Stanford Yoga Retreat

Stanford Yoga Retreat
Reduce anxiety, lower stress, reconnect to self

Where: Stanford (Laughing Waters Guest Farm)
When: 11-13 June 2021
Investment: R3600 to share a room with a friend, partner or fellow retreatee, R6100 to have your own room.
Food: Vegetarian (and sooooo delicious!)

Yoga retreats are opportunities to slow down, reflect and restore. I think there’s a growing need within all of us to disconnect from work and reconnect with ourselves and to a slower pace of life. This yoga retreat will be for exactly that; It will be a weekend of down time, and an opportunity to connect to mind, body and breath.

There will be 4 yoga classes focusing on asana (physical postures), and 2 classes focusing on pranayama (breathing) and relaxation. The yoga will not be difficult. You will go deeper into your yoga practice in a gentle and supported way, with lots of help from me. 

A fire will be lit in the yoga studio for warmth, and there are now fireplaces in each cottage too.

Why go on a yoga retreat?
  • kick start healthy goals
  • gives an opportunity to truly relax
  • all the planning is done for you, all you have to do is get there
  • a true escape, where there’s nothing to focus on but the yoga and down tim
  • one-one attention and adjustments
  • disconnect from your phone
  • advance your yoga practice
  • explore a new place
  • have fun!!
Please note this retreat is limited to 7 people, so booking is essential. I know there’s a lot of uncertainty about Covid right now, and I will remain flexible with situations arising due to it.
BOOK: Monique 082 413 5896 or

Podcast on Iyengar Yoga

I was approached by my friend, Tarryn, to do a podcast about Iyengar yoga on her platform Yoga South Africa. The yoga culture in Cape Town follows the mainstream yoga culture that is about fun and fast yoga, often done to music and in a packed yoga venue, without props or much one-on-one mentorship between teacher and student. My podcast offers listeners a different, less mainstream perspective of yoga. I reveal what it’s like to do yoga in a studio with no more than 12 people, the teacher and student relationships that form, and the effects of props and a slower pace. Have a listen here.

Free Online Yoga!

Simply email me on info@ayamayoga and I’ll give you access

As you may know, I’ve closed all studio classes for now. I’m still open for outdoor private classes or live streamed classes. If you’d like to book a private class let me know via Whatsapp on 082 413 5896. Alternatively, I’m offering FREE online yoga classes to support you during your self isolation period at home. Simply email me with your email address and I will give you access to the video. See you online!

The journey of yoga. Oh what a journey it is! I salute all of you who I see on their mats week in and week out, slowly chipping away at your yoga practice. You’ll begin to realise that with each new practice, your body is completely different. Some days you find more space in the body, and freedom in your joints. Other days, you feel stiffer than the very first time you started yoga. The path of yoga is anything but linear. On those bad days, when we feel like we’ve taken 5 steps backward, we tend to be very hard on ourselves. “What have I done wrong to be so stiff today?”. We question our knowledge, our intuition, our ability, our thought and reason as to why we’re not as in shape as we were last week. And that’s the path of yoga; self enquiry. 

If you are a serious asana student, you will have gone through moments where you wonder on a deeper level why you get these off days. You might be beating yourself up over a practice-related injury, or a sore muscle, and it may leave you thinking there must be something wrong with you, your awareness of the poses or your body, the way you’re practicing, the way your mind is during practice, or that your ego is causing you to go too far in yoga which can cause this pain. Because if we were more skilled, aware, content, then surely we shouldn’t have pain as a result of yoga?

Wrong. This is exactly how yoga works. It provides us with a mirror with which to see ourselves more clearly. It brings up all the ways we self sabotage and it illuminates our weaknesses and habits that need changing. This is why showing up to your yoga practice consistently is challenging, because not only are you physically working hard, but we are working through our traumas and emotional pains too. During yoga we are confronted with opportunities to change all the time. When you do yoga you are practicing a method of self examination and self reflection, giving you the power to change things. Your practice reveals how you personally enforce your own suffering, and gives you the space and reflection to be able to change your responses to situations. 

But don’t beat yourself up! If you are feeling frustrated or pained in your practice, don’t let the emotions of shame, frustration, guilt and fear get the better of you. No one is perfect, and we all run into obstacles along our yoga journey. It doesn’t mean that your third eye isn’t as open as the person next to you, or that you don’t have enough humility or self awareness. The next time you meet yourself on your mat and you feel “nowhere”, your challenge that day is perhaps not the physical yoga poses, but to extend kindness, non-judgement, compassion and care to yourself.

