Looking forward to Montebello

Linda hasn’t travelled since the start of the pandemic.

“I don’t like to live that dangerously,” she laughs. “You don’t need to tell me twice to wear a mask or stay at home. But as soon as I read about Montebello in The Divine Destination Collection newsletter back in May, I knew I wanted to go. I was probably the first person to sign up.”

After a tough three years, which included the death of two family members, and injuring her wrist and shoulder, a yoga retreat that concentrated on stress management and rest and relaxation was the perfect getaway for Linda.

“It was in Canada, so I didn’t have to travel far. I have lots of family in Quebec, so I was familiar with the area. It wasn’t going to be a large group of people, and I knew the Fairmont Le Château Montebello had high standards and would take extra special precautions to keep guests safe.”

Linda had also been looking for a yoga retreat for a long time that spoke equally to the mind, body, and soul.

“Although I haven’t travelled with Allison and Deb before, I’ve been going to their yoga studio  for 10 years – ever since it opened. I knew they had high values and ethics,” she says. “And they know how to throw a great party!

“I’m looking forward to new ideas and new techniques. I can’t wait!”

Fairmont Le Château Montebello - Aux-Chantignoles

Time to get on with life

Although there was some pandemonium going through security at the Vancouver airport and no social distancing, Rose was glad she made the decision to recently travel to Ontario to visit her sister.

“I was anxious about travelling – but it turned out to be okay. I’m double-vaxxed, so I thought I just needed to get on with my life,” she says.

Like Linda, Rose’s life had been quite hectic over the past few years as she dealt with some personal challenges. In fact, she didn’t mind the isolation of COVID-19 at first. “When I couldn’t go anywhere, I was relieved,” she said. “But now I’m an empty nester and I work from home. I need to be around people again.”

Rose had started going to yoga retreats before the pandemic and knew Allie Chisholm-Smith. “Allie is so authentic. I always loved her yoga classes.”

So when Rose received Allie’s newsletter and read about the trip to Montebello, she decided to sign up. “I thought it looked interesting, and I love Allie. But after I signed up I thought, ‘Oh no – what have I done?’ But now that I’ve travelled to Ontario, I’m excited.”

Rose is also going to add on a few days to visit Montreal as well as to experience the changing leaves in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. “This is something I am doing for myself. I need to get going and be out in the world again.”

panoramic view of montreal-GEHKRZ5
allie chisholm-smith

Revive… A Return to Joy, Substance and Resilience

Allie Chisholm-Smith, who has taught yoga for more than 25 years and studied Ayurveda for two of those decades – a natural approach to health which originated in India more than 5,000 years ago – will be at Montebello to help the group let go of the stress and fear of the last two years and develop strategies for creating balance in their lives.

“We need to build our resilience back up and get grounded,” explains Allie. “We need to figure out who we are, and how we are. A big reason we get sick is because we lose our connection to our spirit. We forget who we are.”

Each day Allie will lead the group through a combination of yoga, conversation, and the opportunity to reconnect with nature to help ease the anxiety they may be feeling and find ways to get back to who they are supposed to be.

“It’s about getting the toxicity out, but also getting the joy out. After all, there may have been good things that happened during the pandemic,” she says.

Mornings will start off with an all-levels yoga session, followed by a restorative session in the afternoon – “like a lullaby for the nervous system,” says Allie.

When we are stressed our systems don’t work properly, as we are focused on the fear or worry that is consuming us. “We need to calm down our nervous system,” she says.

Fall Forest Bathing
Fall Forest Bathing

Strategies to create balance and feel better

The group will also discuss the Ayurvedic approach to health and learn about some of the simple things they can do to feel better – such as understanding how what they eat affects how they feel. “If you are feeling angry or irritable, don’t eat that chili pepper,” laughs Allie.

Since the leaves will be beginning to change colour at Montebello, it will be a great time to do some forest bathing – which can be described as meditating in nature and really being aware of your surroundings. “Nature helps us connect with ourselves,” says Allie.

“It’s also important to have intentions behind our actions. To be outside and think about the stars. To be present in the moment.”

Besides providing a first step out into the world after almost 20 months of isolation and physical distancing, and a soothing break to help revive bodies, minds, and spirits, Allie hopes the group will come away with strategies to do on their own to create balance in their lives.

“This is about self-knowledge. It’s an ongoing process of finding the right balance of Ayurvedic elements or doshas – earth and water, fire and water, and air and ether – to be who you are supposed to be.”

Revive… A Return to Joy, Substance and Resilience takes place from Thursday, September 30 to Sunday, October 3 at the beautiful Fairmount Le Château Montebello in the Outaouais region of Western Quebec.

It will be three days of relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation – as well as amazing food, great wine, and a few surprises along the way!

NOTE: The official policy of The Divine Destination Collection is that all travellers must have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in order to travel with us to Montebello.

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