Retreat in Tulum Mexico with US yoga influencer Ashley Galvin

Retreat in Tulum Mexico with US yoga influencer Ashley Galvin

From Digital Presence to Real-Life Inspiration, Unveiling the Essence of Yoga with a Renowned Influencer- By Vanessa Williams

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'She's here, I can see her!', the excitement was spreading round the fire pit circle, as we caught the first glimpse of our yoga heroine walking barefoot towards us. One lady spoke for us all when she gushed 'I can't believe you’re stood in front of us, you’re normally the size of my thumb on the phone screen’.  Once the fan-Girling had subsided and the retreat schedule explained, our group of 31 yogis headed off to bed, ready for our first class with US yoga influencer Ashley Galvin.

After a 10 hour flight from the UK and 2 hour road transfer, I was glad to be acquainted with my bed at the Amansala Eco Resort, a jungle-style wooden hotel, situated on a long sandy stretch of Tulum beach, Mexico.  Amansala, Aman meaning ‘peace’ and sala or shala, meaning ‘house or covered space, has set itself up as a hosting centre for yoga teachers from all over the world to hold retreats with groups big and small.

Our first day began with sunrise meditation conducted by Ashley’s partner and fellow yoga teacher, Matt Stevens and then it was time for the yoga session.  I was starting to feel nervous, I loved Ashley’s online classes that pushed me to improve my core strength and flexibility but how would that pressure feel with Ashley actually in the same room?  I would class myself as a moderate beginner and hoped that if nothing else, I would be able to keep up the pace for the whole 90 minutes.

We started with breathing and slowly built up with familiar moves to Ashley’s signature style of seamlessly flowing from one yoga position to another and repeating. From warrior two to reverse triangle and back again, from one legged down dog through to pigeon. The more advanced yogis were offered the chance to do a hand stand or balance in crow but all levels were made to feel included with the option of child’s pose positively encouraged. Ashley walked round the Grande Shala, giving individual hands on help and posture guidance.

A filling protein-based brunch followed and then the day to ourselves. We could take organised tours to the Cenotes, mangroves and ruins, have a massage or just laze on the beach until the evening class started. Although billed as Restorative, this yoga session was generally a mix of styles and was dictated by the mood and energy levels of the group.

We had seven sessions of yoga in total, two of which were hosted by Matt with a free flow style and five by Ashley, including an Arm Balance workshop.   I knew this would be too challenging for me so I booked a Gentle yoga class from another retreat and could already feel improvement in my practice as I moved seamlessly through less complicated basic moves.

The next time I see Ashley, she’ll be the size of my thumb again, guiding me along with her chilled Californian vibes and gentle authority from the depths of the laptop. My face to face experience has given me the confidence to take my eyes off the screen as I work on my strength, flexibility and as Ashley says, listening to my body.



Vanessa is a freelance TV Producer Director filming travel shows around the world and always packing a kettle, tea bags and yoga mat.