FIT, LEAN and CLEAN – My Kaliyoga Experience – Part 1

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Hey, everyone! I am back this week with a post all about my recent trip to Spain. In this post, I will be talking all about the retreat location, the food, the accommodation and the ethos behind the Kaliyoga retreat. If you follow me on Instagram, @positivelyjessicaward, you will have seen my recent yogi and explorer adventures.

After the madness of Christmas and 2017, I thought it was time I took some well-deserved time-out. Life can sometimes become suffocating and we can become swamped down with work. Sometimes we can begin to let the important things slip; self-care, self-motivation and inner gratitude. Without healing ourselves and keeping ourselves mentally and physically energised, how do we expect to be successful and productive in our day-to-day lives?

I am guilty of allowing my life to take over and I am also guilty of the ‘workaholic’ title. Although I adore what I do, and I adore working hard, having some downtime is essential for progression. My life has improved dramatically since 2017 and I couldn’t be any more grateful. I remind myself every day of how life has treated me; with kindness, generosity and love. We may experience the bad times, but they always reveal the good times.

Experiencing a retreat was something I wanted to do for myself, a chance to be free and a chance to explore new practices in fitness and mental wellbeing. I am familiar with yoga, sound therapy and various other healing therapies, however, every experience is always different. I wanted a retreat that would mentally relax me and physically energise me, sounds ridiculous and very ambitious, doesn’t it?! But this retreat I attended in February, is the little push I needed and I think it did the job nicely. Being a lover of food, travel, yoga and fitness, I thought a retreat would be the ideal relaxation method.

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Sometimes, when we travel, we can depend so much on the ‘holiday feeling’ that we forget that inner happiness isn’t discovered elsewhere, it’s cultivated from within. So with that in mind, I told myself, that if I go away and enjoy myself, that’s all that matters and I’ll have to work on my motivation, myself.

When I was contacted by Kaliyoga, I was very overwhelmed and very grateful. I couldn’t believe the opportunity and I couldn’t believe the timing! I did shed a few happy tears after receiving the invite and then I soon began to pack and prep.

Kaliyoga – What is it?

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After doing my research on Kaliyoga, I couldn’t wait to be a part of their ever-growing yoga and retreat journey. Kaliyoga is founded by Rosie and Jonji Miles, a pair of fun-loving, hilarious, deeply rooted, ambitious and yoga-loving individuals. They both radiate kindness, passion and true love; it’s mesmerising to see two people so passionate about what they do.

Before Kaliyoga had been formed, both, Rosie and Jonji had experienced trauma and heartbreak in their life, and upon these negative experiences, they were drawn closer together. They ignite each other’s love inside one another and upon their shared passion, they created the beautiful Kaliyoga.

Authenticity, wisdom, truth, love, happiness, relaxation and kindness – they have created the ultimate location for true healing and relaxation. To be a part of their journey has made me very grateful. Jonji and Rosie have incredible aura’s and after spending time with them throughout the week, I felt uplifted, motivated and totally relaxed. After visiting the retreat, I was motivated to work on my dreams and ambitions and I was also more connected to the world around me, through listening to their stories. It was a true pleasure to meet them both and I have a very special place in my heart for them. They certainly made me see the silver lining in my grey February cloud and they made me realise how everything we want, is in fact, right in front of us. Just the way they realised and created Kaliyoga.

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As well as resting and re-energising on the retreat, you are also mentored on wellbeing and mindfulness, two things that contribute to healthy living, inner happiness and fulfilment (from my own experience). The picturesque views and the gorgeous climate, they couldn’t say no to this yoga dream location. Not only do they offer retreats in the location I visited, but they also offer them in Italy and London, all locations offer diverse culture, love and passion.

On this retreat, I was away for four days. Four days of total body cleansing through the healing power of yoga. I furthered my knowledge of yoga and its authentic benefits, I improved my relaxation methods and I had some well-deserved deep rest. This was all guided by daily mindful Vinyasa Yoga and Guided Meditation classes.

After experiencing yoga and meditation at its core, my relaxation was accompanied by a deep tissue massage. To give my gut some rest from the stress it had experienced over the past few months, I had a vegetarian based diet at Kaliyoga – this kept me fuelled, satisfied and hungry for more goodness. As if that isn’t enough, I also explored the breathtaking Alpujarra Mountains and the magical O Sel Ling Tibetan centre (check part 2 of these blog posts for more information on my activities at the retreat!).

