Meet Elin Ohm and Bea Viberg – the founders of the Åre based outdoor retreats Fjällanda. Two women putting together yoga and performance-free outdoor activities for people who'd like to unlock the magic of nature. Keep reading to discover what inspired them to start this initiative, and what incredible things you can experience with them!What was your motivation to start Fjällanda?
Fjällanda started as a school project three years ago. We met during our outdoor adventure guide studies and found that we have a common interest in health and wellbeing combined with nature and being outdoors.
We both experience that a lot of the stress and high achievement in today’s society have started to show up in outdoor activities as well. A lot of adventures are focused on adrenalin or physical challenges and we want to offer something different. We want to offer experiences where nature has our full focus and attention, adventures where we go outside to refill, slow down and check in.
What’s the essence of Fjällanda?
One of Bea’s first notes around the project was “Nature’s healing powers”. Since then it's been the spirit behind everything we create.
In everything we do from stepping on to the yoga mat to going outside we want to create an atmosphere free from having to perform. An atmosphere where people can show up in whatever shape or form they are and just be.
What do you want people to bring with them, after spending some days in the mountains with you?
That adventures can be simple. That being outside can be the goal, that you don’t have to achieve anything.
How has your own relationship to nature developed over the years?
Elin: Growing up I didn’t think too much about nature. I’m not raised in a family where we went hiking or camping. We traveled quite a bit but nature was never in focus.
After turning 25, when I was studying health education and teaching yoga I realized how much nature affects our well being and how little experience I had of being outdoors. I threw myself out there and applied for outdoor adventure studies where I met Bea.
Today it’s hard to look back and remember a time when I didn’t feel safe in nature. Today there’s no place I feel more at home than outside. The fresh air, the embrace of trees and mountains and the sky and stars above me, always shift my perspective of life and always make it easier to breathe.
Bea: Nature has always been a close friend of mine, a place where I can be myself without feeling judged. When I was a kid me and my little brother had the forest as our playground and we often went hiking, skiing and spent nights in a tent. My relationship to nature has been growing along with me since then.
Nowadays I live, work and breathe nature and can't live without it. The best solution to my problems or bad feelings is always to go outside. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to spend most of my days outside and to bring others with me to the most magical thing I know, nature.In what way do you see that nature can be a healing force for humans?
First and foremost it’s so common to separate us humans from nature, we are part of nature, not separate from it. That realization in and of itself can be a healing force. To find appreciation for our lungs and bodies as well as for the trees, mountains and streams.
Nature brings us a break and shift of perspective in our busy minds. The fresh air makes it easier to breathe and the beauty and greatness gives us a feeling of wonder.What’s your best tips to someone new to the outdoors, to create magic moments in the wild?
It all starts with you and what you want. What is your body asking for? Ask yourself what you want out of your relationship with nature? Of course it can vary from day to day. Do you want it to be adventurous, refilling, uplifting or peaceful?
If you’re new to being outdoors we’d encourage you to start small and build up a relationship with nature. As with anything you need to feel safe and throwing yourself into the unknown might not always be the best way to go.
A few tips:
- Bring your lunch in a food-thermos and eat outside! One of our favorite things especially the dark months when it can be tough to catch daylight.
- What do you have around the corner from where you live? Explore close by hiking tracks or a beautiful viewpoint. Go outside and let nature show you that the magic rests in whatever you do, especially in the small precious moments.
- Gather some friends and hang out around a campfire. Keep it simple and rest in the pleasant feeling of doing something that we humans have enjoyed for thousands of years. Rest your eyes in the flames and just be. Maybe bring some food? Prepare as much as you can at home and finish it over the fire.
- Make sure to create some time for nature in your calendar. Maybe set up a fixed day or a weekend dedicated to an outdoor activity.
- Bring a sleeping pad, yes one of the long ones instead of just a small sitting pad, warm clothes and find a space surrounded by nature to lay down and just rest. No phone, no distraction. Check in with nature, around you, and inside of you.
We love everything about them! They are the perfect length, both in the body and in the arms. They keep us surprisingly warm during our adventures and we love how you can pull the zip all the way up and keep the neck warm too. And of course, apart from function, we love the look of them!Thank you Elin and Bea for the introduction, we can't wait to go spending some time on the mountain with you! Check out their retreats and book your next adventure at their website – and for more wild reading, head over to our Wild Women blog.
Thanks to Johan Nyström for the incredible photos.