Interviews to Inspire: Corinne Voermans

Corinne from Happy Buddha Aruba

Have you ever dreamed of making a life-changing move to give up city life and live on a beautiful beach somewhere? Us too.

But it takes courage to jump onto a plane and into a new life. That’s why we’re catching up with the people who have already taken the plunge to make a life-altering change, to sunshine-filled Aruba – a place strewn with to-die-for beaches and azure seas that we all dream of spending out our days on.

First in our Aruba ‘Interviews to Inspire’ is yoga instructor Corinne Voermans. In 2013, she left her full on fitness-guru life in the Netherlands to start a makeshift yoga studio on Aruba’s gorgeous Palm Beach. When there wasn’t even a yoga scene in Aruba yet. But more than her spirituality and yogi lifestyle, at the heart of it, like in any big change, it’s Corinne’s courage and open mind that keep her life in Aruba flourishing. Read on to hear her story:

Why Aruba?

Aruba does something to you (in a positive sense)! In 2002 my husband and I decided to take an 8-month sabbatical and spend this time on Aruba with our 14-month-old daughter. After 8 months I felt more balanced, mentally, physically and spiritually…and I was crying in the airplane not wanting to go back to my hectic life in Holland. It took 4 more years and several holidays to Aruba to finally come to the decision to permanently settle down here. In 2006 we emigrated from Holland to Aruba. Personally, Aruba gives me a feeling of ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’ which I no longer experienced in my homeland.

Did you find it hard to make the move?

The first 3 months of our stay I had trouble adjusting to the island life because I felt there was little more to do then go to the beach. In the Netherlands I was always on the go, driving from one health club to another to teach classes (Aerobics, Step Reebok, Bootcamps, Yoga & Pilates) so after a while I offered to teach classes for some of the major resorts. This made a huge change because I felt that I could be productive and also enjoy the laid-back atmosphere when not working.

What makes Aruba a unique place in your eyes?

The tranquillity I experience here is beyond words. From my desk I see and hear the birds, feel the wind and my dogs (I have 4) can run around free. Every day I am grateful that I can work from my home, meet the locals and visitors from around the globe who sign up for yoga classes…. and if I want to go to the beach, it’s only a 10 min walk.

Aruba gives me a feeling of ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’ which I no longer experienced in my homeland.

What is the wellness scene like in Aruba?

The wellness scene has exploded over the last 12 years. In 2006 there were only a very few places where you could work on mental, physical & spiritual wellbeing, but now in 2018 it’s a booming business. Happy Buddha Aruba holds events and workshops, like our Vegan Nights, where we introduce people to yoga and the benefits of a plant-based diet by supplying vegan food samples and recipes. We make an effort to build a more conscious community based on the yoga principles.

How did it feel to open your own yoga studio?

When my husband (now ex-husband) and I got divorced and sold our business in Aruba people asked me what I was going to do. Someone suggested that I start teaching from my house which at first didn’t appeal to me. After many requests I decided to take a chance. In 2012 I opened the doors to Happy Buddha Aruba and decided to devote my life to teaching meditation and yoga. I also included the Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga) sequence. Since this was not taught on Aruba I took a chance to introduce it. Hot Yoga in an already hot climate … To my surprise, a lot of people were curious to partake and most of them also fell in love with it. I am proud that we can offer such a diverse class schedule.

What is the best thing about living in Aruba?

Working from my home makes it so much easier to be a mom. My daughter is now 17 years old, lives with me, and I am always available for her. Very different from how I was raised with two parents who came home at 7 PM in the evening. The quality time that I get to spend with my daughter is priceless.

Is Aruba a healing place?

Aruba is a wonderful destination for wellness retreats. For those who just want to destress…daily yoga and meditation classes, swimming in our turquoise sea, sunbathing on our white beaches, doing some SUP yoga or snorkeling, taking a Sun Set Sail cruise, riding a horse or taking a tour around the island will do the trick, 😉

The island is breathtaking and makes you feel like you are the victor of one self.

Do you have a favourite meditation spot on the island?

My favourite meditation spot is the top of the Hooiberg. It requires a physical effort of 565 steps up but the panoramic view of the island is breathtaking and makes you feel like you are the victor of one self.

Any tips for a holistic experience in Aruba?

Just come and experience the Bon Bini feeling yourself. Don’t just sit with a cocktail on the beach, take a walk or rent a bike….Get out there. Visit our National Park Arikok, go into the caves, rent a paddle board into the Spanish Lagoon, take a mountain bike tour! Continue to exercise while on holiday and feel good about yourself. The sun is here 365 days and it only takes 30-60 min daily to get a tan….so do something…Explore, Experience, Evolve!

Any favourite places to grab a bite?

We have, more and more restaurants including Vegetarian and Vegan options. But we also have specialised ones now like: Garden Fresch in front of Playa Linda, Eduardo’s Shack a short beach walk behind Playa Linda, Al Fresco in Bushiri and Green Food Service in Orange Plaza.

do something…Explore, Experience, Evolve!

Any advice for people looking to inspire a change in their own lives?

Come to Aruba, meet me and my teachers in the studio. We’re here to guide you on a mental, physical and spiritual level. This review I received yesterday says it all: “My solo trip to Aruba has been an unforgettable experience. I couldn’t think of a better way to begin my 30s than to tackle some difficulties I’ve held on to and have let hold me back. Only good can come from working on yourself”.

Do you think you’ll always live in Aruba?

Aruba will continue to be my home base…I still get goosebumps when I am on the airplane and see my island. So YES, for the years to come I’ll continue to live on Aruba until an offer is made which I can’t refuse. Time will tell… For now I feel my work is not done here yet.

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