 The Relaxing and Rejuvenating Accommodation

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Overlooking the mountains, birds singing in the trees or waking up to the glistening pool surrounded by palm trees, you experience nature like never before and in a diverse way. Their accommodation ranges throughout the year, as an example, they have four-poster, twin beds, or veranda cabins… Or tepee’s in the summer (which sound awesome!).

I stayed in this stunning cabin, equipped with the essentials and little more. The blossom decorated this cabin in an angelic way, whilst the fresh green grass injected the surrounding areas with vibrancy and freshness. I felt relaxed, at-home and totally settled. This was the perfect pit-stop for relaxation after yoga or for a mid-afternoon snooze. As I woke in the morning, the sun would grace my windows and add a raise of warmth to my room, it was dreamy and it was the best way to be woken up. However, if you don’t want to set your own alarm, a member of staff can gently wake you up by the sound of chimes, these are beautiful too!

The room is equipped with warm water, air conditioning/heating, a shower & other essentials, hot water bottle, torch, water glasses and jug (to be filled up at the filter tap in the sitting room), incense and matches, clothing storage, homemade soap, Kaliyoga postcards (which they will post for you!), a blanket for yoga or snuggling, a welcome book which outlines everything you need to know and much more!

Hot water bottles are provided to add warmth and comfort to your room. In the evenings, I would walk back to my room with a hot water bottle and light some incense, not only is this relaxing, it adds a touch of tranquillity to your evening room relaxation.

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If you’re wanting more company, evenings and meal times can be quite social. There is a warming sitting room with cosy furnishings and a warm fire. So whether you want to curl up beside the fire or chat with friends at the sofa’s, you have the choice. There is also a meditation room with a bookshelf and incense burning, this is the perfect place to unwind. Don’t have a book to read? Don’t worry, they have their own bookshelf stocked with yoga, foodie and wellness reads… These can be borrowed throughout the duration of your stay.

Also, don’t forget, the yoga room (the yogashala) is open for meditation and independent yoga if you require some personal space away from your accommodation. The yogashala has its own compost toilet outside as well.

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Or, if you want to explore more outdoors, you can use any of the following facilities: infra-red sauna – (this has the most amazing view and this is the perfect place to watch the sunset), they also have a solar-heated swimming pool (the temperature depends on the sun!) and they have their very own reading rainbow hammock!

The Gut Friendly and Energising Food

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The food I ate over the duration of my stay was macrobiotic ayurvedic fusion food. Every day, I was greeted with the most stunning array of brightly coloured, freshly made dishes and I wanted to dive headfirst into everything on offer! Being a true foodie, I was totally in my element. From freshly pressed orange juice to locally sourced roasted vegetables, to the most decadent vegan chocolate desserts; my taste buds experienced true excitement! (Writing this is making my mouth water at the thought!).

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Macrobiotic ayurvedic food is a way of eating, orientated around food drawn from Zen Buddhism. The key concept of macrobiotics is to balance ‘yin and yang’ energies in the body, to embrace this we had a vegetarian diet. The principles of the macrobiotic diet – reduce animal products, eat locally grown foods that are in season, and consume meals in moderation.

Being a lover of meat and fish, I surprisingly didn’t find this difficult. The food did not lack flavour, it did not lack freshness and it was bursting with natural colour and nutrients. After consuming this food for four days, I found myself eating bigger portions, feeling lighter, having more energy, having improved skin and hair condition and I also slept incredibly well.

Experiencing a whole new way of eating was exciting, delicious and totally refreshing. I realised that you don’t always need animal products for added flavour and density, you can substitute this with plant-based alternatives and still get the same, great, flavour! All it requires is a little experimentation and some confidence, cooking isn’t scary, it’s an awesome learning experience.

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“If you don’t take care of your body, where else will you live?”

Kaliyoga cookbook quote.

Nothing is ever too much for the staff at Kaliyoga, their delicious gourmet vegetarian food is catered to every individual. With three main meals a day and snacks in-between, you will never go hungry. In the sitting room, there is a huge vibrant fruit bowl, bursting with locally sourced fruit – an all you can eat fruit bowl, for free! It’s amazing and definitely makes you eat your 5-10 a day.

Their food is also gluten-free, vegan and coeliac friendly. Not only do they have talented and passionate chefs, they also have their own in-house nutritionists on hand to provide knowledge and expertise regarding food alternatives. Not only is this retreat a true explosion of foodie flavour, it’s also a learning experience. Whilst enjoying your food, you can learn about the cuisine and learn about the true benefits of vegetarian food.