Tricks to manage stress

Many of us feel stressed and anxious, and “busy”. Our lives are very fast paced and we can be lead down the path to adrenal burnout easily if we don’t manage our stress well. Yoga is a major contributor to stress relief, but I want to share with you another potent stress management tool: GRATITUDE. 

The effects of gratitude on one’s mental and emotional well being is tremendous. Below is a list of what gratitude has been found to do (taken from Mercola):

-Lowers Blood Pressure
-Improves heart health, reducing the likelihood of sudden death in patients with heart failure and coronary artery disease.
-Lowers risk for heart disease
-Improves general health by encouraging self-care
-Improves sleep
-Improves interpersonal relationships
-Boosts productivity
-Reduces materialism and increases generosity, both of which can increase happiness and life satisfaction

Our nervous systems don’t know the difference between vivid imagination or reality. Our stress response can be triggered by thinking about a stressful situation before or after its happened. We can use this to our advantage by controlling our nervous system by using our imagination. Gratitude is one of many methods of influencing a positive nervous system response.

Give it a try!

Thanks to Liesel for sharing this article with me.

Practice kindness & acceptance

This time of year is full of social activities and with that can come social pressures of how and what to be. Allow yourself to be exactly who you are without apology, and allow others the same. For we are all on this earth taking the same curriculum – of being human. Be kind on your mistakes and even kinder of others’ mistakes. I found this video very inspiring for spreading love and acceptance, click the button below to watch.
How to love yourself

Autumn Yoga Retreat

Find inner space and freedom through yoga alignment with one-on-one tutorage by Iyengar-trained teacher Monique Woolls-King. Whether you are a current practitioner of the Iyengar method, or have heard about it but never tried the practice, then this retreat is for you!



  • One on one attention
  • Personal adjustments in poses
  • Yoga alignment
  • Prop usage for a more effective practice
  • Therapeutic sequencing for a healing weekend of yoga
  • Yoga breath work to soothe the nerves
  • Guided meditation
  • Delicious vegetarian meals timed to suit the practice
  • Optional hikes/walks in the beautiful protea valley
  • Optional swim in the nearby dam


About Monique:

Monique’s classes are motivating, inspirational and disciplined. Each class you will find new muscles and spaces in the body that gives you a feeling of lightness after each class. Monique guides you through each pose, giving a feeling of containment and confidence in the poses, while inspiring you to go deeper into them. Monique helps you improve your alignment and posture making you feel like you’ve walked away from a personal chiropractic session. Her passion for teaching and sharing her love of Iyengar yoga is contagious and wonderful.

Monique has a background in Architecture and Sustainable Development, and has completed degrees in both. Since 2015, Monique has changed her career radically from Architecture to teaching yoga full time because she believes in the powerful effects of yoga on the body and mind. She believes that it is in the alignment that one finds true freedom in yoga, and that alignment can help one go much deeper into one’s yoga practice. She is a qualified  IJ2 Iyengar yoga teacher; a certification process that takes 8 years to complete.


What others had to say:

Overall the last retreat scored a 9,5/10 from anonymous feedback.

“It was just perfect. I think you are an extraordinary teacher, Monique! Your empathetic approach to all your students is truly exemplary. The difficulty level of the retreat was absolutely perfect due to your accommodating approach to every individual.  I appreciate your effort and commitment.”

“Lovely food – and that’s from a carnivore!”

“Beautiful classes. Perfectly balanced, not too easy or hard. Wonderful retreat, I look forward to the next one.”

“Initially I felt that there were too many classes, but I now feel it was the right amount and correctly paced, and loved the winding down at the end! The difficulty level was great, as even a beginner such as I could manage everything.”

“I so enjoyed the space, the yoga & meeting the other retreatees. Thank you so much Monique for your care and attention to detail.”



