Three Trees Yoga Warrior Retreat, Spioenkop

Three Trees YOGA WARRIOR Retreat, copyright Andrew Woodburn

"It was with great excitement and much anticipation that I headed down to the Drakensberg for my yoga retreat.  I have been doing yoga for many years but I am certainly not as good or as committed as I should be. I also had never done a weekend retreat before and thought it could be a little happy clappy, vegetarian food and lots of meditation.  How wrong I was.  This was a real adult weekend away with a holistic edge - the awesome yoga in the open overlooking the mountains. We drank and ate and had lots of decent conversations and plenty of laughs. There was a wonderful group of like-minded people and I walked away with more friends than I had arrived with.

The yoga was truly inspiring - Clara even taught a class that had no downward dogs and it was wonderful.  I would like to go on every single one of your retreats if I could.  Keep doing them!!"          
Martine Schaffer, MD, Homecoming Revolution

at three trees lodge, copyright andrew woodburn , www.woodburnphoto.co.za

In late August while aloes were still in bloom, Yoga Warrior hosted a small intimate retreat at Three Trees Lodge http://www.threetreehill.co.za/. Set against the panoramic backdrop of the spectacular Drakensberg mountains, the lodge overlooks the battlefield of Spioenkop and the abundant flora and fauna of Spioenkop Nature Reserve (game includes rhino, giraffe, eland and a host of birdlife).

Matthew & Ann under Drakensberg stormy sunset

With only 10 people on this sold out retreat, the lodgings at Three Tree Hill were in one of only six identical, airy and spacious cottages. The aloe leaf green cottages have been authentically constructed based on the housing kits brought out from Britain in the 19th century, complete with tin roof and wooden construction. Each cottage has its own verandah with wonderful views of Spioenkop Reserve and this was a real bonus to be able to rise in the morning and step on to the verandah facing the sunrise and spy with the naked eye rhinos in the reserve below. The comfortable cottages are refined with an elegant feel; beds have hand-embroidered sheets and duvet covers with lovely aloe motifs. Period writing desks and historical touches complete the stylish yet uncluttered décor. The en-suite bathrooms (in fact, bathtubs) enjoy the same magnificent views as the balcony and very importantly large soft towels.

lodge dining room, copyright Andrew Woodburn

We kicked off the weekend with a lovely dinner together, after several others had been chatting and knitting over their canapes and aperitifs for a few hours.  Having discussed the agenda for the next day, we all retired to our cottages for a deep slumber.  The early morning rise that some had spoken of didn't happen and we had a leisurely wholesome breakfast in the warmth of the sun out on the verandah.  Afterwards some headed off hiking to the reserve, others mountain biking while some of us chilled out at the lodge.  We reconvened for a light tasty lunch discussing our morning outings while anticipating the afternoon yoga.  Late in the afternoon by the cosy Dover stove we practiced yoga.  There were some absolute beginners amongst us so we took it very easy in this class while unwinding from our urban living.  By the evening the group was in full swing exchanging views and humour on their day and life in general.

Clara with Kat

For some the night's sleep lasted longer than others after the previous day's stress-relieving yoga class.  We had decided to practice our sun salutations in the morning light on the balcony looking over the reserve valley, surrounded by the bird's morning song and aloes.  It was a more vigorous flowing sequence than the previous day but everybody maintained and our energy rose while we breathed in the fresh mountain air.  It was a wonderful and memorable setting.

down dog pose on yoga retreat with dog, copyright Andrew Woodburn

Somehow it justified a brunch feast which included homemade mealie meal porridge and kedgeree, some home comforting favourites.  We relished the good weather on the verandah again, soaking up our last moments at this special corner and home in the Drakensberg.  The service throughout the weekend was impeccable and generous, nothing was too much trouble, all helping to make the atmosphere completely relaxed and easy.  The company was all interesting; it was great that our shared interest in yoga had brought a mix of varied engaging people together.

cat stalking the yoga class, copyright Andrew Woodburn