Summer holiday stress & our choice to go on a Family Yoga Retreat

Posted on Aug 19, 2016

Summer holiday stress & our choice to go on a Family Yoga Retreat

People who travelled extensively before know the feeling – you can’t get used to a normal two or three week-long holiday anymore. We experienced the same this year. Since our return home last year October we had only travelled once, to Disney Land Paris during Spring Break, so in April we started to get really restless as we had not made any plans for the summer holidays. We considered to fly again to far-away sunny places like Mauritius or Hawaii or, what we really wanted, return to South Africa or maybe visit Tanzania. But each time when we started seriously planing one of these trips we discovered quickly that we can’t do these trips anymore in two or three weeks. If we truly wanted to enjoy these places, take the time to experience things, travel slow as we did before, we would need at least five to six weeks, which was not possible this year.

So we refocussed and started to look at more near-by destinations. As we desired nice sunny summer weather we thought of Malta, Mallorca, Ibiza… But it never clicked, we just didn’t find that place where we felt the click inside that said *yes!*. When we noticed we got stressed about the holidays we said, let’s just not book anything and drive to the south until we find a nice place to stay.

But then one evening Taco followed his intuition and landed upon a website offering a family yoga & nature experience retreat near Toulouse in the south of France. Right away we knew this was the thing for The Great Family Leap. We had been talking about a family retreat for years, but never came across anything that felt right. This one sounded great and it felt aligned with what we had been longing for. What felt congruent was that we would truly enjoy a family experience, we would have time and space for ourselves and we would have shared experiences, we would be stretched and we would laugh, play, rest, and rest some more. It would be a new experience (which is really important to Taco), there would be other kids (which is important to our kids), and it would be an opportunity for the integration of recent personal growth and provide lots of movement (which was important to Petra), and all of this at a beautiful location, with like-minded people, being served delicious healthy food, in a bubble in which ‘time’ would not exist and with the chance to go out into nature with a guide if we desired to do so.

Early August we flew to Toulouse as the kids don’t enjoy long car drives and we all missed the experience of flying. We choose to add a few days at the beginning of the trip so we could get used to France and enjoy the region before the retreat started. Our first nights we stayed at a Maison Josephine, a small picturesque chambre d’hote half-way between Toulouse and Carcassonne. From here we made two day-trips. The first to the old medieval fortress, Cité de Carcassonne, an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was busy and yes it is touristy, but we liked wandering through the narrow streets of the city, having a high quality lunch on one of the many terraces, visiting the old castle and the cathedral, and watching the knights and horses spectacle show. Our second day trip was to the Cité de l’espace (City of Space) a theme park focused on space and the conquest of space in Toulouse. Our son loves space, so this was a must-go for us. We were pleasantly surprised by the Cité de l’space as it was layed-out spacious with both a great garden and three floor building filled with full-scale models of the Ariane 5 rocket and the MIR space station, a 3D movie theater, a space playground and plenty of interactive exhibits. Both trips are well recommended for families with kids.


After these fun activities it was time for our Family Retreat, so we drove to La Borde Blanque an authentic French country farmhouse that was bought three years ago by a Dutch family, who now organises yoga and energy healing retreats. The house is situated on the crest of a hill with a magnificent view over the surrounding countryside. It has a private lakeside beach on the beautiful Lac de Montbel, with clear and clean water to swim in. This was the first time they organised a family retreat, as normally they only entertain adults. Eight families joined the event, with kids ranging from four to twelve years old. The retreat had a fixed program: at 8am a small fruit snack and half an P1150107hour later the yoga class for adults, while the kids were entertained at the kids club; breakfast was served at 10am, followed by a yoga class for the young kids; the remainder of the morning and the afternoon was free to do some hiking, visit the french country side or one of the many castles or ruins, go swimming in the lake or just relax at the house; at 17:30 there was a second yoga class for adults and a second kids club; the day was then finished-off with a vegetarian dinner buffet of great quality and a yoga class for the older kids. The kids had the time of their life with the yoga classes, kids club and playing with the other kids, not to forget the dogs, cats and horses! And because the kids were out and about a lot of the time, we as adults had our space to enjoy ourselves in our own ways, chatting with the other participants over a campfire, working out our visions in our journals, reading a book or just simply laying in bed, sleeping, allowing our bodies to receive from the yoga movement, doing nothing. Two yoga sessions per day was intensive at first, but we quickly got used to it and now back home, we miss the daily exercise and we are looking how we can incorporate more yoga into our daily routines. The kids miss it to, and they regularly burst out in some random pose they suddenly remember and everyone joins in the fun of the moment. We had some dragons landing on the grass earlier today!

What maybe surprised us most was how deeply rested we came home, and how transformed we felt – how we had connected with our next vision and how it felt normal already. We realised we had tapped into a powerful vortex during the retreat, and it had been easy and fun. This is what lights us up and truly nourishes us. We already thought so, but now we know so: The Great Family Leap loves Family Retreats. This is something we will surely do again, and we have in our vision to organise one of our own… you might see an invitation to join us some time in the future!