Ki Niseko's Yoga Retreat with Aram Raffy
Our recap of this week's yoga retreat with Aram Raffy!
This week in Niseko, we were blessed with a rare and unique opportunity–Aram Raffy, a popular yoga instructor from London, was running a week-long yoga retreat from 18 - 24 August, 2016. Known for running vigorous Ashtanga classes which are designed to get students hot and sweaty while moving through challenging sequences in sync with their breathing, Aram's class would put us all to the test.
Chances to take classes with international instructors are less common over the summer months in Niseko, so we were pretty excited to be a part of his workshop and to welcome him from the U.K. to Niseko-Hirafu, Japan!
There were 2 sessions each day, one in the morning and another class in the afternoon. Starting each lovely morning with Aram's dynamic Ashtanga yoga classes was a real treat. The daily sequence that he ran would start off slowly each morning, allowing students to (re)familiarize themselves with the basic postures and slowly built up speed until we were all moving through the series in line with our inhalations and exhalations. With the amazing panoramic view from the 5th floor conference room of Hirafu 188 all of our efforts were rewarded with the continuous beauty of the Hirafu village and Mt. Yotei laid out before us.
After a short rest, there was a break of a few hours between the morning and afternoon class, students would come back to our practice space for the second daily session. Unlike the morning class, the afternoon class was much slower and focused on relaxation and meditation. It made for a great match with the morning session as it worked well to release some of the fatigue and stress that built up in the body through the rigorous morning class! Each afternoon class was calm and slow, allowing us to focus on our breath and fall into a warm sense of mindfulness.
On one of the days, we even practiced out on the balcony (pictured below) which was particularly inspiring, with a gentle breeze and the majestic Mt. Yotei before us.
Sadly, the last class of the retreat finished up this morning and we have had to say good by to Raffy. Even so, that wasn't an excuse to go easy in our last morning Ashtanga class! It was a hot and fun morning and we even had a few new faces who made it out before it was too late! In the end, we will all have taken different memories, experiences, and moments from his class, but I'll always remember to breath deeply, move dynamically, and live with gratitude for every single moment of my life!