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Getting to Know Where You’re Going: Galapagos Yoga Retreat

The Galapagos Island Magic:

There’s a place you can go where 97% of the land is protected National Park, the journey there is definitely part of the adventure, and your yoga practice will often include views of a giant tortoise or two roaming the land or resting in the tortoise pond in front of the studio. Where is this magical place, you ask? The Galapagos Islands.

Our first trip to scout our retreat in the Galapagos was love at first sight. From the retreat location itself as it rests nestled in the highlands and close to the town of Puerto Ayora to the array of adventures that were in store for us, we knew we’d be back – and often. Galapagos has become a favorite spot for many of our travel yogis as the magic of the islands draws them back for more than one retreat.

What do the islands hold for you?

A Few of Our Favorite Things About Galapagos:

10892014_10152931733288001_2034904954338395997_nWildlife

The Giant Tortoises tend to get a lot of press during Galapagos yoga retreats as they can be found roaming freely around the property and are quite the sight to behold. The most photographed of all of our island retreats though? The Sea Lions! New wildlife is found everywhere you turn, so between the Galapagos Penguins, Marine Iguanas, Blue-Footed Boobies, and Great Frigate Birds, you are sure to see many of nature’s finest as you explore.

Even better? Head to the Galapagos during baby season and you’ll see the freshly born, miniature versions of all of these adorable animals. Baby Sea Lions, baby Blue-Footed Boobies (as seen to the right)…you’ll definitely want to be sure to have your camera ready every time you head out to explore!

Adventures

The adventures in the Galapagos are endless. Santa Cruz Island is your home base for the trip, but our itineraries for this yoga adventure include “must-see” locations on many of the other islands that make up the Galapagos. You’ll sea kayak, practice yoga on the beach, hike to the top of the volcanic cone on Bartolomé Island, snorkel with marine wildlife, explore Puerto Ayora, see the Cloud Forest…

We could keep going, but in short, there’s lot to see and do on this retreat. It’s the perfect balance of adventure and rest and you’ll have plenty of stories (and photos!) to share when you return home.

Food

Ahhh, the food. When you arrive at Monte Mar, you’ll be shown to your room and then truly welcomed with a traditional lunch. The deliciousness continues for the rest of the week as many of your meals will be hosted by Monte Mar. In addition to yoga retreats, they also happen to host 12 acres of biodynamic coffee producing trees. Coffee lovers rejoice, your morning (or afternoon, or evening…) cup of coffee will definitely leave you with a smile on your face. And you may need to take a little home with you as well!

1510648_10153203886171940_7683936290328777606_nYoga Studio

We weren’t joking when we mentioned the view of giant tortoises while you practice yoga. As you can see to the left, this view is exactly what you see while practicing your sun salutations.

The yoga studio in Galapagos is a beautiful building with a full wall of windows overlooking the property, which allow for beautiful sunrise/sunset yoga practice.

The studio itself has bamboo floors, ventilation (it gets steamy in the Galapagos!), sound system, and is fully stocked with Manduka yoga mats and props, so you don’t even need to travel with yours for this yoga retreat.

 

So, if you’re ready to check the Galapagos off your bucket list, we’ve definitely got a retreat to get you there! Where will yoga take you?

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Why It’s Important to Travel Often

It’s rare that anyone on our team at The Travel Yogi goes more than a few weeks without travel. Whether we’re traveling to scout out our next yoga retreat location or simply to explore a new location for ourselves, travel is at the core of who we are. Even as frequent travelers, it occasionally happens that a month or two will pass without a trip on the calendar. This post is being written while waiting for a delayed flight during the first trip after a fairly long period without travel – fairly long being more than 4 weeks.

As we sit and listen to the buzz of announcements happening as flights arrive and depart and watch the multitudes of people also making their way from one place to another, we have some time to reflect on the last few days and remember why it’s important to travel often.

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Keeping Our Eyes Open

While at home, it’s easy to get stuck in routine and repeat the same schedule day in and day out. Every part of travel forces us out of our routine and to open our eyes to the unfamiliar. Without fail, every time we travel we learn something new and open our eyes and hearts to something unexpected. These moments happen at home, but having these experiences when we travel makes us more open to breaking out of routine in our daily lives as well.

