Carole Frey Shares Her Love of Yoga

carole frey
Destination Deluxe chats with Carole Frey, founder of Free Spirited Wanderer retreats, and seasoned yoga practitioner

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding moments of peace and balance can be a challenging pursuit. However, amidst the chaos, there are individuals who have discovered the transformative power of yoga, guiding others on a journey towards inner harmony and physical wellbeing. One such luminary in the world of yoga is Carole Frey, a seasoned practitioner whose dedication to the ancient practice has not only shaped her own life but has also touched the lives of those she teaches.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING YOGA?

12 years.  I began a dedicated yoga practice in 2012 with Bikram Yoga, and when I couldn’t get to a class I would practice one of the Yoga Journal sequences in my dorm room. 

In 2014, I traveled to Nepal for my first 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training which was Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga. I developed a strong home practice after this training to help me digest the information and prepare to be a teacher. 

In 2015, I moved to Charlotte, NC and was introduced to Hot Power Yoga. I loved this practice for a couple of years and then started feeling complacent, eager to learn more beyond the Asana (postures / physical practice). My heart and soul were seeking something different, which I found next.

In 2017, I began traditional Mysore & Led style Ashtanga. This is where I met my teacher, Johnna Smith, and I have been a dedicated, and devoted Ashtangi ever since. 

I wake up at 4:30am Monday to Friday to practice the Ashtanga Method of Asana, Pranayama, Mantra, and Meditation. On Sunday’s, we study Yoga Sutras after led primary.

I believe the best yoga teachers are first and foremost dedicated yoga students. My practice allows me to integrate the wisdom of these teachings, so I can share it with my students in a compassionate and empathetic manner. 

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?

I developed daily headaches in high school which were a result of tension and stress. My life at the time required me to always be on the go with minimal time to stop and smell the roses. I was also a competitive athlete (soccer & track) which brought me great pleasure. However, I put immense pressure on myself to be the ‘best’ and was challenged mentally and physically by an array of injuries. During my junior year of high school I was introduced to Buddhist Philosophy. I was fascinated by the concepts of slowing down, self-awareness, mindfulness, and discovering how to be present in order to find joy in the moment. My studies eventually guided me towards Yoga, which I first understood as a form of moving meditation. As someone who loves being active, it seemed like a win-win that I could move my body and become more mindful in the process. As my interest in yoga grew, I found a strong desire to embrace the traditional parts of this beautiful practice and eventually share them, as a teacher, with others. 

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WHAT TYPE OF YOGA DO YOU TEACH?

I teach Vinyasa, Hatha, and Ashtanga. My goal is to create an atmosphere where everyone feels safe to show up exactly as they are and to be themselves. My classes are structured in a traditional manner, following the 8-limbs and my love of Ashtanga. I teach breath, alignment, and spiritual discipline in order to help my students be fully immersed in their practice. I provide a well-rounded class that helps improve their strength, flexibility, self-awareness, and overall connection of mind, body and soul. Students leave my class embodying strength and grace. I encourage everyone to try yoga, so they can discover their innate potential, personal power and higher purpose, as well as a deeper understanding of their true Self. 

WHAT HAS YOGA DONE FOR YOU AS A PERSON?

I could write an entire book on this; since we don’t have time for that, I will just share this: 

Yoga sustains me through the challenges in my life by helping me return home to clarity, love, and truth, in order to get back on my own track. 

It continually reminds me I am doing what I am meant to do, and my WHY behind it. 

It teaches me the power that is held in following my dharma (purpose). As I harness that power, and consciously place it in the direction I desire to go, I become the fullest expression of myself.

Yoga lovingly guides me into the present moment, reminding me that all I have ever wanted is to be an active participant in my life, and everything I seek is already within me.

The true practice of yoga is a gift to my present self, and a loving promise to my future self.

I can confidently say, I wouldn’t be where I am today, in any area of my life, without yoga. I am eternally grateful for the wisdom, abundance, love, and joy it has brought me. Thank you yoga. Xo.  

DO YOU BELIEVE IT IS AN ALTERNATIVE FORM OF MEDICINE?

Absolutely. I am also a teacher and practitioner of Ayurveda, the sister-science of yoga which teaches us how to live our best possible life with back-to-basics and natural approaches to living through knowledge of philosophy, spirituality, meditation, daily routine, and food as medicine. Achieving balance on all levels of being is the true measure of vibrant health. Every individual is one-of-a-kind and Ayurveda teaches us to honor and support our true individual natures as we are taught to take personal responsibility for our own health. The overall goal of Ayurveda is to live a long, healthy and balanced life. We do this through practices that are preventative, curative, and that care deeply for the soul. This will allow us to thrive within all areas of our lives. We practice Ayurveda in alignment with yoga so we can bring the transformational benefits of yoga into our everyday lives. 

Disclaimer: Yoga is not a substitute for your medical providers, however, when practiced correctly it can be a complimentary form of healing and medicine

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HOW DID YOU GO FROM YOGA TO PERSONAL COACHING?