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Renowned for its world-class vegetarian cuisine, Kaliyoga has produced their very own cookbook. You can gain knowledge on the food you’re eating and you can also re-create the goodness at home. Eating vibrant food has inspired me to experiment more at home. I couldn’t wait to grab myself a copy of the Kaliyoga cookbook and re-create these amazing dishes at home for my family.

Through their passion for food and health, they have created a book that’s beautiful and passion driven. This cookbook will bring deliciousness to your kitchen and it will also make your bookshelf look stunning; this book is rich in knowledge, colour, inspiration and true ‘Kali love’.

Take this opportunity to gain confidence with raw or cooked vegetarian dishes, learn about nutrition, understand your body and its needs or simply try something different … this is so much more than just a cookbook” – Kaliyoga.

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A simple outline of the food

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, abroad or in the UK. At Kaliyoga, their breakfast choices varied each day and there was always a huge variety to choose from. Whether you wanted homemade granola or eggs and avocado, you got to choose your favourites and sample a little bit of everything. Alongside the staples at breakfast, there was also a variety plant milks to choose from, homemade chia jam and spreads, fresh fruit, homemade bread/vegan option too, yoghurt, fresh pressed juices and yummy homemade smoothies.

Snacks were available throughout the day if you required them. However, breakfast would definitely set you up for the day! If you did needed a boost of energy, fresh fruit, trail mix, fresh tea and water were all available whenever you wanted them.

Lunchtime was a rainbow of nutrients! Again, there was a huge variety to choose from and everything was fresh, delicious and 100% homemade. Lunch would be buffet style, just like breakfast. A variety of salads and slices of bread/crackers were accompanied by something warm – (soup, beans, tarts) and these came with an array of dressings, roasted veggies and a variety of leafy sides.

Evening meals were a true vegetarian experience! From warming courgette noodles to chickpea patties with juicy beetroot, the three-course meals were impressive and truly creative. Experiencing a three-course meal of vegetarian goodness, allowed me to experience vegetarian food in a vibrant and diverse way. Before we were seated, we got to try some delicious homemade mocktails and a variety of nibbles too! (Nuts and the most AMAZING marinated olives).

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Whether you’re wanting to experience yoga at its roots, eat a vibrant vegetarian diet, hike in the picturesque mountains or experience incredible holistic therapies – Kaliyoga offer a little bit of something for everyone. Being open-minded about retreats is the best way to be, that way you’ll gain from the experience and come home feeling refreshed and positive. Every retreat I have ever experienced has been different, even if their concepts have been similar. Exploring new areas of the globe and being surrounded by the mountains was refreshing and rejuvenating.

After this retreat, I wanted to take the Kaliyoga inspiration and inject some of it into my life and my living space. I want to bring more colour into my surrounding space and some more nature, I want to experiment more with my vegetarian dishes and I want to experiment more with my veggie selection. I want to use incense as a ‘switch off’ point for my evenings and I want to experience nature and the outdoors more. Waking up to the mountains every morning gave me a huge boost, it made me realise the importance of nature for a natural energy resource and it made me realise the natural beauty we have at the end of our fingertips.

Retreats are an experience you’ll cherish! On a retreat, you may experience a whole host of emotions as you’re taken away from everyday distractions and you are living in the present moment. Retreats can be mentally and physically healing and they can help you on the next stage of your journey through life. Sometimes we need to stop, connect with our feelings and then move forward. We have to remove any blockages that are in the way and then proceed on our pathway. Experience a retreat at its fullest potential by relaxing, switching off and having fun. Remember, a retreat is your ‘down time’… Embrace it and love yourself for it.

In part 2 of this blog post, I will discuss my yoga experience, my holistic therapy, my hike and my foodie workshops and cooking demonstrations. I had a great time participating in the activities and I was definitely kept busy, as well as relaxing and resting. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures with Kaliyoga!

If you’re wanting to escape reality for a little while and submerge yourself in relaxation, take my word for it and book yourself onto a retreat. Alternatively, a retreat would make a wonderful gift for someone so you could purchase a voucher for them here – Kaliyoga retreats.

Want to stay up to date with the Kaliyoga adventures or book a retreat? Use the following links below for more information…

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | Website

I would love to thank the whole team at Kaliyoga for this life-changing experience and all the wonderful bloggers I travelled with. I met some incredible people on this trip away and I will cherish these memories forever. I have learnt a lot about myself and the importance of self-care and self-love.

Stay tuned for more Kaliyoga blog posts!

Have you ever been on a retreat? If so, I would love to know what you learnt!

Jessica, x

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