Yoga Retreat

I Can’t Touch My Toes & I Did A Yoga Retreat – Here’s How It Went

I’m about as flexible as a frozen corpse. The title of this blog isn’t just a catchy phrase by any stretch – as embarrassing as it is, I actually couldn’t touch my toes and I still decided to got on a yoga retreat. I was even so eager to go that I booked the early bird deal to secure my spot. At the same time I was eager, I was a little scared. I don’t do classes, I don’t wear Lululemon & I certainly didn’t know my happy baby from a half lotus, what the hell was I doing? Is that a bit crazy? Maybe. But it turned out to be a great idea and also one of those times where I end up really grateful that I have these crazy ideas which is why I want to share my experience with you guys today. I also want to share with you the talented and inspiring woman who created the retreat because she deserves a little shout out. Come on, she created a yoga retreat that even this non-yogi could love so that is pretty incredible if you ask me. As always, I hope to inspire you in some way through sharing my little travel stories and I also hope to see you on the next Yoga, Wine & Travel retreat!

I Can’t Touch My Toes & I Did a Yoga Retreat – Here’s How it Went

Thinking about doing a yoga retreat but not sure whether to dive in? Check out my experience on my first ever yoga retreat with Yoga, Wine & Travel.

Geez louise this is hard! That’s pretty much what I was thinking at the start the whole way through the first class. All of my muscles were violently shaking during every pose & I certainly couldn’t bend very far at all. It didn’t matter that I was in the most peaceful, tropical location or that I could hear the relaxing sound of waves crashing in the background. As I tried to move my body through each pose, that 90 minute class felt like it went on forever.

Spoiler alert, I survived.

Weirdly enough I even felt great after the class. My jet lag had dissolved from my body and instead of feeling like a zombie which I definitely did after my 30 or so hour travel day, I actually felt energetic and relaxed.

Yoga Retreat

Photo Credit: Marion Hurtado – http://vestabijoux.fr

I walked my sore muscles right back the next morning and did it all over again. And again. And again for each day of the retreat. I was embarrassed at first because of my lack of flexibility but the instructors, Flo and Tye, always adjusted me when I needed it and offered blocks or straps for extra support. Sure I couldn’t do the full expression of the poses and I wasn’t as flexible as others, but Flo and Tye definitely made sure I was reaching my limits as far as what I could do. More importantly, they were showing me that yoga isn’t all about touching your toes and it’s not only super flexible people who can benefit from it. The class was filled with people of all different skill levels and we were all able to push our bodies to get the workout we needed.

During the 5 day yoga retreat, we had a morning and evening yoga class scheduled each day. We were able to participate in different styles of yoga classes such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, Restorative, Partner Yoga and even a workshop to learn more and ask questions. I didn’t realize it beforehand but after the retreat I appreciated this setup so much because it gave me such a good all round look at the different styles, their uses and also their benefits. I had never gained such insight or understanding from the times I had done a regular gym yoga class.

Yoga Retreat

Photo Credit: Marion Hurtado – http://vestabijoux.fr

As we moved along in the retreat, with each class I felt like I was starting to get into it. It didn’t feel like a slow burning death anymore and I was starting to let go of my ego of being embarrassed at my limited skills and just focus on the poses. I would wake up in the morning and walk down to the beach to watch the sunrise, go to the morning yoga class then have breakfast with the group and it was a perfect way to start the day. As a solo traveler I loved this because I loved being able to meet new people, listen to their stories and share the experience of the retreat with others and it didn’t hurt that it was an inspiring group of women in the retreat.

Yoga Retreat

It wasn’t only 5 days of stretching and bending though. After breakfast we had all day free until the evening class and we had beautiful southern Sri Lanka to explore! Flo organized a day trip to Galle Fort and a surf lesson for the group as optional add ons which I did. Even though I had never surfed, I had the best time trying to ride the oceans beginner waves. Emphasis on trying. We were staying at Talalla Retreat so we had the option of enjoying complete relaxation by either getting a massage (which was also included in the yoga retreat), lazing by the pool with a book and fresh coconut or spending some time at the beach. To explore, and I can’t tell you how helpful and appreciated this was, Flo would answer questions about things to do in the area and offer suggestions as well as help us book drivers if we needed them. We had all the help and information we needed to explore – I went out temple hopping one day and she was even nice enough to write me a little list of some of the temples to give to the driver! It was definitely easy to make the most of our time there with her invaluable help.

Yoga Retreat

Photo Credit: Marion Hurtado – http://vestabijoux.fr

After the retreat was over, I stayed for an extra two days and it was weird to wake up and not go to a yoga class. It was as if there was a noticeable absence in my morning routine and I almost craved the yoga experience. Like most exercise, even though it was hard during the class, the after effects were quite addictive, though unlike regular exercise it didn’t feel as exhausting. It gave me energy which surprised me so much given the amount of exertion. In just 5 days of classes I had learned a lot – a lot about yoga but also a lot about myself. I improved each day, with each class breathing a little better, stretching a little more and feeling a little more confident and through the support and encouragement of my yoga instructors I was able to achieve so much more than I thought was possible.

Yoga Retreat

The talented instructors – Flo & Tye

I wouldn’t have considered doing a yoga retreat on my own. I definitely would’ve thought those were only for people who are deep into yoga and bendy like rubber bands. It really wasn’t ever even an option in my mind but I found this retreat because I follow Flo’s blog and admire her work. I feel like anyone who goes on a holiday is a travel blogger nowadays and with that, in my experience, it’s so hard to find people genuinely pursuing passions, creating something for the world and working with integrity but that is exactly what drew me to Flo’s blog. I wanted to support her work in some way but at first I didn’t know how because obviously I would die in a yoga retreat. I don’t really know what it was that pushed me to give it a go but I am so very glad I did.

Yoga Retreat

The talented instructors – Flo & Tye

I definitely hope to return to another one and I hope to see you there so we can get our zen on together!

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If you’ve been reading the blog for a little while you might’ve even noticed the theme of ‘I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m going to try it anyway’. Sometimes I worry that people would think I’m repeating myself too much or that it’s just something that’s written my experiences sound cool (trust me when I say I’m the least cool person you will ever meet so that’s not what I’m going for)! I always write how I honestly feel because I hope it inspires people who read my little site to know that you don’t have to be the best at something to give it a go and that you don’t have to be fearless to try new things. It’s ok, and probably very necessary, to try something merely for the sake of trying. It’s ok to suck at first. And it’s ok to be scared before you try something new. I hope the message you get from me typing away about my experiences is to not ever let it stop you – just say ‘f**k it’ and go for it anyway.

4 Comments

  • Alaine April 6, 2017 at 12:58 am

    Love your honest self and experience in going to a yoga retreat without having a weekly practice.
    I’m in the midst of setting up a retreat and it’s great to read about people’s experiences with retreats.

    Reply
    • Katie Mac April 7, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Thanks so much Alaine! I hope some people with no experience like me go to your retreat so that you can help them as much as the retreat I went to helped me!

      Reply
  • Kristine Li April 24, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I do yoga but flexibility hasn’t improved much over a long time but I keep on trying! Great to see your post and definitely appreciating the honesty. Same like you… I’m trying to figure out where to bring my travel blog too. You’re not alone! Let’s enjoy the process and pains 🙂

    Reply
    • Katie Mac April 25, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks so much Kristine! Good luck with your yoga and travel blog!

      Reply

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