Amongst the glitzy, glam hotels and superyachts is a part of Antigua that guests to the island rarely find.
Colonial streets and buildings give way to a carefree, relaxed island-style including roadside eateries, bars with dancing until dawn and rather surprisingly, yoga retreats and studios.
Recent years have seen the welcome addition of yoga centred hotels, retreats and studios. The laid-back island feel makes it an ideal destination to escape, experience and exhale.
Pearns Bay House is situated on its own private peninsular, far away from the madding crowds. The perfect place for your own personal, secluded retreat.
We caught up with fellow islander and private yoga instructor, Clemmie, to find out why the island is the perfect place for a retreat and her top tips for creating some inner calm.
Tell us about yourself and how you got into yoga?
I originally came to Antigua in the ‘90s with my family and spent most of my childhood playing on Antigua’s 365 beaches. It was as idyllic as it sounds, the beautiful Caribbean Sea, beaches lined with palm trees and amazing fruit and vegetables growing in the garden.
The island was very un-developed then compared to now so it was peaceful – but there is much more to get involved with now, tours of the rainforest canopy, fishing, eco-tours, incredible restaurants and experiences but Pearns Bay House reminds me of that peace and quiet, having the beach to yourself really accentuates this too.
I trained as a Yoga teacher in London with the East London School Of Yoga (Stewart Gilchrist) five years ago in Ashtanga Vinyasa and went on to teach at top studios in Chelsea, Parsons Green and Fulham. I’m a real anatomy geek too so I took further training in anatomy with Triyoga and Dr Yogi as well as Thai Yoga Massage with the Mudita School in St Pauls, London.
Before Yoga, I worked for Houzz App (Interior Design & Architecture) and in Venture Capital for a number of years but I think teaching Yoga is the best job in the world – look at my office!
What kind of classes do you offer on the island?
I primarily teach private or small group classes. Many of my private clients in Antigua return year after year and I travel to their villa, home or yacht to teach them. Often the classes are 1:2:1 but sometimes I teach couples, just the kids and this Christmas I even taught three generations at once!
Classes can be relaxing sunset Yin yoga sessions, flexibility based, focused on a particular body part or an early power yoga session each morning before breakfast. Everything I do for my private clients is completely tailored right down to the essential oils and music choice.
What do you think makes Antigua the ideal destination to relax, rewind and recharge?
Antigua has endless beaches, hiking trails, amazing local produce and probably the best star gazing around.
What are your recommendations for the ultimate health and wellbeing retreat?
Antigua has the most amazing opportunities for health and wellbeing,
I’d start the day with a strong sweaty power yoga session as the sun comes up on one of the yoga platforms overlooking the ocean. Then I’d have a healthy breakfast, maybe a smoothie bowl made with coconut water from one of our 1000’s of palm trees and mango from our Julie mango trees.
Next, I’d take a swim in the pool and fall asleep on a sun lounger. For lunch, I’d have some amazing Ital cooking which is all vegetarian and made with amazing fresh veggies. After lunch, I’d like a hike in the National Park perhaps to see Nelsons Dockyard or Shirley Heights.
After that, I’d come home for sunset Yin Yoga or perhaps a quick swim in the ocean on Pearns Bay House’s secluded beach. For dinner, I would have to choose our famous Barbuda Lobster from our sister isle and perhaps a nice glass of wine.
A little bit of balance is good for everybody. Especially Yoga teachers! Finally, I’d watch the 1000’s of stars we can see from our island, we have so little light pollution we see shooting stars most weeks. Magical.
What are your top five tips for restoring your soul and inner calm?
1) Stay hydrated. As soon as the body becomes dehydrated all your stress levels go up. Here in Antigua I cut lemongrass in my yard and make bush tea or squeeze a bitter orange into a glass of water.
2) Find a form of exercise that works for you, whether it’s kickboxing, yin yoga or hiking the trails. All exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happier and calmer. You’ll also be more likely to stick to something you love so it will work for you long term.
3) Breathe. We don’t notice how often we hold the breath or let it get shallow. Breathe deeply as often as you can and more when life gets tricky.
4) Happiness. Do more of what makes you happy, watch the funny video, dance in your kitchen, call that family member. Don’t underestimate the power of laughter in helping boost the serotonin levels in your body. Laughing during the day helps you sleep better at night – fact.
5) Balance – everything in moderation. Including moderation of course. Don’t worry about the small stuff, enjoy yourself.
We are delighted to be able to offer private or small group sessions with Clemmie when you visit us at Pearns Bay House. If you would like to find out more, give her a follow on Instagram or visit www.clemmie.london.
Every stay at Pearns Bay House is tailored to give you an unforgettable experience.
Begin your journey to paradise.