Charlotte St Jean

Why is yoga so good for the mountain lifestyle?

The mountains represent an incredible reminder of the strength, magnificence and power of nature. They command respect, they quietly stand in the beauty and strength and provide an incredible back drop for meditation and yoga practice. Yoga is all about union and harmony – the inner & outer balance, the marriage of strength and flexibility. What better way to practice than with nature’s reminder permanently infront of you.

What brought you to the slopes?

Initially my love of skiing, then I fell in love with my ski instructor with whom I had two children and although we are no longer married we are still great friends and still share a love for this region. I was a sales director in the IT industry based in London and even when I moved to Val d’Isère in 2000 I commuted between the world of ski slopes and city scapes. 

How do you make your living in the French Alps?

I used to work outside of resort but for the past 15 years I have been teaching yoga up here.


What do you love about living / working here?

The non routine my day has, the ability to ski or run in this amazing environment in between classes. You opening the window in the morning and going YES! I live here. It is a total Disney land here. We work hard to stay here and the lifestyle can be hard core particularly on the Winter months – long hours, snow clearing, the influx of tourists and seasonairs – but the upside of our lifestyle here is “here” – the mountains, the fresh air, the wild side of this region.

Ski or board?

Ski & telemarking – not a great boarder but love my skiing on and off piste and have telemarked a lot over the years

Summer or winter?

I used to just be here in the Winter and spent the Summers in the Ardèche but for the past 3 years I have lived here all year round. It is even more sporty here in the Summer and so beautiful I love it! The Winter is so busy with people and work and although I get out and love my skiing the Winter still represents a kind of working environment for me whereas in the Summer the Alps are just my home and playground and I adore the freedom and the space here for me and my children.


Favourite yoga move?

Hanumanasana – the splits. I am not naturally flexible and it took me many years to be able to get into the splits and I have to say it has become a favorite of mine – the power, the openness, the achievement. Love it!

Tell us about .... The Val d'Isere Yoga Festival...

The festival was a vision, a dream for many years. When I started yoga here there was none! No teachers, no classes, nothing. Big round eyes when I mentioned it so 15 years ago – and even 5 when the first festival happened – they didn’t quite get it. I was looking at the States and what they were doing. These fabulous weekends of yoga, music, wellness. Of brining people together to share, to be, to meditate and practice together. To have amazing teachers teach classes and in this fabulous resort of Val d’Isère I mean who wouldn’t want to!

We are now in our fifth year which I find staggering and I am deeply proud of myself for creating this event and thankful to Val d’Isère for supporting it and to my friends, family and teachers for being there for me each year for the three days of incredible energy. Yoga, martial arts, meditation, dance, Pilates as well as massages, conferences, nutritional advice, a healthy café and a fabulous little market. Outdoor sessions, live music, something for everyone.