Antonina Rubina chose to live and work in Ajaccio ... From Russia to Corsica, she dared to cross an ocean, for the benefit of us all! Lemon and Love Yoga offers Yoga classes for all levels, whether you are a beginner or an experienced Yoga practitioner. Similarly, special courses based on the practice of Yoga are also set up in locations conducive to meditation and well-being.
After studying chemistry in Russia and a career as a model in Paris, you settled in Corsica ... how did this choice of life come about?
Since I was very young, travelling has been part of my life, with my parents and sisters in Russia… Then, for 10 years, my modelling profession took me to visit all the continents and since 2012, I have been travelling the world as a yogi...
Corsica is surely one of the most beautiful islands in the world. I discovered it in 2010 and I immediately felt its extraordinary energy.
There, nature, the climate and the island’s incredible diversity of life give the impression that this mountain is married to the sea under the good hospices of the sun .
By practising Yoga, we develop all forms of sensitivity bringing us back to things that are authentic, true, and simple… in other words, to Corsica.
In 2009, I felt the need to push the door of the Yoga centre nearest to my home in Paris. It happened to be the Yoga Centre of Faeq Biria, a disciple of BKS Iyengar, the greatest Yogi of the 20th century.
In 2016, from being a practitioner, I became a teacher of Iyengar Yoga, so that I could, in turn, transmit the values and benefits of this age-old practice.
As a practitioner, I have been influenced mainly by two currents: Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga.
In the light of our life experiences, my husband -who has been attached to Corsica since childhood- and I decided to leave Paris in 2019 to settle in Ajaccio with a professional project based on Yoga in mind.
It is a personal life project, focused on happiness...
Then there, on the island, Lemon & Love Yoga was born …
You offer Yoga initiations, some one-day courses or stays over several days. What type of clientele do you have and how do you choose your training locations?
Yoga is universal, it is open to all based on the values needed in our world, such as respect, tolerance, benevolence, high standards, harmony, peace, self-awareness...
Yoga is a science of life.
I am convinced that Yoga is a response to generalised anxiety, a solution to maintaining a healthy mind and body, a means of strengthening the immune system, a key to a better existence, and even more so in Corsica than in any other place in the world.
Indeed, our island is a land of all contrasts, and the places we choose for Yoga are inspired by this diversity. So we can offer practice locations that guarantee the authenticity of quality teaching, a connection to the island's most natural spots, and an incomparable emotional experience.
Our themed stays are an invitation to travel. They take place in the spring and autumn only, far from the summer hustle and bustle.
We have a double objective : on the one hand, we want to make our trainees discover and deepen different Yoga practices, while being supervised by a high-quality teaching staff, and, on the other hand, we wish to have them explore the singularities of Corsica through various activities, meetings and conferences. Our programme will create the perfect conditions to commune with this unique place in the world, which richness, authenticity and diversity are equalled only by its charm and beauty...
What is a typical day of “initiation to Yoga” like?
Here again, there is no such thing as a “typical day of initiation to Yoga” because each person is unique, and because each person is in a particular state of mind at the moment they meet me, when they start their session.
Most of the classes are collective, which means that the levels of the students are different.
So, I have to adapt and make sure that an advanced student doesn't feel bored, while a beginner doesn't feel completely lost or abandoned, all at the same time.
Such moments reveal that the preparation of my courses beforehand is essential, and the seriousness of my training is indispensable for the well-being of all.
Please note I don’t consider my students as customers, but as people I already know or I am getting to know. I owe them safety, the mastery of gestures and respect for the instructions to make Yoga gradually become a routine difficult to do without. This shows how important the acquisition of positive things through Yoga is.
What is your advice to someone who doesn't dare taking the first step towards Yoga?
First, I would say that there is nothing worse than not daring.
Unlike sports, where the spirit of competition and results are key factors, where physical and age limits are repulsive to progress, Yoga can take you to the last moments of your life. This is exactly what makes its grace.