  • 2 nights accommodation in gorgeous farm style cottages 
  • 4 workshop-style yoga classes each with a specific focus to open an area of the body. These 4 classes are designed as a whole, so that at the end of the weekend you will feel a full body opening. The last of these classes will be a soothing and calming practice to wind down your weekend.
  • 1 pranayama (yoga breathing) class. Pranayama is the 4th limb of yoga; the “science of breath”. Prana means breath, respiration, life, vitality, energy or strength. We access the mind through the body and the breath. Through breath regulation we can begin to calm the nerves, soothe the body and ultimately control the mind
  • Seated meditations
  • Optional swims in the nearby dam and hikes around the protea valley


Nothing is compulsory except to relax!

This is a small retreat (10 persons max). We’re lucky to have had lots of interest for this retreat. Please note that bookings can only be confirmed with full payments made to the account given below.



Early bird: R3400pp sharing or R6000 private (till 15 Jan 2020)

R3600 pp sharing double room | R6200 for a private room


More info: Monique 082 413 5896

Banking details:

M Woolls-King

Absa cheque

Acc no: 407 650 4430

Branch 632005

Fun Abdominals Workshop

Having strong abdominals goes way beyond a flat tummy or a six pack. We need our abdominal muscles for everyday life, for simple things such as rolling out of bed, or reaching over to pick up something.

When your abdominals are weak, the body uses other muscles to compensate and the over use of these muscles leads to back ache, prolapses etc. Introducing just one or two abdominal asanas into your daily yoga practice will have a huge impact on your overall abdominal strength, reduce back pain and increase digestive health.

In this workshop you will:

  • Find and understand where your abdominals are and how to get them working
  • Learn about abdominal asanas and how to include them in your daily practice
  • Look at how the abdominals play a role in everything we do and why they are so important to strengthen
  • Learn some ‘can do’ abdominal sequences
  • Explore variations and supported ways to practice abdominals
  • Find your the pelvic floor for fully integrated core support

Cost? R200 pre-booked; R250 at the door

Yoga and Sardine Run Photographic Experience

Experience the Sardine Run on the Wild Coast, an event of spectacular proportions during winter on the South African coastline. This time of year is right in the middle of two migrations; shoals of sardines and pods of humpback whales. Tonnes of sardines, and other baitfish, are moving north to spawn, closely followed by their predators. At the same time, pods of humpback whales are migrating north to warmer waters to give birth. Nature and wildlife enthusiasts as well as photographers will get a chance to capture ocean wildlife as never imagined. Yoga lovers will be guided twice daily for sunrise and sunset yoga sessions overlooking the bay. All this set in the beautiful rolling hills and rural African landscape of Mdumbi, Wildcoast.

Join us for this yoga, snorkeling and free-diving adventure! Everyone is welcome and there is no special training needed to join us for the yoga and boating experience. You will spend 6 days on the ocean, with 7 night’s accommodation. Meals and yoga / snorkeling equipment included.

This is by far the most affordable option available to get you out on the water and experiencing the Sardine Run. With 10 years of experience and a serious passion for the ocean. Join us for this amazing experience!



Trip 1 – Yoga and Sardine Run Photographic – Arrive 12 June – Depart 19 June a few spots left

Trip 2 – Yoga and Sardine Run Photographic – Arrive 20th June – Depart 27th June – 4 places left

Cost – Yoga and Sardine Run 

R29000 p/p/sharing a room


  • Sardine Run Ocean Safari
  • Snorkeling Equipment
  • Yoga twice daily (Trip 1 & 2)
  • All meals
  • Marine guides
  • Accommodation
  • Wifi

Doesn’t include:

  • Flights to East London, South Africa
  • Transfers by road to Mdumbi

Iyengar Yoga with Monique

Monique LOVES Iyengar yoga. She has practiced yoga for the past 10 years has been teaching for 3. Monique has a background in Architecture and Sustainable Development, and has completed degrees in both. Since 2015, Monique has changed her career radically from Architecture to teaching yoga full time. She is passionate about teaching yoga because she believes it guides people to live more connected, authentic, fulfilled and sustainable lives. She believes in the powerful effects of yoga on the body and mind. Her teaching focuses on alignment, because she believes that it is with alignment that one finds true freedom in yoga, and that alignment can help one go much deeper into one’s yoga practice. Find out more about her and regular classes at Ayama Yoga. Come on this trip and share classes with her twice daily!


