I have always wanted to go on a weekend yoga retreat. I love the idea of taking a weekend time-out and dedicating it solely to working on the body, mind and spirit. Plus, yoga just naturally goes with veganism, right? I think I read that somewhere.
So when I came across a special deal for a weekend yoga detox retreat during my first month as a vegan – which incidentally included all vegan meals for the weekend (YUM!) – I took it as a sign and jumped at the chance!

There was just one problem. I didn’t know how to yoga.

Yoga is one of those things that I’ve meant to get around to for years. Like surfing. Or watching Star Trek… (I’m kidding. As if it could ever rival Star Wars).
I guess sometimes you just need to book a retreat to motivate you to get your yoga on. As it draws closer (only 5 weeks left to go, eeeekk!), so The Force grows stronger, and I can proudly say that I now have three whole lessons of experience!

My gorgeous friend Shar raved about the Fremantle Yoga Centre, and so in the name of research (and not looking like a complete numpty at the retreat), I ventured forth into three different classes there:

Saturdays 10am: ‘Beginners’ class instructed by James McIntyre
I kicked my yoga journey off with this class and it really is a great class for beginners. James is very calming and soothing and explains the poses well. I thought I was doing fabulously until the lovely elderly lady to my left whispered: “First time? Don’t worry – you’ll get the hang of it.” Hmph. So much for being a natural. 🙂
Luckily there are four assistant instructors who continuously monitor the class and gently guide you into the correct poses if you’re getting it wrong (which apparently, I was, for most of the time). They are completely lovely, though, so it is an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusion.

Fridays 10am: ‘Open’ class instructed by Mary Swan
WOW, this lady may have many birthdays under her belt, but her agility is inspirational! She put my flexibility and strength to shame.
I enjoyed this class the most, because although it was the most challenging physically (boy, was it ever!), I loved how Mary talked so much about the mind, body and spirit alignment as she talked us through the poses. There was one assisting instructor in this class, and both her and Mary constantly monitored the participants and provided gentle guidance.
This class felt a lot more personal, as Mary also pointed out little things she could tell about each of our bodies. In me, she could tell that I tend to sit forward in chairs and slouch back (I’ve stopped now, promise!) and that I tend to rush my breathing (mental note: slow down, in manner of Darth Vadar).

Sundays 10am: ‘Stretch-Relax-Renew’ class instructed by Kate Porotto
This class had by far the most participants and although it wasn’t the most challenging physically, they all seemed to be seasoned pro’s. Some of them even hung upside down from ropes and bars at one point! Woah! With no assistant instructors, I felt a little out of my depth in this class, so will venture back when I am a little more experienced.

So far, so good! I am learning that in yoga, as in life, it is very much mind over matter. If you think you can’t stretch any further, you can’t. If you take a deep breath and push forward, you’ll find that you can. So this is me, announcing that I can yoga!

Indeed, in the wise words of our great Yoda: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

No ewoks were harmed in the making of this post.


16 Comments on I want to be a Yoda… I mean, Yogi…

  1. savasana addict
    January 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm (12 years ago)

    What a beautiful space to do yoga!

    • vegansparkles
      February 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm (12 years ago)

      Isn’t it! It really helps with motivating me to travel the extra distance to get there. 🙂

  2. Karen
    January 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm (12 years ago)

    The retreat sounds amazing!! Where is it? Is it already fully booked?

    • vegansparkles
      February 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm (12 years ago)

      It’s at Samudra in Dunsborough, Karen, and they have retreats all the time – you should check them out! Maybe I’ll see you there! 🙂

  3. David
    January 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm (12 years ago)

    “I am learning that in yoga, as in life, it is very much mind over matter.” You’ve got it. But do take it easy on the matter. Patience and paying attention are very important to a good yoga practice. Let yourself have a wonderful retreat!

    • vegansparkles
      February 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm (12 years ago)

      Thank you for the advice, David, and I will, thank you! 🙂

  4. luminousvegans
    February 1, 2012 at 7:53 am (12 years ago)

    It looks like a gorgeous and serene space! Sounds like a nice retreat.

    • vegansparkles
      February 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm (12 years ago)

      It is a beautiful space and so close to the beach, you can go for a dip after class if you’re in the mood. 🙂

  5. Annette @ Wellness WA
    February 1, 2012 at 10:25 am (12 years ago)

    Ah fantastic! Always wanted to do a yoga retreat too and I’ve been practicing on and off for about 10 years now! 🙂

    Love love LOVE it. The freo space is really nice too, congratulations for getting into it. You’ll find that the best benefits come if you practice ongoing too, so 1-2 classes each week for a few weeks and you’ll start feeling amazing.

    You didn’t mention that though, how did you feel after your classes? 🙂

    • vegansparkles
      February 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm (12 years ago)

      Oh no, I didn’t! haha. My bad. I felt FANTASTIC afterwards! The Saturday class completely reinvigorated me and I felt blissful – both peaceful and energetic at the same time. The Friday class made me feel stronger physically and more grounded emotionally. The Sunday class made me feel a little clumsy (LOL) but I’ll try it again when I’m more experienced. Overall, I’m loving it and will definitely keep it up! 🙂

  6. Anna @ The Guiltless Life
    February 2, 2012 at 1:26 am (12 years ago)

    I’m so glad you tried yoga! I firmly believe there’s a yoga style for everyone, it’s just finding the right teacher and class style. Now I can go to a super advanced class and just skip the intimidating stuff and feel okay with that but at the beginning of my practice there’s no way – I felt so embarrassed that I had ‘dared’ to go to such an advanced level class and I shamefully attempted to try some tough poses and failed – but slowly I have learned that yoga is not about judgment and even when you get physically strong enough to do certain advanced poses, there will be days when your body just doesn’t want to go there, so sit it out. Such a hard thing for me to learn and I still have to remind myself every day!

    I have yet to hit up a retreat but really want to. Kudos to you, I’m so impressed by your courage and adventurous spirit!

  7. Agatha K, The Fun Money Nerd
    February 2, 2012 at 4:40 am (12 years ago)

    I also get intimidated by yoga but this retreat sounds amazing. I have found that a yoga class always teaches me to just be patient and not compare myself to other people.

    • vegansparkles
      February 2, 2012 at 9:38 am (12 years ago)

      Very good advice, thanks Agatha! I will keep it in mind when I return to class tomorrow. 🙂

  8. crmconsultants
    April 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm (12 years ago)

    Hey Bex..this is your high school friend Vish! Yes I love yoga and am vegetarian as well tho not as good as you and full vegan. You should stop by Annnalakshmi. Their dishes are usually mostly vegan as they get a lot of vegans stopping by. The concept is great as well “Pay what your heart feels like paying”
    They also have cultural evenings with Indian dance and music and they also conduct cooking classes. Check out their website for more info
    Message me on facebook when u are free and we should meet up!

    • vegansparkles
      April 26, 2012 at 9:22 am (12 years ago)

      Vish!! Helloooooo!!! Great to hear from you, chickiebabe! 🙂
      So you are back in Perth now? How exciting! I’d love to catch up!
      I have been to Annalakshmi and it was delicious but I forgot my camera, DOH! I will go back very soon and do a review. I love the sound of the Indian dance nights, too – I’ll definitely check it out, thanks! xx

  9. crmconsultants
    April 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm (12 years ago)

    By the way..love your blog!