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Relaxation

Even sitting in the middle of a busy airport, travel allows us to relax and release. How often do you have the opportunity to sit down with a good book while at home? Life is busy and many of us are balancing very full schedules. The travel process may not seem relaxing initially, but if you let go of the process and savor the moments of your journey, you’ll see that it’s actually an excellent opportunity to turn your phone off, open a book, and say goodbye to the responsibilities of daily life. No WiFi at your hotel? Good! Close your computer and experience the world around you. Let go of the little things that could cause stress along the way and be open to the adventure.

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Fun

When life gets too serious, travel is an excellent way to make sure you remember to have fun. Late night swim when you would usually be in bed. Early morning walk on the beach. Long days of laughter with friends, family, or people you meet along the way. Do your favorite yoga pose at your new favorite place and don’t take anything along the way too seriously.

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Reboot

Just like all electronic devices that sometimes simply need to be turned off and then turned back on, travel allows us to hit the reset button. It’s easy to think that you’ll stay caught up if you stay in routine, but eventually the responsibility of daily life starts to wear – no matter how stubborn you are about it. Use your vacation days. Book a trip. It’s good to remember that whatever keeps you pinned down will keep going without you for a few days and to hit reset so that you’re ready for productivity when you return.

Where will yoga take you?

Getting to Know Where You’re Going: Baja Yoga Retreat

If you’re looking for the perfect yoga retreat in Mexico, we happen to know just the place! Tucked away under the desert sky, our Baja yoga retreats at Prana del Mar offer a little bit of everything. Whether your goal for your week away is adventure or ultimate relaxation, you can find a bit of everything during your yoga retreat in Baja.

A few of our favorite things about Prana del Mar:

Environmentally Friendly

Guestroom_Reflection_LoungesYup, that’s right – Prana del Mar is a green yoga retreat center! Responsible tourism is important to us, so we were thrilled when we discovered all the ways the folks in Baja are actively working to protect the planet. They’ve utilized the power of the desert sun by installing solar panels throughout the property that provide all of their electricity.

Food is composted, waste water is treated on-site and used for irrigation, bath products are all totally organic, and they’ll let you credit your carbon offset from the flight toward a spa treatment or excursion. Reducing the impact we make on our planet is important to us always, so when we find a yoga retreat center that mirrors our values we’re even more excited to send our yogis there!

Off the Grid

Baja sunsetDo you wish that you could leave your computer and all your cares behind as you relax and focus on yourself for a few days? Your dream has come true… Prana features a computer room with internet access if you need to connect while on retreat. Otherwise,  you can rest assured that the WiFi does not reach the guest rooms! Read a book, take a nap, and connect with yourself and the others on retreat with you.

In our highly connected world, nothing is better than a week away from Facebook and Instagram (though we do hope to see your pictures as soon as you reconnect – ha!).

Food

Dining_QuinoaThe food is so good, we aren’t actually sure if we can do it justice by describing it. The food in the on-site garden is all grown without pesticides or herbicides, which means they have access to the freshest ingredients whenever possible.

Most of the meals at Prana are vegetarian, with fish/seafood featured on the menu several times each week. Organic ingredients are used whenever possible and all dietary needs – vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, food allergies – can be accommodated by the chefs. Simply let us know what you need, we pass along to Prana, and your worry free week of relaxation can begin. No matter how much you love to spend time in the kitchen, it’s nice to know that you can have a week of delicious, healthy cuisine prepared for you!

Adventure

1486919_10153639910670702_1744164353_nA week of relaxation mean different things for different people. While there are plenty of spa and wellness treatment options, you can also find a number of optional excursions/adventures to complete the Baja yoga retreat experience.

Surfing and surf lessons are an option for beginner/intermediate surfers in nearby Todos Santos. There’s whale watching in season, cliff hiking, snorkeling, fire-dancing (yes…fire-dancing!), and horseback riding. The best part is that adventures can be booked once you’re on-site, so you can settle in and see how you feel each day before you make decisions about what you want to do.

The pool at Prana is also a great spot for lounging – and for impromptu yoga photo shoots!

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Obviously when looking for a yoga retreat in Baja, the actual spot where you’ll lay out your mat is important. Yet another reason why we love Prana del Mar? The yoga studios. The large Sun studio has windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the mountains, while the smaller Moon studio features Chinese lanterns modeled after the famous Zen garden at Ryonaji for restoration and relaxation.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, heading to Baja for your next yoga retreat is the perfect way to make sure you return home feeling refreshed and restored! Where will yoga take you?

