Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat Day 6 and 7

04/11/2014

I didn’t get a chance to update yesterday because life here in Tulum has kinda taken on a very similar pattern as it has at home….on the go! I’ve met some super cool girls so we’ve been coordinating meals and stuff to do during the day, which means coordinating schedules and bouncing from here to there with less downtime. I’m not complaining because the girls are great and I think they will be people I keep in touch with through yoga retreats, email, Facebook and such, but is has definitely taken a toll on my “me time”. One can never have too many friends and connections!

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Anywho, yesterday was a great day. We’ve keep saying that the days have gotten better everyday and yesterday was my favorite! The morning was filled with yoga and breakfast with friends followed by an afternoon on the beach. The weather was the best we’ve had yet. The breeze was constant so there was never a sweating moment while hanging in your lawn chair but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! Even with my 9,000 lbs of 200 SPF, I still managed to get a nice tan!

5:00 yoga was taught by Sem again and he is great but very intense. He wants every single person in the class in the perfect posture before we move to the next. When there are 10 people in the class, this can take a while! Needless to say, it was a great workout and I left with burning legs and hips! We also worked on lots of arm balances which it’s always fun to challenge yourself to try new and different postures.

I had mentioned I was teetering on doing the 1000 rep workout to my friend Sydney after class and she was all over it. I was excited to have a buddy to do it with! I definitely miss my sissy and Emily this week! Sydney is less into cardio type fitness than I am so we set her a goal to complete 6 rounds while I did 10. She did great and made it through 6 1/2!! She has been “boasting” (jokingly) that she worked out with an ironman and it’s making me laugh. I’ve always liked people who are funny. πŸ™‚

After the workout, we met our little group of friends for an awesome dinner of salad, almond crusted fish, veggies and corn cake for dessert! Yes, corn + cake. Sounds awful, but was seriously the best thing I’ve had since I’ve been here!! The perfect mix of sweet and salty deliciousness.

We ended the night with tons of laughter and lots of fun crazy stories. All of my friends here are from NYC and they are usually unique, deep, interesting people and these 4 define that! It’s been super fun!

This morning started my last full day here. I’m truly sad but all good things must come to an end. 😦 I’m already in a routine here and am bouncing around from place to place so vacation life is almost the same as home life by now (without some people I miss and my sweet puppies) so that really means it’s time to return to reality. The first Monday at work after vacation is always tough.

This morning there was a 7am meditation before our 8:15 practice. I have refused to set an alarm while I’ve been here so I went to sleep last night telling myself I’d go to meditation if I was up in time. Well I woke up right at 7 and was ok with skipping. It was so cool out so I headed out for my last run while here….a 45 min slow-ish run on the great running path. I have enjoyed having no hills for a week. πŸ™‚

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I made it back just in time for 8:15 class which was challenging. It was with Victor again who has been my favorite instructor and we worked lots of tough core poses! I can say with 100% certainty, I am stronger after this week. 2 1/2 hours of yoga a day for 7 consecutive days will definitely do that! It’s a great feeling!

After yoga we soaked up the last few hours of rays this afternoon. I dozed in my chair my fair share and again, I’m not sorry. I’m reading Ariana Huffigton’s book, (founder of The Huffington Post) Thrive, about unplugging, the need for sleep, meditation, yoga and general taking care of our minds. It’s pretty appropriate and kind of ironic that I’m reading it. I knew nothing about it when I downloaded as it was a last minute recommendation from a friend. Very fitting though.

Tonight’s yoga class was Slow Flow and another favorite. It was exactly what my body needed as I am a little sore from my 1000 reps last night. It was truly the perfect way to end the yoga week.

I will update more on my overall thoughts on this trip, what I’ve learned, reflected on, etc when I get back. I sit and wait on my friends for our final dinner together. Funny how you can get to know people so well in just a weeks time. I’m so glad to have met them though…they have made my trip complete.

Dinner tonight will be fish tomales, mashed sweet potatoes, veggies and the most delicious salad I’ve had in a long time. I don’t even know what the lettuce was, different from anything I’ve had, but amazing.

Thanks for everyone checking in! See you in the states!


Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat Day 5

04/09/2014

Writing “day 5” makes me sad cause that means there’s only day 6 and day 7 left. Boo. 😦

But the days here are long. An hour actually feels like an hour, and not 5 min like it does at home when deadlines are pressing, meetings are scheduled, dogs need fed, the cat is screaming (literally), workouts need completing and life is rolling along at 100mph. Here on the beach, life is slow, every moment of life is enjoyed, just how it should be.

Today began with the same smoothie after a great nights sleep. It got waaaayyy cool here last night after the storm we had and the wind is back to a cool ocean breeze. All is right in Tulum. Given the cool temps, I actually slept bundled up under the covers, windows closed and toasty in my bed. It was magical.

This mornings practice incorporated martial arts into our transitions from pose to pose which made it pretty awesome, fun and different. Victor was our teacher again and this was definitely my favorite practice since I’ve been here. We did lots of arm balances and more challenging poses and I left feeling strong and open. I’m looking forward to Victor’s classes again on Friday!

My sunburn is finally manageable, the aloe wrap helped a ton, so I was able to sit out for a little in the shade and read. I took an hour long walk down the beach and saw all the different resorts as well as various topless women and naked men. Yes. Naked men. Laying out. I guess not much isn’t allowed here in Mexico. I’m ok with it but can’t lie that it was startling to glance left and see “all that” when not expecting it. πŸ˜‰

After my walk I came back for some lunch and caught up with the world before making my way back to my room for a nice nap. There really is nothing like a nap. If you’re not a napper, you’re missing out on something great. πŸ™‚ Post (longer than I planned) nap, I tied on my shoes and yup, went for another run. I’m shocked at how good my foot feels which is leading me to some conclusions that my foot issues are more related to my tight soleus than I thought. More on that later.

I ran 30 min and included 2 x’s (2 min at tempo with 2 min, 90 sec, 1 min and 30 sec recovery). It’s was the perfect workout for what I was feeling and again, I can’t believe how good my legs and body feel. Reason #2,000 why runners should practice yoga!! I got back from my run just in time to rinse off and head over to our 5pm yoga class which was the perfect balance of restorative and challenge. I have never practiced yoga this much consecutively and it’s pretty nice to do your first downward dog and forward fold and not feel like you are literally going to snap in half. I always fear at home that the teacher will assist me during one of our first downward dogs cause everything is so tight I feel like I might break if pushed any deeper. Class wrapped up at 6:15 and I was feeling energetic so I decided to do a quick strength workout after including 50 pushups, 50 squats, 50 donkey kicks on each leg, 50 sit ups and 50 bicycle crunches. Nothing major but a great end to my workout day.

I will admit the most difficult part of this trip for me workout-wise is the inability to switch up my cardio routines. I’m so used to biking, swimming, running, ellipticalling and athletic conditioning throughout the week that having really only the option to run or do burpee/athletic conditioning type workouts is hard for me. I’m also trying to avoid too much other strength stuff so if feel good for yoga so I’m avoiding the a/c type stuff. I rarely ever run two days consecutively at home but I am thankful my body is playing nice and allowing me to do so here. I’d love to go for a swim but the water is definitely too rough and that would just end up being no fun. So running it is and I’m really enjoying it.

Post yoga and mini workout, it was again time to hit the spa. Tonight’s treatment was a Mayan Clay massage which hit the ball out of the park. The freikin cats meow, I tell ya! Mayan Clay is basically a natural cleanser for the skin that removes impurities. They exfoliate your entire body with a sea salt/sand mixture and then lather you up in clay while massaging simultaneously. The Mayans are known for their body treatments including one that involves massage of the abdomen to “rearrange” the internal organs. You can Google it and finds all sorts of neat info. My treatment was a combo and included about 25 min of the abdominal work…score! It was amazing to feel her “work out” all sorts of impurities from within, some I wasn’t even feeling. After your entire body, face and even hair are covered in the clay, they wrap you in a warm towel and you relax while it dries. It feels so wonderful. You then shower to rinse the clay and then get a second shorter full body massage, this time with a complimentary moisturizing oil. The whole process is 90 min long and one of the most relaxing, luxurious things I’ve ever experienced. I even bought some clay for me and some family back home. πŸ™‚ If this treatment is ever available to you, I highly recommend.

