EXOTIC YOGA RETREATS
Exotic Yoga Retreats blends the worlds of yoga and inner discovery with sensory experiences of visual beauty, health-giving sumptuous tastes, cultural enrichment and outdoor adventure.
Set in boutique hotels, eco-villas, yachts and other creative venues around the world, each destination is carefully selected for it’s serene beauty, nutritious food, and that “magical something” in the atmosphere that opens hearts and minds to “see the world differently.”
WHO LEADS THE YOGA RETREATS?
Gayle Olson is founder of Exotic Yoga Retreats and a principle retreat leader on many retreats. She is author of The Yoga & Fitness Guide for Women, and has taught and practiced Vinyasa, Iyengar and Hatha yoga around the world for over 20 years. Gayle collaborates with talented team of teachers from a range of traditions and disciplines—dynamic yoga teachers, artists, musicians, doctors, chefs and wine-makers—to offer you new ways to “see the world differently”!
WHO COMES ON AN EXOTIC YOGA RETREAT?
A majority of participants who join our Exotic Yoga Retreats are people traveling solo looking for a healthy and rejuvenating travel holiday in an exotic location. If you are coming by yourself, you will not be alone! We also welcome couples, friends, mother-daughters, fathers-sons and groups on retreats. For this reason, the yoga is optional! Our goal is to provide everyone on a retreat with a peak experience of health, relaxation, and inner and outer discovery. For us yoga is a great vehicle towards this; but we understand it’s not for everyone. You are welcome on our retreats even if you prefer a bike ride or walk on the beach to yoga. We keep the bigger goal in mind—to balance good health and good living, enjoy nature, meet new people, spend quality time with those you love, and ultimately “to see the world differently!”
WHAT DOES A SAMPLE DAY LOOK LIKE?
We think of our trips as yoga retreat holidays — balancing good health with good living. We design our daily schedule to accommodate rest, relax time, yoga, slow-food meals and a decent dose of healthy pleasures!
MORNINGS begins with a fresh juice, an Ayurvedic tea or a fantastic cappuccino, depending on the type of retreat you are on. At 8:00 am there is an optional serenity walk – on a tropical beach, under ancient olives or in rolling Tuscan hills – inviting you to savor the tranquility and feel the rejuvenating power of nature. Around 8:30 am we start yoga. Practices are an hour and a half, though they can be shorter or longer depending on the activities of the day ahead. Following yoga we enjoy a well-earned healthy farm-to-table brunch usually sitting outside on a beautiful terrace with views.
AFTERNOONS are for lounging on the beach, going on cultural excursions or other adventures. On touring retreats, there may be only one official yoga class each day, with stretches along the way. But on most retreats we have a relaxing yoga practice before dinner.
EVENINGS are pure magic as we savor the sumptuous tastes and simple pleasures of healthy slow-food gourmet meals, good wine (unless it’s a detox retreat) and great company!
YOGA WITH GAYLE OLSON
Gayle Olson, founder of Exotic Yoga Retreats and author of The Yoga & Fitness Guide for Women, has taught and practiced Vinyasa, Iyengar and Hatha yoga around the world for over 20 years. Gayle has developed a unique method, Vinyasa Adjustment Massage, giving students hands-on adjustments during class — it’s like receiving a full-body massage during a vinyasa practice! Whether a practice is fiery and energetic, or soft and receptive, Gayle guides students to maintain a strong meditative focus on breath — and on the joy of yoga!
Attracted to the internal world that yoga opened up for her at 17, Gayle began what has become her life’s path. She’s lived and traveled everywhere from Thailand and Tuscany, to Burma and Bombay, and now splits her home between San Francisco and Nice, France. Gayle blends the best of both worlds—a Gallic sense of joie de vivre with a can-do creative American spirit—into her transformative yoga retreats at exotic destinations around the globe.
Exotic Yoga Retreats’ variety of holidays and adventures reflects Gayle’s unique brand of mindful enjoyment. Rather than teaching traditional yoga philosophy, Gayle guides students to appreciate the “spiritual in the simple”. Through yoga, life coaching and a variety of meditative and reflective activities on retreats, Gayle encourages people to integrate simple practices that bring a visceral sense of joy, balance and health into the daily life. “The touch of sun against skin, a hand placed on the sacrum during yoga class, the taste of an Italian grown tomato drizzled with fresh olive oil— these small sensory experiences, combined with awareness and gratitude—greatly enhance our emotional and physical well-being.” says Gayle.
