“Yoga is not a Self-Improvement Project. It´s About Befriending Yourself”
The International Yoga Day Special
Meet Annette Arndt, a yogini, a surfer and a mom of two lovely kids who came to Fuerteventura seventeen years back on a 3-month surfing sabbatical, and realized that she had to stay. As Fuerteventura has had a history of bringing about transformations and new beginnings, Annette tells us about her first-hand experience with this feeling.
She welcomes us at her serene retreat located in the north of Fuerteventura, in the bohemian village of Lajares. Surrounded by the magnificent views of the extensive volcanic landscapes of Fuerteventura, Yoga Friends is a boutique retreat designed with graceful finesse in each corner that transcends its message of mindful movement.
We settle at one of the private yoga studios coinciding with our interview with the International World Yoga Day and ask Annette about how she started with one of the most successful retreats of Fuerteventura. With an international clientele from not just European destinations like France, Switzerland, Denmark, and Finland, but also far off places like Bali, Miami, and San Francisco; each one of them coming to Lajares to experience the retreats that Yoga Friends has designed.
“First of all, Fuerteventura is quite large relative to its inhabitants. Which means you have a lot of space here. It has this very raw energy that feels very inherently magnetic because it connects to something abstract and indescribable. It connects to this raw nature which resides in each one of us and helps us remember something, reflect on something, relate to our being. Yes, I agree that the island does not have many trees, but it has this beautiful vast landscape with volcanic mountains that have a very feminine form which is very impactful and invigorating to the sight. This vast, extensive typography where your eyes can see as far as you can, helps in even opening the mind and helping one see beyond what one did before. I think if the mind can see with no barriers, it directly reflects on a physical level, emotional and mental level, and our capacity to seek clarity. Fuerteventura allows you to experience seeing far and wide not just physically but also mentally. It is this quality of the place which is instrumental in evoking the feeling of “something indescribable” that connects to the people who come here I think”, she explains.
When asked about the philosophy of Yoga at Yoga Friends, she explains “Yoga is not a self-improvement project. It´s not about becoming a better version of yourself. It is about uncovering what is already there, that has already been there all the time. It is about befriending yourself- which is not an easy thing to do. Because we have been brought up in a very competitive way, and for many of us love has been conditioned in a way that we can only receive it if we deliver something in return. We all have so many conditions that are present at a very subtle level. What we do at Yoga Friends, is we invite you to explore your natural movement patterns through your breath while enabling an environment for you to see clearly through the practice of asanas, observations of breath and a purely vegan and organic diet so that your prana or life energy is in sync with a peaceful and effortless way of being and not a forced or stressed”.
With a profound respect for the plant-based diet and its role in improving one´s life energy or natural movement, Annette strongly recommends the importance of consuming fresh food and abstain from resorting to frozen or canned products. These principles strongly reflected in the philosophy of her retreat where they have reduced the timeline of the produce to reach from farm to table by growing their own vegetables and herbs in the retreat´s garden, thus ensuring more prana, more energy in the food they offer their guests, which directly reflects in their overall well-being.
Yoga Friends started in 2013 and since then has transformed the lives of many travelers who have visited the retreat often when on a personal life transition. From starting a new job to overcoming a separation, from getting clarity to curing an addiction, people have confided in the retreat´s philosophy and mindful movement and is now ready for their next season as the flights to Fuerteventura now reopen.
“In these times more than ever, we need to reflect and practice mindfulness even if it is 5 minutes daily and I urge everyone to give it a try. It will be totally worth it”, she concludes with a heartfelt message.
Fuerteventura continues to be the mecca for personal transformations and new beginnings and Fuerteventura Times is humbled to bring you this exclusive interview celebrating this week that marked the International Yoga Day. Subscribe to our newsletter to get inspired.