My massage didn’t end until 8:30 so I headed for a quick dinner of salad, quinoa topped with roasted veggies and, of course, flan to top it off! No margarita tonight. I think the sour/lime was giving me a little bit of heartburn. 😦 I notified my masseuse about this and she focused the abdominal portion on relieving it. Hokey as it may sound, it’s actually gone! She recommended I avoid guacamole and lime for 24 hours. Boo.

So that about wraps up my day. It’s chilly here again tonight and I’m looking forward to burying in my covers and listening to the ocean while I sleep. Soaking up and enjoying every piece of heaven I can while I’m here!

Until tomorrow! Namaste amigos!


Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat Day 4

04/08/2014

I sit and drink a mango margarita as I type this post. Seems to be a nightly tradition here in Maya Tulum for me. πŸ™‚ I rarely drink at home but it’s been nice to wind down with a cocktail here on vacation.

Today began slightly later than the last 3 as the wind has died down some and my friend Sydney gave me some ear plugs to drown out the screaming birds. This bode well for sleeping. After another quick smoothie, I headed straight to the morning practice. I am seeing the classes get progressively more challenging as the week goes on, but I will say they are a complete breeze compared to what I’m used to at my home studio. Given how frequently I’m practicing though, I’m totally ok with it. I am still getting cardio workouts in during the day and my yoga practice feels wonderful. The class sizes have grown from 4 on day 1 to about 12 this morning due to people trickling in for their vacations. The additional energy from more bodies in the room is awesome. I’m really enjoying the different types of teaching styles and finding new ways to get into poses.

After class, I went straight to my room and put on my running gear. I had plans to do a 1000-rep workout that I like to do, but running was calling my name again. It was overcast and cooler than it’s been which likely pursuaded me. The 1000-rep workout also includes lots of (100) burpees and push ups (100) and squats (100) and I wanted to save my strength for yoga while I’m here. It was a good decision to run. I did a “real” run workout with tempo, threshold and some walking and it’s amazing how open and good my body feels. Typically it takes me 1-2 miles not to feel like absolute ass, but with all this deep yoga, everything is so open and ready. It rained on me lightly for the last 3-4 min and I didn’t complain. It poured 2 min after I got back to my room.

Post yoga run I hit the sheets for a nap since it was raining and I absolutely love a good nap after a hard workout. I came up and had lunch after and just chilled out chatting with some people I’ve met for the afternoon. Yogies are so awesome.

At 4pm I had an Aloe Wrap scheduled at the spa to alleviate the sunburn sting that’s still haunting me. This treatment is not for the modest at heart. You basically strip naked, lay on top of a wet, cold sheet, they slather you in freezing cold fresh aloe (like they squeeze it from the plant in the room) and then you lay there getting a foot massage and facial while the aloe does it’s thing. After, you walked naked to the shower (while your masseuse accompanies you) to rinse off the aloe. Then it’s back to the table, still naked, for your coating of aloe infused oil. It definitely took the sting out of my sunburn though and I couldn’t care less about a 50 something year old Mexican lady seeing me naked, so I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I’ll be completely mended by tomorrow and maybe brave enough to lay out, with my 9,000 SPF under an umbrella for an hour or two tomorrow. πŸ™‚

Since my wrap went from 4-5:15, I missed the 5pm class tonight. Instead, I went to the studio after and did a self-practice. It was nice to hit all my favorite poses and hold them as long or as little as my heart desired. There was another girl there practicing as well, so we decided to take some photos of each other doing our favorite poses. I’m not much for selfies or anything but I’ve always wanted to capture myself in some of these poses! Here are a few of my favorites.

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After a dinner of almond crusted flounder, I’m heading out to Mateos again for a cocktail with 2 girls I met. Looking forward to getting off campus for a little!!

