A bright big smile is beaming at me, her hair is light blond, her energy is palpable and the positivity surrounds her like sunshine is infectious. Meet Barbara Glanznig or better known as Babsi, a name more resonate with her fun personality, a Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga instructor with a different view on the ever-growing concept of retreats. She, along with Nicole Nugent and Georgie Bishop, close friends who set up to redefine retreats and Elevated RE:treat, their brainchild, was born just over a year ago.
They are all nature loving girls, living in Telluride, a backdrop of majestic mountains, nestled away in the corner of Colorado acts as the inspiration for the retreats they offer. Telluride is a quaint little Victorian mining town that has some of the best skiing around which goes nicely with their winter retreats that include yoga, meditation and a little powder action. Babsi is also a Powder 8 Ski Champion in case you’re a newbie and need a lesson, you’ll go from balancing in tree pose to balancing on a pair of skis, feeling the exhilaration of a downward slope. Also an experienced hiking guide, something they offer on summer retreats, Babsi has walked and explored through some breathtaking mountain ranges in Europe, Scandinavia, North America and Asia. Elevated RE:treats are opportunities to set aside the daily busy schedule, Babsi notes that she wants people to be able to switch off, reconnect with nature and seriously distress. Having earned a law degree in 2005 in Vienna, Babsi knows well the stresses that come with a high demanding career and this led her, along with Nicole and Georgie, to create an outlet for professionals to bring their stress levels down, even if it’s just a three day retreat. Three days of moving, stretching, balancing through yoga, participating in nature, eating healthy delicious meals while discovering some new ways of better living can do wonders for the stressed out city dweller. A typical day may look like this:
7.00 - 9.45 am Meditation and Morning Yoga (Ashtanga inspired)
9.00 - 10.00 am Breakfast
10.00 - 11.45 am Detailed Asana studies & philosophy
12:00 - 1.45 pm Lunch & Break
2.00 - 4.00 pm Outdoor activities (these vary depending on location and season)
4.30 - 5.30 pm Afternoon Restorative Yoga class
7.00 pm Dinner
No strict diets are recommended on RE:treats, instead they ask people to keep an open mind to try new healthy dishes and not to shun a lovely glass of red or a succulent piece of organic grass-fed beef. It’s all about balance and enjoyment. All dietary requirements are met on the retreats and the meals are included so that’s one less thing to think about. Babsi herself is a big vegan foodie with a passion for cooking and complements her Ashtanga practice with Ayurvedic self-care practices including some food and spices. She shared with me one of her favourite Winter time treats with a healthy kick:
"Almond* Milk Hot Chocolate with a Twist"
1 C unsweetened Almond Milk (I make my own, but when I travel I love Trader Joe's)
1 TS 100% Raw & Real Cacao
1 pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1/2 pinch Himalayan Sea Salt (to balance the sweetness)
Sweetener to use: Raw Honey, or Sugar in the Raw (I am not a big fan of Agave).
*You can use any kind of non-dairy milk for this recipe. I personally love the Almond-Raw Cacao taste and prefer this milk over others!
-Add Almond Milk to pan, and heat over medium heat until it starts to bubble.
-Then take off and slowly add the cacao. Whisk until everything has dissolved.
-Then add the rest of the ingredients and sweeten to taste. The temperature should be just right, so enjoy.
She tells me, “This drink really gives you a little immune boost and also helps you warm up from the inside after a day on the mountains! I particularly enjoy this hot chocolate after a very intense and hard yoga practice. It gives me little kick-start and I warm up again and feel invigorated. “