I’ve PRACTISED (a fair amount of) Yoga in my life, but you’ll never think it.

I’m afraid I’m no beginner, I’m simply out of shape … AND YET I BRAVED my first Yoga retreat this weekend – DIRECTLY AFTER AFRIKABURN – AS IT WAS HELD near my beloved ‘Koppie Alleen’ in ‘DE HOOP NATURE RESERVE’ with De Hoop Collection …

Would you look at that? Koppie Alleen. As beautiful as ever.

Koppie Alleen De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens
The white sand dunes of ‘Koppie Alleen’ in De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa.

As context is everything in any story, I’d like to make sure we’re on the same page before I even start.

I’ve opted for sheer honesty. In blatant bullets.

  • Above person pictured with pompom dust mask – me – got back from AfrikaBurn (Burning Man’s younger (and smaller) sibling in the Tankwa Karoo of South Africa) 48 hours before departing for this retreat.
  • I was definitely not one of the few people who did not partake in a wild (weeklong) party while residing in Tankwa Town.
  • Imagine the most fragile you have ever felt the morning after a party. Now times that by 1000. I felt worse.
  • I was definitely one of many people who only changed underwear and only washed where absolutely needed while residing in Tankwa Town.
  • White Fire – my Subaru Outback also pictured above – was still covered with Tankwa Town’s dust.
  • My hair was still covered with Tankwa Town’s dust after nearly 8 lengthy showers taken in the available 48 hours.
  • My mind was still covered with Tankwa Town’s dust.
  • Everything was still covered with Tankwa Town’s dust.
  • The last time I practised Yoga diligently was about 14 months prior. Possibly even longer. (I cannot touch my toes without bending my legs.)
  • I did realise the timing for a ‘wellness retreat’ might be more than slightly out, but nothing can keep me away from Koppie Alleen. Nothing.

Should this be the first time you hear of ‘Koppie Alleen’ or ‘De Hoop Nature Reserve’, you must please read my first post I wrote about my lover and his white dunes on the shores of the Overberg in South Africa. If you are still unsure what AfrikaBurn is and why you should ABSOLUTELY also go, just click here and book a ticket. Immediately. 

De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens - Koppie Alleen
De Hoop reserve, which is 34 000 hectares, is just three hours from Cape Town, in the Overberg. Pictured the road leading to the wild coastline at ‘Koppie Alleen’.

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.

C.G. Jung said it – and as I’m of the opinion that anything he said is true – it must be true.



I have always failed to (first) fall in love with myself.  And I don’t mean in an egotistic way, I mean in an admiring way. This time, given the above context, you’ll hopefully understand that it was harder than ever.

But anything for my lover Koppie Alleen.



De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens
I’ve had a crush on De Hoop Nature Reserve since the first time I saw a photograph of Koppie Alleen’s beach.

If you’ve been following the #366DaysOfMakingSpace project on Instagram, you would have noticed that I’ve been quiet. I think it’s partly due to physically making space in my first home and being overwhelmed by everything ‘all grown up’, but also due to my increasing desire to share ‘collections’ in this 366 series, and not simply ‘daily snaps’ of arbitrary things.

I started #366DaysOfMakingSpace to create space real change after all.

For everything and anything I’ve always dreamt of.

For all the love and success and fortune in the world.

It doesn’t matter how clear you are on what you want to manifest and how energetically aligned you are with it if you’re not creating any room for those things to show up in your life.


I’ve been making space. Good and proper.

I’ve made space for journeys that have always been on my bucket-list …

I’ve made space for my new community …

I love public spaces, so I started a community garden in the alley below my studio …

I started taking better care of my feet …

I invested in daily ‘me-time’ as OFTEN as possible …

I made aN EFFORT to see more of the sea …

On this retreat, whilst still not completely adjusted to reality outside Tankwa Town, realised how much yoga practice is also a matter of ‘making space’: on my mat, in my chest, my back, my belly, my ribs …

… and in my heart.

Surprisingly for none other than myself.

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#366DaysOfMakingSpace 91/366 MAKING SPACE FOR YOGA, MAKING SPACE FOR ME. @franki_black and I went on our first ever Yoga retreat at @dehoopreserve this weekend and fell in love with the practice (and ourselves) all over again. “The Yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. Standing on your hands is not the goal. The goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. The goal is to love, well … You. Come to your yoga mat to feel; not to accomplish. Shift your focus and your heart will grow.” Rachel Brathen

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De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens-26

I’ve never done Iyengar Yoga, never heard of this guru of a guy named Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, and had no idea this was an actual form of Hatha Yoga. I honestly thought the belts, cushions, blocks, blankets, sand bags and a vast collection of props were placed next to my mat by mistake.

Maybe the teacher has my date of birth wrong?

Maybe I just look old?

Maybe she thinks I’ve never done this before?

Maybe I look worse than I feel?

Is that even possible?

Maybe, all things considered, this is a good thing?!?

De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens-14

The goal (of Yoga) is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. The goal is to love, well … You.

Iyengar Yoga did exactly this for me. The form’s  great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment, allowed me to experience asanas (poses) with greater ease – fully “supported” – requiring less muscular effort (which in all honesty I just didn’t have anymore.  Not even before my party in the desert).

One could argue that – for this very reason – I loved supported Savasana (Corpse pose) the most. I would like to think it was because the sensation of full release beneath the weight of sandbags played a far greater role.

Either way, the below is a person in the pose in question. See head of blond hair if uncertain …

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Iyengar Yoga is different than any other type of Yoga I’ve ever practised. The various props constantly corrected my misalignments and allowed a release into the core of each pose in a way I haven’t even experience when I was in shape.

Marianne Wiid – our teacher for the weekend – almost acted as a supporting prop herself. There is room for constant communication, guidance and reflection as the time spent in each pose is longer and the focus on the performance of pranayama (breath).

De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens-31De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens-39De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens-43De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens-17

I can recommend this style of Yoga to anyone. It made such an impression on me that I’ve started looking for a teacher in Cape Town.

De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens
De Hoop Nature Reserve was the perfect destination. One could look out onto the ‘vlei’ for days.
De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens-24De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens-25De Hoop Nature Reserve - © Daréll Lourens-23


I travelled courtesy of De Hoop Collection Nature ReSERVE 
Opinions expressed are my own.


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Adventure Love

We love to travel and everything that goes with it. From wine to a health retreat and all the marvelous things this world has to offer in between.

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