Until tomorrow friends;


Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat Day 3

04/07/2014

Much like yesterday, today began relatively early after a not so great night of sleep. I will admit, though my room is very charming and very “Mayan”, there is no air conditioning and that is very hard to get used to. I am a very hot natured person as it is and was stupid enough to get sunburned yesterday, which made last night even more toasty. I’m finding the zen and not complaining though…it’s not like I can’t sleep all day if I choose. (My next yoga retreat will be at a resort with air conditioning though). πŸ™‚

Anyway, after a yummy smoothie and some more fresh OJ, I made my way to 8:15 yoga. Today’s practice was Alquimia yoga which is the instructor, Victor Varana’s, personal style of yoga. It was very restorative but also very intense. We held several poses for quite a while and after the hip opening class last night, I was feeling the long holds. I am making lots of minor changes to various poses that I’ve been doing for years to move things more in alignment and be stronger in my practice. Getting “better” at something always feels good.

After yoga, a great girl I’ve met, Sydney, and I walked down to the bike rental shop. She’s an ex-Lehman Bros investment banker and we have lots in common. We rented two (very old, rickety) bikes and peddled our way 5-6 miles down to the Mayan Ruins. There is basically an entire city of ruins and these are one of the few remaining situated on water. The views were amazing, the structures were huge and impressive, though I have to say my appreciation for them as a whole probably could be more. After we had seen 3-4 of the buildings they all started kinda looking the same. πŸ˜‰ I’m glad I went though.

After the ruins we rode our bikes to the beach and went for a dip to cool off before heading to Mateo’s Mexican Restaurant for, what I’ve heard from no less than 10 people, are the best fish tacos ever! I love fish tacos so had to see for myself. They sure didn’t disappoint and the fresh mango salsa that went on them was the kicker. So very delicious enjoyed with a mango margarita!

Post mid-day margarita I opted for a quick hour nap before my 4pm class. Sadie has invited me to drop into one of her classes whenever so I took the opportunity to do so tonight! Her practice is very focused on core alignment and I really enjoy practicing with her. She’s very insightful with an occasional side of NY f-bomb thrown in, which is right up my alley! Some people might take offense to it but I find it awesome. We had a 30 min group discussion after practice which was neat to expand yoga beyond just warriors and folding.

I’m currently enjoying a huge salad, seafood soup, a spinach and manchenga stuffed zucchini, a little flan, and of course, a margarita. As I said, the food has yet to disappoint! Sydney and I are contemplating taking our bikes into town for a few cocktails tonight but the weather is looking “islandy” and spotty right now so we shall see. Post 1 glass of pure grain liquor margarita I’m pretty worthless.

Namaste my friends. I hope all is well back in the states! πŸ™‚


Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat Day 2

04/06/2014

So day 2 is wrapping up and my words to describe today include relaxing, peaceful and thankful!!

I awoke earlier than I would have liked listening to several (thousand?) birds screaming chirping outside my window and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. It was a slightly more peaceful way to wake up than with my max volume “horn” of an alarm at home. I laid in bed reading for a little before meandering my way over for breakfast before my 8:15 practice. The food has been wonderful- I had 2 scrambled eggs with manchenga, loads of veggies, a side of gluten free toast and fresh (I mean, fresh) squeezed OJ! It was delicious.

The 8:15 practice was “beginner vinyasa flow” and was the perfect start to my day. The first thing the teacher asked us was to practice like a beginner, even if we weren’t. It was actually pretty neat to focus so meticulously again on poses I have been doing for 7/8 years now. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but to spend more than 15 sec in a pose and actually tweak it to “perfection” was kind of cool. The studio / classes I attend in Charlotte are very high pace and high intensity / energy and I love them, but it was nice to change the pace this morning. I didn’t feel worn out after class, just relaxed and stretched out.

After a 2nd very small sampling of breakfast I made my way to the spa where I would be for the next 2 hours.

It. Was. Magical!

Don’t get me wrong, I have an awesome massage therapist in Charlotte who is truly amazing at body work and I LOVE going to see, but there’s something about hearing the ocean while pampering yourself that takes it to the next level. I felt very fortunate the whole time I laid there and got worked on.

