I have gotten a lot of questions since I posted on Facebook last week about the Yoga and Wellness Retreat I recently scheduled so here’s a little more detail! I am very very excited for my first vacation in a year, with no racing involved, and a total relaxation / wellness focus for an entire week!
My yoga background: In addition to swimming, biking and running, I have remained dedicated to practicing vinyasa yoga about 1-3 times a week since 2006. I love love love to ride by bike, but the ease of yoga (i.e. grab mat, towel, minimal clothing) gives it one slight notch up as my favorite type of workout. Most importantly, I have seen tremendous improvement in all aspects of my life with consistent yoga practice – both physically and mentally. The patience and tolerance you learn from practicing yoga (particularly very hot yoga) is unlike anything you can train yourself elsewhere. The dedication is takes to work your body into a new pose is very rewarding – much the same as hitting new paces on a run, new power, or new swim interals…and I thrive off of that stuff. But, yoga is a “competition” amongst you, and only you. There is no competition in the yoga studio and that is what I love about it. Yoga is not judgemental, yoga is accepting that not everyone is or wants to be “elite”, and yoga accepts listening to your body. And I love it!
Why I decided to book the retreat: The yoga studio I attend, Y2 Yoga, hosts semi-annual yoga retreats for small groups of students who wish to attend as do the other studios here in Charlotte. I’ve always thought to myself “wow, that sounds awesome” every time I’ve seen advertisements for such retreats, but have always been too busy racing and training to actually take the time to book one. After a long conversation with my wonderful work-mentor who continuously provides me not only career advise, but insights on how to live life to its fullest, I decided to go ahead and do it! Since the next retreat with Y2 wasn’t until fall, I sought out a retreat of my own. My foot is not at a point where it could handle intense training (running), but I think it could manage a week of yoga. So this seemed like the perfect time!
The retreat: The resort is in Maya Tulum Mexico, located outside of Cancun on the Yukotan Peninsula. I have been to the Mayan Riviera before and it was fabulous.
My retreat is April 5-12th. The resort contains only 35 cabanas to which I have selected one that is ocean front – you can’t go to Mexico and not stay on the water!
The package I opted for includes:
1. Daily morning and evening yoga practice – one power or vinyasa session indoors in the morning and one restorative session on the pier in the evening.
2. 3 daily gluten free / vegetarian meals (I opted to add the seafood package to mine), all you can drink smoothies, protein drinks, coffee, tea, etc.
3. 2-half day excursions of your choice. I think I will horseback ride on the beach and take a trip to the local ruins, but will update on my final decision after the trip.
4. 3, 80-minute spa treatments – need I say more? I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the yoga or the spa 🙂
5. 2 personal training sessions with the on-staff trainers.
6. A scuba lesson, unlimited snorkeling and kayaking, and access to the resort’s boat (scheduled ahead with a driver – they don’t just let you cruise around the ocean in their boat!)
7. Transportation to and from the airport – boring, but necessary.
Why Mexico: If you do a Google search for yoga retreats, you will see that there are TONS of places to attend – the most common places I found were California, Europe, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil. I was very close to booking a retreat in Brazil, but many of the reviews commented on the quantity of bugs, so I opted against. I have never been to Brazil and would love to go someday, but I do not like bugs. Period. Also swaying my decision is that Mexico is very easy to get to via a quick 3 hour plane ride. I liked that this particular resort in Mexico was less structured. Some of the retreats I came across required you to particiapte in morning and evening meditation and various other yoga-esque things (sanskrit reading, daily quiet time, chanting, etc). I would enjoy meditating a time or two while I am gone, but I wasn’t up for any “requirements” on my vacation.
“You’re going alone?”: I’ve gotten this question from various people. Yup, I am going alone! Everyone I know (I mean everyone) that I would want to have on such trip is either married, getting married (i.e planning a wedding), have (several) young kids, or are on a budget. Last year was a very busy, stressful year for me at work and in my personal life and I wanted to do something for myself for getting through all of that. I am comfortable enough in my own skin to book a vacation alone and I feel very safe at this particular resort. There are no cell phones, internet is only avaliable at the resort office and the outlets are not sufficient to support laptops (or hair dryers!) so needless to say, I will be truly unplugging while I’m there. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wonder / worry a little if I will get lonely by the end of the week and about what my hair will look like, but I was assured that there will be plenty of other individuals and guests at the resort to interact with (who also won’t be drying their hair). The excursions are in small groups as well so it will be nice to have company when I so desire 🙂
I plan to do a lot of unwinding, which I have come to the realization that I just cannot force myself to do at home. Every spare hour is always filled with some sort of errand, meeting whoever for coffee, lunch, or grabbing a yoga practice. I’m looking forward to spending a week of my life slightly out of my comfort zone, dedicated to expanding my horizons and my well-being, and doing something I love – yoga and soaking up the sun (with 80 SPF sunscreen, of course). We only have one life to live and we should live it to its fullest!
Only seems fitting to end with…Namaste.