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The Perfect Day On A Yoga Retreat

April 19, 2015

This morning I woke up in my Casita to the sun coming through the jungle canopy and the sound of the howler monkeys in nearby trees. My day on a yoga retreat already has its first highlight. I throw on some cloths and walk out the door barefoot. My phone left behind, along with everything else that normally comes with me back home.

The walk to the jungle studio at Maderas Village is a sweet one, with the earth beneath my feet and the neighbor’s little child playing below the path and waving. We all gather in the studio, somewhat groggy – but groggy with no one to impress, nothing to perform for, no one but other retreaters around, is simply a stage of waking up and becoming alive. The pressure of being awake and put together also seems to be left behind with my phone and all the other things.

IMG_9013-2The morning yoga class awakens me from the inside out, like the sun lighting up the leaves of a tree. Sharing this sacred morning space in community, morning after morning is such a nourishing gift, one that is simply hard to manage back home. On this retreat we are quiet from the end of yoga to breakfast. Breakfast. Breakfast feels like it’s own juicy practice. I think I may be more present in the breakfast after a yoga class than in any meditation I’ve ever done. What a treat to wake up, walk a minute to a yoga, practice with new but surprisingly good friends and walk a minute to a hearty healthy breakfast. With everyone around me honoring the quiet of the morning, either by walking or eating in silence or enjoying breakfast with a low conversational joy that grows more present with every passing day. Scrambled eggs, fresh papaya, watermelon, pineapple, smoothies, granola, yogurt, tortiallas, avocado. I’m in breakfast heaven. In morning heaven. In jungle heaven. In retreat heaven. It’s only 10am.

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Every day there is the option to nothing at all until the next delicious meal. That permission alone is dreamy. However, there is also the option of going on an excursion, lounging or walking on the beach down the hill, going horseback riding, getting a massage or like today, among even more options, taking one of the surf lessons that are provided for us. Not everyone participates, but the ones who don’t seem to have just as much fun watching as those that do. The thing about surf lessons is that it’s pure fun. And once you stop having fun after having been met by the beautiful power of connecting with nature (getting tossed around by waves) you simply get out and lay on the beach.

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Could it be time to eat another delicious meal? Nothing can beat the joy that I personally experience at breakfast, though lunch after a morning of yoga and surfing certainly hits the spot. Nothing, though, hits the spot like an afternoon filled with the sacred dance between napping and reading, with nothing else to keep in mind except for an afternoon yoga class, which occasionally I’ll decide to “dance” through. Im a firm believer in the healing powers of a hammock and of skipping obligations to dive deeper into rest.

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By the time late afternoon arrives, I’m almost surprised by the opportunity to take another yoga class – all this in one day! This afternoon class is usually a bit more restorative, which after the morning yoga and surfing I’m really looking forward to. Isabel is playing beautiful music that seems in perfect concert with sounds of the monkeys, the birds, the lizards and all the other jungle creatures that so graciously serenade our souls. I find myself deeply connected to the moment and deeply connected to the vibration, not just of the music, but of this special place.

We end Sivasana as the sun is setting and make our way to grab a juice or a cocktail to watch the show. Being so intimately tied to nature in the jungle means all aspects of the day, the sunrise, the tides, the moon, the sunset, become a daily invitation to be present. So much so that it becomes obvious that the wall between the studio and real life is non-existent. Literally, there are no walls on the yoga studio, which helps to illuminate the metaphor.

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Sunset is followed by a family style meal where all guests squeeze into communal tables and savor the final meal of a day lived to the fullest, whether that means surfing all morning and afternoon or going on a day trip to a volcano, or doing nothing at all but simply eat, sleep and repeat.

My night ends with a strikingly starry walk back to my casita, where the stars give way to deep sleep and delicious morning where by 10am my yoga retreat heaven will already be in a full Tarzan kind of swing.

Ben Crosky

Story by Ben Crosky, Photos property of Maderas Village

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