After my massage, I promptly put on my suit and headed to a lawn chair on the beach, lathered in 200 lbs of 9,000 SPF sunscreen, of course! Given my early wake up, I immediately dozed for for a good hour in my chair before making my way in for lunch. The weather is gorgeous with lots of wind which is nice for keeping cool while relaxing and sleeping on the beach. I have thought to myself no less than a dozen times though “I’m sure glad I’m not here for a race”. The wind would be VERY concerning. πŸ™‚

After lunch, I opted for a bit more lawn chair time and again, some more snoozing. In total, I took 3 separate naps today and I’m not sorry. πŸ™‚

By about 3:30 I was feeling like I’d had plenty of sun. As it turns out, a downfall of beach vacations alone is not being able to apply sunscreen adequately to your own back. Holy sunburn! And there’s nothing like zero sun for 6 months and then Mexico…doh!

With my new red back and splotches all over, I made my way back to my room for a run and some downtime before my 5pm hip opener practice. Being a runner/athlete is very counterproductive to open hips so I was really looking forward to this session. I ran 5 very very slow miles and enjoyed the scenery. My ankle wasn’t killing me, for once, after my run yesterday so I was excited to go again today! I didn’t feel like running hard today like I did yesterday, so I didn’t. There is definitely a beauty of being on your own schedule. :).

The minute I walked in door for yoga the instructor asked me what other activities I do because clearly looking like a linebacker doesn’t scream yogie. I’ve been asked this about 5 times in the 2 days I’ve been here further making that point. :-/ Anyway, the instructor was super knowledgable and great with demonstrations to help us get deeper into various hip openers and poses. It was very intense and I’m certain I’m going to feel it tomorrow.

I just ate dinner which included some fresh guacamole, shrimp kabobs and veggies and a little gluten, dairy (taste) free slice of carrot cake (it got the job done at least) and a (really strong) margarita! It was delicious and the perfect ending to my day of activity and relaxation.

I was asleep by 8:40 last night and I’m sure after this margarita (which is basically liquor and 2 fresh squeezed limes) I’ll be asleep at a similar, if not significantly earlier, time tonight.

If you can’t tell from my post that I’m having a great time, then I’ll say it now…I’m so thankful to have this opportunity. This is just what I needed!


Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat Day 1

04/05/2014

Hello from sunny Mexico!

I arrived safe and sound today at about 4:30 local time. It was a long day of traveling after waiting much longer than anticipated for the shuttle from Cancun and after a ~90 min drive to the resort, but was all worth it as we pulled into our tiny little piece of heaven.

There is an organized yoga retreat here this week that is separate from the Mind, Body, Spirit Wellness “Package” I chose. I was lucky enough to ride the shuttle here from the airport with Sadie Nardini, the instructor from NY who will co-lead the other retreat. She’s a super cool, down to earth, eclectic NYer chick and we clicked right away! We talked the whole ride here from Cancun and laughed quite a bit for two people who had only known each other 30 min.

Immediately after checking in and getting settled, I did one of my favorite things to do when I get to a new place…run! The resort is very secluded but not far from the actual town of Tulum. I did a nice 4 mile run through the town and loosened the travel out of my legs. The weather is gorgeous with an awesome ocean breeze so I took full advantage. I have been running very little lately because of my foot so it felt extra special! I do have to ask though, WHY do people in foreign countries look at someone running like they have 7 heads?? Have they never seen a runner before?? Reminded me of being in Jamaica when all the cab drivers would ask me if I needed a ride, while out running. Ummm, no. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I got back from my run just in time to meet Sadie for what she calls her “yoga shred.” She has some videos out and teaches yoga all over the world so I jumped all over the opportunity for a quick private yoga session! We went down to the beach and did yoga poses with cross training mixed in. For example, jumping chair pose. Like 100 reps. Ouch! And pulsing half moon. But it was so peaceful with the ocean right there and was a really great quick workout if you’re crunched for time!

So that wraps up day 1. I have internet in the restaurant so I will try to check in daily but so far so good! Waiting on mango fish tacos and a Maya Tulum smoothie for dinner and then I imagine I’ll be in the racks by 9pm. Yoga is at 9:30 and 5:15pm tomorrow and I have a 2 hour long spa appointment at 12!!! Cannot wait!

Namaste.