Yoga retreats are the subject of most of my daydreams. Yoga, travel, likeminded people, interesting conversations and amazing food all in one. Ideally, my life would be an endless yoga retreat. The daydream became a reality when I got on my flight to Vancouver, British Columbia on a YOGASCAPES Yoga & Ayurveda trip. This particular retreat was on Galiano Island, a quiet little island off the coast of Vancouver, Canada.
What drew me to Yogascapes was the adventurous aspect of their retreats. I’ve never been a planned trip type or tour taker of any kind, so the focus on authenticity, adventure and culture of the location really made sense for me.
The Los Angeles heat and sunshine is lovely, but I had been really craving the feeling of fall – that crisp feeling in the air with bright leaves and overcast skies. When I saw the red, orange and yellow dusted forest as I flew in over Canada with my forehead pressed against the window – I literally did a happy tap dance in my seat.
I made my way to the Tsawwassen Ferry terminal with my trusty blue backpack. The visuals from the ferry were absolutely unreal – I couldn’t feel my face or fingers but I was giggling with joy at the sheer magic of the coastline.
There are no taxis or Ubers on Galiano island, so I connected& caught a ride with another girl heading to the retreat. We drove off the ferry through the towering orange&green trees and winding roads at dusk towards Bodega Ridge, our retreat location for the weekend. The car crackled on the dirt road in the fading light as we pulled up past cozy standalone cabins. Warm light shone through the windows and magical tea lights were strung across the entry to the main cabin.
We stepped inside to find the group mingling, drinking hot Pukka tea and nibbling fresh baked chocolate chip cookies by the fireplace. Folk music was playing and the fire danced along in the cabin, creating the perfect fall evening vibe. After settling in a bit and introducing ourselves, we sat down for dinner in a rustic candlelit dining room.
This Autumn Veggie curry…. I still have dreams about it. The entire meal was beautiful with nourishing fresh ingredients, vibrant spices and vibrant humans.
After dinner, we made our way to this magical space for our first yoga class together – a gentle evening yin practice by the fire. The most interesting part about a yoga retreat is the diversity of people that attend – people from all over the country& world, of different ages and races. But the common thread of showing up in a retreat space is a strong one and connecting with strangers in that space is so refreshing. Making a choice to travel alone and do something to elevate your spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellbeing is the perfect way to break out of your comfort zone and grow beyond your daily routine.
Plus you get to wake up to this kind of sweetness!
In the morning, we met back in the main cabin for fresh Pukka tea & our second practice – a slow morning flow with an insanely dreamy view. Then we sipped more tea and played with new inversions and new friends before breakfast.
After breakfast, we were so excited to get out and explore the island. We hiked in the chilled air, ran through the trees, and watched the rain fall on a glassy bay.
^ This is where fairies come from!
After exploring for a few hours, we came back to our cozy cabin for a workshop on Ayurveda.
A·yur·ve·da, ˌäyərˈvādə/ – noun. the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.
Essentially, Ayurveda is an ancient practice of using food as medicine to best support our specific body type or dosha with the aim of balancing each for optimal health. What I love about the study of Ayurveda is that it is entirely individual and based on the knowledge that each persons needs are different. It involves tuning in to both yourself and nature in order to eat and live in a way that feels best for you. My dosha type is Pitta-Vata. Do you know what yours is? You can take a quiz from Banyan Botanicals here to find out!
During the Ayurveda workshop, we also made our own tea and essential oil blends – I made my favorites, lavender oil and ginger tea.