Tag Archives: Digital Detox

Yoga & Canoe Poster

6 Day Yoga & Canoe Retreat


Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Spectacular cliffs on the Célé river, Lot France

Combined Yoga & Canoeing Vacation

New for the 2017 season we are introducing this tour which brings Yoga sessions to one of our favourite canoeing tours on the Célé river in the Lot region of the south of France.

It is a 5 Night, 6 Day tour which combines morning and early evening yoga sessions with gentle and relaxing paddling down the beautiful Célé river.

Our instructor, Elizabeth Reed is an Inner Axis yoga teacher, focusing on breath work and non-competitive movement to increase well being, strength, flexibility and relaxation. On this tour she concentrates on general well being; specific postures relating to issues identified by individual participants and postures for warming up and preparing for paddling. It is suitable for beginners or those with some experience of yoga.

Elizabeth is a fun and knowledgeable teacher who focuses on learning and enjoyment, with tips and techniques you can take away and use to benefit your health in a number of ways.

We will explore the little known Célé valley by both canoe and foot and visit its beautiful villages and see its wonderful wildflowers & butterflies & dragonflies. We will also visit the famous cave paintings at Pech Merle.

A brief description of the tour is given below but more details, including dates, prices, maps and photographs can be found on our Yoga & Canoe Retreat web page.

Riverside Yoga Position

A Riverside Yoga Position

Benefits of Inner Axis

In physical terms Inner Axis Yoga has positive effects on back ache, stiffness, blood pressure, diabetes,  and balance. It can further aid the digestive system, and your strength, flexibility, posture and gait. The concentration on controlled breathing aids asthma and other breathing related difficulties. In general it helps towards a leaner and more toned body.

From a mental and emotional point of view Inner Axis Yoga provides a calmer mind, with less anxiety, which is more resilient to stress and life issues. It overcomes a depressive and negative mind set which contributes towards better sleep and gives an improved ability to relax and focus. This in turn instills greater personal confidence.

In social and spiritual terms Inner Axis Yoga builds community spirit, dispels resentments and old patterns which prevent happiness, promotes being your best self in relationship to yourself and others, and fosters gratitude & enjoyment of life.

Lot, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

The Abbey in the village of St. Cirq Lapopie, Lot, France

Features of Inner Axis

Inner Axis is jargon free, taught in simple, clear and concise language and does not use Sanskrit terms.

Inner Axis teaches a variety of breathing exercises and correct breathing techniques, which are scientifically recognised to have a hugely beneficial impact on health and well being.

Inner Axis uses slow and safe yoga movements that are adaptable to your physical needs and condition whatever your age or your level of fitness. It uses props such as blocks, straps, bolsters etc to facilitate faster development.

The focus of Inner Axis is on healthy alignment and the explanation & reasoning behind the methods used.

Inner Axis uses mindfulness and inspiring visualisations.

Inner Axis is non-competitive and fosters an attitude of kindness to yourself and others.

Inner Axis is for everyone who desires inner health as well as physical health, no matter what religion or ideological beliefs they may hold.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

On the ‘English Trail, in the Célé valley, Lot, France

Tour Includes

  • A Trail & River Guide whilst on the river & trail
  • A Fully Trained Yoga instructor
  • Full minibus support throughout, to transport us to & from the river and transfers to and from our departure point (local Railway Station or Local airport).
  • Includes all accommodation in a local farmhouse
  • Includes all breakfasts, lunches and evening meals
  • All necessary equipment for Canoeing the remote valley and stream of the Cele
  • An opportunity to hike along the route of the Way of St. James
  • Join your guides for a pre-breakfast walk
  • Visit the ancient cave paintings at Pech Merle
  • See the beautiful villages of Marcilhac, Espignac, Cabrerets and St. Cirq Lapopie
Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Family fun on the Célé river, Lot France

Tour Description

Everyday of the tour will be book-ended by a yoga session. The friends of the Célé organisation have arranged that the river is set aside for fishing before 11am and for canoeing thereafter. We will use these morning hours for our Yoga sessions, often by the riverside, and for short walks.

Yoga and canoeing through the gentle waters of the Célé are the perfect companions to bring the mind into the body, to refine our awareness and deepen mindfulness. This tour teaches you techniques that can be practiced and used in the hurly-burly of our everyday lives.

After our day on the river we will have time for another yoga session, or you may relax if you prefer. Our accommodation has a small swimming-pool but we can also wild-swim if we wish too. Evening strolls are also possible.

When we are on the river or trail you will be accompanied on the river by an experienced river guide who will make sure you see all the interesting places along the way. If necessary we can provide top-up/reminder paddling lessons if it’s a while since you paddled, or indeed if you have never paddled before.

The rivers are easy paddling and suitable for inexperienced paddlers. The emphasis on this trip is to enjoy the rich history and natural history of the region from the unique viewpoint of the river.

Cave paintings at Pech Merle, at Cabrerets on the Cele river, Lot, France

Cave paintings at Pech Merle, at Cabrerets on the Cele river, Lot, France

We shall enjoy lazy days meandering down the river and take our time to enjoy all that we see along the way and taking the time to visit many of them as we go. We will certainly visit the world famous caves at Pech Merle and see the ancient cave paintings.