Gayle has devoted her life to helping people discover their unique paths to health and happiness. In 2007, Gayle trained as a life coach (CTI) to better serve people in living their fullest potential.She brings coaching work into her retreats through specially designed exercises to help people stretch—in both body and mind. In addition to offering yoga retreats and health holidays, Gayle trains other yoga teachers in her unique method of hands-on Adjustment-Massage For Vinyasa Practice.
Gayle prefers to keep Exotic Yoga Retreats small and intimate, between 8-12 participants, providing more personalized guidance and richer, deeper connections. Participants depart retreats transformed inside and out, healthy, balanced and rejuvenated. As one recent Exotic Yoga Retreats attendee said, “Practicing yoga with Gayle is pure joy. Her impassioned teaching enables me to flow through class and through life with a greater sense of grace and peace. For this I am truly grateful.”
GAYLE OLSON’S PRIMARY YOGA & MEDITATION INFLUENCES
- Iyengar Yoga (teachers in the US and India)
- Ashtanga (Richard Freeman)
- Slow Vinyasa (Barbara Benagh, Eric Schiffman)
- Anusara Yoga (John Friend)
- Vipassana Meditation (as taught by S.N.Goenka)
- Life Coach training (CTI)
Yoga holidays and adventures inspiring you to "see the world differently"
“Thank you for this retreat; every minute was worth it! It was such a mind, body and heart opening… and so much fun! It’s helping make my day-to-day life magical, and I can give so much to others as I have feel so fulfilled inside! Thank you again, and can’t wait for the next retreat!” — Jennifer Clarke, France
The Puglia retreat was amazing! Gayle is a true inspiration to me. I learned so much about breathing, postures, abdominal toning, and loving oneself and beauty. Gayle was a true inspiration to me... through her strength, passion, love and courage, I know that life is full of endless possibilities! — Samantha Brennan, USA
Gayle's philosophy of "healthy hedonism" set the tone for a playful week of yoga and mindfulness, laughter and connection. Our setting, Le Fabriche, oozed with rustic charm and elegance. Quite simply the perfect place to unwind and let imaginations run free. Every meal was a feast for the senses - and let's just say we never went hungry! Nor were we deprived of the finer things like gorgeous wines and luxury shower fittings! But what I especially loved was the collective journey shared in our daily yoga practice. The yoga sala, framed by beautiful stone arches, overlooked the vines and olive groves. Each morning, Gayle guided us through blissful meditation, followed by a combination of vinyasa flow and stretch sequences. She really took the time to tailor the class to each of our needs so it felt more like one-on-one tuition a lot of the time. I'll never forget the energy we created as a group or the peace, joy and friendships which blossom there.— Joanne Joseph, Australia
“Gayle is an inspirational teacher! The Retreat could not be faulted… we were led on a path of discovery and enlightenment that I never thought was possible in such a short space of time. It was an amazing experience filled with so much love and happiness. Thank you! ” —Iona Goldstein, England
An Exotic Yoga Retreat is an executive woman’s dream vacation. Blackberry and office demands are put aside for a week so one can focus on yoga, relaxing, healthy eating and off the beaten path sightseeing. I came back recharged and plan to repeat my experience annually.” —Pat Dunn, USA
“Gayle very clearly is a remarkable teacher because she transmits the essences of mindfulness and balance in enough dimensions so you actually get it!” —Jerry, USA
“The perfect healing at the right moment! I feel another person since this retreat – a more comfortable one! I hope to do another retreat soon to feed my curiosity!” —Mariapaula Ferrari, Italy
“Gayle has been an inspiring, lively teacher that has proven to be a steady underlying force in my life. She has a way with words that helps me focus on my body and my feelings in a true effort of open inquiry. I feel safe and loved in her presence. She is energetic, compassionate, and authentic. Her love for yoga is not only conveyed to students in her teachings, but also in her vibrant love of life. With her example she encourages us to look deeply inside, enjoy the never-ending discovery in yoga, and laugh and live fully in the process of it all.” —Penfield Chester, USA
“I remember feeling intimidated at the thought of taking a yoga class–that I wouldn’t get it, didn’t meditate at all, wasn’t spirtually qualified. Gayle put me immediately at ease. She has a warmth and knowledge that is inclusive and deeply instructive. As my practice evolves, I welcome her hands-on body alignment adjustments, natural grace and energy, and life perspective. Classes with Gayle are a gift everyone should give themselves.” —Deborah Phillips
“This retreat was the first act of a profound transformation. I understood: ” it does not take courage to be Free, but it may take courage to choose Freedom.” Gayle’s retreat has shown me the way…” —Karine Brun, France