 

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Why We Love to Travel

With extra emphasis on love this month, Valentine’s Day got us thinking about our greatest loves in life. High on the list, of course, is travel.

We’ve fallen head over heels in love with more places than we ever thought possible. From beaches to bookstores, each and every place that we visit has given us the butterflies-in-my-stomach-can’t-get-enough feeling that makes it difficult to leave. Even across language barriers, we fall in love with people and places as we explore and rarely make it home before we start planning for the next trip.

Love-Knows-No-Borders

Sound familiar to anyone else? As we reflect, we realize that our love travel has many of the same qualities we find in our closest relationships:

Greatest Teacher

The same as with our closest friends and family members, travel has shaped who we are today. Each time we pack our bags, we know that when we return home from a trip we’ll be slightly different from the lessons we learn on the road. From communication skills to humility, travel has taught us some of the most difficult and most beautiful life lessons we will ever learn.

Falling in Love All Over Again

Whether with a place, or simply with the process, our love is rekindled every time we embark on a new adventure. Have you ever experienced an overwhelming feeling of love and excitement as you stood in a new place? We’ve felt it over and over again – each time we visit Galapagos and find a new adventure, gazing at the sunset on your Portugal yoga bike retreat, tasting your way around Iceland, and always as we’re getting off of the airplane somewhere fresh and new.

Our love for travel keeps us plotting and planning new adventures all over the map.

Patience 

Travel teaches us patience the same way we learn it from those we love the most. Every time we assume we know exactly how a trip will go, plans are changed and we’re either left in the airport a little longer than planned or without luggage when we arrive home. Through the moments of delays, frustrations, and unexpected challenges, travel has taught us how to be patient. With a few deep breaths and a little extra love in the challenging moments, our patience often leads to greater outcomes than we could ever have possibly imagined – and some of our favorite moments as we’ve traveled.

Fun

If we can’t have fun, what exactly is left? As with patience above, taking the travel process too seriously can lead to frustration. Travel teaches us to smile when we aren’t sure where we are, or aren’t sure what the people around us are saying. We’ve learned through travel that laughter during a long plane ride goes a long way, and that taking an unexpected detour is almost always a good idea.

Ready to fall in love with travel all over again?  Where will yoga take you…

Meditation for Travelers

Meditation can be found in many forms. Some of us meditate while seated, others consider breath linked with movement on the yoga mat to be their meditation practice. We have friends who find the connection and reset of meditation while they run or walk in nature, but for us, the ultimate meditation practice is travel.

While exploring somewhere new, we have the opportunity to reset and reconnect. We see the world around us from a new 10430486_762008057216885_1843504065602081502_nperspective and are able to take these fresh eyes back to our daily lives when the trip is over. We suspect that many of you feel the same way? This feeling is what keeps us on the road and in the air as we attempt to explore every corner of the world.

As avid travelers, one of our favorite mantras for life is “Life is a journey, not a destination.” While we would never question Emerson’s wisdom, we highly doubt he penned this quote in the middle of 24 hours of air travel to get to the other side of the world.

Sometimes when we travel the combination of fatigue, inevitable delays/things out of our control, and the crowded trains, planes, and automobiles cause us to lose sight of the fact that every step along the way is part of the adventure. Have you ever found yourself snapping at the flight attendant for something completely out of their control? Or stressed during a road trip with your friends and/or family members? No matter how many times we repeat our mantra, there are still times when the situation gets the better of us and we need to quickly hit the reset button.

Since we find travel itself to be the ultimate meditation, one of our favorite ways to reset while we travel is with a quick meditation.

Follow these easy steps no matter where you are to reset so that you can enjoy both the journey and the destination. 

it's the journey

Travel Meditation:

1. If it’s possible to find a quiet spot, move away from crowds or travel companions. Find a comfortable position for your body and close your eyes. If it’s not possible to get away, simply close your eyes (as long as you’re not driving) and/or put headphones in to cancel out some of what’s happening around you.

2. Take a deep breath in, followed by a deep breath out. Repeat this several times and let the breath become even deeper if you can.

3. As you breathe, first notice how the sensations in your body start to change. Relax any spots that are holding tension you don’t need.

4. Imagine yourself in a calm, peaceful spot. As you imagine this place, take it all in – sounds, sights, temperature, and smells. Let yourself be immersed in complete calm.

5. As you finish your visualization, return to your breath for another 3-5 full deep breaths. Notice what has changed for you internally in the past few minutes.

