Your Guide to Yoga Retreats

The way our culture is set up has most of us busy all the time. The to-do lists seem never ending and work days can be really long. It can be overwhelming at times. I’ve definitely been there before and I’m sure you know the feeling too! The expectations of society, work, family & friends can put a lot of pressure on us to perform at a certain level for extended periods of time. Self-care often gets pushed to the side in order to meet deadlines or take care of others.

It’s time to change that. It’s time to take back your life and make self-care a priority.

I talk about it in my yoga classes almost every day. It is important to acknowledge the great ripple effects self-care/self-love can have. When you take the time to take care of yourself (body & mind) it becomes easier to get through those long to-do lists and better take care of the things and people around you.

One way to do this is through yoga retreats. Yoga retreats offer an opportunity to disconnect from the daily grind and reconnect with yourself. They are often hosted on properties outside the reach of a cell-phone signal and the schedule is full of time and space to relax/explore/learn and just BE! Some yoga retreats are also geared towards education. Many teacher trainings are held in a retreat-type setting so that students can fully immerse themselves in the information.

I’ve compiled a list of a few upcoming yoga retreats held by teachers in my San Diego Yoga Teachers community. Take a moment to read through the descriptions – maybe one of these will be exactly what you’ve been looking for! I’ve listed them in order of the dates they take place.


SUP/Yoga Retreat to Mallorca, Spain. September 2nd-9th 2017.

 

 

There are only 3 spots left for this Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) and Yoga adventure to the medieval island of Mallorca. The accommodations are a beautiful 13th century home in the center of the island. The event is hosted by Tracy “Sarvani” Aleksić and Joy Bennett. There will be daily SUP adventures, SUP yoga and regular yoga practices as well. If you love to cook you’re in luck because this retreat also features a Mediterranean cooking school and two wine tastings. Investment is $2,800. It’s only a few weeks away so CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT BEFORE THEY SELL OUT!

Bright Yoga also has a variety of other retreats that will take place in the next year too! So if you aren’t ready to leave for Spain in a few weeks check out their schedule of future events HERE.

Pheonix Rising Yoga Therapy Training – Retreat Style! Oceanside, CA. Sept. 28th – October 2nd 2017

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This training is held by Soleil Hepner C-IAYT with a guest appearance by Michael Lee, the founder of Pheonix Rising Yoga Therapy (PRYT). This program is accredited through the International Associate of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). Yoga therapy is a holistic healing art that uses yoga & yogic philosophies in a therapeutic way to deepen mindfulness and connection. If you are already a yoga teacher, talk therapist or really anyone who works with people, this is a wonderful certification to add to your tool box. The price of the training ranges from $650+. There are options for commuters – if you live in the area and plan to sleep at your own home, or there is the option to stay on site and really immerse yourself in the process! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO OR TO SIGN UP!

Wine & Unwind in Ramona, California. October 22nd 2017

 

 

Sascha Crasnow is a world traveler and registered yoga teacher who is a PHD candidate in Art History. This wonderful “mini-retreat” will be held in Ramona, California conveniently located only 45 minutes north of San Diego. If you are a wine lover with a packed schedule this could be the perfect way to soak in the benefits of a yoga retreat without buying a plane ticket and/or taking extended time away from work & family. This one day retreat at Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard includes an alignment-based vinyasa flow practice, a gluten free & vegetarian brunch and wine tasting! Tickets are $55 per person or $99 per couple. CLICK HERE TO BUY A TICKET!

International Retreat To Thailand. November 1st – 7th 2017

 

 

Husband & Wife team Rafael & Julianne Arce are hosting this retreat to Thailand this November! Julianne is a devoted yoga teacher with who has clocked in over 5,000 teaching hours and has led numerous 200-hour teacher trainings. (find about more about Julianne HERE) She has a wealth of knowledge to pass on to others! Located in a beautiful all-inclusive villa in Kamala this retreat is about 35 minutes South of Phuket International Airport. This is a non-smoking, non-drinking retreat and is truly geared towards deepening your yoga practice and your mind/body connection. The retreat includes 3 chef-prepared meals per day with unlimited coffee & tea. During the retreat, there will be the option to explore guided and unguided meditation as well as two yoga classes per day in a variety of class formats; Vinyasa, Yin and Deep Stretch. The retreat also includes an Evolve Yoga Workshop to deepen your practice as well as a Journey Through The Chakras Immersion Course. Rafael & Julianne have taken care of everything so you can just sit back, relax and soak in the benefits of yoga. Investment ranges from $1,600-$2,100 depending on room choice. There are only a few spaces left! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT.

