Minna Skirgård is the founder of Scandoir ‘Scandinavian Inspired Retreats’, an organisation she launched in November 2014. www.scandoir.com
Minna had been working very successfully with an American brokerage firm in the City of London for five years but realised that it was not how she wanted to live her life; she felt there was something missing. Although, she says, it was a tough decision to resign, it was also inevitable, as she wanted to incorporate yoga and wellness into her professional life and share its amazing benefits, the way she had experienced it.
“Living in a busy hectic city as London, and having worked in a high pressured job, I saw so many people around me that needed a better balance in life.” Retreats are to Minna a much better way of restoring wellbeing compared to normal holidays, they can be a first step towards a healthier, happier life.
Scandinavia with its pure, healthy, simple living, beautiful untouched nature and interesting culture was the perfect inspiration for retreats. She describes it as offering something unique and different, whilst being complementary as a retreat location.
Scandoir is Minna’s response to modern life: a way to combine yoga with a taste of home. Although not all Scandoir’s retreats take place in Scandinavia, they are all rooted there, with the Scandinavian way of life shining through, from the choice of venue, to the food and specific disciplines. Minna has personally selected Scandoir’s yoga instructors from amongst the best in the world, she has worked alongside renowned chefs to provide delicious and nutritious food, and has found some amazing locations.
Minna was born and grew up in Sweden. After school and college, she packed her bags and went off to discover the world, travelling (alone) through Asia and the Pacific islands, before reaching New Zealand, where she spent two years working and travelling.
Minna arrived in London in 2004 and fell in love with the city that she still calls home. She studied for a BA in Business Finance, graduating with a ‘first’ before going straight into a demanding job in finance, working in equity sales.
From an early age, Minna had been involved in creative movement through dance but it was when she first arrived in London that she took her first yoga class (Yoga for Dancers at Pineapple Studio in Covent Garden) and fell in love instantly. Yoga was soon to become a greater part of her life, initially focused on the physical discipline but then adding to that the philosophical, spiritual and lifestyle aspects. She has studied many different styles (principally Ashtanga, Dharma Mittra, Jivamukti and Vinyasa flow) and has followed teachers at most London studios as well as abroad. Eventually she decided to become a teacher and so, to deepen her knowledge and to take her understanding to the next level, she trained with Mercedes Ngoh (200hrs Vinyasa flow). Minna found the training incredible, not simply from a yoga perspective but also from a self-realisation/development angle. She became convinced more than ever that she needed to make significant changes to her life, and so Scandoir was launched.
“To go on a retreat is very much a luxury but also a necessity. To take a step back, stop and reflect – it can serve as a reminder of how to live a more joyful and conscious life. It can help to give clarity and purpose”
To check out upcoming Scandoir retreats in Scandinavia and UK – www.scandoir.com
Written by – Stella Rosas
Photography by – Emma Sekhon www.emmasekhon.com