This is your chance to enjoy all the things dreams are made of: balance and strength through yoga, perspective and exploration through hiking, and self-indulgent self-care through spa treatments. And, because true inspiration is a 360-degree experience, our home base is a beautiful chalet amidst the breathtaking French Alps. C’est parfait!
This very special luxury women’s retreat, lead by 2 incredible instructors – Margaret Burns Vap and Caitlin Kelly, is the perfect mix of fun activity and ultimate relaxation. We have paid enormous attention to detail to ensure the enjoyment of our guests throughout this retreat: Private transfers from the airport, multiple massages/spa treatments, a fine selection of wines included with every meal, trips to Chamonix’s best attractions including the Aiguille du Midi, a day out at a wonderful Italian spa, an optional helicopter flight and lots more.
Spend your days surrounded by a small-yet-mighty group of inspiring women; flowing through asanas on our sun-kissed deck overlooking the Mont Blanc mountain range, shifting your perspective on guided hikes, and returning home to French wines, gourmet meals, and magical massages. Ah oui!
It is our intention to create a week of fun, laughter, love and breath. Prepare to open a new chapter. This retreat is open to all levels of experience.
This retreat includes:
- A full body welcome massage
- 7 nights accommodation in a beautiful Alpine chalet
- Healthy and delicious meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner
- A full week of yoga classes and mindfulness exercises
- Incredible guided mountain hikes
- A trip up the ‘Aiguille du Midi‘ in one of the highest cable cars in Europe at 3842m
- A whole day at a fantastic Spa just over the border in Italy
- Spa treatment (a tailor-made massage where you can choose between facial, back, neck, legs or feet) at the Italian spa
- An evening meal at one of the best restaurants in Chamonix, the wonderful Italian family owned gastronomic restaurant l’Impossible, where they care deeply about using organic, local produce
- Wine tasting evening at the chalet
- A 20-minute helicopter flight for panoramic views of the Mont Blanc massif *optional
- A trip to the ‘Mer de Glace‘ (‘Sea of Ice’) glacier from Chamonix on the Montenvers rack and pinion train
- Transfers to and from Geneva airport
- JADE Yoga travel mat
- A copy of Mountain Lines: A Journey Through the French Alps
For more info on the activities included check out our Activities Page
Our beautiful chalet is nestled in the mountainside, high above the valley floor, with stunning views of Mont Blanc.
The chalet has 7 bedrooms, all designed and equipped to a very high standard. All of them have French doors leading out on to a South facing balcony overlooking the Chamonix valley and directly opposite the magnificent Mont Blanc mountain range. The bedrooms can be shared twins or doubles with a super king size bed and all have an en-suite bathroom, TV, DVD player and iPod docking station. Several have sun loungers just outside on the balcony.
The chalet has its own spa with a sauna, steam room, walk in shower and treatment room for the on-site massages. The terrace is the ideal place for yoga, complete with Jacuzzi, outdoor pool and breath-taking panoramic views of the French Alps. We also have a secluded indoor space for yoga and meditation, in case of rain.
The living area has large floor to ceiling windows to capture the valley scenery. A stone open fire place plays centrepiece to the sunken lounge and dining area, making it an inviting and sociable area to relax. There is also a cinema room and games room at the chalet to enjoy in your free time.
During your retreat, there will be an excellent full-time chef, chalet host and driver providing catering, cleaning, driving and 24hr assistance.
The quality of the food on our retreats is very important to us. You will enjoy healthy, nutritional meals carefully chosen by our chef to complement the retreat perfectly. The food will be absolutely delicious and mostly vegetarian or vegan but you can opt for fish or meat when booking your retreat. Please include your dietary requirements in the section provided at checkout. We use organic and local produce where possible.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS
MARGARET BURNS VAP
Margaret is the founder of Big Sky Yoga Retreats and creator of Cowgirl Yoga™. Her relationship with yoga began more than a decade ago, when she began attending Jivamukti Yoga and took up the practice in an attempt to balance her hectic New York City lifestyle and corporate career with cosmetics giant L’Oréal. A few years and several hundred down dogs later, she traded in her designer duds for yoga pants – and moved to Washington DC to open her own studio. She combined her business background and passion for fitness to create Georgetown Yoga, which soon became one of DC’s most popular studios.
Margaret practiced at Jivamukti London, when her family relocated to the UK for six months, and studied Ashtanga Yoga under Richard Freeman, David Swenson, and Dave Oliver. She also completed a 200-hour training program with renowned California/New York-based Yoga Works and traveled to Hawaii for Baron Baptiste’s Level 1 Teacher Training Bootcamp.
Margaret’s students have included celebrities and DC luminaries to wheelchair-bound seniors, beginner yogis to experienced yoga instructors – and everyone in between.
