We took a group of our students to the Maya Tulum Resort & Spa in Tulum, Mexico. This location has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. The white sand beaches and the beautiful aqua marine colored water are incredible. We had a wonderful group of yogis who joined us on the retreat. If you've never been on a retreat vacation, I would highly recommend it. The retreat experience, next to doing a full on training program, is one of the best ways you can deepen your yoga practice.
Our retreat began with an opening night candle lighting ceremony and sharing circle. Daniel and I took turns leading classes each day. Each morning students would wake up and enjoy a gorgeous buffet-style breakfast with lots of fresh fruit and coconuts, and then it was off to the yoga studio where Daniel and I would talk philosophy before some journaling time. After these sessions we'd lead a strong two-hour master class. Students then had about an hour before lunch to shower and relax and then we'd all make our way to the resort restaurant for another great meal. The food at Maya Tulum was so good!
Afternoons were free, allowing the students to fill them with as much or as little activity as they wanted. Students could opt for a massage or one of the unique treatments at the Maya Tulum spa, relax on the beach, nap in their cabanas, read a book, journal, or, if feeling adventurous, could pack their days with one of the many excursions offered at the resort. There was stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling in the world famous cenotes, hiking to several Mayan ruins, taking a lazy river ride in Sian Kaan, and experiencing a Temazcal Mayan sweat lodge ritual, to name a few.
I joined the students for several of the excursions. We visited the Mayan ruins at Cobha and climbed one of the highest temples that was ever built by the Mayan civilization. We went inland and explored some of the lagoons and fresh water cenotes, snorkeling and swimming underground in the caves. We did a Temazcal, which had a lot of similarities to North American sweat lodge rituals I had attended in the past. Wow! Super hot, though. Daniel and I rented bikes one day and rode through the jungle and visited a Mayan ruin along the coast.
Each night at 7 p.m., a healthy dinner was served, and on two of the nights of our stay the resort provided live music after dinner, complete with salsa dancing. Depending on the night, Daniel and I organized an evening program; we led additional meditation practices, yoga nidra guided meditation, kirtan chanting, and one night we even did a special fire ritual and had a bonfire out on the beach. Our retreat ended with a closing ceremony and sharing circle. We each left the retreat with many great memories, new friends, and a new community. It was an incredible experience, and I miss it, and all those who came with us, already.
After the retreat was over, I stayed for two extra days to rest and do a yoga photo shoot with a local photographer named Fatima Villarreal. We decided to get up at 5 a.m. and catch the sunrise to see what we might capture. I swam out to a rock formation about a hundred feet off shore, with Fatima shooting from one of the cabanas at the resort. We had very little time to catch the sunrise and it was exhilarating to squeeze as much as we could into a few minutes of shooting. We were also too far away to be able to speak to each other, so I just came into poses as she shot. Have a look at some of the photos from the shoot in the slideshow below.
When the sun was higher in the sky in mid-afternoon, we shot some more photos at the beach to capture the beautiful white sand and the gorgeous water behind. While we were shooting some birds even flew through the shots. I was very happy with how everything turned out. I'm not sure, though, if even these gorgeous photos could capture the incredible beauty of Tulum and the time we had on this retreat. It was magical.
My next adventure is to the Galapagos Islands October 22–29. This looks like another spectacular retreat and I'm excited for this trip. We still have a few spaces available if you would like to join us. Click here for more information and to reserve your space.
Photos by Fatima Villarreal