Wildlife Photography with Steve

Steve is an ocean and photography addict, and has built his life around the ocean since 2009. He has lead sardine run trips for the last 9 years; a passion project he loves to share each year. Steve has advised, facilitated and assisted on expeditions with National Geographic magazine and the BBC’s Blue Planet II. He loves creating wild ocean experiences and rare photographic opportunities for clients. Join him on the Sardine Run for an action packed adventure that you won’t forget! See more of his photography on Instagram.


Mdumbi is the best place to experience the marine life on the Sardine Run. The rolling hills of Mdumbi Backpackers over look the estuary and the ocean. A quick walk down the hill each morning is where we will launch the boat. With only 7 places available, this trip offers adventure for those who want to escape the masses and find something unique. See more here

The Daily Routine

We start the day early at 6:30am with a 45 min yoga practice. Breakfast will be waiting at 7:30am, after which we will kit up and go. From 8:30am we are on the water with the whales, dolphins and sardines. The afternoon from 3-5pm is yours to relax, before starting an hours yoga practice at 5pm. Dinner will be waiting at 7pm. Each day promises to be an adventurous wildlife and yoga experience.

What to expect / What to bring

Ocean conditions

Encountering the ocean in this unique way means being exposed to the water, wind and sun for the day on the boat (6hours). Ocean conditions can vary, so those prone to sea-sickness should bring the necessary prevention medicine. Bring sunscreen, a wind breaker, a hat, sunglasses, and a buff. Mdumbi is a rural village, with no shops or facilities. Bring all your essential items for this time. The evenings can be chilly, and we will be there in the mild South African winter month of June. Temperatures, on land, range from 14-21 degrees celsius in this season. Bring warm clothes for the evenings.

The water temperature ranges from 16C – 22C. We recommend at least a 5mm wetsuit with hood. Long blade fins are recommended, if you have them. We will bring weight belts and any equipment need for snorkeling or free-diving.


The rooms you will be staying are basic Xhosa style round houses. There is electricity in the rooms, but shower and toilet facilities are all located in a central building a short walk away. You can connect to Wifi from most of the rooms, but not all. Wifi is always available in the central dining and reception.


All yoga sessions will be held 3-5minutes walk away beneath a casuarina grove, on a tented deck overlooking the bay. These sunrise and sunset yoga sessions will be open to the natural elements, although protected from any rain we may have. Bring warm clothes for the final resting pose of each session. Mats and essential props will be provided. Water bottles and sweat towels won’t be necessary.

Getting to Mdumdi

The best way to join us is to fly into East London airport. There is a shuttle service for R2000 p/p (both ways included). Alternatively there are car hire companies in East London for your convenience. East London is 6 hours drive away from Mdumbi. Self-drivers must depart East London by 12:00 to arrive on time.

Email us at to get on board and experience the ocean like you have never before!

Restorative Workshop

Wind down the year with a soothing and supported practice. A series of supported poses will lead you deeper into relaxation, and we will explore the breath to re-oxygenate your body. If you’re wanting a peaceful, gentle practice to soothe your nerves and calm your mind then this is for you!

Cost: R200 pre-booked, R250 at the door
Where: The Forge, 12 Windsor Rd, Kalk Bay
Book : Monique 082 413 5896

Spring Yoga Retreat – 2 spots left!

We sold out this retreat this week, only to discover there is a new room available at the venue. So there are 2 more spots available if you’re wanting a yoga getaway weekend in Stanford.

Contact me to book: Monique 082 413 5896

If you’re still on the fence, here’s some inspiration:

Why go on a yoga retreat?

The traditional benefit of yoga is to still the mind, and going on retreat will allow you to focus on this more deeply. Instead of emerging relaxed from a class back into your busy home life you can carry that calmness with you throughout a whole weekend.
Practicing yoga at home can be full of distractions; the dog, your partner/kids, your kitchen (haha!) and of course, your phone. Getting out of your usual space helps you switch off and explore your practice distraction-free in a disciplined way.
Spending a weekend in this calm way helps you gain perspective of your life at large. You’ll get the chance to take a step back from daily life business, and reevaluate things. It’s a chance for true reflection and introspection.

If you struggle to find time to practice yoga in your everyday life then the benefit of going on a yoga retreat is being able to practice every day without distraction. A weekend of yoga will guide you deeper in your practice.

Giving yourself this space can be a truly healing experience physically and mentally.
To book: Monique 082 413 5896 | R3600pp sharing, R6200 private room