Embracing Femininity: A Yoga Retreat for Wild Women
Imagine a place where you can escape the daily grind of our modern lives and surround yourself with other powerful women. Imagine an open heart space where you can connect with nature, your sense of wonder, creative expression, vulnerability and divine feminine. Look no further. We got in touch with Carly Esterhuizen, Manager at Guinevere Guest farm, to hear all about her passion for empowering women as well as what you can expect on their upcoming retreats.
Carly Esterhuizen has always felt a deep connection with the earth and all the creatures living therein. After completing her studies as an interior designer, her heart guided her to another -somewhat less travelled- road entirely, as she spent months living in the South African bush.
Through working as the guest house as manager and chef at Guinevere, Carly realised her love of hosting and being around people. However, she found that her interactions were lacking authenticity. As soon as Carly started focusing on her own personal “inner work”, through a regular yoga, meditation and pranayama practice, the more she wanted to share her experiences with others. Carly’s vision was to create a space where people could come and shed their armour and be free of society’s standards.
"What I do love about the practice of yoga is how it is integrated into every aspect of my life. It allows me to be present. It shows me where my triggers are and where my self doubt lies- I feel it is an integral part of my retreats as through yoga, one opens the heart and lets love flow. It releases energy blocks and creates space for the new to unfold. Without our daily yoga practice each morning I think we would find it harder to get into the deeper work throughout the day. It prepares us emotionally as well as being a physical practice, and for this I am grateful for having yoga in my life. - Carly Esterhuizen
Guinevere Guest Farm, a beautiful and spacious farm house located in the historic Land van Waveren valley in Tulbagh, Western Cape, is owned by Carly’s parents. Not too long after Carly completed her degree, she decided to start her own business in nature; where she could be with animals, do her own thing on her own terms. Her dream was to host awesome humans and create a space where they could have a special experience at this unique location.
“The guest house was just a shell- my dad had built, with the hopes it would be a family holiday home.” Carly invested everything, physically, emotionally and financially into renovating the space, putting the skills from her studies to good use. The new Guinevere Guest Farm opened its doors in late 2012 but it was only in 2016 that Carly realized she needed to start afresh and use the space to create something that inspired and challenged her.
“So I took a hard look at all my passions and hobbies- what I loved to do- what the guest house already offered and what I would like to offer to the world. It was a no brainer to start my own retreats- and this is where The Wild Love Experience was born.”
Women have been gathering in circles since the beginning of time to share stories and the wisdom that comes from experience.
The idea behind the Wild Women’s Retreats were sparked by the desire to create a gentle, safe space for women of all ages and backgrounds to come together and share their experience, to have fun, be free and feel deep connection to self, each other and nature. Authentic communication, creative expression through movement and art as well as sacred ceremony are some of the ways that we will be communing.
The first retreat was held in September 2017 and they have blossomed into the amazing all-women retreats they are now. “I loved the energy this had created and realised how important it is right now to tap into our feminine energy and find our voice.” Carly said, as she expressed how much she loves facilitating women coming into their power and opening up to their strength within. It is exciting times indeed
Carly was looking for a yoga team who could immerse themselves in the retreat, people whom the guests could connect with during the retreat. Carly met Yanna Romano, a yoga instructor and healing arts facilitator, and immediately hit it off. Their team expanded to include Nate Maingard, a modern troubadour and story teller as well as Simone Beckerling, who facilitates the sweat lodge.
“My personal favourite from each retreat has to be the sweat lodge ceremonies." says Carly. "These ceremonies are fun and light hearted but also allow for deep healing and purification to happen both physically and emotionally."In addition to the sweat lodge, guests can look forward to many highlights. One of which is FOOD! Carly serves delicious, home grown, organic plant based meals- with the exception of a few vegetarian options.
Guests can expect a down to earth experience with like minded women- whether you are howling at the moon, dancing around a bonfire painted in mud or eating under the stars.
It might be during an ecstatic dance class, finding your voice in the communication workshop, processing old wounds and trauma through breathwork, walking through the fynbos in silent meditation or having a cup of herbal tea with a new friend by the fireplace, where the healing will take place.
But there is sure to be a lot of light hearted fun and laughter as well as deep healing working harmoniously together.
Connect to nature, the earth and get back to the source. Free yourself from the constraints of society standards. Finding your sense of wonder and adventure. Experience self growth and connection to heart.
The future looks bright for Carly and her team at Guinevere Guest Farm as they hope to branch out and offer retreats on the road where they will be traveling to different locations within South Africa and exploring the various communities in this beautiful country. Carly has more exciting things up her sleeve, but we will keep those a secret for now!