LA-style Rebel Karma Yoga in Monaco with Val Kahl
Have you tried yoga and not really understood the hype? Or you haven't been able to find a class you enjoy? It's because you haven't had the right teacher!
After seven years in LA, fitness instructor, Val Kahl, has brought her own perfected method of yoga to the South of France. Based on Yoga Sculpt and Power Yoga, her ‘Rebel Karma Yoga’ blends traditional Savasanas with strength training, incorporating weights to make you sweat, lose weight, regulate your blood sugar and most importantly, feel that amazing sense of well-being for the rest of the day.
If you’ve been looking for a Los Angeles-style yoga instructor who blends mind-body breathwork with the body-sculpting muscle work of Pilates, and the organ-detoxifying benefits of Kundalini poses, look no further!
It was in St-Tropez where Val’s method took off. Her fan base quickly grew with more and more people feeling transformed with more energy, better skin and feeling younger overall. It wasn't long before her skills were demanded farther away. Now settled in Monaco, Val has become a sought-after private instructor to celebrities and top sportsmen who swear by her method. Thanks to a partnership with the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, she is offering group classes three times per week.
Bon Vivant Magazine was invited to try out Val's Rebel Karma Yoga, an opportunity I couldn't pass up. I don't often write personal reviews, but for me, finding a good yoga teacher is a rather personal thing.
After leaving behind my favourite yoga studio in Los Angeles over a decade ago, I have never quite found the right combination or feeling in yoga classes since moving to Europe (in Italy or the French Riviera). There was something so special about walking down tree-lined Sycamore avenue to my yoga studio in LA... with the birds chirping early in the morning before the traffic started; the feel of the familiar wood floor beneath my bare feet and trusting my teacher while she guided my body to connect to with my breath, my heart and my soul. I miss this.
Several attempts with different local teachers have left me feeling like a yoga "Goldie Locks" — this one was too slow, that one was too fast — finding either boring stretch sessions or hyper aerobics classes devoid of the mind-body-spirit aspect. I tried advanced classes but the teacher pushed us all at the same pace, leaving me feeling embarrassingly out of shape and pushed into poses until my muscles hurt for days. Don’t even get me started on the overcrowded FitLane classes where I was literally shouted at.
I have to admit, I had kind of given up completely on yoga. I wonder how many people here have heard the hype and tried a class, only to experience the same disappointment and never try again… not ever experiencing the amazing feeling of a good workout while also feeling centred, grounded, calm and at one with your soul.
When I headed to Monaco to try Val Kahl’s ‘California style’ Rebel Karma Yoga class, I had a flicker of hope that I could experience the kind of class I have been longing for. But I also wondered if this highly sought-after, gorgeous blond fitness guru was going to be a stereotypical LA health nut — I’m familiar with the type — super enthusiastic, green-juice-drinking, egg-white-omelette-eating, perky… and possibly very annoying. But I can assure you, this woman is the real deal. Down-to-earth, no-nonsense, and genuinely motivated to help people’s bodies find their best state.
How Yoga changed her life
Welcoming a room of journalists who were all about to critique her class, Val opened up about how she struggled with stress, yo-yo dieting and feeling drained. She hadn’t always been a yogi—in fact, Val Kahl is a journalist and producer with a long career in media. She started with NRJ in France and presented numerous shows for multiple networks. In LA, she presented shows like "Crazy America", a trip to the world of collectors and enthusiasts of exceptional cars in the United States, and wellness and lifestyle programmes on MyZenTV. Val also created her own production company, starting the first LA-based French services in the industry and was the voice for numerous French media as a States-side correspondent.
No stranger to stress and battling her body, Val explained how she flourished in the southern California environment. She loved not only the healthy lifestyle with fresh juices but also the ‘positive living’ culture. But it wasn’t until she discovered Hot8Yoga that her body started to thrive, her digestion and weight normalised without dieting, her skin began to glow from the detoxing effect of the movements and she felt incredible. She obtained her certification from the famous Hot8Yoga studio in Beverly Hills, which teaches classes in Sculpt, Power, Flow and Barre Yoga. But it’s her signature 'Rebel Karma' method that blends all this, without forgetting the Savasanas, the spirituality and grounding. Plus, she adds some small weights that really activate the muscles for long-term calorie burning and sets the class to a great playlist.
Aside from all this, Val's skill as an instructor shines with how she attunes to each student, even in a group class, adjusting the rhythm and movements according to each person. I guarantee you the five of us journalists were all at different levels, but we were each guided along to the best of our body’s ability - something she could sense better than us. The music selection kept pace with our flow, not making us sleepy or rocking us out of our Zen. The breath instruction; the movements; her gentle encouraging without cheerleading… it was perfection (coming from a perfectionist, that's a big compliment).
After the class, I felt it. I felt that feeling of wholeness, of standing solidly on my feet, and of glowing well-being (wonderfully enhanced by the sauna session afterwards).
Namaste, Val. Now I know why you are so hotly in demand.
You can experience this feeling, too! Val is offering 50-minute classes three times a week at the Hotel Metropole, currently in the hotel's stunning Spa by Givenchy. As the weather warms up classes will likely be held poolside, for a gorgeous flow session in the sun. Val can also be booked for private classes.
Group schedule until 15 May:
MARCH : Strength and Core: muscle strengthening, especially for the abs. Burn and flow: burn on Vinyasa combinations
APRIL : Get Your Sexy Back: a full body workout to sculpt, slim and feel sexy. Power & Detox: an intense session for an even healthier body and mind
MAY : Summer body attack: to be at your best for the bikini season
Classes are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 am, 95€ per person with access to the Givenchy Spa Heat Experience and the relaxation room.
+377 93 15 13 70
And tell her Nicole sent you!