Destinations

I downward dogged my way through the Whitsundays... And it was actual bliss

Walking on a dream is a real thing.

By Chloe Lal
Travelling to the Whitsundays I had no idea what to expect.
It has always been on my “one day” list but suddenly I was on a plane up north and on my way to a yoga retreat of all places.
Generally when you think of the Whitsundays you envisage white sand beaches, people who look like any of the Hemsworths, who magically leap out of pools of water.
Surprisingly Thor isn't always at the beach... But he does get wet. You're welcome.
As for the yoga debacle, I have the flexibility of a stick.
Due to the deep fear mixed with anxiety and solid dusting of dread, I kept telling myself it was all going to be fine.
No one has died from doing the child's pose... RIGHT?
I had done yoga just once before and the experience still gives me downward dog nightmares.
Arriving into the town of Prospine I couldn’t believe the area had such vast greenery.
The city of Bowen is just one hour away and boasts some ridiculously good food (and between us even hotter cowboys).
If you’re sticking to just Airlie you’ll still be very pleased, the place is a walking rainforest.
Many of you would be aware that the North part of Australia was hit with Cyclone Debbie. But a few months on, I couldn’t tell anything had happened.
Airlie Beach is a must-visit.
If you're in the area, head to Cedar Creek Falls.
Bliss.
Can someone take me back RIGHT NOW?

Switching off

I was set to transform my life with Jacky Fleming.
I knew I was booked into a two-day yoga retreat and assumed I'd leaving looking like a VS model (I'd even mentally prepared myself that I'd only be consuming singular pieces of kale).
Turns out the next 48 hours would genuinely change me for the better.
If you haven’t gathered yet, I am your typical Gen Y Sydney-sider.
I’d rather stab myself in the eye than walk around without my mobile and headphones in hand. Checking my work email is on par with breathing. And who has time to look around? I have places to be.
It sounds silly and obnoxious but I’ve come quite accustomed to calling this "everyday life".
Jacky’s retreat advises no technology, no coffee, no wine.
Jacky Fleming runs the workshop.
Meaghan Collins is the yoga goddess who can make anyone enjoy the activity.

It's like yoga for the soul

Day one kicked off at 6:45am. I was on a bus with total strangers all headed to Jacky’s home.
And holy crap… If I didn’t like a single thing from this weekend I can say I’ve visited one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever laid eyes on.
The home, which overlooks the water, is seriously magnificent and you instantly feel at ease.
As for Jacky, she’s a warm fireball that just embraces you.
You may not practice what she preaches (yet) but you feel so welcomed that it doesn’t really matter.
Jacky also does the best thing someone in her position could do for a non-believer. She feeds you an abundance of food... Like seriously good food.
WATCH: Kaley Cuoco on the benefits of yoga and wine! Post continues after the video...
I honestly was eating for Australia during this retreat, living by the stance: Each yoga pose you complete, have another a plate of food.
The retreat is a mix of personal workshops, along with many yoga sessions taught by the glorious Meaghan Collins.
To anybody that ever finds themselves at Airlie Beach, drop by to one of Meaghan's classes.
I will always treasure my time with her and what I learnt from her. From breathing techniques, pushing my boundaries, to accepting the things I can and can't do... And being totally OK with it.
I don’t know whether it is the magic of Airlie or Meaghan's mystic powers, but I walked away all glowy and feeling like I can do and be whoever I wanted to be.
Jacky's sessions also take place at Pepperberry Farm.
As for Jacky, she’s like Gandalf the White. She has SO much knowledge and she showers you with what YOU need to know.
The people on the retreat ranged from friends, a couple, to solo travellers. Really, anyone can do it... If you have a pulse then this is for you.
Turns out, we're all were searching for different answers to questions we didn’t know we asked.
Jacky navigated through our muddled thoughts and helped provide us with tools to help us outside her safe cocoon.
While I looked at my issues with things like body image and self worth... Others in the group brought opened up about their marriage, being a parent and how to be happy.
It was confronting. I went in thinking I would learn how to do a yoga pose, instead I discovered so much about myself. What I need, why I have to love myself.
And yes I also learned a pose or two.
Our retreat family.

Three things I live by thanks to goddess Jacky

1. The power of peppermint oil
I’m someone who HATES being sold things. I hate it. I avoid facials and haircuts because I hate the idea of being told I NEED THIS product to better myself. That in mind, if you’ve never tried organic peppermint oil then you are missing out! The stuff is magic and it wakes you up, perks you, makes you feel good. It can get rid of headaches. I can already feel myself getting addicted to the stuff.
2. Daily gratitudes
This may sound like a load of codswallop but far out it is good. Essentially, everyday you just say to yourself three things you're thankful for. It doesn't have to be anything crazy. For example - today I had a fried chicken burger, my computer at work didn't freeze and I remembered I have wine in the fridge!
3. Be kind to yourself
This is something I always read about... And there's good reason. It needs to be drilled into your mind. The person you're going to be stuck with is YOU! Time to give yourself a break.
On that note, I'm going to downward dog my way to gratitude number 2: WINE.
To find out how Jacky can help you head to www.whitsundayhealthandwellnessretreats.com.au/
For all your Whitsundays holiday dreams head to www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au