by Jennifer Weatherhead and Stephanie Gray
Attracting thousands of visitors yearly who come for enchantment near pristine beaches, thriving culture and deep spiritual roots, the Indonesian island of Bali is an idyllic destination to practice yoga. With incredible surfing conditions, this island encompasses the best of both worlds, as both surfing and yoga are so closely related. Surf Haven Bali retreat, for women only, is centrally located near the airport in Seminyak and offers its guests luxury five star villas, gourmet spa cuisine and experienced yoga and surf instructors. If your goal is to leave feeling pampered, rejuvenated and restored, the pure bliss of this surf/yoga retreat more than satisfies.
While beaches and yoga definitely go hand-in-hand, the countryside of France is a charming destination where rolling hills, lush vineyards and grand châteaux make up the scenery. Nestled in the Pyrenees valley you’ll find the 17-acre estate of Domaine de la Grausse, a yoga retreat run by yogi Dagmar and her husband, Mike. Offering twice daily yoga and weekly meditation classes, the itinerary is very flexible. Two self-contained barns make up the quaint accommodations. Both come with fully equipped kitchens so you can prepare your own food at leisure. Local markets and restaurants are nearby. It’s a perfect getaway to explore the French countryside while re-centring with daily yoga.
Overlooking Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia, the Yasodhara Ashram is tucked away amongst picturesque snowcapped mountains. During your stay at the ashram, expect to devote yourself entirely to the practice. A typical day starts with yoga and ends with chanting in the Temple, with plenty of reflection in between. Vegetarian meals, eaten in silence, are prepared with organic produce grown in their sustainable garden. Accommodations, primarily shared, offer laundry facilities, pay phones and limited email access. While you may not have all of the luxuries of home, the natural surroundings provide a tranquil atmosphere to help you reach your spiritual goals.
There are few places in the world more majestic than Peru. Steeped in rich Inca history and bordered by 1,500 miles of exquisite coastline and beaches, there are numerous ways to reach a spiritual high. The Samana Chakra in Máncora (near the Ecuador border) offers yoga retreats that incorporate ropes, chairs and props to achieve inner peace and better alignment. The hotel’s beachside setting eases away stress with private or shared accommodations. If you are seeking a healing retreat that encompasses Peru’s Inca heritage, venture into the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu region in the heart of the Andes. There, nestled in the jungled mountains, is Willka T’ika, where practice occurs in sunlit studios or in lush gardens encircled by mountain views which are sure to elicit a feeling of solace.
Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos
This ultra-luxe part of Turks and Caicos is frequented by celebrities such as Donna Karan, Bruce Willis and Paul McCartney, not only for its beauty, but also for its secluded privacy. So what better place to dig your feet deep in the sand and get in touch with your inner Zen? The COMO Hotel at Parrot Cay offers sessions for its guests on a daily basis free of charge. Take your pick from beach Yoga, group discussions, Pilates classes and more, in either a group or private setting. Weeklong retreats (five hours of practice daily) taught by visiting yoga masters are also available. Whether you meditate at a leisurely pace or seek an in-depth practice, your energy is easily recharged in a week at the COMO.
A French Holiday Treat
These jewel-coloured jellies are a popular holiday treat in France, and they’re super-easy to make.
2 cups frozen raspberries, defrosted
1 3/4 cups pectin powder
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup
2 tsp lemon juice
Line a 9 x 12 cake pan with baking parchment or wax paper, set aside.
Place raspberries in food processor and blend until smooth and puréed. Place pectin and 2 cups of sugar in a small bowl and stir together.
Place raspberry purée in medium pan and bring to boil. Stir in sugar/pectin mixture until completely dissolved. Boil mixture for another 2 minutes. Stir in corn syrup and continue to cook until mixture starts to thicken (about 2 minutes).
Remove mixture from heat and stir in lemon juice. Pour into prepared pan and allow to set for 2 hours at room temperature.
Cut slab of jelly into 1 inch squares using a very sharp knife. Toss squares in remaining sugar. Store in an airtight container and place in the fridge where they will keep for up to a month.
Makes about 9 dozen jellies.
Substitute other frozen fruits like strawberries for variety.
Peach, Blackberry and Almond Galette (Serves 4)
Galette – also called crostata in Italy – is rustic, pretty and easy to make with whatever fruit is in season.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (4 oz) butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
1/3 cup ice water
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
3 cups (1 lb) sliced peaches (defrosted if frozen)
1/3 cup blackberries
2 tbsp flaked or slivered almonds
2 tbsp apricot or peach jam, warmed
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With motor running, drizzle in just enough ice water so pastry forms a ball. Gently form dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper. Place dough on top. Roll out dough to a rough 12″ circle. Toss fruit with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Spread breadcrumbs over pastry and arrange fruit on top, leaving a 2″ margin. Fold uncovered edges of pastry circle up and over to contain fruit. Brush fruit with warm jam. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.