Heaven in Hatta

Posted on May 4, 2013


Like a magpie to shiny objects, in each of us, there exist certain events, experiences and people that we’re magnetically drawn to. For me? Amongst many are weekend escapes, mountain landscapes, yoga and meditation, healthy food and winning wellness, ad fab company and inspiring conversation. Combine them and you have heaven.  Heaven in Hatta to be precise!

This very fabulous past weekend was organised by two gorgeous ladies, Suzanne Robson and Caroline Leon, both yoga teachers in Dubai. They organised the retreat as a fund-raiser for two very deserving kids charities in Peru as part of a Gulf for Good challenge which will see them trek the Inca Trail this coming July.

The girls were in touch a while back to invite me to join and fast forward a few calls, there I was last Thursday, excited as ever and ready for a Thelma and Louise-style road trip out of the concrete jungle with my girlfriend Brandy.

I shan’t recount the entire itinerary … that, for any one in the UAE anyway, can be reserved for when you sign up for their next retreat and believe me, you won’t regret it for a single second. Instead, what I will remember from this wonderful weekend:

  • I will remember that Hatta is so absolutely stunning.  I’ve been here lots of times and every one of them, I remind myself to make the very short trip from Dubai more often. Mountain landscapes are breathtaking and all the more so when the city we call home is so flat.
  • I will remember to always always be grateful … at the end of each yoga session, meal, day, whatever … we should take a moment and be grateful for our unbelievably fortunate lives.
  • I will remember that partner yoga is a beautiful act of connecting with others, of bonding and learning to trust.  I found myself doing a headstand with my head balanced between the thighs of my now friend Mona (pictured) … intimacy like that doesn’t normally occur within a day of meeting someone!
  • I will remember that meditation really is chicken soup for the soul even though it’s tough. Really tough! The secret to meditating however is not to banish the monkey mind … it’s not possible to quiet it all together … but rather to bring ourselves back to the moment every time we find ourselves drifting off.
  • I will remember that savasana, or corpse pose, isn’t just that bit at the end of the class when you lie like a limp doll and have a power nap, that it really is where all the magic happens. Suzanne summed it up perfectly in saying, ‘it is the easiest practice to perform but the hardest to master.’
  • I will remember to refer to yoga blocks as ‘rectangles of hope’ in future. They are a wonderful enabling prop and a godsend to tight athletes!
  • I will remember that yoga has so many similarities to long distance running but one highlighted this weekend was how it doesn’t discriminate between old hat and newbie, between younger or older, between skinny and curvy … it’s such a personal discipline but it’s also powerfully bonding … no one judges and you learn so much about yourself, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
  • I will remember that yin yoga, where you perform deeper poses to target the connective tissue, is quite telling in that if you find a pose really tough, it’s pretty indicative that your body needs it. For runners, think hop openers and ITB stretches!
  • I will remember that yoga is a wonderful metaphor for life. During yin yoga for example, Suzanne talked about approaching every pose with curiosity … about observing how we feel and being free to experiment. She also reminded us regularly that yoga is not about trying to get your head to touch the ground or to twist your body in crazy positions but rather about what we learn during the journey along the way.
  • I will also remember that now we’re in May, it’s getting HOT out there.  My mid day trail runs have left me with arms the colour of chocolate and some serious chafing, worthy of the loudest of screams in the shower!
  • And finally, I will remember three simple yet powerful words that Caroline repeated often:

Breathe. Happy thoughts …’

Simple words maybe but words that we could all do with remembering at times, with or without yoga!

Namaste x

To keep up to date with future retreat plans, visit http://sy-yoga.com or email syoga@me.com.

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