I qualified as a yoga instructor in July 2013, having completed a 200 RYT hour Vinyasa Flow course with Claire Missingham. As a best selling author and travel and lifestyle broadcaster and journalist, sitting stationery, staring at a screen for hours on end, my head full of characters, plot lines and deadlines, I found Vinyasa Flow yoga invaluable, giving me inspiration and focus in my work, clearing my mind of clutter, as well as improving my core strength, suppleness and sense of self and physical and emotional balance. As someone who has taught dance, aerobics, step, and the various other fads and trends in toning thighs, bums and tums, dancing hip, zumba, or any other variation of movement, Vinyasa Flow is different. It transforms the emotions and the spirit as well as the body. As someone who has also travelled extensively for work, I recognise this location as being very special, ideal for a retreat, but not so remote, there's nothing to do. There's loads to do, but you may simply want to retreat and stay on location as most do.
About the teachers
At L'arbre d'argent, I have brought together a small select group of personable, enthusiastic male and female instructors who embody all the very best in the yoga philosophy and more. They also each have a wonderful sense of humour. The class is only as good as those who teach it, and I've selected those teachers who not only know their stuff, but have the voice to teach it and enthuse those they teach. Within the magical surroundings of the house and gardens, they will teach groups of no more than eight each morning and afternoon for week and long weekend courses. For further details please contact 07990 946135.
About the courses
Weekend or weekday, each course will combine with an alternative therapy, including massage and facial treatments, aromatherapy, kinesiology and spiritual healing, as well as tours of the region which is incredibly beautiful. There are some of the most interesting and authentic markets in France in Najac and Villefranche, and kayaking in St Antonin is a high light of the trip. You're not forced to go but you'd be silly not to. Private tuition is also available.
Beautiful facilities in a converted convent and gite, there are also yurts in the gardens. Wifi is available in the convent and gite as well as UK TV, CD players. Breakfasts are catered. Lunches and suppers are optional catering. Local organic ingredients are used in all cooking on the premises. The property has been designed as a home from home.
Just over an hour from Toulouse airport (Heathrow and Gatwick), and just under an hour from Rodez Airport (Stansted), set in two acres, the property is in the hamlet of La Salvatat des Carts, famous for it's church, where thirty years ago gold was discovered in the vaults of the church thought to have been left by the crusading knights. The Parisien government took the gold, as they do, but renovated the church and near by village of Najac. It is a stunning location, and as someone who has travelled the world for work, it remains one of the most magical places I have ever visited. You need a car to get into nearby Najac, although fresh bread and milk is delivered daily (local farmers and bakers). You can walk in – which will take half an hour – mostly downhill – and call us from the village – where we will come collect. There are festivals in the Autumn as well as wine tasting in the nearby villages of Cordes, Gaillac and Villefranche, as well as fabulous restaurants which are not on the tourist trail – mainly because only the locals know about them, and I don't write about them. You are able to fly, or as I do on many occasions, and take the car and stop at locations on route. See this article from The Richmond Magazine
Courses are held from May and June, to early July. September and October. For further details please email email@example.com. Group bookings are also available.
FABULOUS YOGA – ABSOLUTELY
ABOUT VINYASA FLOW YOGA
Vinyasa Flow is the most all encompassing form of yoga – engaging the body, mind and spirit in equal measure. It's not competitive as some forms are. It isn't powerhouse, sweat box yoga, nor is it hours of meditation, chanting and nothing else. And the instructors don't make you feel a failure if you can't do a specific pose or reach a certain level. Vinyasa Flow embodies a perfect balance of mind, body and spirit work which suits all ages and all body types.
Testimonials Hi Sarah,
Thanks for today, thoroughly enjoyed it and genuinely thought it was the best yoga session I've ever had - the help with alignment / positioning makes a world of difference so do keep that up!
All the best
Duncan Goose - Founder and Managing Director, The One Brand
Oh my god, LOVED yoga!!! She is BRILLIANT, what a find Mr Goose. Came in completely sleep deprived this morning as I was up in the night, banging headache … and all that has gone now, feel so much more focused. She's brilliant. Thank you for the introduction, am definitely going to do it at lunchtime once a week.
I already ache so much and it's only an hour after!!!!
Nikki Armstrong - Corporate Partnerships Manager, The One Brand
Sarah, I must tell you that I really appreciate what you're doing for me. It's amazing that I feel much better since I started Yoga with you. I know we are miracles here on Earth, life is incredibly amazing and it's very important how we live this journey called life. Sometimes I wonder where do you get your energy from, doing lots of other different things. I mean, I am really thankful that you find time for helping souls like me. So, I don't know what else could I do, just wanted to say THANKS and send you a Smile. While I have teeth. :-)
I will split my view into three areas, the setting, the Yoga and the overall experience and outcome.
The setting is simply stunning, remote but not isolated, homely but sophisticated and the accommodation is of very high quality in the Gite where I stayed. The main house is a wonderful space also and a great reelection of the owners taste. The property has amazing grounds and a pool and plenty of places to sit, reflect and enjoy the incredible feeling the place has. It really does have a relaxing and calming air to it.
Car-hire and access from Toulouse or Rodez are easy. I drove from Toulouse and avoided the tolls and thoroughly enjoyed the drive through classic french, tree lined avenues and uber-pretty medieval villages. The local towns and villages also make for an excellent interlude into great food and wonderful markets and in our case some inspirational walks. The scenery and landscape are totally awe inspiring. Najac, the local town is a delight in itself and provides incredible views and the architecture is jaw dropping.
Beyond but local are the beautiful Lagupie, Albi, Cordes, and Gaillac which all have significant charm, beauty and interest for the gastronome in you.
The Yoga was a revelation and Sarah is an excellent instructor. The focus that she puts on a holistic approach really works as she brings together breathing, moving and alignment in a clear challenging but always flowing fashion. Sarah also takes time to notice and understand your emotional, mindset and spiritual attitudes to really provide something truly tailored to your needs. She also integrated meditation and visualisation techniques seamlessly into the sessions and this also really helped prepare me properly for each set of movements.
Over the three days I saw a significant improvement in my flexibility, strength and also my state of mind, emotion and general wellbeing. It was also a real eye opener for me as I felt a real release in each area of my body. The level of challenge was well maintained through the three days and Sarah also focused effort on great aromatherapy massage and reflexology as part of my retreat. This really added to the experience as a welcome and indulgent way to end each challenging Yoga session. Throughout the Yoga, Sarah maintains a great attitude and a wonderful sense of humour.
In terms of the overall experience and outcome I cannot recommend A to Zen, and Sarah, highly enough. She is a caring and attentive host and loves preparing excellent local produce into healthy, tasty and satisfying meals. She will also, if encouraged correctly, have a wine on occasion and her conversation is always relevant, interesting and delivered with a wonderful playfulness. She is a person of significant achievement and experience and this also helps a great deal.
If you are looking for a really unique experience of personalised, challenging and thoroughly rewarding Yoga and wellbeing then go to A to Zen. It is one of the best experiences I have had full stop. I came away feeling relaxed, refreshed and totally intent on making Yoga a part of my daily routine. Simply brilliant!