6. Blink your eyes open and remain seated for another moment or two if you can before you return to the chaos around you.

These few minutes of “travel” will allow you to remember that you are doing what you love, no matter what else is happening around you. If all else fails and you can’t step away from the chaos, remember to smile. Your smile will eventually turn to laughter, and laughter will help you and those around you remember that the journey is what it’s all about.

Where will yoga take you? 

 

The Magical Union of a Yoga Retreat

Our travel yogi Jenniferlyn Chiemingo has taken groups of happy yoga retreaters to Baja, Mexico and the Galapagos Islands and already has plans for many more retreats in the future!

 

As she starts to think about her upcoming “Costa Rica Eco-Adventure” in October, she shares some of the most memorable moments she’s had on retreat so far – the magical union of a yoga retreat!

 

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As I prepare for my next retreat in Costa Rica, I often sit and meditate – thinking about what this new adventure will bring. Each retreat is so unique and often the best parts cannot be planned. Certainly The Travel Yogi creates the best trips (awwww…we love you JL!); organizing the adventures, the yoga, the food and even the amazing locations. But the magic really happens with the people who come together. Friends and strangers uniting in a place they’ve often never been.

In the Galapagos, I was amazed how fast that group came together. We were all in one lodge, sharing the same table for meals and many had never ever kerry and jl double treemet before. The beauty all united though, on the last day of the adventure. We traveled to Bartolemé Island. Beautiful in its own right, but it was the creatures and people who still live in my dreams.

My very best friend came on that adventure and prior to even boarding the plane she told me she had never snorkeled before and was too afraid. After a phone conversation with me, she decided she would take snorkeling lessons. This decision was MOST significant on the last day. In one moment, we were all snorkeling on Bartolemé and swimming with amazing tropical fish, a sting ray, a group of penguins and even a sweet sea lion. I had just paused and lifted my head; the water was up to my chest. I heard screaming and laughing from several students. I waited. Then Kerry, my best friend, popped her head up, crying and said, ‘I am swimming with a SEA LION!’ Then Gail, another student popped up giggling and said, ‘This guy (the sea lion) is so fun!’ This was a life-changing moment that just happened. We all shared it. We are forever connected. (I am going back to Galapagos in March 2015)

In Baja, Mexico I had a tiny group that bonded quickly too. At the beginning of the week, we all signed up for multiple excursions and activities. We chatted long into each night; sometimes staying so long we closed down the kitchen! What was exciting to watch with this group was how close we all became and how much we just wanted to BE TOGETHER. As the week went along, we all cancelled the trips/excursions away from our lodge so we could stay close. We watched whales breeching from our room decks, we practiced my signature Body Prayer workshop in the beautiful Sun Studio, we sat by the pool and took long walks on the beach. All we wanted was to be together, relax and do yoga.

prana del mar group photo

In Costa Rica my goal is connection and adventure together: The best of both worlds. From experience, I know I cannot plan it all – but the group is coming together so wonderfully. I already know I will be besties with the owner of Blue Osa, Aaron. He leads his crew with love. With that love we all will grow, learn, experience and glow. I know it.


happy picTravel Yogi: Jenniferlyn (JL) Chiemengo

Upcoming Retreats:

Costa Rica Eco-Escape + Galapagos Grandeur

Offering Joy, Love and Connection (JLC)

Jenniferlyn’s goal is to provide her students with the opportunity to experience genuine Joy, Love and Connection every time they step onto the mat! JL’s yoga teaching style is a creation all her own. Influenced by yoga greats like Shiva Rea and Seane Corn, she is both flowing and grounded. Her classes are joyful, loving, spiritual and inspiring. When you step away from one of her Vinyasa classes, you will feel that you are entering into a better world, more connected to the world and more connected to YOU. She provides loving support to newbies, while challengeing regular practitioners to find new depths in their practices.

JL first experienced yoga in 2000 when she was looking for a way to escape the daily stress from her job as a TV news producer in northern California. That was when yoga started to change her life.

Overcome by the power and benefits of yoga in her own life, JL decided to move her career from the newsroom to the yoga mat in 2002. With curiosity and ambition, she followed her dream and began her training at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health with an emphasis in Integrative Yoga Therapy. JL continued her training with Shiva Rea, embracing Vinyasa yoga. Through Vinyasa, she learned the powerful, energizing and cleansing benefits of linking the breath with movement.

