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As we race through our busy university lives and battle bitterly cold winds from the North Sea, Hot Pod Yoga is the ultimate act of self love. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, yoga in the hot pod creates “an otherworldly cocoon of glowing lights, heady aromas and enveloping soundscapes, taking you a million miles from the everyday”. The 37-degree temperature eases your body quickly into the Vinyasa Flow yoga and the sense of exclusion from the outside world calms the mind. The instructor’s personality shine through each practice creating a happy, safe environment that instantly expels any newbie nerves or self-consciousness. I leave each practice a recharged and relaxed (albeit very sweaty) version of myself; ready to face the trials, tribulations and temperatures of everyday life once more. With a studio at the Northumberland Club in Jesmond and a free taster session available when you use the code 6ELSKS followed an introduction offer of 3 sessions for £15, treat yourself to a little self-care this February.
Image Credit: Coni Horner Purple Flower Pose from EcoYoga Scotland
EcoYoga, situated in the wildly beautiful scenery of the Scottish highlands, is an entirely off-grid yoga and sustainable eco living retreat. The retreat stands out for its understanding that one of the best things in life is a ‘good long soak, chin deep, in hot water’ and following this Japanese-style bathing philosophy the retreat is scattered with wooden hot tubs, an artisan sauna, natural spring water plunge pools, hot water riverside baths deep in the forest, wild swimming spots and rainforest showers. Hannah MacInnes summed up the experience perfectly, “looking up through the canopy of trees, hot water enveloping my tingling skin and rain drops plopping into the tub, I felt entirely at peace – the waterfall rushed loudly in my ears but my mind was quiet”. EcoYoga has an entirely optional policy meaning that each guest can do as much, or as little, yoga as they wish so you are entirely free to spend the day cozied up with a good book, wandering through the hills or simply practicing yoga till your hearts content.
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The West Coast Algarve in Portugal is the perfect wellness escape for those craving some sunshine, waves and yoga; all a stonesthrow throw from the UK. The West Coast Algarve is surprisingly wild, untouched and beauitful with dramatic coastal cliffs, huge expanses of forests, rugged dirt tracks leading to secret beaches and quaint whitewash villages. Tourism in West Coast Algarve is predominantly geared towards sun-seeking surfers which means there is an abundance of surf and yoga retreats, each I’m sure each exceptional in their own right. So if sunset yoga sounds like the perfect way to ease your aching muscles after an adrenaline-fueled day in the ocean, start searching sky scanner for that (one way?) ticket.
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If you’re a yogi in search for a more far-flung adventure, add Rishikesh to your bucket list. Rishikesh is situated in Northern India; a valley nestled within the Himalayan foothills. Since the 1950s, the small town became an integral part of the “hippie trail” and attracted backpackers, The Beatles, adventurists and yogis alike, dubbing it the ‘yoga capital of the world’. Rishikesh is the epitome of Zen and my time there passed in a happy myriad of yoga classes, hopping between cushioned balcony cafes overlooking the bright blue Ganges, bathing in waterfalls, trekking in the mountains, writing, meditating, shopping in bustling street markers and nourishing my body with delicious healthy meals. From Ashrams to yoga teacher training to casual drop in lessons; you’re bound to find a yoga practice to match your desire. Rishikesh is actually very accessible from Delhi too, just hop on the direct train to Haridwar followed by a short tuk yuk drive then follow those carrying yoga mats.
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