What is Om Yoga ? Om Yoga is a place for people, a place for peace, a place for relaxation. Bound by beautiful lush garden walls with outdoor lounges, a swimming pool and terrace area (perfect for sunning with a book!). The ville has two bright and sunny yoga studios featuring an abundance of yoga classes, qi gong, dancing, meditation and tam tam percussion… here at Om Yoga Retreat, there is something for everyone!
The studio is ideally located in the ville area of Casablanca, allowing every guest to enjoy the retreat according to what they want and need from their time in Morocco. You can relax and retreat in solitude or in the company of fellow retreat guests and yoga students. You can experience the local beach and take surf lessons, explore beautiful artisan souk markets, visit Hassan II Mosque , pamper yourself at one of the local beauty salons (highly recommend having a Hammam treatment), or maybe even treat yourself out to an evening enjoying traditional Moroccon restaurants – all this is within 15 minutes from the Om Yoga ville.
Inside the ville, you can lay by the pool and enjoy the Moroccan sunshine whilst eating fresh made vegetarian food, take traditional Moroccan cooking classes, enjoy bottomless cups of organic tea, write, read, do art! Yoga, Yoga and more Yoga! Whatever your heart feels…
Om Yoga also has a fantastic raw juice bar. The studio runs 3, 5 and 7 day juice detoxing programs (See our GetLost Get Juicy and Fasting articles). These programs are especially crafted to ensure you maintain balanced nutrition and gain the most from your detox experience….the juices are delicious! ♥
What I love most about Om Yoga ? the people! During my time there I was able to meet people from all walks of life; from retreat guests, yoga students, the Om Yoga family itself, and also the teachers who are so very inspiring.
Despite being a traveller and sometimes being challenged with finding time and space to keep up with my yoga practice, I have always managed to maintain a regular Ashtanga practice. Ashtanga and I, we have this thing! Basically, I love Ashtanga! When I arrived at Om, I was super pleased to see the timetable filled with regular Ashtanga classes, and boy these classes were truly something special! I learnt new poses in the series, found new space in my body and improved my strength. However being at Om and seeing so many different classes I hadn’t tried before, I wanted to explore new boundaries. I made the most of my time here and tried every single type of yoga that was on offer!! Here is my recount of the different classes:
Sivananda: This was a lovely practices. It was interesting to practice it with a different teacher, in a different language. The sequences were pretty much the same as I remembered however the savasana was so beautiful and relaxing, I think practicing in french, combined with the teacher and the practice itself made this class super special. I often would just close my eyes and drift through the poses, only peeping an eye open every now and then to make sure I was on track with the rest of the class.
Yin Yoga: Yin Yoga is a wonderful practice if you want to work on flexibility and breathe. You have the time to settle into each pose and use your breathe to create space in your body and explore your limits. I thoroughly enjoyed this class as a restorative and stretching class combined with a hot and flowy Vinyasa or Ashtanga (just to get the yin and yang perfect!).
Hatha: This was a relatively new one for me! I remember popping into a couple of Hatha classes in eastern Europe (Poland, Budapest and Prague) but I wasn’t able to communicate with the teachers to find out what type of practice they were actually doing (the usual language barriers as a travelling yogini, which actually – I love because I always find my way, it proves yoga is truly universal♥). What I liked about Hatha is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Its great in the morning to wake your body or if you after a flowy dynamic practice, this is also possible. Hatha also offers a grounding sequential practice; working through a series of postures, to lead to an ultimate pose. It really is whatever you want it to be, so learning the practice is quiet useful if you want to take your practice home and start working your own sequences.
Aerial Yoga: Wow! Wow! Wow! This practice will send you sky high, literally! working on aerial poses using hammocks, you
twist and turn in every direction imaginable. The practice is super impressive and actually a lot easier that it looks if you have a good teacher (like the teachers at Om – especially Lily!).
Pilates: I liked pilates for its core strengthening qualities but after doing all the deep relaxation and developing my ujjayi breathe in yoga, I found it really hard to adjust my breathing for the pilates classes. This class was always full and everyone seemed to love it!
TRX: Like pilates, this a core strengthening class aimed to develop your muscle tone using your own body weights. Its really intense and the teachers really pump you up so you give it your all, which is awesome! I definitely can see maximum benefits this class could offer but its really physical. Again, everybody raves about it and whilst I enjoyed it, it still didn’t seem to curb my yoga cravings!
Qi gong: Qi gong returned to Om Yoga after a little break during the summer season so I only got a tiny bit of practice in. However, I have practiced Qi gong before so I knew the foundations and loved it. I am a big Qi gong advocate, its a great way to move energy. It really is a moving meditation, similar to Tai Chi. I will say that Qi gong is a practice that you need to be patient with. It takes time to reap the benefits and I don’t think I have reached that point…yet! But, I understand the foundations and I enjoy the practice. Like yoga, all the movements have counter movements but they are much more flowy.
Vinyasa: Vinyasa! Vinyasa! Vinyasa! A universal practice where anything and everything goes and the best thing about Vinyasa at Om Yoga is that you can do 3 vinyasa classes in one day and they will all be different depending on the time of day and teacher. From my experience, it seems that teachers love Vinyasa since it opens a gateway for them to explore their own creativity in movement. Whilst I was at Om Yoga, Lily lead us through some really dynamic, intense classes like the Fit Fly Flows… and boy, oh boy was it hard, but I loved it!
Bikram: I left the best until last… Bikram! This practice blew my mind away and Nabil (Om Yoga teacher) was a big part of my journey with this beautiful practice. I will never be able to thank him enough for what he taught me, the space that he helped me to create in my body, but most of all… in my mind! Walking into that beautiful warm room; lying on my mat; feeling all my joints loosen with the heat; feeling every tiny particles of hair on my body spring up in the heat, I became alive! but in a peaceful way. As we moved through the poses, it became rhythmic for me. My breathe; moving into the pose; holding the pose; moving out of the pose, it was a peaceful meditation of movement. At the end of class, I was super hot and sweaty but the practice was so deep for me, any exterior comfort was far outweighs by the journey that was happening with me. I really didn’t even notice the heat! And actually, when I did, I loved it! I could push myself to new limits knowing that the heat was with me, and my body would respond positively to it. Bikram or ‘hot’ yoga practice is not for everyone but its definitely for me. As an individual, I feel cold easily and I love warm weather. When I feel stressed or anxious I always like to be in heat; a hot bath or comforted by a warm blanket. In my practice, I like structure and I like the spiritual journey that happens, and I also like to push my own boundaries. So, it makes sense that Bikram is a practice that I enjoy and reap the most benefits from – I hope you do too! ♥
My time at Om Yoga was an experience like no other and I leave this beautiful warm cosy ‘yoga bubble’ feeling rejuvenated and healthy, having found a new space in my body and mind, having met wonderful new life long friends, and having found a new depth within myself that I intend to explore as part of my next journey ahead.
To the beautiful Om Yoga team, thank you for having me to live, learn and love with you. This is a little goodbye for now, but certainly not forever. See you again soon! ♥