Two years ago, I went on my first week-long yoga retreat. I went knowing no one and ended up meeting some of the most incredible people. Christina, the founder of Yoga & Adventures Worldwide was one of those people. Although we never laid our mats near each other during the week, we found time over meals and free time in between workshops to chat. What began as two women attending a beautiful retreat in Costa Rica resulted in a friendship and a future collaboration.
By the time I met Christina, I was dipping my toe back into the world of traveling and I KNEW it was time for me to combine my passions of travel, Yoga and teaching.
This past October was my inaugural collaboration with Christina’s company, Yoga & Adventures Worldwide. Y&AWW “offers unique, affordable retreats around the globe filled with the perfect amount of movement, inspiration, cultural insight, free time to relax on your own, and of course some pampering time for you!” I decided to take a leap of faith and co-lead a retreat with her in a location that not only has been on my personal bucket list, but a location where not many of the South Florida local Yoga teachers have ventured; Essaouira, Morocco. Let me tell you, Christina and her staff KNOW what they are doing!
There is something so palpably profound when you combine international travel and the (entire) practice of Yoga. For some, this means stepping out of their comfort zones; for others it feels second nature to fly over 8 hours across the ocean and settle down for a week where the language, smells, food, customs and daily rhythms are completely different.
Because my ‘Personal Practice’ and teaching are all about slowing down, turning inward, finding the spaces between thoughts and breaths, the combination of adventurous travel and Yoga is a winning combination. I bet if you ask people WHY they attend Yoga retreats, many of them would answer with: wanting to slow down; time to disconnect in order to connect; self-care; time to tune in.
I couldn’t have asked for a better place for our home base for the week. Essaouira is famous for its laidback, coastal vibe. About 2.5 hours from Marrakech, Essaouira is noted as one of the most beautiful and romantic seaside resorts in Morocco.
We started each day with a Yoga practice. Weaving in information about the 7 Chakras, our awareness muscle was exercised and ready to use when we stepped off the mat. One of the many traits I love about Yoga is that it offers opportunities to turn your attention to the present moment so that life feels fuller, so that life feels like it is in high definition. I want to help people experience what is around them when they get out of their own way. On this retreat we saw and experienced food, people, energy so different we could feel it! With each experience I made a conscious effort to stop and breathe in order to feel abundant. Whether it was the enchanting side streets in Essaouira, the vibrant colors of the rugs and pottery overflowing out of each quaint store, the mouthwatering smells and tastes while learning the art of tagine cooking (Morocco’s traditional slow-cooked stew of meat, fish and/or vegetables), a special trip to Mohammad the ‘spice man extraordinaire’, the day at the spa for a day of pampering mind/body/spirit, or the camel ride along the most beautiful, expansive beaches….all were an abundant feast for our senses. Being mindful of the moment allowed me not to miss a thing!
Magical moments are not uncommon for yoga retreat attendees. The yogis leave a bit different than they arrived having experienced something extraordinary they either did not expect or did not know they were capable of. It’s the people, the growth and laughter that materialize during a yoga retreat and continue long after we’ve all settled back into our daily routines.