Everyday we will stop for a fabulous picnic lunch and in the evenings we will enjoy a home-made dinner in the farmhouse where we are staying. We will take dinner out one evening too.

The Célé is a small winding stream that flows down a steep sided valley into the Lot. On the way it passes through several small and picturesque villages such as Espignac, Marciilhac, Sauliac and Cabrerets.

Along the same valley a long-distance trail winds its way. Sometimes besides the river but mostly up high along the valley’s edge. This is the GR651 which is a small deviation off the famous GR65 more commonly known as the ‘Way of St. James’ or the ‘Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle’.

In an adjacent valley flows the Lot river with the famous cliff-hanging village of St. Cirq Lapopie.

We will explore the dramatic scenery as the river winds its way through a deep limestone valley stopping at pretty villages along the way. We will watch the birds along the riverbank: herons, kingfishers, wagtails, dippers and various hawks and admire the glittering colourful damselflies and dragonflies.

For those so inclined we will have a pre-breakfast walk and before we start canoeing each day we will have our yoga session. If we have the time and inclination we will also explore the trails along the causse above the valley and find dolmens left by ancient man. We will see plenty of colourful butterflies in the meadows and in the season plenty of wildflowers too, including some exotic orchids, like the Lizard and Bee Orchids.

The Célé valley is a quiet and largely undiscovered small valley and we shall probably have the river all to ourselves. If it is warm enough we can find some beautiful spots for wild swimming.

Our evenings will be spent discussing our day over a family style evening meal with plenty of opportunity to make the conversation flow.

Yoga & Canoe Poster


Digital Detox Holidays

The Chateau de Belcayre on the River Vezere, Perigord, France

The Chateau de Belcayre on the River Vezere, Perigord, France

Internet Under Control

Do you have the internet under control? Do you continuously check your Emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest. Do you have several and multiple conversations going on at once in various messengers & chats? Do you have dozens of tabs open on your browser?

Could you check your email just three times a day, visit Twitter five times, check Facebook once instead of what it is now a constant binge?

Could you take a day off, a technological Sabbath? Could you go a week on a Digital detox?

Do you suspect your online life is richer more real and more intense than your actual life? Are you the online wit who has nothing to say in real life?

This constant disruption is surely the enemy of creating anything: anything of depth and substance.

This is what novelist Jonathan Franzen had to say:

“When I’m working, I need to isolate myself at the office, because I’m easily distracted and modern life has become extremely distracting. Distraction pours through every portal, especially through the internet. And most of what pours through is meaningless noise. To be able to hear what’s really happening in the world, you have to block out 99% of the noise.”

Perhaps it is time to take a break.

We are obviously not going to go back to a pre-internet world, but we should be able to determine a way of living with it and still be creative and pro-active.

It should be possible to re-learn what the world was like before it, even if it is just a small holiday from the all encompassing reality of connectedness. After all that’s is what our fathers did when they learnt what holidays were for and realised that their fathers hadn’t had holidays at all. It’s surely time to turn our backs on the maelstrom of being constantly ‘on’ and to try and find that space & time to switch ‘off’ and re-connect in those older more ancient ways.

“The place we need to get to is one where we can move between offline and digital worlds and we’re in control, rather than bobbing on the ocean of messages and updates that sweep us this way and that.” Dr Richard Graham, consultant psychiatrist specialising in technology addiction at the Nightingale hospital in London.

The Chateau de Losse on the River Vezere, Perigord, France

The Chateau de Losse on the River Vezere, Perigord, France

Canoe Touring Holidays

Firstly our holidays are not strictly digital detox. We don’t throw your devices in the river and we do go to [some] places that have wi-fi.

We do seriously endeavour though to persuade you to let go.

In the first place we encourage you to go online only in the privacy of your own room. In this way when you are in the social space of breakfast or lunch or dinner you are being sociable with those who you are actually with and not those half-way around the world. This also separates work from play. We really try to persuade you to leave work behind, but if you cannot then it’s probably best if you are doing it alone, so you can concentrate, and perhaps get it done and dusted.

Secondly we remind you that technology and water is not a great mix. We’ve seen many phones and cameras disappear into the river. If you must bring it with you then you make sure it is in a waterproof jacket: preferably two, one inside the other. If you do spill the canoe and your belongings end up afloat or sinking at least they have some chance of surviving.  Of course being inaccessible like this increases the chance they will not be used.

Which is a bit of a nuisance if you are a keen photographer. Which is a dilemma. Do you risk using a camera in a wobbly canoe. Would you exchange a cheap waterproof camera for your fancy DSLR? I can assure you that it is not easy to canoe and photograph at the same time – and I of course do it all the time.

The places where we paddle however have several advantages in the digital detox stakes. Very often we are paddling in deep gorges very far from wi-fi services and more often than not with terrible phone connections – even when you can see the mobile towers perched on the cliff far above you. In many of these places you couldn’t get a connection even if you wanted too. After a while it becomes tiresome to even attempt it and after several days of this kind of nonsense it becomes natural to disavow your telephone. Don’t throw it in the river though. Just file it away in your bag. It could be handy later.

