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Published December 20th 2013
Swinging upside down, suspended from the ceiling by softly gathered silk, I feel the blood slowly rushing to my head. As an activity on my all girl's week-end getaway in the beautiful beach town of Byron Bay, I had no idea this is classed as Yoga, nor how much fun it will be.
Getaway Girls owner Kaylene demonstrates her Aerial Yoga style
Anti-gravity yoga (or aerial yoga), was one of the many highlights in a fun-filled, active but also relaxing couple of days I recently enjoyed in and around Byron. It was mid-November, with the mad Christmas festivities looming and school holidays around the corner, I sought a quick escape from my routine. My energy levels were dipping as they always seem to do at the end of the year. Busy with work, family and life in general, I needed to re-charge my batteries and ready myself for the silly season, so I signed up for "Getaway Girls."
Why Getaway Girls and what are they about?
Their website boasts: The perfect balance of fun, fitness, relaxation and indulgence, Getaway Girls offers holidays for women, catering for mind, body and soul. A holiday in Byron Bay, that will leave you feeling strong, fit, renewed, healthy, recharged and refreshed.
Sold! This outcome I wanted. I would even settle for half, in particular the refreshed and re-charged part. Getaway Girls offers either a three or five day escape to Byron. Three days was my ideal time frame to fit in fun, fitness, adventure and relaxation.
The philosophy behind Getaway Girls is simple and is explained by the owner and inspiration behind the concept, Kaylene Napoli. "I offer women a holiday, which takes them out of their routine, removing that packaging and delivering them to a beautiful destination where they can participate in physical activity and relaxation. To take time to simply hang out with other women."
Like many women, who juggle work, family, domestic chores and exercise, we often skip the balance or priorities we would like. To consider putting yourself at number one, even if it is only for a few days, is extremely appealing.
Being active and gently reminded of how to better treat themselves and their bodies, enables women to take a positive step forward. "From the many women I have known in my life," says Kaylene, "the ones that are physically active and who look after themselves, always seem to bounce back better after set backs," she says.
I joined Getaway Girls as a solo person, but my group included two mother and daughter combinations and two sisters. We were a wide range of ages - mid 50's down to 16. We met as strangers, the first afternoon for our safari walk to the Byron Bay lighthouse. As we walked from the Cape Byron Marine park past Watego's Beach and up the steps towards the iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse, we took the opportunity to talk and learn about each other. We also heard the history of Byron Bay from our entertaining safari guide, "Blimey John". I have walked that same path many times, but never with such a personable guide as our John, nor with such interesting stories about a place with a substantial historical past.
Following our vigorous walk in the rain, we were dropped to our comfortable three bed-roomed apartment, at the Outrigger Bay. Time for a quick hot shower, ready for a 6pm pickup by Kaylene, our consummate host, for our first evening dining experience. This was the first of many gastronomical delights over the next few days. Kaylene, who has lived in the area for 23 years, draws on her local knowledge to provide the Getaway Girls with the best dining experiences in Byron.
Our first taste of outdoor activity - beach style was at a reasonable hour the next morning on Clarks Beach. This was not boot camp, rather it was personal training in the security of a group. We had the individual attention of a few personal trainers to push us a little harder than we are used to. Our group, at varying levels of fitness, were personally guided according to our individual levels. This is part of Kaylene's plan, to provide each Getaway Girl with a personally-tailored experience.
We did what we were capable of and pushed ourselves as hard as we felt necessary. This was about personal goals not physical torture and the tips the trainers gave of how to train with what you have at home was invaluable.
There is something to be said about really enjoying breakfast after a solid fresh air work-out and revitalising dip in the ocean. Did the cafe owners care that we arrived in wet clothes and no shoes? Not at all, a gentle reminder we are in laid back Byron. But even if it wasn't Byron, would we women care? I don't think so. This is part of the magical sense Getaway Girls infuses you with - don't sweat the small stuff.
Those three days in Byron with the Getaway Girls has restored my soul and re-invigorated me for the busy weeks leading up to Christmas and the new year. I am looking forward to trying another class of anti-gravity yoga - where I will swing freely with greater confidence. These physical activities, together with taking on new experiences and giving yourself some much deserved down-time (including a heavenly massage by an expert massage therapist in your apartment), is the substance which puts the zing back in your life. Even if it means a blood rush to the head.
Outrigger Bay - Byron Bay Apartments
9 Shirley Street, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Bruce and Shan Campbell
phone: 02 6685 8646 Fax 02 6685 6416
23 Luxury Apartments
50m walk to beach (direct access) 150m walk into town www.outriggerbay.com