In what way is Corsica a land of predilection for Yoga?
The French writer Paul Valèry wrote the following words:
"You live on a very beautiful island that I have some reason to cherish (...) this separate piece of land, which still defends itself a little from resembling all the others."
Corsica has been for centuries a land of inspiration for all artists, great men of history, travellers, dreamers, sportsmen, nature lovers, individuals in search of authenticity… Corsica, whose history, culture, heritage, singularities and NATURE never seem to be known.
Therefore, we have chosen this territory to build our YOGA holidays, with the purpose of blending in with the island standards of those who have selected excellence in all areas to promote their activity.
This is how we propose to reveal Corsica and some of its treasures, undoubtedly enriched by Yoga and its art of living.
Everywhere in the world the practice of Yoga is undergoing a very strong development. In the Mediterranean, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Morocco have already made this activity a recurrent element of their tourist offer. Today, it is the turn of our Island of Beauty to invite the travellers to this exclusive journey, that of the encounter of an island gathering all the wonders of our planet with Yoga.
Corsica has all the assets to become a “Must” reference in the field of Yoga, and the organisation of top-of-the-range, high quality yogic activities through RETREATS and thematic WORKSHOPS such as: YOGA & HIKES, YOGA & DETOX, YOGA & SPA, YOGA & CULTURE, YOGA & MEDITATION, YOGA & AYURVEDA, YOGA &NAUTICAL ACTIVITIES, YOGA & HORSE RIDING…
You advocate responsible tourism, and you are strongly committed to the environment. What concrete actions are implemented by Lemon & Love Yoga?
For our trainees’ comfort and security, we have selected some emblematic places, totally adapted to the practice of Yoga and to the circumstances linked to the sanitary situation we are going through. Places where nature, well-being and Yoga merge to create a timeless experience.
Of course, we pay particular attention to our guests' diet.
We offer organic vegetarian and vegan meals made from fresh local Corsican produce. We therefore integrate the logic of short supply circuits, taking only what we need to guarantee absolute freshness.
I am opposed to food waste by personal conviction, so we ask our future trainees to choose their menus in advance when they do their booking, so that they become actors in our food-waste limiting approach, to defend, together with us, a value dear to Yoga: contentment, in taking “just the right amount”!
In addition, all our partners have made the rules of respect for the environment a priority, in the framework of their development, namely, in terms of purchasing management (proximity), water management, energy management, waste management, management of green spaces...
All these details add to the Lemon & Love Yoga experience a legitimate feeling of actively participating in the preservation of the natural and human ecosystems, one of our island’s intrinsic notions.
Do you have any environmental projects in the continuity of those already carried out?
Yes, we do, absolutely !
During their stay with us, we are keen to take our trainees around the island to show them the incredible richness of the Corsican fauna and flora.
We consider that we are all responsible for the preservation of the natural ecosystems.
This is why in 2020, I co-founded with Stéphane Biancucci and my husband the Association "CAPO Assuciazione" whose purpose is to study and/or undertake actions that can help in the knowledge, protection and improvement of the natural environment.
Its aim is mainly to safeguard - especially in the areas of the Route des Sanguinaires, Parata, Capo di Feno and the Gulf of Ajaccio - the wild fauna and flora, together with the various environments upon which they depend (rocks, landscapes, sites, soils, air and water).
This is a strong commitment, and we want to share this purpose with all the people we shall meet in the framework of the Yoga stays we organise.
During our workshops, they will get to know botanists, ornithologists, coastguards, Natura 2000 representatives... all those men and women who dedicate their lives to making this remarkable live scenery last and benefit future generations.
We have selected several sites revealing the beauty and diversity of Corsica's natural environments. We have conceived an unforgettable trip, organised and orchestrated by Capo Assuciazione.
In these troubled times, do you have any piece of advice that is easy to follow on a daily basis to stay "Zen"?
Grab a Yoga mat, settle down in the middle of nature and get to know yourself and each other