So that’s meal-times and on-water times technology free. How about the other times? Well, the other social times are spent perhaps in cafes and bars where the same rules apply as at lunch and dinner. Anyway why would you want to spoil the atmosphere by rummaging about for your phone. You’re here, now, and in need of a long cold drink. You’re exhilarated by the achievement of getting your boat thus far and tremulous about the hours of watery activity ahead. Their is absolutely no need to complicate your day any further. All you have to think about is when you should be drawing and when you should be prying to keep your canoe relatively on the straight and narrow. You can practise your J-stroke and cross-draw in your mind or instead take a quick nap in the warm sun.

If like me you like to rise early and go for a walk before breakfast then you are welcome to join me. I can’t say I’m very voluble in the morning. I’m definitely not. All the same I wouldn’t want to be walking alongside you whilst you’re on the phone. At that time in the morning I just want to enjoy the birdsong and the sunrise and watch the mist rising in the valley below. Cameras don’t count as modern technology though do they? I am allowed to take photographs, yes?

The Chateau de Losse on the River Vezere, Perigord, France

The Chateau de Losse on the River Vezere, Perigord, France

Peace & Quiet

Just because your are digitally disconnected (and I don’t mean you’ve lost your fingers) you shouldn’t expect a spiritual awakening. But even a couple of days off can be an intense experience. You should feel  refreshed, and not just because of the lack of contact with the outside world after all you’ve been in contact with a closer world, a world of the here and now.

All you have done is swap the contact with the remote with those close by. The most likely time to be distracted by mobile devices is when you’re with the people closest to you.

Whether you are cut out for the monk’s life or not, a digital detox is an ideal opportunity to take some time out and recharge.

A few days digital-free and a few days off-grid and you’ll be ready to re-join the mainstream once again.


A Gabarre boat as we approach Roque-Gageac on the Dordogne river, Perigord, France

Another List

Here are some reasons to do a digital detox. Some ideas to motivate you if and when you do decide to switch off.

If you are fed-up of pinging demands, an overflowing inbox, and are feeling overloaded, a digital detox can be the way to achieve balance in the digital world. It might just give you the boost you need.

These are some reasons why a digital detox makes sense.

  • to take a step back from technology now and again.
  • to make space to think, connect to yourself, and connect to the people around you.
  • to break the incessant checking of phones, social media and email.
  • to find time to do whatever it is that you want time for. Read. walk, sing.
  • to find  time for yourself.
  • to catch up on sleep.
  • to break the cycle of being ‘always available’ or ‘on call’.
  • to be able to put your phone down.
  • to stay productive.
  • to slow things down.
  • to change your perspective about using technology.
  • to question and notice the ways you’ve become dependent on, reliant on or addicted to certain digital platforms or media. (It’s easier to observe your behaviour when you take a step back.)
  • to have dinner without a phone at the table.
  • to have conversations that meander and make you think and bring up questions that aren’t answered by google.
  • to form memories. To have experiences for the sake of the experience, not for the sake of posting.
  • to give your brain a break from digital processing. Information overload is a serious issue. Recharging is healthy.
  • so you can return to the digital with energy and fresh ideas.
  • because good ideas tend to appear while you’re switched off.
  •  to reclaim your time.
  • to find a balance that works for you.

Rock formations in the village of Montfort beside the Dordogne river, Perigord, France

How to Digitally Detoxify

A digital detox is simply switching off all your digital devices (phones, tablets, laptops, computers, game devices and all the rest) for a certain length of time.

At least for 24 hours.

Prepare for your digital detox by considering these things:

Find Your Motivation

Remind yourself why you want to do a digital detox. Is it to recharge your batteries? Do you want more thinking time? Or to spend extra time with family and friends?

Find Your Time

Choose a time for your digital detox that is realistic. Weekends and holidays are best. Tell anyone you need to that you’ll be away from your email and phone. Perhaps you should announce on social media that you will be offline for a while.

Make some plans

Plan enjoyable activities for your switched off time. Try cooking, walking, or spending time with friends and family. Pick up a neglected hobby or spend time reading. Choose to explore where you live in or somewhere new. Spending time in nature or try outdoor activities and sports.

Enjoy the Time

During a digital detox, there tends to be a feeling of having plenty of time (rather than rushing against time). You may well sleep better, think more clearly and more deeply, and feel re-energised. Enjoy the change and notice your reaction to not being on.

The Digital Return

The return to the digital world can be overwhelming: a huge pile of information and multiple demands. Use the perspective gained from the detox and redefine what is urgent, what is important, and what doesn’t even need to be done. Unsubscribe to any email lists you no longer need. Try new behaviours, such as checking email or social media less frequently.

Repeat & Reach for the Off Button

A digital detox needn’t be a one-off experience. Plan your next digital detox. Try a longer time off, or try making a digital detox a regular part of your week. Once you’ve done so you’ll probably be reaching for the off button again.