Nectar Yoga’s retreat on Bowen Island feels less a quick zip into remote island wilderness (20 minutes from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver), and more a slow journey from civilization to a Tolkienesque vale a world away. Disembark from the ferry and a gravel driveway winds its way down past lush flora and fauna, deep into a valley forest, over a pond, and into a small clearing ringed by aspen trees. In the place of giant mushrooms and fairies, pint-sized modern A-frames clad with black aluminum roofs sprout in the ring, fronted by sleek Acapulco chairs serving as front stoop sentries.
This wellness outpost is the brainchild of husband-and-wife duo Andrea Clark and Satjeet Pandher, who dreamed it while on a train journey in India. “Over time, Sat and I have had a few family members pass away and we started thinking about our own legacy,” says Clark. And with that, the couple returned to their homes in Vancouver and decamped to Bowen Island to realize their dream: a yoga retreat in British Columbia.
First came a successful home yoga studio, but soon the couple’s classes outgrew the popular space and they set their sights on something bigger. They alighted on a 20-acre property and, in lieu of razing trees and building condominiums, Clark and Pandher designed a place that would tread lightly on its surroundings, but flow richly with mindful consciousness.
The deal was inked and the young couple took stock—Nectar Yoga’s new realm had “the right energy,” fertile land for growing food for their own kitchen, and 11 leftover pianos (its previous owner was Bowen’s defacto piano tuner). It was an auspicious start. They sketched out the rest: there would be a main lodge with a communal dining room (serving gluten-free, vegan meals with local berries), three 150-square-foot A-frames, a geodesic yoga dome, and three larger cottages, all of which would hew to a clean, West Coast aesthetic. “We love Scandinavian design, but West Coast too as it uses materials from its physical location,” says Clark.
For the rustic single-occupancy A-frames, the pair chose panellized prefabricated construction and black roofs for a timeless, modern look. “In nature, black is neutral and allows the vibrancy of green to shine,” explains Clark. A fresh aroma of cedar welcomes upon stepping inside. In the lodge, a giant dining table where guests convene over homemade fare is built from the boards of the property’s original bridge. Already, long-lasting friendships between visiting guests have formed around this table; someone even proposed while staying here. “People arrive with a heaviness to them,” says Clark. “They come with armour, but it comes off because of nature, yoga, the island … and, of course, this space.”
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