JL is listed E-RYT with Yoga Alliance and has taught for more than 11 years in Seattle. She teaches at national yoga festivals, including Wanderlust California and Northwest Yoga Fest, and leads inspiring and fun yoga retreats in Washington and all over the world. This year, JL will partner with The Travel Yogi to lead retreats in Mexico and Costa Rica, and in 2015 she will head back to the Galapagos Islands. Her intimate getaways will change your life. JL also continues to lead the yoga community as an Ambassador of lululemon athletica and Zico Coconut Water.

Friend, follow or fan JL on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course at her own website.

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Yoga Retreats: How to Choose and What to Expect

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By: Jenniferlyn Chiemingo

Nowadays you can travel almost anywhere on a yoga retreat; Bali, Galapagos, Mexico and so on. Each one is so unique but there are qualities that exist in all of them.  With so many options of where to go and who is teaching – how do you know what to expect or what is right for you? Here are some tips:

On most yoga retreats you will experience:

1)     Connection. By traveling with like-minded people and experiencing yoga (union) 1794767_10152284582471940_1622680185_nthere is a natural energy that brings you together on a deep level. Each retreat I have led has brought me life-long friends.  And more importantly – the students connect to each other and become soul-friends.

2)     Deeper practice.  It is difficult in a regular schedule to practice yoga every day, even twice a day. A retreat creates the space and time to dedicate to your physical practice so naturally you see some obvious growth.  It also allows more time with the teacher to ask questions about certain poses or to even work one on one with the teacher on specific items.

3)     New Experiences – Most retreats offer excursions and adventures to try things like paddle boarding, snorkeling, hiking, seeing whales or other sea animals.  You get to do all this in an exotic location that you might otherwise not traveled to.  You can even take a yoga retreat alone because you aren’t really alone.  New activities, in a new location, with new people. It is all new!

4)     New Perspective – Sometimes just being out of your regular every day and away from your usual crowd can bring you a new way of looking at things. But when you do all of this AND practice yoga, you cultivate an awareness and an understanding that you can bring back with you.

If you are wondering if yoga retreats are for you or even how to choose WHICH one to go on – think of these items:

1)     Adventure or Relaxation – There are yoga retreats focused on relaxation with lots of sitting on a beach or by a pool, getting spa treatments and doing more restorative yoga.  There are also retreats focused on adventure with lots of activities and excursions and very little ‘down’ time.  You have to decide what you want out of a yoga retreat and choose wisely.

2)     Teacher – Make sure you feel comfortable and safe with the teacher leading retreat. It is a lot of time taking classes and connecting to the leader who sets the tone for the whole experience.  If you feel comfortable; the transformation can be amazing!

3)     Style of Asana – With many teachers comes many different styles of the physical practice of yoga. Again, since typically retreats include one to two classes a day, make sure you know the style of yoga being taught and that it resonates with you.  Vinyasa, Yin, Hatha, Restorative, Ashtanga  – the list is endless and know that you have options.

4)     What is Included? – Check out the included and not included list. Assess that with the cost to make sure you are getting value and more importantly that  you are not getting in over your head financially.  Are meals included? Yoga? Excursions? Flights? Each retreat is different and prices are varied.

Most of all, know you have options. There are so many teachers, an infinite number of locations and even visions for yoga retreats. Do your research to find the best option for you.  You will not be sorry. Retreats offer an opportunity to get away, grow and transform and come back ready to take on your life in a whole new way.


happy picTravel Yogi: Jenniferlyn (JL) Chiemengo

To energize, renew and free are words that describe Jenniferlyn’s (known to her 100s of students as “JL”) method of yoga practice. When you step away from JL’s Vinyasa class, you will always feel that you are entering into a better world. You will find her classes both challenging and spiritual.

In 2002, overcome by the power and benefits of yoga, JL decided to move her career from the newsroom to the yoga mat. After completing more than 200 hours of training, JL started her career guiding new moms through pre and postnatal yoga and helping cancer patients heal through yoga, meditation and pranayama.

Continuing her training with Shiva Rea in 2005 and 2007, JL embraced Vinyasa yoga. Through Vinyasa, she learned linking the breath with movement is powerful, energizing and cleansing. JL’s own Vinyasa style has evolved from amazing teachers like Shiva Rea, Seane Corn, Ana Forrest and Dharma Mittra.

With more than 10 years of teaching JL has a devoted following in Seattle and through her writing. Connect with JL on Facebook, Twitter or via her website.

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