Ramblings of an international Luxury Market Expert
Anyone who has followed my luxury media work as “The Luxury Guru”, even for a short period of time, knows that I love the South of France. This is certainly not unique, as there is probably no place on earth like the Côte d’Azur for its natural beauty and quality lifestyle that has long lured the jet set crowd.
The one complaint that I hear year after year from the Ultra High Net Worth is that there has been a dearth of quality yoga in the South of France and, indeed, in France in general. However, over the last two years this has really begun to change. Many of my UHNW followers who have homes along the Riviera, or stay in 5-star hotels for 2 months each summer, or live off their super yachts, have travelled with yoga instructors, because they just can’t go all summer without regular practice. Yoga is a lifestyle.
I love yoga and even went through teacher training myself in NYC just to get a more comprehensive understanding of the practice. Nothing has contributed more to my personal health and life balance, because it addresses all aspects of the individual.
New York City established itself as the global center for superior quality yoga teachers in the west.
So, when I heard of LuxYoga, owned and operated by a NYC yoga instructor with great credentials, located in a villa in the South of France overlooking the Mediterranean, serving French cuisine (no twigs and barks like some yoga retreats) it more than sparked my interest.
LuxYoga is owned by yogi Ben Sears, who runs retreats in France five months out of the year, teaches yoga seminars around the world for another three months, and is based in SoHo, New York the rest of the years. Ben has taught for over a dozen years and studied primarily with yoga pioneer Ana Forrest. He also practises the Bikram Method, Dharma Mittra, Katonah Yoga, with forays into personal training, Ayurveda, anatomy and Thai massage
LuxYoga’s philosophy is rooted in yoga as therapy for the body, and for the mind via the body. Our Vinyasa practice retains the crucial element of stillness often missing in typical flow classes. Our Hot Yoga retreats break down all of the nuances of the Bikram method, and our Movement and Vinyasa retreats blend a traditionally oriented yoga practice with dance and martial arts inspired classes that build coordination, range of motion and are simply a lot of fun. On a retreat, 4 days are spent in yoga immersion and 2 days offer a morning class and afternoon excursion to local spots.
LuxYoga has some very respected guest yoga instructors. One is a personal favourite of mine, Isaac Pena (based in NY) who taught me during my yoga teacher training course. Here is what Isaac had to say about LuxYoga. “I’ve gotten many invites around the world to do workshops and retreats. For years, I liked staying anchored to New York. My idea was, eventually everyone comes here, I’ll just wait.
“Anyway, Ben Sears started taking my class several years ago and he had such an intelligent and warm energy. Eventually he asked me if I would come on board to LUX, and at that point in our friendship I was ready to support him in just about any endeavor. We have become like brothers and I love and look forward to my annual visits to the Villa.”
Ben Spears on LuxYoga inspiration
When I asked Ben what inspired him to create this lovely combination of a luxury yoga retreat, he replied, “I saw a total void in both the spa world and the yoga world. People have limited time and I feel that they deserve the opportunity to have both a memorable vacation and a transformative yoga immersion in one place, in one week.”
He added, “Yoga retreats often lack the luxury vacation element, despite their best efforts, and spas and hotels are impersonal and the programs lack focus. A guest might have a great week taking twenty different classes but ultimately ends up back home with no direction. I wanted to create an experience where part of the learning is cultural in that the experience itself imparts the importance of creating beautiful moments in the midst of a healthy life.
“And from the yoga side, I believe too in the practice to offer some kind of watered-down, waste of time practice, so the LuxYoga experience also honors the dedication and precision needed for effective yoga practice. LuxYoga is a great conduit to a serious practice for people who also want a luxury vacation experience, and it’s an eye-opener for people who are not familiar with luxury services but come to us for the yoga curriculum.”
Michelin chef new to LuxYoga
This summer, LuxYoga is featuring a new Michelin star chef. Born on a farm in Finland, Chef Jouni, received the great honour of a French Michelin star in 2006. A true renaissance man, he is as comfortable hunting and fishing as he is preparing a multi-course tasting for the most selective food critics. Jouni makes delicious food that respects the LuxYoga farm-to-table ethos of healthy meets yummy.
Breakfast is a wholesome buffet of light and nutritious items that prepares students for the morning class: green smoothie, chia seed pudding, eggs and local pastries for those who wish to indulge. Lunch is a Provencal buffet feast that strikes the perfect balance between healthy and sumptuous. Dinner, after our hors d’oeuvres, is a three-course, plated meal with many of our trademark specialties prepared with final table-side touches.
All dietary requirements are noted in advance as our chefs shop locally and daily. Meals are taken together at a communal table. Each evening is an incredible, casual chic, classic Rivera dinner party at a table overlooking the coastline while the sun sets. Our guests enjoy beautiful cuisine, local wines and each other. As the students spent more time together, common ground increases and the meals become more convivial. Some like to linger around the table later into the evening, while others put a premium on sleep. This is the luxury experience of being a guest at a fine home.
The Lux Villa is a 3-floor, 10,000 square foot private luxury home with all the services of a boutique hotel. Views over the foothills of Provence stretch from the Bay of Nice to the bay of Cannes and beyond. Transfers are provided from Nice airport, a half-hour ride away.
The master suite is on a private floor with two terraces, and a huge soaking tub. Floor to ceiling shutters open with the touch of a bedside button. On the main bedroom floor, we have two one-room suites, one with a Provencal theme and one with a Japanese theme. All the furniture and artwork in the villa comes from a personal family collection. Many pieces are antique and each room is unique. The price is all inclusive (except massages and spa treatments) and the price is dependent on which room you book.
LuxYoga Villa is great for individuals, couples, or to rent out entirely for a family, friends or even a small corporate getaway. Visit the website for more information on the all-inclusive yoga immersion retreat, in the south of France, in a luxury villa, and gourmet meals worthy of my jet set followers.
July 21-27, 2017: Practice Grace, Receive Gratitude – Vinyasa Yoga without the Rush with Erica Mather & Benjamin Sears (limited spaces available).
August 1-7, 2017: Vinyasa Yoga & Mindful Movement with Tatiana DePillo, Benjamin Sears & special guest Jaya Ramaprasad (limited spaces available).
August 11-15: Private Retreat (LUX Bespoke)
December 27-January 2, 2018: New Year’s at the Villa. Details to be released soon.
Lorre White is an international luxury market expert and luxury media personality “The Luxury Guru”, Owner of White Light Consulting, Luxury Marketing for elite brands (Lorre@WhiteLightConsulting.net).
Her website www.LuxGuru.Typepad.com for UHNW, is
ranked #3 Globally for all Luxury Blogs in Brand Passion Report for Global Luxury Brands and #1 of the luxury blogs that reach the luxury consumer.
Article first published June 25, 2017.