Gayle Olson founded Exotic Yoga Retreats (EYR) four years ago while living in the Mediterranean regions of Italy and France. After years of practicing yoga and meditation in a more austere setting, Gayle discovered how well the Mediterranean life-style added balance to her practice and perspectives. Having owned a studio and taught internationally for more than twenty years, Gayle decided that her offering would best be served beyond the studio – yoga in exotic locations that stimulate people’s senses to come alive, invite people to actually slow down, relax, and enjoy the simple things in life that are naturally valued in a Mediterranean culture: good food, good wine and great company – add yoga and you have what Gayle calls “mindful enjoyment.”
As the lead teacher on many of the retreats, her teachings not only include Gayle’s trademark hands-on massage adjustment (yes, please!), but is also infused with her knowledge of alignment, deep integration of breath, mindful practices, poetry, and ‘joie de vivre’… “Gayle encourages people to integrate simple practices that bring a visceral sense of joy, balance and health into the daily life.”
Dalmatian Island Hopping (Croatia)
Exotic Yoga Retreats are luxurious and highly curated in that every detail is hand-scouted for both location AND excursion. Her sister, Katherine Dobson, joined EYR two years ago and together, they create retreats that are unsurpassed in both organization and adventure. From the first step of deciding the right fit of locale to the final process of travel logistics, EYR is an organization that prides themselves in putting together experiences that are as unique as they are peacefully executed.
Moroccan Desert Retreat
That’s the thing with yoga retreats – you are often not sure what you are getting! With Gayle and Katherine and the rest of their team, this is certainly not the case. This year alone, they are offering 18 retreats around the world, each retreat with a different theme that you can choose from:
- +Culture and Adventure
- +Wine and Yoga
- +Mountains and Hiking
- +Beaches and Boats
The website itself is beautiful and easy to navigate as you explore and dream about your next destination. Where can you go? Well, the retreats that Gayle has available for this season are far and wide:
- +Europe: Italy, France, Ireland & Switzerland
- +USA & Mexico
- +Croatian Islands
Yoga in Bhutan
Exotic Yoga Retreats guarantees that each destination is “carefully selected for its serene beauty, gourmet food and that ‘magical something’ in the atmosphere that opens hearts and minds to see the world differently.” While we haven’t been on one of Gayle’s retreats personally, we can say that our next retreat will be with her and her team. To know that such attention to detail is paid every step of the way is testimony for us that this is a very special group of people putting together incredible trips that speak to all of our senses. And for us, another very important qualification when attending retreats is the size. With EYR, they keep the size of the retreat between 8 and 12 so that the intimate experience remains.
Here is a look at the typical flow of the day on one of Gayle’s retreats:
MORNINGS begin with fresh juice, an Italian cappuccino or a healing Ayurvedic tea depending on where we are in the world. Step into the tranquility and rejuvenating power of nature on a serenity walk in Tuscan hills, a stroll in the lavender fields or a meditation to waves on a tropical beach. After mid-morning yoga enjoy a well-earned farm-to-table brunch on a beautiful terrace.
AFTERNOONS are for beach lounging, cultural excursions or other adventures. On touring retreats, there may only be one official yoga class each day, with stretches along the way. But on most, we have a sunset restorative, pranayama and meditation practice.
EVENINGS are pure magic, as we savor the simple luxury of a slow-food, healthy gourmet meal, with fine wine and wonderful company!
And finally, a peek at Exotic Yoga Retreats:
Is it time for you to start considering your next adventure? If so, get ahold of Gayle! We know that she and her team will take great care of you.
This post has been sponsored by our friends at EYR.
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