FOUNDER & PRINCIPLE RETREAT LEADER
Gayle Olson, founder of Exotic Yoga Retreats and author of The Yoga & Fitness Guide for Women, has taught and practiced Vinyasa, Iyengar and Hatha yoga around the world for over 20 years. Gayle has developed a unique method, Vinyasa Adjustment Massage, giving students hands-on adjustments during class — it’s like receiving a full-body massage during a vinyasa practice! Whether a practice is fiery and energetic, or soft and receptive, Gayle guides students to maintain a strong meditative focus on breath — and on the joy of yoga!
Attracted to the internal world that yoga opened up for her at 17, Gayle began what has become her life’s path. She’s lived and traveled everywhere from Thailand and Tuscany, to Burma and Bombay, and now splits her home between San Francisco and Nice, France. Gayle blends the best of both worlds—a Gallic sense of joie de vivre with a can-do creative American spirit—into her transformative yoga retreats at exotic destinations around the globe.
Exotic Yoga Retreats’ variety of holidays and adventures reflects Gayle’s unique brand of mindful enjoyment. Rather than teaching traditional yoga philosophy, Gayle guides students to appreciate the “spiritual in the simple”. Through yoga, life coaching and a variety of meditative and reflective activities on retreats, Gayle encourages people to integrate simple practices that bring a visceral sense of joy, balance and health into the daily life. “The touch of sun against skin, a hand placed on the sacrum during yoga class, the taste of an Italian grown tomato drizzled with fresh olive oil— these small sensory experiences, combined with awareness and gratitude—greatly enhance our emotional and physical well-being.” says Gayle.
Gayle has devoted her life to helping people discover their unique paths to health and happiness. In 2007, Gayle trained as a life coach (CTI) to better serve people in living their fullest potential.She brings coaching work into her retreats through specially designed exercises to help people stretch—in both body and mind. In addition to offering yoga retreats and health holidays, Gayle trains other yoga teachers in her unique method of hands-on Adjustment-Massage For Vinyasa Practice.
Gayle prefers to keep Exotic Yoga Retreats small and intimate, between 8-12 participants, providing more personalized guidance and richer, deeper connections. Participants depart retreats transformed inside and out, healthy, balanced and rejuvenated. As one recent Exotic Yoga Retreats attendee said, “Practicing yoga with Gayle is pure joy. Her impassioned teaching enables me to flow through class and through life with a greater sense of grace and peace. For this I am truly grateful.”
GAYLE OLSON PRIMARY YOGA & MEDITATION INFLUENCES
- Iyengar Yoga (teachers in the US and India)
- Ashtanga (Richard Freeman)
- Slow Vinyasa (Barbara Benagh, Eric Schiffman)
- Anusara Yoga (John Friend)
- Vipassana Meditation (as taught by S.N.Goenka)
- Life Coach training (CTI)
I'm leaving the retreat feeling the happiest and freest I've ever felt!— Naseem Nikoo, Iran
Life changing, eye-opening and deeply inspiring! This retreat 'reset' my life. It was beyond what I envisioned was possible in one week! —Saige Rutherford, USA
My mom and I enjoyed the trip very much...every day was perfect!—Jane Srivastava, Russia
This is, without a doubt, one of the best experiences of my life. I have made connections with people and myself that I never would have expected. Those connections will be in my heart and help me be a better version of myself for the rest of my life.—Brent Vanlyke, Canada
This was my first yoga retreat and I didn't know what to expect... and it blew my mind! I would recommend this experience it to anyone!—Ale de Rienzo, Mexico
Absolutely amazing boat and crew, and food and cleanliness were excellent. I had so much fun! I will definitely do another retreat with you and your company. —Lana Ferguson, USA
This retreat was exactly what I needed... a week long oasis focused on self-care. Gayle did an awesome job of breaking down the poses and focusing on alignment. She built intensity and also relaxation in the practice. I loved her teaching tips for the few teachers on the retreat!—Alia Allison, Yoga Teacher
Thank you for bringing together wonderful people from all walks of life and from around the world! The connection and friendship that we shared has inspired and changed my life.—Chinwe Nwazota
Gayle is an extraordinary teacher who makes everyone feel empowered, strong and special!—Christine Costello, USA
Gayle is everything I needed in a yoga instructor. Someone to push me try new things (headstand, arm balances) while making me feel completely safe. I did old poses with completely new eyes due to her instruction. She was warm and inviting and made me able to have the most amazing experience of my life. I loved the program. I’d do it ten times over! I feel the best I have in my life. Refreshed and ready to take on whatever I have to deal with at home.—Kara Ellis, Canada
Thank you and Gayle for such a life changing experience. I feel so open in my body and mind. I became more devoted to my yoga practice experiencing the various styles of yoga you teach so effortlessly. The amount of hands-on guidance and adjustments helped me develop new appreciation for the postures and new appreciation for my body! —Nicole Hernandez, USA
Everything about this retreat was special. I have the most beautiful memories, new friends and experiences that I will cherish! The retreat combined the perfect blend of yoga, meditation and fun excursions. I also enjoyed the flexibility in our daily schedule... I had time for myself, to re-align and reflect on my life; as well as meet great like-minded people. Meeting Gayle has been a true delight. Her loving and positive energy was very present and made this retreat a real joy for me. I recommend this retreat to anyone looking to 'switch-off', re-balance and have a lot of fun!—Hala Darwazeh, Jordan
Healthy hedonism" set the tone for a playful week of yoga and mindfulness, laughter and connection. Each morning, Gayle guided us through blissful meditation, followed by a combination of vinyasa flow and stretch sequences. She really took the time to tailor the class to each of our needs so it felt more like one-on-one tuition a lot of the time. I'll never forget the energy we created as a group or the peace, joy and friendships which blossom there.— Joanne Joseph, Australia
Hands down, the best retreat I've ever been to (and I have been to many)! Perfect combination of leisure, relaxation, cultural immersion, and exceptional food! Gayle's yoga has an incredible depth of knowledge, from her anatomical references, to her deep teachings of asana and pranayama. The best is her acceptance of all levels of practice, respecting each individual's body and level of practice. Can't wait to join another Exotic Yoga Retreat!—Tricia Desvarieux, Haiti
I love the personal attention Gayle gave to her students, providing not only awesome instruction, but reminding us to be ever present and mindful.—Chrissy Coleman, USA
The perfect healing at the right moment! I feel another person since this week... a more comfortable one! I hope to do another retreat soon to feed my curiosity!—Maria Paula, France
Gayle inspired me to try new things and gave me confidence in incorporating touch and adjustments in my classes. It feels great to give and receive authentic touch to connect.—Ina Yeijnen, Yoga Teacher in Holland
Gayle has the unique ability to be kind and caring while pushing your yoga practice to the next level. She creates a flow that is beautiful, feels amazing and challenges you to become stronger. This program will forever be life changing. The experiences I have had this week will be cherished forever.—Julie Cameron, Canada
Gayle very clearly is a remarkable teacher because she transmits the essences of mindfulness and balance in enough dimensions so you actually get it!—Jerry, USA
I love Gayle’s loving style of teaching. I appreciated the emphasis on various breathing techniques and the balance between physical intensity, relaxation and meditation.—Michael Neria, Israel