wasn’t exactly the same due to the fact that you had to do a lot of deep breathing. Of course, I had plenty of knots to work out but if you do stay at Kaliyoga you must try the Thai Yoga! I knew I was going to be so sore from the hike but with all the stretching with the Thai Yoga this certainly helped.
At the end of the day we had yoga with Lelly and again I felt I was falling deeper into yoga which was great. It certainly helped me fall asleep after dinner!
I woke up on the third day feeling tired and a bit achy but not as bad as I would normally feel after all the physical activity that I wasn’t used to. Everyone at Kaliyoga said this was normal that on the 2nd or 3rd day you would feel tired and rundown as your body is adjusting to all the changes of days filled with yoga, veggie food and mediation. I was quite glad to start the day with a meditation with Arantza and then yoga with Lelly after just to ease my muscles.
After yoga we had breakfast and talked all things superfood with Becs, the on-site nutritionist. It was really interesting to learn all about different superfoods we could add into our diet such as maca, bee pollen and spirulina. I swear to God that daily turmeric shots helped me to not get ill over Fashion Week so I was already superfood converted!
It was then time for Woo Woo Therapy with Kim, who I can best describe as someone who has the ability to read people’s vibrations and then during Woo Woo Therapy (sound therapy) she can tune into those vibrations through sound. The sound therapy can push through chi blockages within your body and give you back your flow, essentially. Kim certainly has a 6th sense and can read you (kind of like a psychic) through these vibrations. We initially sat around in a circle and Kim read out loud each of our vibrations. It didn’t take us all long to start breaking down into tears because in each of us, Kim had touched something sensitive.
We then were able to lie on a mat in a semi-circle while Kim then ‘bathed’ us in this sound bath. The sounds were actually so incredibly beautiful to hear and I’m not describing it right but it is like listening to the most beautiful harps played by the angels themselves. The sounds are incredibly soothing and although they affect each person differently, for me they gave me a sense of calm and serenity. Kim, I need an mp3! In fact, at this very moment, I’ve pulled up some woo-woo sound therapy music on YouTube. It certainly can’t replace Kim however and if you do visit Kaliyoga please, please book this in. It just may surprise you.
By the 4th day I was feeling great – like literally full of energy. No coffee required. In fact, I wanted to stay longer, to keep that euphoric feeling but alas it was time to go home. However, I still carried that feeling with me into the next day and still two weeks later have only had a couple of glasses of wine! I would definitely and already have recommended Kaliyoga to my closest friends and family. I’m already considering booking in a retreat myself. Thank you so much to the entire team at Kaliyoga and a special thanks to the owners Rosie and Jonathan who made our stay so lovely.
For more information on Kaliyoga and all the different retreats they offer visit HERE.
If you want to see all my pictures from the trip you can find them on Instagram @beautyrocksblog