Respire Étire Transpire Sabrina’s Provence Mantra
Finally, “sister” cities that make sense!
Surrounded by mountains of humbling beauty, bluebird skies and lots of wintery white stuff it is clear why Aspen, Colorado is twinned with Chamonix, France. These are two all-season resorts with athletic populations focused on outdoor pursuits. The common threads start and certainly do not end with the quality of retail stores on their high streets.
So, it is no surprise that Aspen-born Sabrina Sadeghi Millecamps liked what she saw in the Mont Blanc Valley while on a student exchange program. Sabrina did not realize at the time that this scholastic and cultural interchange was the point of germination for a lifelong connection with France. Later, with a degree in international relations and a solid, base in French language skills Sabrina tells me she was happy to meet French people anywhere. That included her (now) husband a French national whom she met in Bali on holidays.
A sporty gal from Aspen now living in Provence sounded like a Perfectly Provence story, and Sabrina kindly agreed to share hers with our readers:
Ok, so you met a good-looking Frenchman in Bali, how did you end up in Saint Remy de Provence?
Shortly after we met, I moved from New York to Paris to join him, we quickly started thinking about where we would like to settle and raise our family. We picked the Alpilles in Provence.
I was lucky to grow up in a place where the premium was on good living – being outside, and eating and drinking well. We were attracted to the St Remy and the Alpilles because it is a region that holds those same values. St Remy de Provence is a small, fashionable town with ready access to natural surroundings for hiking and biking, fantastic fresh organic food, nearby vineyards and lots of cultural activities.
What do you like about St Remy?
Probably my favourite thing about this area is the mix of people that live here:
- There are French and foreign families who have travelled broadly and decided to call this home.
- The region has long attracted (and continues to) a number of artists and creative types.
- The charming, warm and welcoming Provençal families who have been here forever and will share endless stories.
So, like so many of us you have been charmed by the South of France. Can you tell our readers a little about your transition from the snowy slopes in Aspen to a yoga studio in St Remy?
Obviously, growing up in the mountains at a ski resort it was natural that I participated in snow sports. I was on the US Snowboarding Team in my teens and early twenties in the years leading up to the first appearance of snowboarding in the Olympics. It was a great time, but I found myself physically worn out, with a reconstructed knee and shoulder by the time I was 21. I had always been active, but the rigorous training program of the snowboard team stressed my body. Some snowboarders at that time were getting into yoga, and during a recovery break I decided to try it and I was hooked from the beginning.
I have never felt better physically and emotionally than during a summer internship at a yoga studio. My classes and work in yoga studios continued afterwards. At the time I was planning to move to France, one of my teachers in New York suggested yoga teacher training. Once in Paris, I started teaching classes at the American University of Paris as a side gig to my consulting work in public relations at UNESCO. After our move to St Remy and the birth of my daughter yoga became my prime activity.
Can you tell readers about your yoga “mantra” respire étire transpire?
breathe – stretch – sweat
My philosophy is that the benefits of yoga should be accessible to all. I generally approach it through the body, as it is a great tool for learning! Whether you come to yoga as a physical or a spiritual exercise the activity can make you feel amazing.
It is my belief that feeling good in your own skin, having confidence in yourself and feeling your own personal capacity to be strong has amazing benefits for the mind. This self-assurance affects the way we handle stress and how we relate to others. It just comes as part of the package! I tend to lean toward a strong, athletic style of yoga, but as a get older I am embracing the softer styles as well. What is beautiful about yoga is that there is something for everyone.
We moved to St Remy when I was pregnant with our daughter. I started teaching yoga classes in a Pilates Studio in 2012, when she was around a year old. The following year I started partnering with Club Concept and teaching classes at their wellness center le temps d’un Parenthèse in St Remy. I also started doing private classes for both local residents and visitors in their homes, hotels, and rental villas. Just this past fall, my husband and I started teaching yoga and meditation at l’Atelier, a historic artists studio in Eygalières that also opens its doors to wellness and cultural activities.
Are ready to respire étire transpire? Sabrina’s classes and other details can be found on her website is here. Sabrina and Jane Satow are offering two unique yoga retreats in Provence in 2015 – for more details follow this link.
Image credits: All photos were provided by Sabrina Sadeghi Millecamps and Jane Satow