Well, another Beach Yoga Bliss retreat is in the books, and I couldn’t help but recap all the reasons why Beach Yoga Bliss II in Aruba more than just rocked. It was crazy awesome this year, and here are a few reasons why.
Walk This Way. Yoga wasn’t the only physical activity on the agenda; we also got a little walkasana action throughout the week! It kicked off with a meditative walk around the Peace Labyrinth at the Alto Vista Chapel. You couldn’t ask for a more gorgeous and serene setting to walk a labyrinth, taking time to journey inward to set forth intentions. Afterward we all got to sit by the chapel in silent meditation overlooking the Caribbean.
A few early risers ventured out with me to hike over 500 steps to the top of Hooiberg (the highest point on the island) to catch the sunrise and meditate while looking out over the island.
Once again, the hike to the natural pool along the north side of the island was absolutely stunning, and this year we enjoyed the added company of a few goats.
Boca Keto Beach was magical and will always hold a place in my heart.
International Yoga Retreat Leader. Oh yeah, it’s official: I am an international yoga retreat leader now because this year three lovely yoginis from Canada joined the retreat! I’m thinking there are going to be some Canadian yoga retreat locations in my future (Skiasana in the Canadian Rockies or Vancouver, B.C. is sounding good).
Me No Fear. One of the retreat themes was about letting go of fear and embracing love. I encouraged everyone to pick a mantra to capture the essence of letting go of fear and shared my own personal mantra: I Am Love. Elyse, one of the yogis from Canada, came up to me after class to tell me that a mantra popped into her mind during the class. It was a memory of her children learning to speak English but mixing up the tense. And so “Me No Fear” officially became a mantra for the week, one that I’m sure is going to stick with me for a long time. Thank you, Elyse, for the inspiration!
Santosha. If you are wondering why so many of the pictures from the retreat have everyone with their hands in gyan mudra? Well, gyan mudra officially became santosha mudra as we practiced being fully present and content.
I’ll admit the practice of santosha (cultivating contentment) is not hard to do when you are on a yoga retreat in Aruba, but it’s not so easy back on the mainland when things are not going your way. We learned a lot about santosha, including how to apply the practice off the mat, because when we are content, it leads to happiness, which leads to bliss.
Setting Intentions. A big part of every Beach Yoga Bliss retreat is having time for silent reflection, to journal, set dreams, and send intentions out into the universe. I gave each of the participants a Destiny Intention bracelet from Tiny Devotions and suggested that they tie the intentions they set during the week to their bracelet. I’ve been placing my bracelet in front of my yoga mat when I practice, and it serves as a powerful reminder to keep believing and living the intentions I set in Aruba.
Travel Adventures. One of the reasons I love to travel is for the opportunities it provides to try new things. I mean, when would I ever get the chance in northeast Ohio to let garra ruffa fish nibble on my feet for a delightful spa treatment? (I’ll be writing a blog post with more about this adventure soon.)
Or, get to snorkel in crystal blue Caribbean waters in search of sea turtles and starfish?
Or, take a standup paddleboard (SUP) yoga class? (Well, actually, I can do this on Lake Erie, but lying peacefully on the boards with our hands in the water during savasana and knowing we were close enough to float to Venezuela was pretty darn awesome!)
Beach Yoga Bliss. Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa has the BEST outdoor pavilions for beach yoga and a gorgeous beach if you decide you want to venture out onto the sand. The view from the beach pavilion of the Caribbean Sea and palm trees is absolutely sublime.
We even used the spa deck one night for a restorative yoga session with yoga therapy balls.
Manchebo Rocks. I can’t say enough good things about Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa. The staff are so friendly and helpful, the grounds are gorgeous, and you don’t get that packed-in, claustrophobic feeling like at some other resorts I’ve been to. The staff took really good care of us, especially Carla who went above and beyond the call of duty to get up at 5 AM to drive us to the sunrise hike! This is a beach resorts that caters to yogis!
Goddess Power. When you go on a yoga retreat for the first time, one of the unexpected delights is getting to meet a group of fabulous yogis who will soon become lifelong friends. I’ve seen it time and time again – the connection that forms between retreat participants – and I am so grateful for the community of goddesses that blossomed on this retreat and the new friendships that I gained.
Crazy Awesomeness. If you know me, you know that I use (and maybe even overuse) the word awesome in my vocabulary. So imagine my delight when I was showing the beach pavilion to Holly at the beginning of the week and I said, “awesome, huh?” Her reply with a big grin on her face was, “It’s crazy awesome.” And so it began: “Crazy awesome” became the other catch phrase of the week, and it is now officially a part of my vocabulary. Thanks for the inspiration, Holly!
Big hugs to Jen, Liz, and Karly at The Travel Yogi for all your help in making this retreat come to life! I love working with you and can’t wait for my next retreat in Santorini, Greece, coming in September 12-19, 2015 (stay tuned I’ll be releasing all the details on that in the next few weeks). I loved Aruba so much this year I may just need to sneak in another Manchebo retreat before heading to Santorini.
I’m sending big love and gratitude to Amy, Kim, Elyse, Holly, Esther, Debbie, Sue, and Holly for sharing their yoga practices with me, and helping to make my dreams come true. You yogini goddesses are the reason why Beach Yoga Bliss II was crazy awesome!
Wanna get in on the FUN! Beach Yoga Bliss III at Manchebo will be held April 11-18, 2015.
Book you space now before this retreat fills up.