Zen-seeking urban dweller Lizzie Mulherin has found the perfect solution to the stress of the big smoke... and it all starts with a little rubber mat.
So okay, here's a bit about me.
At 25 years old, I consider myself a quintessential Gen Y. I am a walking cliché of contradictions, albeit unapologetically so.
I drink a bit too much wine a bit too often, and counter it with the odd vegan protein ball and green smoothie (totally compensates, right?!)
I struggle to find time to go to the gym, but won't call it a night until the bar closes and my friends and I get kicked off the dance floor.
I have a persistently buzzing mind and what is quite possibly the shortest attention span out of anyone I know. I struggle to commit to anything (or anyone) unless it involves a plane ticket, but when I do decide I want something (generally a new experience, skill, or a job) I pursue it with passion.
That is how I ended up in the land of opportunity that is London. Working in media, I have fallen in love with the fabulously frantic pace of life that comes with it - but sometimes the culture of consumption becomes a bit too much (when I'm sardined onto the tube with my face in someone's armpit, for example) and I need to just tap out.
Enter: Adventure Yogi
Founded in 2007 from a desire to create "yoga holidays with a twist of action" by intrepid entrepreneur Michelle King, Adventure Yogi retreats offer the ultimate getaway for zen-seeking city slickers and experience-appreciating active (or not-so-active) types alike. Gone are the days when Downward Facing Dog was wrongfully reserved just for 'hippies' or spandex-sporting 'yoga bunnies' - Adventure Yogi retreats are attended by people of all ages and experience levels with not so much as a hint of judgment or exclusivity.
Which is fortunate really, because on day one my Vinyasa Flow was about as graceful as my must-stay-until-close dance floor performance tends to be.
There are a variety of different yoga holidays and retreats to choose from; each tailored to the kind of experience you seek (e.g detox, wellbeing, relaxing) and what kind of adventure you want to have with it (e.g skiing, surfing, diving).
Seasonally designed, the retreats are held all over the world throughout the year, in the likes of Egypt, Sri Lanka and the French Alps - to name just a few.
To give you a rundown, each day started and ended with 1.5 - 2 hours of yoga and meditation with the inspiringly insightful instructor, Wenche Beard. All meals were provided and delicious, and if you really wanted to treat yourself (which I did, obviously) holistic therapies and massages were also available.
If you were happy to hang at the house and read a book or watch a movie, you were more than welcome to. For the keen beans, there was the choice of activities to embark on in the local area, including cycling, horse riding or swimming. I chose to go on the 5-hour hike.
This, in hindsight, was fairly ambitious for someone who considers walking up the tube stairs once a fortnight a solid dose of cardio - but the view from the top of the Lingmoor Fell route even made the decline worthwhile.
While the yoga retreat craze has been steadily catching fire for the past few years, the expertly crafted formula of outdoor activities and therapeutic practice is quite unique.
Co-Founder and MD of Adventure Yogi Michelle King, who has been practicing yoga since the age of 17, said: "I wanted to create something that was both adventurous and relaxing at the same time. I was fortunate to have an international upbringing, between Venezuela, Kenya and the French Alps. I'd always had an active lifestyle and after living in Japan to pursue my love of snowboarding, I developed a real interest in health and holistic living."
"Adventure Yogi is all about balance; combining an active way of life with nourishing food and peaceful experiences. A big thing of importance for me is creating a welcoming environment - whether you need a break from busy city life or just want to get away, everyone can benefit from a bit of yoga!"
This article appeared first on Two Birds Travel.