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ecoYoga in the Highlands of Scotland
Created by Ellie Cleary of SoulTravelBlog
Scotland had never been at the top of my list for a holiday. Just the word “Scotland” was enough to make me feel cold. In hindsight, I think that’s a major part of the charm. Afterall, I’m not sure anyone would claim to go to Scotland for the weather.
I had a major reason to visit: promises of self-sufficiency and sustainability at ecoYoga, where I’d be staying for a four-day beginners Ashtanga retreat.
ecoYoga is hidden within Inverliever lodge, which is located in a picturesque corner of Argyll in the Scottish Highlands. It offers yoga retreats designed to accommodate various skill levels, as well as self-catering holidays (guests cook their own meals) from spring to autumn each year. ecoYoga is the creation of owners Nick and Rachel Loaning, and is a testimony to sustainable, carbon-neutral living and the mindful practice of yoga.
The center itself is an example of sustainable architecture, designed so that visitors can learn about and engage in yogic practices. Much of the retreat has been handcrafted by Nick and Rachel personally over the last six years, and the love is evident in the details found around the retreat center: from the hand built sauna cabin to the back-bender in the yoga studio to the individually selected luxury beds with memory foam toppers (I slept like a baby).
Energy Inside and Out
To maintain environmental self sufficiency at ecoYoga, the center focuses on energy supply. During summer months, the water is heated by solar and thermal panels on site. Water is an extremely important part of the operation, with electricity being generated by the Inverliever Hydro Power Station. Set across the river Leiver that runs within Inverliever lodge, the station harnesses the natural power of the river and generates enough electricity to power the retreat center about five times over. Energy from the hydro plant is used for electricity throughout the year and to heat water at cooler times of the year. Extra energy is sold back to the national grid and typically powers nearly 300 nearby homes.
The sustainability efforts don’t stop at energy generation. The yoga retreats are designed to provide a sustainable type of yoga practice and energy creation for the human body: a practice that participants can take home with them and use every day.
Before going to the yoga retreat, I was a “wavering” yoga practitioner. After the retreat, I have practiced nearly every day.
Did I mention the bathing?
Have you had a bath today? This is not a typical question to be greeted with by someone you’ve just met. But at ecoYoga there’s a good reason for it. The bathing is on another level. Spending a few minutes in either of the two large outdoor baths (one at the foot of a huge waterfall) is the fastest ways to induce a state of zen never before experienced; I’m sure the hot water had something to do with it. Then there’s the sauna and plunge pool, hot tub in a glass dome that allows you to look out over the green Scottish countryside while staying nice and toasty, and an array of rain showers you’ll want to take home with you.
Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself and become what ecoYoga likes to call a “repeat offender.”