Her belief that yoga can benefit anyone was part of what excited Margaret when her family relocated to Bozeman, Montana in early 2007. Alongside her husband David, daughter Morgane, and two Boston Terriers, she quickly embraced the laid-back-yet-vibrant town, its outdoor fitness focus, and breathtaking 360-degree mountain views. It wasn’t long before she felt called to combine her love of yoga with her new-found love for Montana.
Margaret’s fresh approach to teaching and natural gift for creating nurturing, safe spaces for people to practice yoga inspired the formation of Big Sky Yoga Retreats with whom we are now collaborating to bring you this wonderful retreat.
Read I’m Margaret Burns Vap, and this is my Dharma on the Sivana Spirit blog.
Margaret’s website: www.bigskyyogaretreats.com
Caitlin never intended to become a yoga instructor. Fourteen years ago, she and her best friend walked into their local gym and learned their regular fitness class was cancelled. So, they decided to try the yoga class next door instead. They giggled their way through the asanas and finished the class wondering where the heck Savasana had been all their lives!
She began a regular yoga practice and loved how yoga made her physically strong, emotionally balanced, and spiritually open in ways she never thought possible.
Caitlin completed Vinyasa and Yin Yoga certification programs at YogaLove in Yardley, PA in 2010 and 2013. While there, she also deepened her meditation practice and began creating mala necklaces for meditation and prayer. She now offers her custom, heart-and-handmade malas online at Anahata Mala.
Though she currently lives and works in Philadelphia, PA, Caitlin heads west every year to lead mala-making workshops and teach yoga at B-Luxe Cowgirl Yoga. She believes in creating a safe, loving space for her students to learn and grow.
“It’s an honor to share my experience and love for yoga and meditation with people who open their hearts and minds to the practice,” she says.
Caitlin’s website: www.caitlinkyoga.com
Experience guided walks through the stunning French Alps.
Our gentle half day hikes last 2 – 3 hours with plenty of rest time to take in the incredible views. No prior fitness level is required. Our qualified and experienced walking guide and nature expert, Susanna Walker, carefully chooses trails to suit the abilities of our clients. She makes sure no-one is left behind, while imparting knowledge on the local wildlife and beautiful fauna.
On the full day hike we leave the chalet at 10am and set off to explore some of Chamonix’s best hiking trails. Around midday we make ourselves comfortable in an Idyllic setting for a high mountain yoga session followed by a healthy packed lunch with impressive views. When rested, we continue our inspirational journey through the spectacular Mont Blanc mountain range before returning to the chalet to enjoy a fresh healthy smoothie and to relax in the hot tub, sauna and steam room.
All hikes are optional.
WHAT TO BRING
Chamonix Mont Blanc is the most beautiful Alpine region in Europe and as with all mountain regions, the weather is unpredictable. It can be extremely hot on sunny days and occasionally very cold even in summer, so it’s always a good idea to check the weather report right before you travel.
We recommend bringing hiking boots or sensible outdoor footwear, sunglasses, sun cream, a bathing suit (for the hot tub / spa / pool), a backpack, a waterproof coat, a hat and warm layers. Don’t panic if you come unprepared or forget anything, there are plenty of shops in town.
The yoga classes will take place on the decking outside the chalet surrounded by the stunning Mont Blanc mountain range but we do have an indoor room to use on rainy days. We provide blankets as well as all yoga equipment (mats, blocks, bricks, straps, bolsters, eye pillows and blankets) but please bring extra layers in case of cold days.
We also provide towels and bathrobes at the chalet so no need to bring your own.
During the meet and greet we will go over the schedule and weather report for the week so we can adjust the schedule a bit if necessary (hiking on sunny or slightly overcast days). We will fit the massages in around the schedule.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
In light of recent events, our diligent staff have been retrained and now implement updated health and safety procedures in line with government guidelines. It is now obligatory for our staff to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). We will also provide masks for our guests to use and there are hand sanitising stations in place.
We now have a lower maximum number of clients (10) and if you opt for a shared (twin) room you will be in one of the two largest rooms, with daily thorough cleans of the bathroom and each guest having their own sink, products, towels and bathrobes. There will be a top to bottom disinfection of the property between retreats, extremely thorough cleans between use of sauna / steam room (only one person at a time and 30 – 40 minute slots), regular disinfecting of surfaces, no sharing of yoga equipment, general social distancing rules which we will go over with you on arrival and whenever possible we will practice yoga on our spacious deck in the fresh mountain air.
Please try to social distance as much as possible for 2 weeks BEFORE the retreat and check your temperature on the morning of travel. If you are feeling in any way unwell, stay at home. It may be possible to reschedule your retreat at no cost to you but please take out cancellation insurance to avoid any disappointment.