Guéthary in September with Caroline Boulinguez

Caroline Boulinguez was my very first real yoga teacher. By real, I mean that she didn’t just lead students through sequences, counting out the breath, adjusting bodies; she actually walked the walk. Until my first encounter with Caroline, I thought yoga was just another word for “working out.” Most of the classes I had taken had been taught by teachers who doubled as Super Sculpt trainers, Boot Camp sergeants, or Beach Body gidgets. I’m not disparaging those classes, by the way. Those classes are super fun, sweaty ass-kickers! They’re just not the in the same category as yoga. Anyway, it was obvious from my first encounter with Caroline that yoga, and teaching it, were not just her job. And that yoga was and is is so, so much more than stretching in Sanskrit.

And now Caroline is leading a retreat in the impossibly cute port of Guéthary! I can’t imagine a more idyllic way to spend ten days in September. I was fortunate a few years ago to spend a week in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, enjoying Biarritz and Saint Jean de Luz before following the coastline to San Sebastián, Spain. It is a gorgeous part of France, as prized for its surf and beaches as it is for its culinary delights. If the chipirons are running, make sure you order those. They are a regional specialty not to be missed, especially if you’re a squid lover. Other treats to load up on are piment d’espelette (a mild, bright red pepper), confiture de cerises noires (black cherry jam), macarons from Maison Adam (this cookie, which predates Ladurée's and Pierre Hermé's riffs, was created in 1660 for Louis XIV's marriage to Marie-Thérèse of Austria) , and fromage de brebis (best eaten with the above mentioned cherry jam. Delish!)

• 10 Days in Guéthary in September with Caroline Boulinguez, Nathalie Blondeau and Laure Bruchet

This retreat will feature postural work that acts not only on the entire body, but also brings a calmness of mind. Together these will permit the broadening of our everyday awareness. The first part of the workshop will be led by Nathalie Blondeau, an Ashtanga Yoga teacher from Holland who spent three years in residence at Samasthiti Studio. In addition to the physical and spiritual work, this year’s program will be enhanced by Laure Bruchet's thorough and interesting knowledge of the 7 chakras. Laure is not only a tough yogini, but also an Ericksonian hypnotherapist by training.

All of this will take place in an exceptional setting with ocean views and healthy meals.

This retreat will be conducted in French.

Saturday 17 September-Sunday 25 September
(Arrival is possible Friday 16 Sept., with a possible late departure on the morning of Monday 26 Sept.) 
Full program details here.