Yoga was the focus of Julia’s short break at the Hotel Post Bezau. Here she tells all about a five-day retreat that brought her more in tune with her own body
Let’s start with one thing: When I decided to go on a short break at Hotel Post Bezau to take part in a five-day yoga retreat led by Kathleen Kloss, I had a completely different idea in mind. What awaited me in the end were an incredible number of unfamiliar and new sensations, all at once. 90 minutes of kundalini yoga twice a day and a little bit of yin yoga shook up my mind and opened up some new perspectives and a completely different approach to by body. “Yoga is not about self-improvement, it’s about self-acceptance”: a quote by Gurmukh and also the recurring theme of this much yearned-for break.
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The Hotel Post Bezau is a very special place with an emphasis on a holistic approach. It’s been family-run since 1850 and was taken over by Susanne Kaufmann in the third generation in 1994.
The view out of my hotel room window is of the mountains and trees in Bregenz. Heavenly. The Wi-Fi is turned off from midnight until six in the morning to reduce the radiation. I don’t think I’ve ever slept so deeply and soundly as I did here. You can dart off to the sauna after each training session to relax your muscles and boost your detoxification through some sweating. My favorite was the garden sauna. There are massages and facial treatments available at the spa, as are “wonder teas” to promote a balanced base or relaxation. The half board concept allows for clean eating, even if you’re not all that hungry. My need for coffee basically disappeared as soon as I entered the building.
The work on the mat is exhausting – mentally and physically – but worth every minute. The set-up around us is so pleasant that the holistic approach can take hold and you can completely give over to this little journey into unfamiliar, inner territories. But despite the break, I feel a headache coming on that gets stronger and stronger over two days. My “ah-ha experience” is drawing near: I circle my outstretched arms in small movements for eleven minutes in a cross-legged position. Next, I stretch them straight upwards, alternating to the left and the right. My breath is loud. Then my circulation weakens a little; I break out in a sweat. Everything clicks and the block is released. The headache is gone. It was at that moment that I realized the power behind this energy work, what the body is capable of and what “self-healing” feels like.
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The tools for this are hidden in the teachings of this yoga practice. The individual kriyas that Kathleen did with us often followed a theme. Sometimes the focus was on “immunity” or our nervous system, sometimes “transition” or “change.” We were to overcome the limitations of our own bodies; I believe I only got through about 90% of the movements in the entire time: From a squat to a standing position, 52 times without the help of your arms; expanding the torso smoothly with spread legs and a bent upper body; alternating with stepping your leg back without seeing what awaits you there (for the music: Dirty Dancing … you have to hand it to Kathleen, she has a sense of humor). The third eye (looking inwards, i.e., close your eyes) and the breath of fire (quick, short, loud bursts of cleansing breath) played a major role. Poses were targeted at cleansing organs like the liver and kidneys and the hips (the root chakra) were freed of their burden. The knowledge we were given about the depths of kundalini yoga came together like a little puzzle. It aroused my curiosity, and I would like to read more about the topic. On the other hand, it remains such a felt experience rather than a scholarly one, and I would like to let sink in first.
The lines I’ve written here are not really enough to describe this particular form of bodywork. I might even dare to go as far as to say this: If you haven’t experienced it yourself and have not taken yourself to this place of change and awareness, you can’t understand what it’s like. I learned more in these five days than I have in the last three years of my current job. I can only recommend this journey into the unknown to everyone.
If you’re interested in taking part in a yoga retreat with Kathleen Kloss at Hotel Post Bezau (www.hotelpostbezau.com), you’ll find all the upcoming dates here. Further information and impressions of the hotel can be found on Instagram (@hotelpostbezau) here and on Susanne Kaufmann’s account (@susannekaufmann_) here.
Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.
Updates about her next professional steps can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliaknolle/.