Yoga Provence La Belle Vie Beyond the Mat
Yoga in Provence
La Belle Vie yoga retreat was in my calendar, but when the weekend finally arrived I was rushed, juggling life. As Pradeep Teotia began his class with his signature “Welcome Home,” all thoughts of my to-do list fell away. The warmth in the room embraced my soul, and it was not just the intensity of the two-hour morning class. The yoga studio at Mas de l’Amarine was full of participants gathered from as far away as California, Holland, Germany and nearby St Rémy. If my mind wandered from the yoga breathing, it was to reflect on La Belle Vie Project’s success. A place where visitors and locals share experiences both on and off the mat.
Food and Culture
The Saturday morning class ended in time for a tempting brunch. Alice Coloma, co-owner of Mas de l’Amarine, and her team put together a delicious menu using the freshest organic vegetables from a nearby farm. We enjoyed zucchini strips in a pistachio pesto, grilled corn on the cob with spicy butter, cucumber salad, seared duck breast and an apple galette to finish.
Rain threatened to spoil the afternoon, but the group defied the clouds and headed to Glanum for a tour of the ancient site with local guide Jane Satow.
As the light faded, a group gathered inside the cozy yoga studio for an evening meditation and chant class led by Pradeep Teotia. The beauty of the La Belle Vie concept is the ebb and flow of participants. The core group were staying at the hotel, but yogis from the area (Arles, St Rémy, Erague, Avignon, even Marseille) dropped into sessions that suited their schedules. Wrapped in a warm blanket, I drifted off during the meditation to the sound of Pradeep’s words.
The whiffs of paella cooking invaded my subconscious. It was time for a Flamenco dance party! The inclement weather was not about to dampen the energy inside. Talented Flamenco dancers performed for the group and then challenged us to learn a few of the steps. We tried, laughed, and some of us (not me) managed to pick up the moves. Perfect timing as the paella awaited the hungry dancer-yogis.
Provence Alpilles Setting
Riding my bike to the Sunday morning yoga session, I enjoy the beautiful Alpilles views. The setting is a natural choice for La Belle Vie Project’s concept. Combining regular studio yogis with visitors keen to experience the highlights of the region is a winning formula. Harriett Spalding, Sabrina Sadeghi Millecamps, Julia Mitton, and Alice Coloma are the faces behind the concept. Each one of these talented ladies brings their skills to the team.
Beyond the Yoga Mat
Sadly, dog-sitting duty and other errands kept me from participating in the full La Belle Vie Project agenda. However, it was not without a pang of jealousy as the group headed out on activities that included a picnic lunch, a visit to Carrières de Lumières, horseback riding in the Camargue, a private tour of Lucien Clergue’s photos at the Anne Clergue Galerie, a painting session, and wine tasting. The delight was evident in the smiles. I’m not the only one who can’t wait for the next La Belle Vie Project.
Image credits: All photos provided by and published with the permission of Harriet Spalding of La Belle Vie Project.