Yoga has always been a lifestyle and a means to discover our true self so we can live a meaningful and fulfilling life. Oftentimes when people think of yoga, they think of the physical movement (asana / postures). Many do not realize that it is a philosophy and way of life that originated in India 5,000 years ago. I decided to pursue lifestyle coaching, so I could share yoga off the mat and help people discover the many transformational practices that are not addressed in a typical studio class. One of the reasons I love leading retreats is because we have more time to dive into self-reflection, meditation, pranayama, the yoga sutras, Ayurveda, and more. 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?

I get to meet amazing people from all walks of life, while traveling all over the world, and at the same time sharing the teachings of yoga which have had such a powerful impact on my life and the lives of so many others. 

Leading these retreats is not just a dream come true, it is an extension of my Dharma (purpose). When you understand your Dharma in life you will do whatever it takes to live your life in alignment with it because you know it is meant for you. This also keeps me personally accountable within the work I do. I do not want to preach to others, I want to teach, and in order to do so, I must have my own Sadhana (conscious spiritual practice) that enables me to intentionally practice and understand the material I share with others. 

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS

Disciplined. Dedicated. Devoted.

ARE YOU A VISITING PRACTITIONER AT ANY WELLNESS RESORT OR RETREATS?

Yes, as the founder of Free Spirited Wanderer, over the past few years we have been building connections with retreat centers that are in alignment with our mission and values. Each retreat location is intentionally chosen for its beauty, culture, people, and overall atmosphere – all of which has had a positive impact on my life and is an integral part of who I am today.

In 2024 we are traveling to many world-renowned centers and locations including:

Amansala Eco-Chic Resort; Tulum, Mexico (February 12-17)

Seven Springs Retreats; Smoky Mountains, TN (April 18-21)

Villa Oliveto; Le Marche, Italy (June 8-15)

Casa Fuzetta; Olhao, Portugal (June 19-24)

Samadhi Sacred Valley; Huayllabamba, Peru (Aug. 1-7)

Talta Lodge; Stowe, VT (Sept. 23-27)

Anamaya Resort; Montezuma, Costa Rica (Nov. 2-9)

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WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOUR RETREATS?

Free Spirited Wanderer Retreats have been created to provide a life-changing experience based on two main concepts

1) To build Kula; intentional community, the feeling that life is best when shared.

2) The human desire to live a truly meaningful and fulfilling life. 

Each retreat brings these two concepts alive as we travel to exceptional locations around the world and move through a variety of yoga classes, workshops and excursions, providing our participants with the self-exploration, adventure, connection and freedom our hearts and souls seek. 

Here are five things one can expect on an FSW Retreat: 

COMMUNITY BUILDING:

Each FSW retreat values KULA; intentional community, the feeling that life is best when shared. FSW aims to bring people together where they can connect, share in transformational practices and build lifelong friendships. These are super sacred spaces with an opportunity for everyone to come together to support, uplift and empower one another.

SELF-REFLECTION: 

Alongside community, time for one’s self is held in equal value. Our participants are provided a space to pull back the layers and get to know their true Self through journaling, physical yoga practices, meditation, and R&R – enabling them to discover how to live their life with more meaning and fulfillment in alignment with their most authentic self. 

NEW HEALTHY HABITS: 

These retreats are the perfect reset and enable our participants to remember what truly matters in their lives. These spaces encourage them to wake up earlier, eat healthier, strengthen and open their body, quiet their mind, expand the boundaries of their comfort zone, hold rest equal to work and come back home knowing what it feels like to be ALIVE! 

EXPLORE THE WORLD: 

As I mentioned before, many factors are taken into account when determining retreat locations. Travel has become my home; it is what lights my soul on fire and meets my definition of ‘living life to the fullest’. I know I am not alone in this, which is why FSW retreats are here to help our participants live out their dreams, cross items off their bucket list, explore the world and free their spirit!

YOGA OFF THE MAT: 

My mission as a yoga teacher is to help more people take yoga off the mat and live it as it was intended – which is as a lifestyle. Yoga isn’t just the time one spends on the mat. It is about embracing all of yoga’s elements to live the most meaningful and fulfilling life aligned with the Highest Self. We will cultivate this through Yoga Philosophy, Ayurveda, and group lifestyle discussions. 

free spirited wanderer carole frey yoga - destination deluxe

WHO SHOULD ATTEND YOUR RETREATS?

My retreats are intended to speak to a specific person based on the location, practices, and retreat theme. Overall, my retreats are for those who are interested in deepening their yoga practice from a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual standpoint. In addition, our retreats are geared to individuals looking to explore the world and share in transformational Yogic and Ayurvedic practices with other like-hearted beings. 

YOUR MOTTO IN LIFE

“Don’t talk about it, be about it.”

BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE ANYONE

Take the risk!

Taking a risk on yourself is already the greatest reward. It shows you that you believe in YOU, which in itself is a powerful force. That energy of believing in yourself then enables you to do whatever it takes to reinforce that it was a good risk. Essentially, believing in yourself, your mission, and your purpose is ENOUGH. Within that, you are capable of anything; without it, you will sit back and watch it all drift away. The reward isn’t the end result of your risk. The reward is found in the entire process of who you are becoming because of the initial risk. 

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