Sasha Quince took flight from the rat race to set up the first Vinyasa yoga retreats in Abu Dhabi. She tells Kate Dobinson how to find waves of energy in your own backyard.
Usually, yoga retreats take place in Bali or a similarly stunning landscape.
But we don’t need to get on a plane when there is an oasis in our very own backyard, argues Sasha Quince, the founder of Let’s Go Yoga Abu Dhabi annual spa retreat, taking place at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort from March 19-21.
Sasha, who resigned from a corporate job three years ago to retrain as a yoga teacher, is a shining example of slowing down, taking stock and making life-changing decisions as the new year begins.
‘Sometimes this world can spin you in another direction without you even realising where it’s taking you. The answer is to have faith and let it unravel into something extraordinary, and more often than not, if you follow your heart it will lead you to your passion,’ she says.
We find out exactly how you can do the same…
When did you first start practising yoga?
I stepped into my first yoga class in Abu Dhabi six years ago. I started practising frequently once I experienced a great personal loss in my life. First, I turned to meditation and physical asana (movements aligned to breath) as it provided comfort and was the only thing I knew would help me in that mental and emotional state. Yoga offered peace of mind and the ability to step off the corporate wheel, fuelling me with clarity. I also quickly learned that I could most definitely gain a sweat in yoga.
How long did it take for you to reach an advanced level?
Even now, six years into yoga practice I wouldn’t say I’m at an advanced level; I am chipping away slowly and unravelling more delicious layers of the self through time on and off my mat – where the real practice of yoga is. The mat teaches you how to live off the mat; to release ego, to stay in the present, build patience, let go of what you can’t control and to trust the process.
I have learned it’s not the quantity but the quality of the practice you do in this fast-paced world. One minute of meditation is better then none, and 10 minutes on my mat with light stretches and sun salutations does make a difference. Consistency is key.
How did you set up Let’s Go Yoga Sports Services?
After leaving the corporate world, I was able to dedicate my time to building the concept to reach more of the community. Let’s Go Yoga is a studio that will come to you through events, corporate wellness programmes, weekly group classes, private sessions, kids’ and prenatal classes, and wellness retreats. I offer yoga programmes to a broad base and work within schools, universities and corporate organisations where stress levels are very high.
What makes the Abu Dhabi retreat special?
The weekend retreat in March is open to both intermediate and beginners. It’s not far from home, held at one of the most serene spaces in the capital, it rejuvenates and replenishes your inner reserves, and allows you to connect yourself. It will feature meditation, visualisation, ‘intention practice’, beach yoga classes and moonlight and restorative yoga.
Can you explain what core strength Vinyasa is?
Core Strength Vinyasa was founded by Sadie Nardini from Brooklyn, New York. She excessively researched martial arts and the Chinese medicine concept of the meridian lines of the body. Instead of defaulting to the joints and lower back to build and hold poses, Vinyasa is a fluid wave of energy from within that builds core strength on a profound level from the root of the muscles rather than the superficial ones.
It’s not linear like other styles of yoga, it’s more fluid and natural. The final key difference is the ‘belly bonfire breathing’. This allows you to self-generate heat, massage the internal organs, spark detoxification and support the spine and pelvis to build postures in safe alignment.
Why should we sign up?
Consider this an opportunity to give back to yourself; give back the time, the compassion, the reflection and the peace of mind. Escape from your regular routine and learn to relax and replenish, and to clear and cleanse on all levels. Past attendees have left feeling lighter and walk away with lifetime practises for health and happiness.
From Dhs3,000 for two-night single occupancy, includes breakfast, dinner and Dhs100 voucher to Iridium Spa. March 19-21. Let’s Go Yoga Abu Dhabi Spa Retreat, St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island, www.letsgoyogame.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (050 349 2336).