Written by Lindsay Krause
Our experience as luxury travel coordinators has long shown us the lasting benefits that travel has on the mind, body and soul of our clients. This inspired us to delve deeper into health and wellness travel by collaborating with experts in the field to craft a female-only luxury yoga retreat to South Africa in October 2020. Renowned yoga practitioner, Joëlle Sleebos, was our first choice in leading a holistic wellness experience for our clients in three iconic destinations namely, Cape Town, the Cape Winelands and the Greater Kruger. Our mission was to invite yogis of all levels to discover South Africa’s beauty while simultaneously taking the time to reconnect with themselves and others. While a strong emphasis was placed on incorporating daily wellness activities, we also hand-selected properties which complement the tone of the retreat – Arambrook Boutique Hotel, Santé Wellness Retreat and Spa and Saseka Tented Camp.
Cape Town based yoga instructor, Joëlle Sleebos will be a fundamental part of Ker & Downey® Africa 2020 Yoga Retreat. Her passion for and expertise in yoga is undeniable. With over 10 years of teaching experience, Joëlle strives to connect people through yoga and give them the platform to gain a better understanding of themselves. We caught up with her to find out more about yoga, why it is a necessity in our modern-day lives and why she believes a yoga retreat in South Africa is the ultimate escape.
Joëlle: My yoga practice started over 20 years ago when I was working a corporate job in Australia. At first, I was skeptical but the practice crept under my skin and I found myself practicing every day. My mat became a sacred place for me to stay grounded and reconnect with myself. Yoga has changed every aspect of my life and has helped me to become the best version of myself, on and off the mat. My passion is to help people connect through yoga and allow them to gain a better understanding of themselves.
Joëlle: With the frantic pace of our modern-day lives we often feel distracted and do not afford ourselves the time to check-in and connect with ourselves. This is why I think yoga is so important.
I believe that a healthy body stimulates a healthy mind and improves the overall quality of life. Yoga has given me the opportunity to embrace this philosophy wholeheartedly from the way that I think, eat, speak and every lifestyle choice I make and I hope that I can spread that awareness with my clients.
Joëlle: Travelers now are seeking more meaningful travel experiences as opposed to the traditional approach of rushing from one place to the next. There is a global need to rest and recover during our time off, but also to grow and reconnect with ourselves in a beautiful destination.
I ensure that the retreats that I host are always in a serene destination where travelers can discover something new while nourishing their mind, body and soul and form genuine connections with like-minded individuals. Ultimately, I want guests to return home and rejuvenated.
Joëlle: I was inspired to give back to the yoga community in 2016 when I completed my level 2 YTT at Radiantly Alive in Bali. The Dharma Project is a non-profit organization that hopes to make yoga more accessible. Our main event is the annual International Day of Yoga. On the 20th of June this year, we will host the 5th International Day of Yoga – an annual celebration of yoga where we come together to practice yoga, partake in workshops and enjoy a market and massages. We hope to raise funds for the Earthchild Project, a non-profit organization that works with children and teachers from disadvantaged schools and develop programmes that focus on the environment, health and life-skills.
Joëlle: I have trained in Europe and India but mostly in Bali at Radiantly Alive in Ubud, where I now facilitate training myself. I teach Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, Suspension Yoga and Yoga Sculpt. I love breaking down meditation practices and pranayama practices as well.
Joëlle: I was inspired by Ker & Downey® Africa’s commitment to provide quality wellness-focused travel itineraries to their clients. The team is passionate about creating quality experiences for their clients, ensuring that they return home transformed and inspired. The collaboration was well aligned with my beliefs to provide a curated retreat that is customized to the client.
Joëlle: I would love for the women that come on the retreat to find the opportunity to disconnect from the stress of their day-to-day lives and truly reconnect with their authentic selves and with others. I would like to inspire the women to add new yoga-related tools to their life toolbox while discovering the beauty that South Africa has to offer. I hope each woman that attends the retreat will return home recharged and feel radiantly alive.