Restore & Radiate Retreat in Costa Rica. August 4th-14th 2018

 

 

Dr. Arezou Ghane, who is hosting this retreat, received her Ph.D. in Health Psychology at UC Riverside. She is a yoga teacher, psychologist and the founder of Auteur Health & Wellness (read more about her here!). This 10-day escape to Costa Rica features a revitalizing vinyasa flow practice each morning and a gentle restorative practice each night. A chef will prepare 3 meals for you daily along with unlimited Costa Rican coffee & tea. The accommodations also feature WiFi access so you can stay connected if need be. (and, let’s be honest, there will probably be lots of Instagram worthy moments!). This retreat will be an excellent way to disconnect from your routine and tune into your body/mind connection for 10 full days. It’s almost a year away so with plenty of time to request off work it will be hard to find an excuse not to go! Your investment can range from $1,999-$2,700 dependent on lodging options. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND RESERVE YOUR SPOT!


I hope this list has helped you find a yoga retreat that suits your needs or at least opened your mind you the many unique and wonderful yoga retreats that exist out there. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed and in need of some yoga, peace, and fun, find a retreat in your area and go immerse yourself in yoga’s restorative and rejuvenating benefits!

If you decide to go on one of these retreats I’d love to hear from you! Send me a message and let me know how it was! I’d love to see your pictures and hear your stories!

I will be posting about more retreats in the future. Please contact me if you’d like YOUR retreat featured on my blog!

 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I don’t think I ever had a solid answer on this question but overtime I have shaped an opinion. It’s not who I want to be, but what I want to do. I want to make the world a better place in some way, big or small. I want to make people happy – or at least happier. I want to leave a memory in their minds that they can look back on with a smile.

I think that’s why I was drawn to the restaurant industry. After college and tours of office buildings, I was sick and tired of looking at a computer screen. A restaurant just seemed so much more real.

A real transaction of real goods in real time and space. It wasn’t computerized or “in the cloud” or over the phone. It was in the present. Also, the payback came immediately – not just as a gratuity – but as physical smiles I could see with my own eyes. From the sound of laughter. From the words “Thanks, you made our night”. I guess I just like to know I exist and that I make an impact — don’t we all?

The last 5 years in the service industry have been a learning experience. A wonderful, sometimes messy, often stressful time. But, nonetheless, a time I look back at with a smile. One that has also turned me into a total food/cocktail snob, but I digress…

This week I decided to take a little break from the food & beverage industry. The industry that has consumed my life for so long. It’s now time to try something new.

Yoga Teaching.

No longer as a side job but as my main job. My career, dare I say?!

It’s real. It’s present. I get feedback right away. Are my students happy? Do I see a smile on their face even though they’re profusely sweating?  Do they feel better after class than before? By golly, it’s a whole lot like the food & beverage industry after all! It seems I’ve found a theme in what I love.

Even though it’s a new industry the concept is similar. In many ways the job is the same. Make people happy. Influence their life in a positive, memorable way. Treat them well and hope they treat you well in return.

I am so happy and excited for this journey towards full-time teaching. I have some fears and concerns, no doubt, but I’m ready to face them head on. Maybe I will change my mind and do something else someday but one thing I can say for certain is that I will never regret giving it a try.

Here’s to life. Here’s to following your passions. Here’s to hard work and dedication. Here’s to making dreams come true. Even if only for a little while.

(Wo)manspreading in the Yoga Studio

Most of you reading this probably have heard of “manspreading”, a term first coined by women riding the subway in NYC.

If you haven’t heard manspreading CLICK THIS LINK for a short description.

The idea for this article hit me like a train a couple days ago when I was in class – “MANSPREADING” EXISTS IN YOGA – and it’s not just the men – it’s women too. So I will call it “(wo)manspreading”.

