A yoga retreat is one of those things that you always talk about doing, but never actually do.
We all say how great it would be for both our bodies and our minds. Yoga for mental clarity. Adventure for energy and creativity. Whole foods for a nourishing cleanse. Then, meeting new people for lifelong friendships and connections.
All of these things happen on retreats and are so beneficial to our health and well-being. So why aren't more of us actually going on them? Well, after embarking on my first ever yoga AND surf retreat, I'm here to give you 5 reasons why your next vacation should absolutely be a yoga/surf retreat.
For the past year, my friend had been eyeing this one retreat in particular- Surf With Amigas. She had tried several times to make one happen, but could never get enough time off of work or find a way to fund this adventure. The stars aligned for a trip in January and she invited me when I expressed interest in the idea. I had heard of these retreats, but didn’t actually know anyone who had gone on one. But, it was January in Maine and with no other warm weather getaways planned, Nicaragua was extremely appealing. I loved yoga and while I had only tried surfing a few times, I had always wanted to get better. So, I signed up!
The retreat was down in northern Nicaragua, at an eco-resort called the Coco Loco. With warm water, super fun surf for all levels, an open-air platform yoga studio, friendly locals, and located a relatively short flight away from the US, it’s the perfect place for a week-long escape.
The Surf With Amigas retreat was founded by pro surfer Holly Beck and Holly leads the retreats, instructing in the water and reviewing video footage with each "amiga" on the retreat during lunch breaks. The other instructors on her team are phenomenal and they have built an extremely supportive community of all yoga and surf levels.
The first day was filled with sweaty vinyasa and yin yoga in 95 degree weather and tons of much needed pool time. We also warmed up for surfing with some beginner surf technique and safety lessons in the pool.
The food is a huge part of the retreat experience. Everything we ate was organic and locally grown. Meals were primarily vegetarian and most dinners were the most delicious local pescatarian dishes. I have honestly never eaten so well, (especially while on vacation)!
Every day, we would wake up before sunrise in our private cabanas, head to the dining area for first breakfast and check out our schedule for the day. The schedule always varied based on high tide for surfing but would look something like this:
- 6:30am wake up for cold buffet breakfast of coffee, juice, cereal, toast, yogurt, fruit
- 7:30-11am surfing, surfing, surfing!
- 11:30am delicious lunch
- 2pm yoga
- 4pm second surf session or other adventure
- 7pm dinner with new friends
I know it sounds like an early day, and I was skeptical at first, especially while on vacation, but by the end of the day you are going to bed by 8pm and it is hard not to wake up with the sun in the morning. I felt so much more refreshed after this schedule than any late morning trip I've ever done! It's so worth it.
Halfway through the week, we spent a day exploring Nicaragua, checking out the nearby city of Colonia, and then heading to a volcano, el Cerro Negro. This day trip, like everything at the retreat, was completely optional, but I wanted to try as many new things as I could, and so signed up for the group volcano boarding excursion. I had never heard of such a thing, and it sounded terrifying, but the best things don’t come from comfort zones, right?
We hiked for about an hour up the volcano and put on full body volcano boarding body suits and one at a time, sat on wooden sleds and shot stratight down the side of the volcano. Based on your positioning, you could go down pretty slowly or as fast as you wanted. The ride down was roughly two minutes and unlike anything I have ever done in my life.
As you can see, yoga + surf retreats don't have to be intimidating and all levels are welcome and encouraged. This group spoke my language when it came to combining adventure, fun and fitness with the healing power of yoga and surf.
So, here are 5 reasons why your next vacation should be a yoga + surf retreat.
1. YOU DON'T NEED TO BE AN EXPERT SURFER OR YOGI
Most surf and yoga retreats cater to people of all levels, and even those who have never surfed or done any yoga before in their lives. The cool thing about both surfing and yoga is that they mean different things for everyone. It's so much more than catching huge waves, poses and movement.
2. YOU'LL FEEL RELAXED AND REJUVENATED
Instead of coming off of vacation with serious anxiety about going back to reality, coming off of a yoga retreat leaves you clear and level headed. This makes the transition back to real life a little bit easier to manage.
3. THE DAYS ARE STRUCTURED, BUT NOT MANDATORY
Surf + Yoga retreats always have a schedule you can follow, but you don't have to do everything. If you feel like skipping out on that workshop to sit by the pool instead, do it. No one will "get you in trouble" or really even care that much. A retreat is there for you to focus on you.
4. YOU DO MORE GOOD THAN HARM TO YOUR BODY
Almost all vacations that I ever go on, there is lots of overindulging involved with little to no exercise. Whereas a retreat is quite the opposite. You fill your body with good food, your mind with positive thoughts and move your body with yoga and exercise, instead of too many margaritas and dinners out.
5. YOU'LL FIND A COMMUNITY
It's true. There is something special about a retreat that allows you to open up to complete strangers about what's going on in your life. Whatever it is, the sense of community you develop with one or all of the attendees is something completely unique and truly gratifying.
Hopefully this post will help you take the leap and go on that yoga + surf retreat you've been eyeing instead of that same ol' vacation. You will come back with an entirely new perspective. I promise you, it will not disappoint.
PHOTOS by: Abbey Moore