From Heels to Flip Flops, London to My Little Island Paradise. Words by Katerina Tsiplacis.
I was a 30 year old career girl living in London who although doing well in my career, but I felt unhappy and quite lost. After my marriage ended, I began to practice meditation and went to workshops by The Inner Space (Brammis Kumaris) always a lover of yoga, I started to practice more and intergrate this into my life. Then I was asked if would consider a transfer to the company’s office in Barbados. What? I couldn’t pack my bags fast enough!
Arriving in the Barbadian sunshine, the great quality of life on this affluent and in many parts a well developed little island was apparent. The first eighteen months were spent dealing with the stress of work and partying hard, perhaps to escape from this cycle. Something still needed to change. Which made me question what real happiness is. We can have a great job, great money, be located in beautiful surroundings but when the very core of our being is not content, this simple choice of detachment and letting go of what no longer serves and of appreciating everything that is unmaterialistic and feeling whole and love is what’s important.
The turning point came when I moved to Karibu Gardens and discovered the bohemian side of the Caribbean. A secret little gem of secluded bohemian beach apartments next to the ocean and known only to those in the know owned by Carl Best a Barbadian artist who spent twenty years in New York returning to his home to create and open Karibu and to create the most beautiful energy and live life in the present moment. The magical gardens and beautifully designed beach houses secluded yet located close to amenities. Carl had even carved a huge wooden yoga dome which holds up to around 15 people, I began to practice candle lit yoga underneath the stars, listening to the waves and singing frogs by night, totally at peace.
I’d practiced yoga for years but it was here in Barbados that my yoga began to deepen and be intergrated into all areas of my life and I started to attend lectures on Buddhism, meditate with the true Rastafarians and intellectuals and even spent a stint at a yoga and meditation retreat in Trinidad.
Barbados is one of the best secret swell spots in the world. With year round sunshine and waves, beautiful clean warm water, white sanded beaches and being an affluent island with a bohemian surf side, I began to gravitate towards like minded individuals. It was time to finally face the next stop, something that was aways there, perhaps fear had prolonged this. To learn to surf. The surf scene in Barbados is located on the south east, west of the island and for more experienced surfers, the east coast has the best waves located especially around the beautiful magical surf fishing village of Bathsheba. Barbados has been said to rival that of Hawaii and is one of the three favourite spots in the world for Kelly Slater who visits the island quite frequently.
With local friends and some wonderful contacts, I started to learn to surf. One day going out in perhaps waves too big for newbie, a badly broken nose was a wake up call and a final sign that I needed to change my life’s path and quit my job and trained to become a yoga teacher. A decision that might seem daunting and a little scary, but sometimes your heart just tells you when the time is right. You experience an inner strength that you didn’t realise was always there.
I now specialise in yoga for surfers, Vinyasa and Hatha based yoga and although Barbados will always be my second home, six months later I made the decision to move to Europe, to be closer to family and to have a break from island living. So in 2014 I moved to northern Asturias and really begin to focus on my yoga career. I now teach yoga to surfers via a Roxy and Quiksilver sponsored school in Spanish and as well as my own Hatha based classes. I do classes for surfers focussed on strength, flexibility and the flow moving with the breath (Vinyasa and Hathaway based) which is very beneficial to surfers. The breath work is particularly important to prepare for wipeouts, duck driving and most importantly maintaining a fluid calm-zen. If we can control the breath we can control the mind, if we control our minds then that’s when our surf experience changes for the better and our lives too.
So I’m offering my first yoga retreat for surfers at the magical Karibu gardens, where it all began, this July collaborating with local surf friends. Join me on my surf and yoga retreat in the beautiful Karibu Gardens.
Retreat Barbados 2016 will feed your body, mind and soul taking you to a level of natural mindfulness whilst practicing yoga and surfing with a daily itinerary. Accommodation is set in a location that is a gorgeous healing hidden gem. Well developed, welcoming, safe, with stunning beaches and settings that rival Hawaii and some of the best hidden surf spots in the world including the famous ‘Soup Bowl’.
All levels of surfers are welcome. From complete beginners and those who have never practiced yoga before to pros, everyone is welcome and will benefit from this beautiful specifically tailored retreat working with the breath, strength, intensity and flexibility as well as deep relaxation. Wave mindfulness and a little bit of soul will be intertwined and with an itinerary that we are sure you are gonna love.
Yoga classes targeted for surfers will be set daily in the beautiful outdoor private gardens in the open air wooden yoga dome and with the smell of salty sea air and and breadfruit and coconut trees surrounding you, cleansing the body mind and soul. After breakfast the day is yours to take a board and go surf at either beginners level spot or to the more advanced waves and we will have a top surf instructor available for any guests that are perhaps new surfers or even for advanced surfers who would like to brush up their skills. If feel like doing something other than surfing and just want to chill out or maybe sunbathe on one of the white sanded beaches which is a two minute walk from your accommodation, or perhaps do some shopping or SUP, feel free. We have also included excursions within the itinerary and this will include yoga on the gorgeous beach followed by a surf at Bathsheba which is one of the best secret surf spots in the world. We will also offer SUP yoga (optional).
Relax, let go & let it flow, you deserve it!
For more information please visit our website, our Facebook page or contact us directly. Namaste, Aloha, one love.
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