Friday, 20 July 2018

Why You Need To Go On A Yoga Retreat In Austria | Holzhotel Forsthofalm







The last few months have been filled with so much. I found myself travelling back to back with one day in London here and one day abroad there. They say travelling is good for the mind body and soul which is is. But I've found myself so exhausted from constant travelling that when my latest travel opportunity came around I couldn't resist it.

Those who know me know that I'm not much of an exerciser. I don't go to the gym and I sure don't do yoga. So I was very skeptical about a yoga/exercise retreat in Austria.  That said, the moment I landed I knew this was exactly what I needed.

When it comes to exercise, I would much rather sit at home on the sofa with a large pizza so I thought I would really struggle when it came to the classes at the retreat. But instead I was surprised. I was surprised at firstly, how much I enjoyed it and secondly, how much motivation I had. Especially on the last day.


In early July we headed to Holzhotel Forsthofalm in Austria which felt like a million miles away from the noise and overcrowding in London.

Landing early in the morning, we headed to the hotel 1050m up in the mountains where we were greeted by the lovely owners. A brother and sister who live and breathe everything to do with the hotel. They are so passionate about their hotel, their beliefs and making each of their visitors feel at home that they are always found doing one job or another around the hotel.


We started our day with a walking tour lunch of the hotel. This entailed viewing different rooms around the hotel and each room offerring a different dish; salad, soup, ravioli and salmon...followed by a three course sit down full on lunch. One thing you will notice with Forsthofalm is that they are very keen on food. The food is absolutely delicious and there is so much choice.


After lunch we checked into our rooms and got ready for our first session of yoga. As a yoga novice, I can't believe how comfortable and relaxed I automatically felt. A week of yoga sounded quite daunting, but heading to the exercise class room and looking out the window to the beautiful mountains just made it all feel 100% right. Each of the exercise classes and hikes are free of charge. So if you're feeling adventurous, you can book yourself into any of the classes and not worry about any additional fees.

Yoga was followed by a quick shower and another four course meal. The menus change everyday as they use fresh ingredients. You have the option of meat dishes or vegan dishes as they cater to everyone. If you do not fancy the set menu, you can choose from the a la carte for an additional fee.


The next morning I woke up early to do a few shoots around the hotel and also to sit on my balcony and just take in where I am. Nestled in the trees on a mountain with views of other mountains is just insane!

Breakfast was followed by a hike on the ski mountain. During the winter Forsthofalm is a ski destination. During the summer or warmer months, once the snow has all melted, that same mountain becomes a sport for hiking, and the local farmer brings his cows there to feed on the grass. Once we arrived midway, we stopped and done some outdoor yoga. I never knew there were lots of different yoga methods. But I now know there are loads of different exercises and each create a different mood.


Another class we attended that day was jumping fitness. Although it looks super fun it is extremely difficult! I only managed to make half of the class as my hay fever was killing me, but I was exhausted after. We then headed to the outdoor fire area for a bbq that we got to cook ourselves. There was a large fire pit which they cleaned and added oil in which we could then lay our food on and cook. This is available for all guests to do, you just need to book it in advance. After the bbq, we made vegan pancakes with vegan toppings which were absolutely delicious.


Another thing that the hotel offers is a wonderful spa. The spa consists of massages and treatments two saunas, an outdoor heated swimming pool and a chill out room that has the most incredible views. When selecting your massage there are a range of different things to choose from and each choice results into the type of massage you will then receive. Usually spas are quite dark and lights are turned off, however at Forsthofalm, there are large glass windows in the spa rooms overlooking the beautiful scenery which made for a wonderful change.


That evening we again sat down for a delicious four course meal followed by cocktail making at the bar. The hotel bar is very rustic and cosy, I would love to visit in the winter during the skii months to see the large fire place set alight and drinking and Irish hot chocolate.


Each morning we started our day with a relaxing yoga session to help us wake up and stretch our muscles in preparation for the day. We then headed to Leoganger Klettersteig for a hike up 2160m. I thought this would be my least favourite activity, however it turned out to be my favourite. Hiking up a mountain, in between the clouds, listening to the fresh streams and looking at the vast greeeny and glacier just makes you feel super overwhelmed. I never thought I'd be doing something like this and I am so grateful for such an amazing opportunity. We filled our water bottles with the fresh stream and water never tasted sweeter to me.


We arrived back to the hotel to an outdoor picnic set up for us. So many delicious sandwiches, cheeses and sweet treats you can imagine. This was followed by our last class, bootcamp. By this point, we were all shattered and a few of our group decided not to join in. I myself was planning on skipping, but my legs took me to the class before I ever realised where I was going. Does this mean I was actually enjoying physical activity? Who knows, but I left feeling so energised and ready to take on the world.

I then headed back to my room for a wonderful bubble bath to relax my muscles and get ready for our last dinner.

The hotel itself is mainly built of timber wood. Each room has the wood on show and just makes you feel super calm. I usually struggle to sleep, I usually go to bed very late and end up laying in bed struggling to fall asleep. But since visiting this hotel my sleeping pattern has improved a lot more and it doesn't take me that long to fall asleep anymore.

Overall, the hotel is perfect during the winter for skiing, but during the warmer climate it has so much more to offer. From exercise, to hiking, to the relaxing spa, there is something for everyone. As someone who's not very outdoorsy, I highly recommend visiting Forsthofalm, even if it's just to look at the views because it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

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