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Travelling to the South Coast this summer?
Traditionally the summer holidays are a time of indulgence — think cocktails, bubbly, and a diet of fish and chips and Christmas leftovers punctuated by long stretches of daytime napping or catching up on Netflix.
For many people, this summer is looking a little different. After an immensely stressful year, many are looking for ways to nourish their mind and bodies and keep on top of their health.
Bateman’s Bay Soul Tribe Yoga has the perfect solution: a seven-day holiday pass that allows you to join any and all of their classes for just $75.
Thinking to yourself “I’m not really a yoga person”?
Neither was Clare Lovelace, Soul Tribe Yoga teacher and studio owner, who stumbled across yoga in Byron Bay in 2010.
“I was travelling around the world, living out of a backpack,” says Clare.
“I had a very chaotic, hedonistic life. It was a lot of fun, but in general, pretty ungrounded, probably because I didn’t have any stability in my life at all.”
That is, until a friend dragged Clare along to a class that changed her life forever.
“It was really tough, but then at the end we got to lie down in savasana, and I could really feel, for the first time, that I was fully present in my body. I felt like I was coming home and remembering who I really was.”
Clare quickly realised that her partying was at odds with how yoga made her feel, and swapped her three am bedtimes for early nights and began looking after herself more.
While she continued travelling, Clare attended yoga classes wherever she was, developing her practice and discovering like-minded people along her journey. It was in Toronto that an instructor asked whether she had considered teaching.
“It really inspired something within me, and suddenly I thought ‘yes, this is what I want to do’.”
Eventually, Clare landed in Sydney where she trained as a yoga instructor and began managing a local studio.
Four years later, Clare felt her heart was no longer in Sydney. She quit her jobs, bought a van, and flipped a coin to decide whether she should travel north or south. Fate led her south, where she discovered Batemans Bay.
“I loved the area; the coastline and the mountains, how it was so quiet and kind of a secret. I thought it was the most special, beautiful place ever.”
An opportunity arose to buy a yoga studio, and Soul Tribe Yoga was born.
While the airy, light-filled studio offers a menu of classes including Yin, Flow, Gentle, and Pilates, Clare is especially passionate about creating a sense of community.
“Wherever I was in the world, whenever I was travelling and at really difficult times in my life, I’ve always known I can visit pretty much any studio and feel at home, feel part of something, and meet people that are kind, friendly, open-minded and non-judgemental.”
To cultivate this feeling, Clare began a bushwalking Facebook group that’s grown 400 strong, and at one point even set up a volunteer-based street kitchen to feed Batemans Bay’s hungry. But it’s the small touches in the studio, she says, that have been crucial.
“I just did little things, like setting up a tea room so that after every class, people can have tea, and it’s just an amazing opportunity for people to connect with each other. Friendships are made, stories are shared and things are unpacked—it can be just as healing, if not more healing, than the class itself.”
If you’re new to yoga or out of practice, you needn’t be concerned about feeling excluded.
“Absolutely all of our classes are perfect for absolute beginners,” says Clare.
“We’re really used to working with people that have never, ever done yoga. A lot of our clients that come in for the first time haven’t moved in a long time, and we cater to all different levels in every class.”
With classes on every day over the summer, including Christmas and New Years, there’s no reason not to include at least a few yoga sessions into your trip.
“Coming while you’re on holidays means that you get to do all of your family things and have your fun, but you’re also working on yourself at the same time. You’ll go back to your life feeling really good about yourself, because you’ve spent this time working on yourself and finding out ways to be a kinder, more compassionate, calmer and more connected person.”
Clare encourages visitors to squeeze every last drop from their seven-day holiday pass.
“You could literally come to every single class for $75 and do your own little week-long yoga retreat.”
The adjoining Tribe Cafe offers healthy meals (acai bowl, anyone?), smoothies, snacks and coffee, so you can easily spend the day nourishing your mind, body and soul.
Soul Tribe Yoga supply everything you need, including mats and blocks, so you can turn up to the studio with nothing more than an open mind and a little spare time.