A Queenstown yoga studio with the most diverse practice offering in the resort is continuing to expand by hosting its inaugural 'Winter Yoga Retreat'.
Local yoga teacher Peggy Preston, owner and operator of Studio Sangha and Bikram Yoga Queenstown, will personally host the retreat at Lookout Lodge in Wanaka from June 22 to 24.
Studio Sangha specialises in Dynamic Hatha Yoga classes, Restorative Yoga, Gravity Yoga, Yoga Stretch, Power Yoga, Beginners Yoga and Mat Pilates, and is home to Queenstown's only Bikram Yoga Studio. The two studios are located side-by-side.
Guests attending the retreat will be able to tap into Ms Preston's depth of experience and knowledge, and learn about yoga, healthy eating and the best way to look after themselves. The retreat will include sessions on a wide range of topics relating to yoga and wellbeing focusing on asana, pranayama, meditation and Ayurvedic* cooking.
"Hosting a yoga retreat has been a long time goal of mine," said Ms Preston. "People are on the go constantly and most of us don't know how to just stop and slow down.
"The retreat will be a great opportunity for busy people to take stock and find time to focus on themselves.
"I think people are going to love the fact that this retreat is not just about practicing inspiring yoga, but also provides an opportunity to learn about meditation, detox methods and Ayurvedic cooking.
"I'll show them how to re-charge and re-energise and get the most out of their 'me' time - I've got lots to share and I can't wait."
Ms Preston said it took just 72 hours to start a new habit, so the retreat would give people the opportunity to kick start that change.
"The weekend is coffee and alcohol free and I'll be holding cooking classes on Ayurvedic vegetarian style cooking," said Ms Preston. "Everyone will be encouraged to be hands on in the kitchen and take away with them the ability to prepare cuisine they've possibly never even tried before."
Everyone is welcome at the retreat, from beginners through to experienced yogis.
"It's a great opportunity for a group of friends to get away, for couples to have a break together and you don't have to be a yoga expert to attend," said Ms Preston.
"Those starting out on their yoga journey will get a huge amount out of the weekend as well."
Guests at the Winter Retreat will be tapping into Ms Preston's 20 years' of yoga experience. From her first yoga class in Colorado in 1992, Ms Preston went on to train and practice in the United States and Australia before opening her own studio in Queenstown in 2004.
The first retreat for Preston's Studio Sangha will give guests one-on-one time with Ms Preston and lots of time for yoga practice in a small group environment.
"With everyone being so busy all the time, as a race we need to learn to stop and chill and to do this in a way that is good for our body," said Ms Preston.
The retreat is another addition to the growing business Ms Preston operates from her Queenstown based studios. In the eight years that Studio Sangha and Bikram Yoga Queenstown have been in operation the range of yoga styles on offer has increased and Mat Pilates added.
The studio recently doubled in size to cater for a growth in student numbers and the addition of a Bikram Studio makes Studio Sangha the only studio in Queenstown to offer this style of yoga. Also known as hot yoga, Bikram has gained popularity through such high profile enthusiasts as Madonna, Lady Gaga and Elle Macpherson.
"You don't have to be a superstar to see the benefits," said Ms Preston. "It's open to anyone and the practice can heal the body but it can also burn calories. People really notice the benefits.
"We've worked hard to create a studio that is a sacred place for people to explore their strengths and weaknesses. For me, I love the energy of everyone who comes through the door, whether they're locals or visitors here on holiday.
"I enable people to select a style of yoga that suits them, because I truly believe there is a yoga practice to suit everyone."
Retreat details: Studio Sangha's Winter Retreat is at Lookout Lodge, Wanaka from June 22 to 24. The weekend costs $399 including all meals and accommodation. A $50 non-refundable booking fee is required at time of reservation. Bookings are essential. For further information phone 03 442 9642, or go to www.queenstownyoga.com.
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