Think of the last time you walked into a crowded yoga studio. All of the mats are lined up side by side and the classroom is almost full. There would be a few spaces available if it wasn’t for Ms. Womanspreader stretching all over the place. Her legs stretched 3 feet from her mat, her arms circling overhead with gusto, her gaze focused or maybe even eyes closed with out a clue to the fact that she’s taking up 3 spaces with her left arm alone.

You guys know what I mean, right?!?

There are also men that are guilty of this. One used to be a regular in my yoga class. He was tall, very muscular, with a serious expression that I never once saw turn into a grin. He had a very intense presence and would stretch before class intruding into the space of anyone within 360 degrees of his mat. When the room was full I would watch the faces of people walking in late, full of terror that they had to be next to him and avoid his swinging arms and legs throughout the next hour!

Now I get it, trust me, I like my space. I’ve been guilty of (wo)manspreading before. In fact, I caught myself doing it a few days ago when I thought of the idea for this article. I want to be able to swan dive down during my Sun A or rock side to side in happy baby without assaulting my neighbor.

But, damn it, we need to share this space!

I’ve come to the conclusion that you should not go to a yoga studio if space is THAT important to you. If you choose to go to a studio you will need to get comfortable with the fact that other people will be in close proximity. In actuality, one of the best things about going to a yoga class is sharing the energy and space with other people. It creates a sense of unity and oneness and we build off each other’s energies. If we didn’t want to be around people we could watch YouTube yoga videos at home.

We are all in it together.

As Yogis, we all have a connection and dedication to our practice that we don’t want to miss out on. We must make space, PHYSICAL SPACE, for others to enjoy their practice too.

It is an intimidating moment to walk into a full yoga studio and try to find a place for your mat. Even if you arrive 20 minutes early, the person showing up last minute still deserves a place. They probably had a stressful day and just got out of traffic and are grateful to be entering the yoga studio, even if they are late. In fact, even if their day was all rainbows and butterflies, guess what?! They still deserve a space. So be understanding that they are humans too. We can make space for each other and ALL enjoy the benefits of our yoga practice together.

Next time you find yourself in a crowded yoga studio (or bus/train/bar/traffic/etc…) I encourage you to make space for others. Only take the space you NEED and share the rest. Your neighbors will be thankful and you might even get a warm fuzzy feeling for having helped them out!

Sincerely,

A former (wo)manspreader.

1 Year Reflection

Just over a year ago, I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training and became a certified yoga teacher. April 24th, 2016. The time has flown by! I jumped right into teaching and have been at it ever since. Over the last year, I have learned a lot and want to share my reflections with you.

1. CONTINUE TO SEEK KNOWLEDGE.

THE MORE YOU LEARN, THE MORE YOU REALIZE YOU STILL HAVE TO LEARN.

When my teacher training started I had this crazy idea that once I did my 200-hour training I would be a yoga expert. Well, I learned very quickly that I still had a lot to learn. The best way I can think of to explain this is with the analogy of a house. You are in a house and each time you open a door it leads you to another room that has two more doors inside. You become curious about what’s on the other side of the door so you open it up. You learn what is behind the door you but it’s just a room with two more doors inside. This continues infinitely. It’s just a fact you need to eventually accept. You will never know EVERYTHING. But, you can always learn more and grow more as a teacher and a yogi.

Seek knowledge. No matter where you are in life or how old you are or how many yoga classes you’ve taken, continue to seek knowledge. In this endeavor, you have nothing to lose and SO much to gain! There’s plenty of space in our brains for new, exciting information. Every new skill you learn adds depth and breadth to your experiences and will help you become a smarter, stronger and more influential version of yourself.

2. FIND YOUR NICHE.

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING – BUT PICK WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST.

I recently had an interview to teach yoga at a studio I really admire. I told the interviewer there were some specific styles of yoga that interest me the most but I was willing to teach anything to get my foot in the door. She quickly encouraged me to do the opposite. She said she would rather wait to hire teachers until she can give them the style of class they are passionate about teaching. Any yoga teacher, she acknowledged, can create a Vinyasa class or a Restorative class or a Hatha class, BUT, will they teach from the heart? Will their passion for the modality shine through as they teach?

