Retreat Adventures in Iceland
“There is an eternal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives.” - Josephine Hart
Well, first of all, I want to start off by saying how grateful I am to be able to do something that I freaking love, in locations that I’ve never experienced before.
I absolutely LOVE the ocean; many of you know it’s basically my cure all. For me it’s an instant mood changer and the gospel to my soul. Initially when I began to do Yoga Retreats I wanted to go to beautiful locations, where there was white sand beaches and delicious food, accompanied by a great yoga space to practice in.
Some of the first locations included places like Fiji, Mexico, Bali, and Southern California naturally. Torry makes fun of me for always searching for that ‘perfect white sand beach’. After doing this for a few years, for me it never get’s old,… you want to know what gets old? Getting constantly attacked by mosquitos and bugs, or as my aussie friends call them ‘mossies’.
Two years ago, while at a beautiful location in Thailand, in the middle of an epic retreat, my body covered in mosquito bites, .. these little terrorists would attack all day, and ALL night…After a long week of a million little battles, going from the ‘organic-grade essential oil bug repellent’ to what I’m pretty sure was the equivalent of RAID…I though to myself.. “hmm.. I wonder if there’s a place on the planet that has zero mosquitoes and zero bugs”.. #truth, the first thing that came up on my Google search was ‘ICELAND’.
When I was 21 I created a bucket list, I didn’t grow up going on ‘family vacations’ or ‘camping trips’, our family barely made ends meet in fact I didn’t’ leave the country until I was 21. I didn’t even know if I would like traveling? Needless to say… It’s so much a part of my life that it’s hard to think of being in one place for more than 3 weeks. Since then this bucket list has grown substantially, every time I get to cross something off the list, I end up adding something else.
I’ve never been the type of person that received pleasure by attaining ‘things’. I was always more passionate about gathering experiences, having fun conversations, exploring new areas, and being able to be creative. I love learning about other cultures, other ways of living… I love hearing people speak other languages and learning about what people love.
We did this retreat through The Travel Yogi, which was absolutely incredible! This company specializes in creating experiences and since Iceland seamed like a big adventure to tackle I partnered up with them and I was so grateful we did.
The entire trip was unforgettable. We had a beautiful group of Yogi’s ranging from ages 23-77. I find that trips like this tend to attract people that are like-minded in the sense of wanting to explore something new.
What I found to be the most interesting thing about the whole trip was how rich with mythical history this place was. We had an awesome tour guide (Tyffi) who would give us history lessons on our trek from location to location.
So what wasn’t my favorite? Look.. it’s like anything right? I don’t like being cold… AT ALL.. I grew up in Los Angeles, anything below 67 degrees was FREEZING to me, even after living in Portland for four years, … I just don’t like being cold. My uncle once said to me, “There’s no such thing as ‘bad weather’ only ‘bad gear’” so I get it, I didn’t pack the right type of ‘pants’ and should have opted to bring another long sleeve.. but lesson learned.
Every single time I travel, I always learn something. Perhaps it’s something about being a teacher, guiding a group of people who don’t know each other, or something about my own particular habits. I posted on Instagram about my visit to the Waterfall, After I posted this I realized how many times in the last two years I’ve done this.. consistently.. I get stuck in this place of ‘work’ vs. ‘enjoyment’. Yes, I do this for a living, this is my job, it’s my duty to be of service and to guide my students through these types of adventures and to teach them about yoga philosophy and yogic practices. Most retreats I’ve done, I am the mamma koala that stays behind to make sure everyone is accounted for (like a camp counselor) which I LOVE to do, truly.. it makes me so happy to hold space for the collective (it’s my Kapha). BUT, I found that I’ve used this as an excuse to not get out there and have a little fun with my peeps. This time, I did everything… I went on every hike, every waterfall, every scenic overlook and It was magic.
If you haven’t seen my highlights on Instagram I recommend checking it out just to get a visual of this place. Overall it was a great experience, one that I’m still trying to process, and one that I’m doing again next year!
We didn’t get to see the Northern Lights while we where there BUT, the night before we arrived and the NIGHT we left.. Apparently they were on full effect. So here’s to next October! If you are interested in attending this retreat, stay tuned or email firstname.lastname@example.org . We are bringing only a small group same like this year, it really adds to the whole adventure for us to all be together.
Thought I would share some things I learned…
1. Lava covers 11% of Iceland. This 11% is also one-third of all lava in the world.
2. Family names are not common in Iceland. Instead, children are named after their father’s first name with either a son or dottir added to the end based on the gender. For example, if a man named Tyffi had a child it would be named either Tyffisson or Tyffidottir, and if you want to change your name, you need to submit it to a Committee.
3. There is an app that they can use to trace back their ancestors to 1100 AD all the back to the Vikings, funny story, the Icelander’s can trace most of the people in their community to find a common relative! This actually was the reason they ended a dating app because it told them how ‘distantly’ related people where to each other.. #weird
4. A majority of Icelanders believe in elves.
5. At about 39,000 square miles, Iceland is small – close to the size of Ohio.