Yoga in the Mountains - a real prana boost

Nearly 15 years ago I arrived in Val d’Isère from a frantic London base to a complete change of lifestyle. Sales manager in an IT firm I had fallen in love with a ski instructor and was following a shift in destiny that was about as dramatic as you could imagine. From BMW driving sales exec to ski bum – well not quite. I juggled for another couple of years between the world of commerce & Southern European sales & life in a ski resort getting married to said ski instructor in the process before eventually leaving and taking a different route.

Fully installed in the mountains of Savoie I decided to dig even deeper into the realms of following ones dreams and passions. I became a yoga teacher. Yoga had been my safety net to stress and tension during my years in sales, travelling and living an all too stressful life saving me from terrible digestion issues so it seemed only natural to choose the path of yoga to continue my way towards happiness and freedom.

There were no teachers in the mountains, internet sessions were not all the rage at that time so I was alone with DVDs, books and the teacher training retreats and sessions I travelled to. I started teaching in small classes in Val d’Isère, Tignes and Ste Foy and as seems often the case in my life leading the way in these skis resorts as they knew little of yoga and doors needed knocking down. Now 12 years on not only do I continue to teach in my beloved mountains harmonising ski and yoga but have encouraged others to practice and indeed to teach, I have launched the first online yoga web site in French to help those in a similar situation to me and am in the process of welcoming yogis to Val d’Isère for the second edition of the Yoga Festival in this beautiful ski resort – and with the full support of the Tourist Office, a thing I thought I would never see.

BKS Iyengar says that in order for seeds to flourish you have to first tend to the soil, prepare the ground then nurture the seed first with a little water and food, with sunshine and love… I like to think that’s what I have been doing up here all these years – nurturing the soil, tending to the seeds and waiting patiently watching in wonder and awe as the seeds grow, spread their branches and sprout leaves.

The Yoga festival in Val d’Isère (28th February – 2nd March 2014) is in many ways a fabulous testimony to BKS Iyengar’s teachings and I am proud and thrilled to see what has happened from humble beginnings to the present day. Three days of yoga, music, dance, gratitude, healthy living, precious moments that I am so pleased to share with friends new and old, teachers and my children who are now 5 and 10 and are flourishing in the incredible place.

Do I regret leaving London and its bustle and hustle, no. I miss friends and the fabulous culture you enjoy there. I miss the UK for family and the just so British sense of humour that I love but I have found a land to nurture where seeds I have planted have started to flourish. The mountains of Savoie have become home and I am marvelling at this gift that God has given me…

For more information on the festival:

Wellicious will be joining the Om Market with their gorgeous clothes – Namaste.

Charlotte Saint Jean

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