Whether it is teaching yoga or some other trade – do what you are passionate about. Stick to what excites you and don’t settle for less. When it comes to yoga, find your niche. Maybe it’s Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram or Prenatal Yoga. There are so many options and paths to explore. I’m still in a bit of the discovery phase. Right now, I know what I like but I also don’t have experience with everything so how can I know if I like or dislike other styles. There’s only one way to find out – TRY DIFFERENT CLASSES AND STUDIOS!  Try different styles of yoga and also take the same style classes from different teachers. Maybe it will be awkward to try something you’ve never heard of – BUT – maybe it will be AMAZING!

3. PUSH THROUGH.

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, KEEP GOING!

As a new yoga teacher, there are some situations I’ve dealt with that I could have let get me down but I continued to push through.

There will be days when no one shows up to your class.

There will be weeks on end when no one responds to your job applications.

There will be times when people question your authority because you are new.

There will be jobs you take for pennies on the dollar just to get experience. (Which can be worth it, by the way! Especially in the first few months free or donation based classes are a great way to get practice teaching!)

But at the end of the day, it is all worth it! Every time an experience happens you have the option to see it as a failure OR you can learn and grow from it.

*PS: Even if you get the first job you apply to, your class is always full, the studio pays you $100/hr and your students worship you like a God – eventually something will go awry. Be ready to come at each moment with clarity and an open mind. If your eyes are open wide you will see something that will help you learn and grow.

…AND THAT TAKES US FULL CIRCLE BACK TO SEEKING KNOWLEDGE.
At the end of the day, you have control over how you choose to learn and grow.

Keep learning, keep pushing through the hard times, keep your head up and eventually, you will find your niche – and the rest will be history!

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Yogi Tones

My friend and fellow yoga teacher, Tony Baker, started a podcast series, Yogi Tones, where yoga teachers talk about teaching yoga. The ups, downs, ins and outs of the business. Everything from awkward teaching moments to times that they felt the most rewarded. Check out my episode here! And then check out the rest of his site for more amazing, informative and inspiring interviews with other yoga teachers!

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Holiday Stress Relief

LET GO OF HOLIDAY STRESS.

 

After a stressful Thanksgiving where I sunk into a week-long depression as I grew homesick for friends and family back in Seattle I had to snap myself out of it.

Why did I let it get to me like that?!

There is nothing wrong with missing the people you love. But, there’s got to be a better way.

Do the Holidays need to be stressful?

Here is what has worked for me over the last few weeks.

 

LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS. 

 

I have found this to be true in many areas of my life, especially holidays.

Let go of what others expect you to do. Let go of what others think you should do/say/wear/etc…

You don’t want to buy presents for acquaintances you barely know? Don’t!

You don’t want to buy a new dress for a dinner party? Where whatever the hell you want.

You don’t want to bake cookies for hours? Skip it this year!

You don’t have the time to put up all the lights and décor? Let it go.

You get the picture…

 

LET PRESENCE BE ENOUGH.

 

Maybe money is tight. That’s OKAY!

The Beatles got it right when they said “Money can’t buy you love”. As far as I’m concerned, love truly is the best gift you can give.

I know that my favorite thing to do with my friends and family is to spend time with them. Even if they never bought me a gift or gave me some type of monetary reward, I would still want to spend time with them.

Shouldn’t that be obvious?

Buy a few gifts if you are able to/want to. But then write letters. Call people on the phone if you aren’t able to be with them in person.

Let the people you love know that you love them.

You’ll see the smiles on their faces and hear the warmth in their voices. You’ll soon see that those feelings are more satisfying than any gift.

 

HAVE GRATITUDE.

 

For me, I have focused my energy on all of the great things I have here in San Diego. Even though I couldn’t be with my family on Thanksgiving I was able to spend that time with some wonderful people here in SD.

For you, it will be a little different. But the basic goal is to focus on what you are grateful for rather than what you wish you had or where you wish you could be.

What you have is enough. Who you are is enough. Where you are is where you need to be.

Be grateful and send thanks this holiday season.

I hope this is able to help you in some way!

Kindness Starts Here

Kindness Starts Here.

I recently moved into a new apartment and quickly discovered that I now share a wall with a very challenging neighbor. She lives below me. For the first month, she came upstairs every couple days to knock on our door and complain about the noise.

Let’s make it clear that we never had a single friend over and didn’t play music loud during this entire time. We were just walking around doing normal activities like cooking, using the bathroom and cleaning the house. There wasn’t much we could do to please her because the noise that was upsetting her was just the sound of us living our lives.

