Oh sweet paradise. Amorgos. How you treated did me well.
Just a couple of short weeks ago I spent one full week on the Greek island of Amorgos. This prolonged moment of solitude and grounding nailed my two feet to the ground. Amorgos came to me by virtue of Aria and Gus, my yoga coaches, for a retreat that I will never forget. I discovered the mystical Warrior Yoga at my Parisian yoga studio, when I stumbled upon this rather intense, very cardio style of a vinyasa flow. It was love at first flow. The combination of abs, vinyasa and inversions was my happy place. Such a happy place that I was quickly swept away to Puglia in Italy for my first yoga retreat. Amongst laughter, fun and sweat I came back to Paris with a new vision on my life, one that I would fully discover a couple of months later when I decided to leave the fashion industry. I came back mentally lighter, and lacking my passport and cellphone which were consequentially stolen at the airport …yeah. I must haven feeling pretty zen if I was able to singlehandedly have my beloved iPhone stolen for the first time along with my passport. Praise B for my carte de séjour, which saved the day – it let me cross the French border.
So really strangely enough when I came back, surely based on my new outlook and good vibes, things started to turn around and change in my life. Things started to really come together. I found love, my true passion in life (hey Savoir Vivre by JJ) and genuine happiness. A yoga practice of 4 (ish) days a week turned into 7 days a week. I was becoming a really really devoted yogi. Aria and Gus remained a constant part of my life (when they were in Paris that is), so it was pretty much a no brainer for me to take off with them to Amorgos when they announced the upcoming retreat.
Taking back off with a group of 35 strangers (with the exception of only a few that I knew from Italy) was again a oh so unforgettable experience. By virtue of my first experience, I could see how much I had grown and evolved since. I found my attitude softer, my brain calmer and all around freer. I happily shared a room with a friend (I don’t think I had ever shared a room before, except as a freshman in college, it wasn’t my brightest moment), I actually enjoyed staying out and getting a minimal amount of sleep, and felt truly bienveillant. While yoga has an impact on my everyday life, these retreats have made an impact on the real big picture.
I know it may sound strange to think of a yoga retreat as “me” (“The Parisian Well-being Guru”) stepping out of my comfort zone, but you know what, it actually really was. It forced me to let go, it put me in a situation where I was not in control and I was emotionally vulnerable. But guess what? It made me better. It made me grow. It made me learn. It made me cry. It made me GOOD and truly thankful. Thankful for who I am today, all that I have and every waking moment on this absolutely beautiful earth.
Photos by Joel Capillaire
The most important address to find while traveling (for me) – is the best yoga studio in the city. I must admit for Milano this was not an easy task. I spent a decent amount of time browsing the web to find the studio that correctly corresponded to my flow based practice. I must say the research was well worth it. Happiness was found at boutique studio Pura Vida Power Yoga. Located in the center of the city, this studio is calm, discrete and sweet. I spent the morning practicing with Claudia Allegreti, who led a harmonious and challenging power flow that started my day on a high note. Pura Vida executes a traditional vinyasa practice focused on inner dialogue to your outward expression. A practice that aims to reduce stress and focus the mind, while challenging your muscles. Let me say they did the job!
I likewise had the pleasure of speaking with founder and owner Gabriela Estrada, a fellow American expat who has been practicing yoga for nearly two decades. She has lived all around the world and has other new and exciting projects in store, so please keep your eye on the @puravidapoweryoga Instagram for the inside scoop – and most certainly pay a visit to Pura Vida when you are in Milan. It can only add bliss to your visit.
So I’m officially (very naturally) attracted to good food and healthy things. Why? Well – by chance I happened to stumble on a place basically created for people like me and you. Intrigued by their windows decorated with running shoes, fruits and vegetables and a sign that advertised detox juices, açaí bowls and fitness friendly lunch formulas, I decided to check it out.
Liife Eat Smart’s concept is based on three principles – fitness, health and the environment. This is made extremely clear by their menu that is catered to nutritionally rich ingredients that improve fitness performance and all around well-being. The menu changes seasonally with a host of salad creative salad options with protein rich toppings, warm dishes and vitamin rich desserts. Yesterday, I enjoyed their Quinoline salad – a delicious mixture of quinoa, estragon seasoned pink lentils, rich hummus and a light shallot sauce. I added a lemon ginger infused chicken protein topping to my salad, and was very content and ready to go for my yoga class later that day. Also – their juices are not to be missed. I tasted the « Orange is the new black » aka ginger, curcuma and carrot. Check out their menu below to get a better idea of how things at Liife work.
Liife likewise sponsors many events around the city that you will find on my Facebook page and their site. They even have a stand at the Midtown Sports Club in the first. Liife is the first healthy restaurant created for athletes in Paris and they have most certainly succeeded in everything that they are doing. Keep checking back on my Insta too to discover other things I’m eating there, cause I’ll be back (and their food is really Instagram-able see below). Liife is located between Grands Boulevards and Montorgueil at the metro Sentier – 33 Rue des Petits Carreaux.
Me and The Hoxton Hotel Group have been friends for some time now. My love affair with this hotel began a couple of years ago when the chain was much smaller. I stayed at their Shoreditch London location and I can assure you it was pretty much love at first sight. The chill vibe and the fun atmosphere sincerely resonated with me (and still does). They have now expanded to Amsterdam, they have another location in London at Holborn (where I stayed this past weekend) and even location in central Paris. They will soon be opening in Williamsburg, Brooklyn too. While I have yet to visit their Amsterdam location, I can assure you this sweet ambiance is present at all Hoxton locations, and I highly suggest you plan your next trip around one of their special locations.
This weekend I happened to be in London for a very special event – their Fresh & Fit Fest. For the fourth consecutive year, the Hoxton organized a day congregating the biggest names in fitness, along with the best classes and trainers, the hippest activewear brands and the yummiest healthy foods for an event devoted to well-being. While I missed the boat on many of the fantastic and inspiring talks and fab yoga classes, I spent most of my day at their Health Food Market. Among my favorites were smoothies from Pit & Nut, a Pukka tea stand and a Rude Health tasting.
It is so exciting to see such special health conscious events happening with such accessibility. Even cooler – The Hoxton offers monthly health events at all of their hotels. HUGE plus, as a guest, you receive a healthy breakfast bag every single morning with fresh yogurt, delicious granola, freshly squeezed orange juice and a banana. Just a quick aside that for me is a deal breaker. Make sure to follow their Instagram @thehoxtonhotel for all the details and subscribe to their newsletter in the bottom of their site’s homepage.
Photo credit – The Hoxton