Embracing pop-up culture with gusto, three years ago Gabrielle Hales founded the Secret Yoga Club – a pop-up fitness experience that evolved from happening in London living rooms to venues as grand as the Royal Academy of Arts, Sutton House and Wilton’s Music Hall.
This September 15-19, the Secret Yoga Club is popping up at Villa Lena in Tuscany (second picture), where Hales will be hosting a four-day yoga and wellbeing retreat (from £575) with some of her other favourite wellbeing experts – such as Lani Rocillo, who practises sound therapy and energy healing and is also a shaman.
The emphasis may be on yoga – and beginners are welcome – but this is also an experience for the open-minded, including activities such as gong sessions, sound-healing cacao ceremonies for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing, and a ritualistic full-moon ceremony with a backdrop of live music.
Villa Lena is set in 500 hectares of woodland and olive groves, and guests will stay in the estate’s 19th-century apartments, designed by Parisian interiors expert Clarisse Demory. There is an emphasis on the healing power of art too; each room is filled with art produced by the Villa Lena artists in residence, who will also be leading a series of art workshops. Food and nourishment will play a big part too – all the organic seasonal ingredients will be sourced from the estate itself.
“Aside from the sheer natural beauty of the place, Villa Lena’s holistic approach to hospitality is what makes it perfect for the retreat,” says Hales. “The goal is for guests to feel rejuvenated and replenished and to leave with a renewed sense of inspiration.”