Strangers turn into lifelong friends, dreams turn into reality, and reality turns into memories.
If you were watching my social media you would have been inundated with retreat posts and wedding pictures last weekend into last week (sorry!). From the 14th September to the 18th I was running my long awaited France Retreat in one of my favourite places, Hossegor. Hossegor for me isn't just a surfers paradise or a place to visit, for me it holds the memories to the best day of my life, my wedding day on the 19th September 2015. For me Hossegor has it all, the beach, the ocean, the lake, good food, pine forests, space to reflect, beautiful views across the Pyrenees, I wanted to share how special it is!
I had the absolute luxury of my beautiful sister join me for this retreat. This is the first retreat of mine, actually first retreat she has ever been on! We headed off to France a day ahead of my retreat guests and were lucky enough to stay in the beautiful Hotel 202. This was the hotel Hendrik and I stayed in when he proposed and it couldn't be a nicer place. The building is beautiful in itself with some windows looking out over the glistening swimming pool, tucked away they also have a sauna! One thing I remember most about this hotel when Hendrik proposed was the bed, and not for the reasons you're thinking! If any of you know my husband you'll be aware of his struggles to find the perfect sleeping conditions, especially the mattress. Hotel 202 have hands down the most comfy beds we have ever slept in in Hossegor. My sister is an early riser because of work so she is used to hopping out of bed but even I couldn't pull her out of this bed to get to breakfast. We eventually made it downstairs for brekkie just before 10am. The word breakfast doesn't really do what was on offer justice, breakfast was absolutely incredible, everything you could wish for, plenty of options for all dietary requirements and an endless display of delicious homemade treats....perfect for a first morning in France when all you want to do is eat ALL of the French pastries! Thank you Hotel 202 for welcoming us with the biggest smiles, kindness, generosity and the best rest and relaxation before retreat!
After possibly the longest and most stressful (deep breathing techniques completely forgotten) supermarket shop to get all of our retreat goodies I headed back to the hotel where my sister had been working remotely all morning (seriously I have never known anyone work such long hours and so hard, all the time....we were boarding the plane and my sister was balancing her laptop on her knees, phone in one hand, pen in the other finishing one last piece of work before flying!) gathered her and all her papers up, check out and headed to our home for the retreat!
I spend weeks searching for the right homes for my retreats, and this one took some finding but boy was it worth it. We opened the doors and it was better than what I had remembered. We settled in, shopping unpacked, goodies placed on the beds, house saged, incense burning....it was time to welcome the guests.
All the guests were whisked up at the airport and delivered to me in a very swish blacked out Mercedes minivan, by the time they got to me they seemed to already be best of friends! I knew instantly this was going to be a super special weekend.
During our welcome circle one of the things I asked was what everyone needed from this weekend, for me it was laughter. We laughed all weekend, we shared all emotions but hearing everyones giggles for me is just one of the best sounds.
We practiced morning and night, diving deep into elemental theory, feeling, breath, movement, freedom, play, inversions and how all of this linked in with our energy centres, causal and astral bodies. We ate delicious food which nourished our bodies, we explored, we swam, we felt the heat of the sun on our skin, we long-jumped on the beach (family tradition), danced in the rain, ran a sand dune 5km, laughed, cried and hugged.
Magic happened on this retreat, everything aligned, from what day the elements landed on, to what feelings we explored in our practice, to the passages at story time before bed, to the weather...it was almost like someone was watching from above guiding all of us through this journey to learn, grown and be. It was truly EPIC.
My heart is SO full from this retreat, I love and have all the time in the world for each and every one of these girls.
I will leave you with some photos and a beautiful note written to me by one of my beautiful guests, who came alone and left with new friends and new memories.
'I'd never been on a yoga retreat before and as I was going on my own, I was super nervous about the whole thing, but Emma put me at ease from the first minute I was in contact with her. The Hossegor retreat was everything I was looking for: dynamic and challenging morning flows, soothing and meditative evening practises, delicious and nourishing food, wonderful fellow yogis and all in an incredible setting. Emma cultivates an incredibly special and unique environment to play and learn in and I not only had some much needed time for myself, but made some very special friends too. I learnt so much in the time I was there (about things on and off the mat, internal and external) and have come back to London feeling rejuvenated, motivated and empowered.'
I would love to meet you one day and for you to join me on retreat soon! If you would like to be a part of this magic, my next retreat is in Portugal with my beautiful friend Annie of Mind Body Bowl, in late April, we have a few places left! I am currently planning for next year so please subscribe on the home page of my website if you would like to get the dates in your inbox first!
If you ever have any questions about retreats, please just email me, I am right here for you!