After taking most of August off, the French are back in the real world once again and La Rentrée marks the transition. While school is back here too, we don't mark the occasion quite so word perfectly. But it's a sign that autumn is coming (my favourite season as regular readers will know - see my posts here, here and here) and as Truman Capote wrote in Breakfast At Tiffany’s: 'Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.' So here's a few ideas to ignite some thought and ideas....
The world of wellness is booming as the concept of really looking after ourselves has gone mainstream. it's less about pushing ourselves to the limits and beyond (although I know some folk still feel the need) and far more about nurturing ourselves physically and emotionally, at every age but most especially as we grow older - something that Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda has long been highlighting. The growth is staggering: The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) 2017 benchmark report states that the wellness industry is now worth close to US$4 Trillion and growing with ‘transformational travel’ or travel motivated by self-reflection and a deeper communion with nature and culture, cited as the next evolution.
The Strategic Space
American-born and Paris-based strategist and life coach Julie Hosler is founder of The Strategic Space retreats set in a beautiful 17th century Chateau in Burgundy. With clients ranging from single people at a crossroads in their lives, to couples and an increasing number of women’s groups, who come together to frame the next chapter of their lives. “It's easy to fall back into the same old story as before the summer holidays. Or you can restructure that old narrative and make it extraordinary." Her Strategic Space retreats are the place to pin down your personal story – your bigger vision for your life and career - and to figure out how to make it a reality.
Secret Yoga Club
I have just returned from a wonderful week of yoga in the vineyards of Tuscany's artists residence Villa Lena, arranged by Gabrielle Hales's Secret Yoga Club. This tight knit club evolved from Hales's London living room and now includes some of the best yoga teachers in the industry who host workshops, yoga suppers and retreats throughout Europe and in India. I, along with an eclectic mix of 20 other yogis, were fortunate enough to be treated to the wise and brilliant Zephyr Wildman who shared her inspiring knowledge of yoga philosophy, breath work and movement. Zephyr is so grounded and genuinely inspiring and leaves me seeking more depth in my own practice. She was fun too and to me that is key as it makes yoga real and part of our everyday lives.
Check out SYCs upcoming retreats and workshops here
I was also fortunate to experience the magic of the Preidlhof earlier in the summer. This haven in the South Tyrolean mountains is up there with the best, at a fraction of the price too (review here). The facilities were outstanding (as was the food) and days were as busy or quiet as I wanted. But it was the new cutting-edge Spa Tower with 16 steam and sweat areas and the most extensive range of relaxation pods and experiences I have ever encountered, that really brought chilling to a new level. Those dreamy relaxation pods will stay with me for always. Get there before the rest of the world does!
Book through Healing Holidays.
Cliffs of Moher Retreat
Mari Kennedy is my favourite yoga teacher in Ireland. I always leave her classes at Dublin's Yoga Room more grounded and peaceful. She also runs day-long workshops and retreats focused on the Celtic Calendar which to me perfectly emanate the changing seasons. Mari also teaches at the stunning Cliffs of Moher (review here) and while I was there during the summer, I think the space could be even more special during autumn and winter, snuggling up to the fire after a day of yoga and walking in the rugged west of Ireland wildness.