Flip Flops for Hiking Boots

When my French colleagues, Claire and Romain, asked me to host a yoga and hiking retreat in the mountains of the French Alps, I jumped at the chance.  I already host yoga retreats for them over in Central America at Los Clavos Surf Camp.  And, while I love the beach enough to spend 8 months of the year in flip flops, a mountain yoga retreat with heaps of hiking in the French Alps is a whole new concept for me.

The mountain chalet boasts incredible views of the surrounding French Alps.  It is an ideal space for a yoga retreat for those of us who love the great outdoors and hiking.  I know it’s going to be a sensory overload: the view of the French Alps during yoga, the smell of the countryside when we are out hiking, the taste of breakfast croissants and good wine in the evening (yes, it’s going to be very French.)

The morning yoga practice will look out over the French Alps and will be an energising Vinyasa Flow Class. During the day, we will go hiking in the French Alps, maybe do some yoga in our hiking boots, enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to the chalet for yoga to restore after the hiking. Evenings will be spent in the chalet with a 3 course dinner accompanied by French wine of course!  I am also really excited to check out nearby Annecy and Annecy Lake.  Between all the hiking and yoga, we’ll go for lunch and have a look around this popular little spot in the French Alps.

I really hope that some of my amazing yoga students from far and wide will retreat with me to this incredible location in the French Alps.  Come and share this opportunity, if only to see me out of beach yoga attire….hello hiking boots.

You can check out more details on the following page:
www.juliagavinyoga.com/yoga-hiking-meditation

Upcoming dates for Julia Gavin Yoga:

13thOctober – 200 hr YTTC:  Sayulita, Mexico
5thJanuary – 200 hr YTTC:  Los Clavos Surf Camp, Northern Nicarauga
3rdFebruary – 300 hr YTTC: Kranti Yoga, Goa, India

Yogis from far and wide meet in Nicaragua!!

Having taught Yoga Teacher Trainings for the past 6 years, it is fair to say that every course is unique, with its own group dynamic and character.  My Yoga Teacher Training Courses in Nicaragua are residential and so it is always an interesting experience to see how friendships form amongst peers and how each character takes on a role within the group.  Yoga definitely brings students together from all corners of the globe and friendships form that will not be forgotten.

Any Yoga Teacher Training Course graduate will tell you that the course is pretty intense whether the Yoga Teacher Training is completed in exotic Nicaragua or somewhere closer to home.  With a 5.30am start, the day finished at 6pm with homework to be completed for the next day.  It is a busy schedule to say the least but at least students are able to take advantage of a quick dip in the pool and surf sessions at nearby Nahualapa Bay…a welcomed feature of the course here at Los Clavos Surf Camp.

In January, I trained 8 beautiful students, all of whom passed with flying colours.  They lived together, ate together, surfed, studies, chatted, laughed and did a whole lot of yoga.  At times, students were physically and mentally exhausted. But one thing is for sure, the overwhelming support for each other made a huge difference in terms of its success.  Each and every student brought his or her character and personality to the group, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience all round.

I would like to wish all January graduates lots of luck for the future.  Keep in touch and I sincerely hope that our yoga paths cross again in Nicaragua.

9th June:  300hrs in Vinaysa Flow and the Integrated Body
Limited spots, book soon!

My Spiritual Journey in Nicaragua

I am in the second week teaching the Yoga Philosophy module of the YTTC here in Nicaragua.  I have been teaching Yoga Philosophy now for 3 years and it is a subject that is close to my heart.  Having accessed the practice of yoga, like many of us, through the physical aspect of the yoga, teaching Yoga Philosophy here at the camp in Nicaragua, has encouraged me to question my beliefs and views on the concept of the soul and indeed what is a spiritual practice?  I am teaching Ashtanga Yoga and related Yoga Philosophy on a surf camp in Nicaragua.  Is it possible to develop my spiritual practice here…..don’t I need to be in an ashram?

My curiosity about the soul has led me to many questions, including that of immortality.  Is the soul immortal or will it live on after my body has perished?  How do I know that I have a soul and is this something that I need to believe in?  Is the soul different from my body?

The Abrahamic philosophy is that your soul is tested on this earth to determine its resting place, heaven or hell.  In Vedic philosophy, your body is the vehicle for soul and the soul is transported from body to body, dependant on your karma.  The Aristotelian philosophy believes that your soul was the essence of your being and despite not being tangible, it perished alongside the body.  The interpretations are endless and varying throughout the ages.

In studying Yoga Philosophy, I have come to realise how important it is to have your own personal interpretation of what the soul is.  Whether you are in Nicaragua or India, only then can you start to cultivate your own spiritual practice, whether you believe that soul is mortal or immortal.

