Beautiful Bowen Island

The pandemic has changed our habits and preferences in so many ways. While the world of travel is returning to some sense of normal, we have to remember that we are collectively recovering from two years of adjustment, adaptation, change and uncertainty.

Where does your travel arrow point towards these days?

While our instinct might be to just get back to the ways things were, there’s also been a tug for people to want to live and explore a little differently.

For me, despite staying close to home (at least within the borders of Canada) for the better part of two years, I crave a sense of stillness more than ever, even while travelling. Enter Bowen Island, located in Howe Sound, just 20 minutes by BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.

 I came here to feel still, under the gentle guidance and idyllic setting of Nectar Yoga.

Snug Cove on Bowen Island.

Getting on a BC Ferry has always created a sense of excitement and adventure for me – from childhood trips to the west coast, to zigzagging between favourite coastal destinations as an adult. The quick trip to Bowen from Horseshoe Bay takes you to aptly named Snug Cove, where a quaint smattering of restaurants, shops and stores await. For the first night, I made my way up the hill to Artisan Suites on Bowen Island, which is a self check-in, boutique hotel of just four suites, located above the best bakery in town. I chose the Cypress suite, which offered incredible views of the west coast mountains from the picture window.

Picture-perfect views from Artisan Suites.

Just five minutes by car, Nectar Yoga is nestled on 20 acres of west coast forest paradise, and its two-night retreats provide the perfect balance between a curated yoga and meditation experience suited for all levels, and plenty of free time to explore on your own terms.

First started in 2014 by Andrea Clark and her husband Satjeet Pandher, Nectar moved to its current location in 2019. The current space offers seven cabins (which includes three small A-frames, the large A-frames and a small cottage), a central lodge and a yoga dome.

Nectar Yoga’s cottages offer simple, modern luxury in a unique setting.

The cottages are well-appointed, and on our particular visit, nature’s evening lullaby was the ribbit of the frogs, while a robin’s song was the gentlest alarm clock the following morning.

In the larger A-frames, you can indulge in an indoor or outdoor shower experience on your private back deck, and personal touches like locally-made soaps and shampoos, extra blankets and crisp, modern décor. Without a doubt, Nectar has re-written the west coast cottage experience to a unique, modern Scandinavian-inspired dream.

Nectar Yoga’s larger A-frames at night.

For Clark, she finds guests come to Nectar because they are seeking a mindful connection. She says, “Our guests are craving nature, a sense of connection, and they are ready to look within and do the personal work to move forward in a lighter way.” This is achieved through a combination of mindful practices, which could include meditative forest walks, guided meditation and yoga classes of all styles.

Yoga practice takes place in the yoga dome, offering an immersive experience. Photo by Jenn Dykstra.

The two-night retreats, which are offered for Monday, Wednesday or Friday check-ins, offer daily yoga and meditation classes in the yoga dome, as well as a healthy breakfast. The rest of your time is free to enjoy everything Bowen Island has to offer, from forest and lakeside walks and hikes to dining, cycling, shopping, sea kayaking, golfing, ocean views and more.

What I loved most is that it offered me a sense of stillness. Bound by the borders of the island, I had nowhere to be, but could rather, just be. The size of the island means that everything is roughly within 10 minutes by car, which means you can do what you want, when you want.

Words of wisdom in Nectar’s Onyx Lodge.

For Clark, Nectar Yoga was created to help seed consciousness among guests, and she wants all guests to feel three things when they visit: Connected, peaceful and harmonious.

I could have easily stayed for a week, as I found myself looking within, resting, reading, thinking walking and just being. After all, sometimes it takes an experience like Nectar to remind ourselves that we are indeed human beings, and not human doings.

I’m already making plans to return again this fall, for another welcomed dose of serenity, re-connection and calm.

You can listen to an interview about my experience on The Informed Traveler radio show here: http://globalnews.ca/calgary/program/informed-traveler-newstalk770?gref=newstalk770

To learn more, visit:

Nectar Yoga

Tourism Bowen Island

Artisan Suites

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