Montage Yoga Retreats with Ashley Turner

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Two of my best girlfriends and I from college try to make it a point to get together about once every three months (without kids) to catch up and share our mommy struggles and laughs.  Last month we decided to get together at a spa on the day before Mother’s Day as a little “Happy Mother’s Day” gift to ourselves.

As it happened, while I was writing this post on the monthly yoga retreats offered at Montage Laguna Beach called the “E-volve” Wellness workshop and retreat series I noticed that one of the retreats happened to fall on that same Saturday so I forwarded the info to my friends to ask if they wanted to try it out.

Both of them quickly responded with, “Um, Montage? Laguna Beach? Spa? Yoga? Let me think about it…HECK YES!””

And, get this!! At the cost of only $65 per person per 2 hour workshop the fee also includes use of the spa pool and facilities for the day.

We planned to take full advantage of this amazing offer and event, so we made a reservation for the afternoon workshop, but arrived around 10am so that we would have time to enjoy the spa facilities and lunch by the pool before yoga.

When we arrived and walked into the lobby the view was so spectacular we had to step out onto the terrace to take it all in.

The property is so beautiful it almost doesn’t even look real.

Then we headed over to the Spa, which is a GORGEOUS facility that feels more like being in someone’s incredibly upscale home. Insanely elegant but yet still comfortable. Hands down one of the all time most incredible spas I have EVER been to. Amazing.

One of my friends had such a stressful week the week prior that when she got to the spa and hugged us “hello” she actually started crying from a place of HAPPINESS.  Oh, how intensely you appreciate a little break when you are a mom!!!

After we got over our tears of happiness, we got settled, made ourselves a cup of flavored tea and headed to the Jacquzzi area to sit in the comfy lounge chairs and chat.

It was so awesome to rotate between lounging, Jacquzzi, steam and then the cold plunge pool. Soooo relaxing. And just so amazing to have uninterrupted time to TALK!

After enjoying the facilities, we headed out to the pool to grab some lunch at the Mosaic Bar and Grille.  The spa pool is completely separate and had again, the most incredible view.

Even on an overcast May day, it was perfect!

Here are the three very happy mamas…

Just look at this view from our table…

After a LOVELY and very YUMMY lunch we went to change and get ready for our yoga session.  I really didn’t know what to expect, but had done a lot of reading about Ashley Turner, so I was really looking forward to experiencing her workshop.  Her philosophy and style sounded so unique.  Take a moment to read about her.  Really interesting.

And isn’t she gorgeous?!  We got into the studio and it is just the most breathtaking room with an ocean breeze and views of the Pacific.  So serene.

Ashley was so warm and down to earth. Sometimes I get intimidated in yoga classes because I am far from being a yogi. But I felt very comfortable in her class.

The first 1 hour and approximately 15 minutes consisted of vinyasa style yoga and stretching. It felt so good to completely stretch every muscle in my body. I didn’t realize how tight I was until I started doing the different poses.

She focuses on dynamic vinyasa style, which means that it was a flowing style, or one pose into the next.   But even someone that had never done yoga before could do it.  It was the type of class that where you could adapt the poses to your level. Which for me, was beginner!

Her yoga class was unlike ANY other I have ever experienced because throughout the practice she interspersed various inspirational ideas and pieces of wisdom.

Although her classes are for men and women, that day in particular the workshop was on “Celebrating the Feminine” in honor of Mother’s Day weekend so the focus was on the strength, power, beauty and fluidity we possess as women.

During the class she also challenged us to explore our inner intentions and at one point when we were in a pose, she urged us to take any parts or issues in our lives that were unsettled and to bring them to the forefront of our minds for reflection. We also did this for the areas in which we felt gratitude.

It was a gift to take the time, while deeply relaxed, to really reflect on my life. How often do you get to do that in your normal daily routine?

Another nugget of wisdom I took away was how she said we get “prana” or vital life energy from the influences of water and nature.  So just by being aware of rooting our feet in the earth we were taking in energy and by looking at the ocean we were taking in energy.

And I thought about it more.

Anytime I am feeling a bit down or out of sorts, if I go for a run outside by the Back Bay or just even get outside with my kids, I instantly feel better.  Such a great reminder of the energy that is all around us.

The last 45 minutes consisted of restorative meditation, which was deeply transforming.  We were given blankets and resting in the most comfortable pose. Through a guided meditation, she spoke of health, happiness and balance, and striving for self-acceptance in our bodies and lives.

Another thought that was powerful to me was how she said to “weed out our emotional garden” to open up space for new ideas and new experiences.   And this was only the tip of the iceberg of what I got out of the session and the inspiration I got from it.

I was in such a state of deep relaxation that I kept floating in and out of consciousness. And throughout, the messages were so inspiring and powerful and positive and uplifting.

When it was over I was so deeply relaxed, I felt like I had gotten a two-hour massage.

And I didn’t leave and leave the class at the door. Throughout that next week and even today messages will come to me or I will remember things I learned or took away from that class.  Especially when I am out in nature and by the water.  It was a truly incredible and transforming experience.

These retreats occur once a month and there are still spaces open for the one happening next weekend, June 18th and 19th, titled, “A Summer Solstice: Ignite + Inspire.”  The workshops are from 9-11am or 3-5pm.  Again, cost is $65 per 2 hour session.  Click the link on the title for the information and to call for reservations.

You can also click this link and click “View Our Schedule for Saturday Workshops” at the bottom for a full list of the next six months of dates and workshop titles so you can start planning your girls’ day at the spa now!  I will definitely be going to the July 23rd one titled, “Happiness is an Inside Job.

And speaking about happiness, I saw this quote yesterday on Ashley’s Facebook page, and I wanted to end with it!

“When you’re Happy for No Reason, you bring happiness to your outer experiences rather than trying to extract happiness from them. You don’t need to manipulate the world around you to try to make yourself happy. You live from happiness, rather than for happiness.”

~ via Marci Shimoff

Namaste Ashley, it was incredible!

{Disclosure: I received the workshop for free, compliments of the Montage, a Tiny Oranges Sponsor. Thank you!! }


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  1. 1
    Pam says:

    This is the best kept secret in the OC! Incredible yoga class and the spa and spa pool are so gorgeous and relaxing!

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