During my time here in Nicaragua, I have had time to ponder my own Yoga Philosophy.  Having established my views, my spiritual practice has deepened and I have an increased confidence in my identity and true self.  I am looking forward to sharing these views as I teach Yoga Philosophy here at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua.

One thing is for sure, being here in Nicaragua, teaching Yoga Philosophy and being fully immersed in surf camp life, my soul shines and I am fully immersed in my spiritual practice.

I am looking forward to sharing this as part of my Yoga Teacher Training here at Los Clavos Surf Camp.  Join me soon.

19th May & 9th June:  200 hours in Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga
9th June:  300 hours in Ashtanga Yoga and the Integrated Body

 

Surf versus yoga…in Nicaragua at the camp!

So surfing has been relegated during the 200 hrs Yoga Teacher Training Course here at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua…there just aren’t enough hours in the day to teach the 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training Course, single handed, and get an all-important Primary Series in also.  Yoga wins hands down every time.

But today, on a well-deserved day off, I was surfing in the white wash of Nahualapa Bay by 6.30am.  Admittedly, I am still well and truly on the front line.  The back line is simply distant entertainment for whenever I need to take a break from the foam.  But that is cool…do your practice, all is coming.  I managed an hour and a half, after which I returned back to the camp as the waves were too small to take.  I’d had enough.  I took some breakfast and realised that I was ‘bloody knackered.’  I tell you, it isn’t easy sometimes out here in Nicaragua.

I like to conserve as much of my energy as I can for yoga.  It’s my job, my chosen profession.  But I am determined to surf while I am here in Nicaragua…I work on a surf camp after all.  Later in the day, I was scheduled to teach a one hour yoga class at midday, a style of my choosing.  My usual approach is to poke the exhausted surfers from their hammocks and cajole them into a Vinyasa Flow.  My aim is to have all guests at the daily yoga session and love it as much as I do.  It will surely energise them for the afternoon session, be that horse riding, wake boarding or surf.  Today, however, the surf session certainly had an impact on me.  For the first time, I understood that they too were ‘bloody knackered.’

And so, out came the tennis balls.  My collection of balls that are having the greatest success in cajoling the surfers to do yoga.  ‘We are gonna release the shoulders, wait until you experience the increase in mobility at the all-important shoulder joint, you will surf so well tomorrow.’  And out of their hammocks, they crawled.  Grabbing mats and balls, they made their way to the yoga space.  We released, we restored, we got ready for more surf.

Next Yoga Teacher Training Course
starts January 13th, here at Los Clavos Surf Camp
Spaces are limited so reserve your place soon.

Surf and yoga at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua

Meet Kate!  Kate was a solo traveler and stayed with us at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua for a week.  I asked her to write about what she learned during her stay in terms of yoga and surf.  I am sure you will agree….she had a productive week.

  1. A surf and yoga combo is an active spiritual practice – as a beginner surfer, I can tell you that surfing is not as easy as it looks. I found a lot of similarities between surf and yoga as both activities require persistence, focus and presence because you have to observe, feel and act quickly. Luckily, I have been doing yoga for a couple of years now and I get the concept of persistency and building strength. The more strength you build with practice, the more you start to believe in your own potential. Having fought the waves and white wash hard for hours every day in Nicaragua, I managed to stand up. SUCCESS! I am definitely going to surf again!
  2. Find the right teacher – time and time again I come to realise that your practice (yoga or surf, Nicaragua or UK) can be heavily influenced by your teacher. I personally found it important to connect and understand my teachers’ approach to life in general because that helps me understand better their teaching technique. When you find a common language with your teacher, you also build trust.  This is so important.
  3. Life is all about balance – every act has a counteract, just like every posture has a counter posture. I miss the post surfing Restorative Yoga Session to the sound of the  Pacific Ocean. Surf is a challenging sport and very tiring. The daily yoga sessions helped me a lot in recovering and preparing my mind and body for the next day. Back in the UK, after leaving Nicaragua, I am trying to incorporate that into my daily life.  Often now, I find myself doing a Yin Yoga Session after work in order to consciously slow down, stretch the body and maintain a healthy spine.
  4. Breathing can get you through anything – accidents are inevitable on a surfing holiday and one day I hurt myself! I was in pain but I kept breathing through the pain. I survived and lived to tell the tale without going to hospital! What a hero!  It’s all about the breath, even in Nicaragua.
  5. Believe in backbends and their benefits – I always thought I had a weak spine and weak lower back until one day Julia guided me into Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose). After 15 minutes, she was guiding me to do a full drop back. I have since learned about the benefits of backbends and what they do can do to the mind and body. If you want to improve your posture, boost your mood, open your heart and mind, you have to add a back bend to your morning practice, whether you are in Nicaragua or somewhere else!

