To ensure that I was fully in mind and body to start the wedding season of 2012 I kicked off the year with a friend at a yoga retreat on the coast in Morocco. This was the first retreat I had ever been on and so I arrived with an open mind and willingness to embrace whatever was on offer. Needless to say the excesses of the holiday season had taken it's toll and I was happy to cut out alcohol, caffeine and meat. Our group of 10 were effectively guinea pigs for the soft opening of the resort and so we had the run of the place. The resort itself, Paradis Plage, sits just along the coast from Tagazhout, a surfing town 40 minutes outside of Agadir, the nearest airport and has billed itself as a 'surf, yoga and spa' retreat . The tiny fishing village sits along side hills that ripple softly like fabric and the earthy coloured buildings squat low to the ground.
The rooms are all spacious apartments, simply decorated and with stunning views of the sea. The yoga sala was perfectly set upon the edge of the sea with 240 degree views of the coastline. Jax May Lysycia the instructor is the most beautifully honed woman whose body is an inspiration! She led us through 4 hours of yoga and meditation each day; two hours in the morning after a silent beach walk during sunrise as the long shadows reached across the textured sands of the empty beach, and two hours in the evening as the sun dropped into the sea in front of us. Under her reassuring guidance I found myself able to discover a flexibility in my body that I never knew I had, leaving me feel strong, supple and graceful before the end of the week and with a craving to do yoga daily.
We were particularly lucky to have had a group of 10 who bonded immediately and we spent a blissful week relaxing in the gorgeous winter sun, surfing, trekking in the dusty but aptly named Paradise Valley, paddle boarding on lake and enjoying a hammam in the spa.
And then the drive back to Marrakesh for two days of city (and excessive eating!) with new and old friends and staying at the spectacular Villa Filali with it's eclectic mix of traditional Moroccan style with flashes of kitsch.
The retreat was organised by Formentera Yoga who are based in Ibiza and run retreats throughout the year. I can't wait to book onto the next one and it will be without doubt and ongoing pilgrimage.