Yoga retreat in India

With my cameras, we followed Sophie Piccolo, yoga teacher in Arcachon and Gujan-Mestras, on a yoga retreat in India.

On her initiative, she organized this trip to discover real Indian education in a local school. A 15-day adventure in the Karnataka region, several kilometers south of Goa. An adventure lulled by the song of the waves and birds, intoxicated by the scents of spices and incense, amazed by the colors of Indian saris, in the purest teaching, without “instagrammable” fuss: a journey in every sense of the word, but also one of self-discovery.

Photograph of Gokarna beach during a yoga retreat
photograph of Indians on Gokarna beach
photograph of a beach in India by photographer Coralie Terrée on Arcachon

After a journey of several hours, we finally arrived on Saturday March 2, 2024 at Shri Hari Yoga School, nestled back from Kuddle Beach in the village of Gokarna. As soon as we arrived, we were warmly welcomed by Hari Pawali, the school’s founder.

Opening ceremony of the yoga retreat

Arcachon-based photographer Coralie Terrée took this photo of the moon at sunrise in India.
photograph of incense burning during a ceremony in india
palm tree photography in india

The day after our arrival, Hari had organized an opening ceremony to welcome us in the sweetest conditions! A touching and moving moment to connect with the present moment and realize the road we were about to travel.

The yoga teacher who organizes the retreat in India during the trip's opening ceremony

Yoga retreat program

The school and its teaching were adapted for a specific program at this tailor-made retreat organized by Sophie Piccolo.

Indian breakfast in the yoga school
the cooks at the gokarna yoga school

A daily schedule that left as much room for rest and discovery as it did for intense learning. Saturday afternoon and Sunday are OFF days of free time. The rest of the week was structured as follows:

  • . 6.30am to 7.30am: Pranayama and meditation classes to set a harmonious tone for the day with Aaryan Chaudhary (we’ll start each class in the early morning before sunrise, with our eyes closed, and open them at the very end with the sun. An exceptional opportunity to concentrate on the sounds of nature as it awakens.)
  • 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.: Hatha Yoga class with our teacher Yogeesh
  • 9am: a tasty breakfast served by the school’s fantastic cooks
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: free time with lunch at 1 p.m. on site
  • 16h: Hatha Yoga/Yin Yoga/ Vinyassa Yoga classes of your choice
  • 5:30 pm: Depending on the day, we had the chance to follow the teachings of Hari, the school’s founder, and I won’t tell you more about it here (I don’t think I have the words to describe the power of his teachings, and I think it’s better to leave a bit of a surprise for those who will one day come to experience them). On other days, we sometimes had mantra classes.
  • 7pm: Dinner at the school

Classes are generally held in the shala, a covered but open area of the school.

the yoga school shala in india
organization of a yoga retreat in India departing from Arcachon
meditation in India
yoga posture in a school in india
yoga classes in India at Gokarna
photo report from a yoga retreat in Gokarna, India
Photo report from a yoga class in India
photograph of hand details during a yoga class
photo report from a yoga class in india
a yoga teacher in India
yoga posture in india
photograph of a yoga class in india
yoga photography
yoga classes at Shree Hari Yoga School
Photo report from Shree Hari Yoga school
photo reportage yoga

But we were also lucky enough to experience some classes with Hari, at sunrise on Gokarna beach. I’ll let you discover a few extracts from this journey in pictures…

Yoga on the beach in India

Photo report of a yoga session on Gokarna beach at sunrise! A moment suspended between the sound of the waves, the awakening of India, the curious gaze of the cows, and the sight of a few dogs…

a cow at sunrise on gokarna beach
Gokarna beach for a yoga retreat in India
yoga photographer
Sunrise yoga classes on retreat in India
yoga photography in India
a yoga teacher from the Arcachon basin during her yoga retreat in India
photograph of sun salutations on a beach in India
sun salutation on a beach in India
sunrise in India
photo report from a yoga class in india
the cows on gokarna beach in india
sunrise on the beach in india
group yoga classes in india
travel photographer in india
photographs of yoga in india
group yoga class in India on the beach
meditation in india
travel photographer

Closing ceremony

After a fortnight’s retreat in India, it was time to say goodbye. The yoga school had organized a closing ceremony for us, an opportunity to exchange ideas, confide in each other, share all the feelings we’d experienced together, but above all to experience a moment of great emotion, kindness and sharing, just like the rest of this wonderful trip.

Although I’m only sharing a few extracts with you here, I hope that through the few photographs illustrating our final ceremony, you’ll feel the emotion and well-being that this retreat at Gokarna was able to offer us.

flowers in india
photo report from a yoga retreat
photograph of a yoga retreat in india
photo report from a trip to india
photo report from a yoga school in india
photo report from india
photo report from india
incense during a ceremony
offerings during a yoga retreat
ceremony in india
Indian yoga teachers
Photo portraits of yoga teachers
Portrait photo of Instant Yoga Arcachon, yoga teacher in Arcachon
photo reportage of a yoga retreat ceremony
yoga retreat
photo report from a yoga retreat
photo report from a yoga retreat in India
travel photography
photo report from a yoga retreat
Arcachon yoga teacher Sophie Piccolo
photograph of a yoga retreat in india
photograph of a yoga retreat
yoga retreat in Gokarna


I would like to end this article by warmly thanking the entire staff of the Shree Hari Yoga school, our teachers, as well as its founder Hari.

Thank you for sharing all these beautiful energies with us, thank you for your welcome, your kindness, and thank you for reminding us to breathe. I hope to keep all these teachings in my thoughts and in my heart for as long as possible.

Thanks to all the participants in this retreat, but also to the people of Gokarna: I met some extraordinary people during this trip.

And last but not least, THANK YOU to Sophie Piccolo for organizing this yoga retreat in India. Thank you to this fabulous yoga teacher who shared so much more than just information and translation with the retreat participants. Thank you for your time, your kindness, your smile and your laughter, which brightened every day of this sunny trip! Thank you also for your patience and the way you listened to me every day, before, during and after this yoga retreat. And finally, THANK YOU so much for your trust: it was a joy and a privilege to have the chance to accompany you on this photographic adventure! Thanks to you, I’ve experienced this journey through both my eyes and my soul!

If you are looking for a yoga teacher in Arcachon, I can only recommend Sophie‘s teaching!

Arcachon photographer Coralie Terrée on a yoga retreat in India

I’d like to end this article with a little photo of myself. Thanks to Natasha for this photo, which reminds me of the joy I’ve felt through these encounters at the other end of the world.

(By the way, Natasha is a chef in the Arcachon basin, and she makes excellent cookies!)

I hope you enjoyed this article! What do you say we meet again soon for a more “travel” article with portraits of the Indian looks I’ve been lucky enough to meet?

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