Journal

Discover the Vosges, through the eyes of Alice, our local yoga master

Alice has lived in the Vosges for the last year and a half. Having grown up in the south west of France she decided to return to her roots at the ripe old age of 35. Searching a connection with the natural world, living by the side of a lake in harmony with nature was a no brainer for her.

Having taught yoga for four years, and been a masseuse for over ten, she is now the resident teacher for all our trips in the Vosges. Here she shares some snippets of where she lives and her way of life with us.

The Vosges - an incredible area

Your family are from the Vosges, can you tell us a little more?

“My parents are from the Vosges. After a long spell in the south, near Toulouse where I grew up, 13 years ago they returned to the area to run a hotel and restaurant on the shores of Lake Gerardmer. I gradually reconnected with the region which, I admit, didn’t really interest me much when I was younger.”

The Vosges in a few words: “green, lush nature, alive, trees, lakes and waterfalls.”

According to Alice, the best time of year to visit the area is without doubt the off seasons of May/June or September/October. In spring the wild flowers are in full bloom and everything is at its most lush. In autumn the colours are on the turn, making for a vibrant display of nature at it’s finest. The weather is generally good, there’s less tourists, and you can make the most of the forests with no interruptions.

Yoga and Gravel - complementary activities in the heart of the Vosges mountains.

You are a Yoga teacher and Ayurverdic therapist. What does your job consist of?

“I help people look after themselves through massage and yoga. Both practices help people reconnect their body and mind, and I accompany them on on that journey.

Yoga is all about posture and breathing and is active. Ayurvedic massage is a passive therapy,  and so the two are great hand in hand. They combine to relieve tension and stress, allowing the body and mind to recover and re-energise.

Ayurvedic massage is revitalising and relaxing at the same time. An hour and a half is ideal - traditionally in India it’s two hours!”

And are you a cyclist too?

“As soon as I became part of the GravelUp team I wanted to have a go at gravel, and I’ve been riding gravel for almost a year now. In a few weeks time I’m going to take part in my first triathlon - the Gerardmer one of course!”

What do you like about gravel riding?

“In gravel I’ve found lots of similarities to hiking in the mountains which I’ve always loved - You can push yourself and the rewards of the views and the space are always worth it, not forgetting the hard earned beer at the end!

I found I was able to both make it up the climbs and cover long distances in a ride, spending almost 5 hours in the saddle to explore new places, finding local auberges to eat in etc. I’ve seen all these places on my doorstep in a new light and it gives me a total sense of freedom.”

So what makes the Vosges mountains such a good playground for gravel?

“There’s lots of forests, and therefore forestry tracks… and it stays nice and cool even in summer. The mountains aren’t too big so the climbs are do-able, and there’s something for everyone as long as you don’t mind putting in a bit of effort. And then there’s all the lakes for a mid or post ride dip!”

Why is yoga so complementary to cycling?

“Riding gravel uses every part of your body and, put simply, yoga helps your body recover. More than that though, it helps you to regenerate both physically and mentally after an effort, and supports the body and mind long after the session. Yoga helps you listen to your body and to tune into your muscles and breathing during a long climb on a bike for example - really helpful when it gets a bit intense!”

And does riding help your yoga practice?

“I wouldn’t go that far!”

Bonus questions

  • Your favourite yoga pose? 

“Sarvangasana. It’s an inverted pose where you take your weight on your shoulders. It lightens your legs and has a calming effect - good for the body as well as your spirit!

  • Your favourite spot in the Vosges?

“In the forest just behind my house I’ve found a place where there’s never anyone else. It’s like an enchanted forest, my haven, even if sometimes I get a little worried about a boar jumping out at me.”

  • Your dream bike destination?

“Morocco - for the mountains, plains, and Berber culture… I can almost taste a delicious couscous after a days riding and then a night in a Berber tent under the stars.”

To see our upcoming dates and join a trip in the Vosges take a look 👉HERE

Journal

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