By Chantal Houde
There’s no denying the pull of Lake Louise. If you’ve never been, photographs of the idyllic turquoise lake, framed by those dramatic mountains and the Victoria Glacier no doubt capture your imagination. Located in Alberta’s famed Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the landscape is nothing short of remarkable.
If you have been, you know the magnetism that exists in this amazing place. The restorative energy here is palpable; you feel as though you’re being embraced and nourished by the untouched natural setting, fresh Nordic air, and glacier-fed water.
The resort sits in the heart of this stunning space, as iconic as the surrounding environment. Originally built with fitness and vitality in mind as a base for mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts over 100 years ago, and serving as a space for early adopters of the Buddhist movement in the ’80s and fitness enthusiasts in the ’90s to gather, it is still the perfect place to bring your wellbeing into greater focus. It offers a stress-free space from which you can grow towards the healthiest and most fulfilled version of yourself.
Fairmont’s retreats are the perfect way to embody your full potential and enrich your relationship with yourself. Running through the fall and spring every year, these all-inclusive getaways vary in length and are led by some of the wellness industry’s global thought leaders.
A diverse range of themes and practices are explored: everything from yoga and mindfulness, to cultivating self-love, stimulating creativity, and understanding the mind-body connection are covered. The programs are held in a small and intimate group setting, encouraging a chance to relate with the other participants, yourself, and the natural environment
on a deeper level.
The experience here is elevated – literally: Lake Louise is Canada’s highest permanent settlement. Nestled among the striking Canadian Rocky Mountains and deep forests, yet still easily accessible from Calgary, the hotel is also steeped in luxury.
Whether you’re on retreat or opting for a ‘self-serve’ wellness approach, every detail at the Chateau reflects a high level of intention and care for your wellness experience: suites are designed with comfort and convenience in mind, and many offer stunning views of the lake or mountains; the full-service spa offers a wide range of services designed to soothe and revitalize your body and mind; world-class dining options boast sustainably sourced, fresh, colourful ingredients with dishes that are customizable to your dietary needs; and the health club offers unlimited access to a detoxifying steam room, whirlpool, and fitness center.
All guests have access to a full schedule of seasonally-focused yoga, meditation, and fitness classes. In the summer, experience a lakeside stretching class on the boathouse dock for a completely immersive experience. In the winter, après-ski yoga classes allow you to care for yourself and refresh to make the most of your mountain time. Classes range from active to ultra-relaxing, and many are all-levels, giving even beginners a chance to try out something new while enjoying the well-appointed accommodations.
Combine these possibilities with year-round outdoor recreation like guided hikes and canoeing in the summer and skating, snowboarding, skiing, and snowshoeing in the snowy season and it becomes easy to create your own, completely individualized wellness experience by piecing together your preferred activities for any length of stay.
Not only is your personal wellness of utmost importance to Fairmont, but they also practice and promote progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism to ensure the natural surroundings are protected for years to come. They know that the unique alpine environment enhances wellness and lulls you in the optimal physiological state to absorb your experience more fully and completely, allowing for a meaningful, felt sense of well-being to seep in and radiate to the rest of your life.
In the retreats, participants and facilitators alike are supported by a dedicated wellness team to ensure you get the best learning experience possible, with lots of undivided attention from your facilitator during sessions. This fall, there are four options to choose from through October and November that offer a chance to invite more of what YOU want into your life.
Experience the longest-running and most popular retreat, a Mindfulness & Yoga weekend with daily asana practice, delicious wholesome meals, discussion sessions, and mindful nature walks that allow you to take your learning outdoors! All levels are welcome for this recharging and peaceful escape.
Looking for something a bit more physical? The Flow. Sweat. Connect. Restore. retreat offers a great balance of energizing and recharging activities to help you bring more of both to your everyday life. Yoga classes and workshops with international yogi Kathy Parsons will leave you nourished.
With two dates offered in November, the Mindfulness, Meditation & Yoga retreat is an experiential weekend in awareness: mindful yoga classes, seated meditation, mindful eating, and mindful walking in nature are all explored to help you bring presence to all you do. Facilitator Tracey Delfs has studied under world-renowned Zen and Mindfulness Master Thich Nhat Hanh for the last 15 years and loves to share her passion for conscious living and the inner peace and happiness it brings.
Fall In Love With Yourself & Life. This immersion will encourage you to become your new best friend so you can connect to and live as your best self with love, appreciation, and acceptance. Shannon Kaiser is a bestselling author and international happiness guru and coach and, as your facilitator, will guide you through meditations, lessons, and thought exercises to bring more expansive thought patterns and behaviours to your life.
Whatever you opt for, your needs are always taken care of by attentive staff with the level of luxury and comfort you expect, granting you space to de-stress and explore new levels of joy and ease in your life. You’re sure to leave with concrete tools to integrate into daily life: practices, habits, connections, and ideas that will allow you to thrive.
To book your spot in one the upcoming retreats at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, or to find out more about their wellness opportunities, visit LakeLouiseWellness.com or email Davina Bernard, Director of Wellness at LakeLouiseWellness@fairmont.com.
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Chantal Houde is a yoga teacher, communications freelancer and Reiki practitioner in Ottawa, Canada. She is currently completing her yoga therapy training and is passionate about nature, wellness, travel, and healthy food. Learn more about Chantal and follow her wanderings on Instagram.