Thanks for your words of wisdom Kate!!  Come back soon so we can do yoga and surf every damn day in sunny Nicaragua.

Join me for 200 hr YTTC in Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga,
13th January 2018.  Book soon, spaces limited.

 

Even in Nicaragua, I still love the traditions of Ashtanga Yoga!

I love Ashtanga Yoga.  Over the past years, I have developed an Ashtanga Yoga practice and during my time in Nicaragua, Central America, it allows me to stay connected to what I learnt in India.  I learnt Ashtanga Yoga in Goa during my travels.   I couldn’t wait for my next session and was immediately hooked.  But what is it about the Ashtanga Yoga practice that keeps me so dedicated?

Ashtanga Yoga is a set sequence of postures. 
An Ashtanga Yoga Class will never deviate from the traditional sequence as developed in Mysore, India.  Even in Nicaragua, the sequence will always be the same.  I love routine, structure and knowing what comes next….it is the ideal practice for me!

Ashtanga Yoga brings about a movement meditation. 
A good Ashtanga Yoga Teacher will help you create rhythm and pace.  This will encourage you to become familiar to the rhythm of your breath and is a great way to induce meditation.  As you move though the postures, you hopefully minimise your thoughts.  When the mind is overactive,  Ashtanga Yoga presents a great way to still and quieten the mind.  Even in Nicaragua, meditation is an important part of my daily routine and Ashtanga Yoga allows me to meditate through movement.

Ashtanga Yoga makes you more anatomically aware.
As a self-confessed anatomy geek, I have gained a greater understanding of how my body works and functions.  As I flow through the Ashtanga Yoga series, I can use the practice as an exploration of strength and flexibility.  This in itself is a great way to internalise.  Here in in Nicaragua, I am learning to surf.  Being anatomically aware of your body is highly beneficial for any physical activity.

Ashtanga Yoga requires discipline.
It is a 6 day practice with just a day off to allow your body to settle and restore.  Admittedly, on some days here in Nicaragua, I am torn between the morning surf and morning practice….but practice happens everyday (sometimes a little later than is ideal) and my body feels better every time for doing so.

If you are keen to learn more about Ashtanga Yoga practice and fancy a trip to Nicaragua, come and join me at Los Clavos Surf Camp.

Ashtanga Yoga Intensive Courses run each week with Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training in January 2018.

 

 

 

10 reason to do your Yoga Teacher Training at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua

Los Clavos Surf Camp right on the beach and the resort has amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.  This means you can have some serious beach time in between yoga classes!  The resort sits on a 7km stretch of untouched beaches with barely a soul in site.

You can learn how to surf.  It’s possibly been on your bucket list – it was definitely on mine.  The nearest surf beach is just a 10-minute walk away and it is an ideal location for beginners.  You will be scheduled 2 sessions a week over the 4 weeks.  Surely with the core strength from all the yoga, you’ll be able to give it a good shot.

The course is interactive with surf camp life and all guests will join us for Restorative Yoga at the end of the day.  There may also be possibilities for you to practice your yoga teaching on the guests, acknowledging different body types for both girls and boys, surf dudes and yogis.

Enjoy sunset in the natural swimming pool that has been carved into the rocks some time ago.  This pool makes an appearance when the tide is out and is an amazing feature of the beach.  We can even do yoga here.

The camp hosts just 12 guests so it promises to be an intimate group with heaps of personalised learning of yoga.  We will share the camp with surfer guests as well as yogis but numbers will be small.

The food is amazing and prepared from local produce.  Nicaragua boasts an amazing range of fresh fruit and vegetables that the kitchen team use in abundance.  Fresh juices are made every day with fresh coconut in many of the favourite dishes.

Have some serious hammock time with hammocks located in all the best places throughout the camp.  Be social in the rancho or take some quite time in your own hammock on your terrace, either way, there are enough to go round.  With the activity of the day, it’s a great way to recharge.

On Thursdays, we go to salsa night at a local bar, Pasta La Vista!  Learn to salsa with the locals, let your hair down, if you have the energy after a whole lot of yoga.

We are really close to a fishing village which means there is an abundance of fresh fish and seafood.  Fish and lobster from the grill are served regularly for dinner…we love it!!

Last but by no means least, French friends Romain and Claire are super hosts and great fun.  They left their Parisian lives to follow their dream of opening a surf camp in Nicaragua.  The camp only opened last Christmas and so is brand new.  They are already looking forward to hosting us for a heap of yoga!!

 

200 hrs Yoga Teacher Training Course starts 4th November
Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga

Book now.