Now the story goes on and there were many encounters with this woman and her husband that made it difficult to enjoy our new apartment. But regardless, I challenged myself to face them with kindness. I baked cookies for her, left her a note, and always heard her out when she came up to complain. It was a bit exhausting but my efforts soon began to pay off.

One night she called to thank me for my card and suggested that we go out for a drink to get to know each other better. Then, a few days later, she gave me a hug and thanked me for my efforts to make nice.

The cycle was complete! Although it took over a month, the kindness I had put out was slowly but surely coming back to me.

Everyone has heard of the saying “kill them with kindness”. I’m not sure if “kill” is the best word here, but the saying rings true. There are hundreds of ways to say it…

“What comes around goes around”

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”

“Lead by example”

It’s all TRUE!

Kindness starts here.

It starts with you and it starts with me. All of us hold so much power – we just need to be patient as we await the results. Love will not happen overnight. World peace will not be achieved with one gesture of kindness. Each and every little smile and helping hand will slowly shape the world. It starts with each individual and then spirals outward. Have you heard of the 6 degrees of separation? [if you haven’t click here!] With that in mind, it won’t take long for your kindness to spread.

It can be difficult to stay above the hate and drama and anger but the hard work will pay off when kindness comes back around to you and the people you love. It is a daily challenge and some days are harder than others but I cordially invite you to put kindness ahead of everything else this week and look for the ways kindness comes back to you.

Weekly Inspiration

Today, a quote showed up on my friend’s Facebook feed and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

The quote was from the founder of Think. Grow. Prosper., Ruben Chavez, and goes like this…

“I know you have big dreams for yourself but don’t forget to appreciate how far you’ve come already. Remember the days you prayed for the things you have now.”

-Reuben Chavez

Today, I put myself in a situation where I was challenged. In that moment, I was bombarded by a little voice in the back of my head that told me I wasn’t good enough, that I’d never be as great as my role models. That I’d never get the things I wish I had in this particular situation. It took quite a bit of effort to tell that voice to shut the f#@! up.

Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting more. On many levels wanting more can be a good thing. Wanting more keeps us motivated. Wanting more can fuel us for growth. But wanting more can also hold us back. It can hold us back from happiness and contentment. It can make us feel unworthy or not enough.

Yoga teaches us to be thankful. Thankful for our bodies and our minds. Thankful for our community. Thankful for the support of the things and people around us, and thankful for opportunities we are given.

Today, I challenge you to be proud of yourself. Write a list of the things you have accomplished and then take a few minutes to look at the list. Read it again. Be proud of where you are today. Sure, we all have places we want to grow but don’t let all your hard work and progress go unnoticed. Your effort deserves recognition, self-recognition. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you you did a good job, tell yourself, be proud, shout it from the rooftops. Give yourself that today.

You are enough. You are successful. You are exactly where you need to be.

Peace & love, friends.

The Yoga Sutras

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Over the last few months I’ve been reading through The Yoga Sutras. They were written about 2,000 years ago and became the backbone of present day yogic philosophy. The yoga sutras are a compilation of the teachings of Patanjali (a yogic sage). I find them to be inspiring and informative.

The second of the sutras is one of my favorites:

“Yogas Citta Vrtti Nirodhah – The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.” – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda

In more plain language: “yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”.

I posted this photo a while ago to my Instagram account. It is funny but it is true! One of the goals of yoga is to calm the mind. Let go of the past & not worry about the future. Let it be. Come back to reality later but while practicing the yoga poses, just let it all go!

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It is important to keep this in mind while practicing yoga. Even if you give yourself even just a few minutes a day to “cease the fluctuations of your mind” you should start to notice a shift in perspective. Ideally, you will be able to more efficiently sort through your thoughts and find new, creative ways, to solve problems rather than getting overwhelmed or absorbed in them.

“If you control your mind, you have controlled everything. Then there is nothing in the world to bind you” – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda

First Post

Hello Internet World!

I’ve created this website to reach more people and make myself easy to get in contact with if students have any questions or comments for me. I’ll be using the blog to post & share ideas, updates, recipes, favorite poses, and tips & tricks to help you live a healthier happier life.

I can’t wait to connect with you!

Namaste.