Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our adventure routine

So, in the Icelandic countryside town of Reykholt for 3 full days, we did more or less the same routine of mindful adventure each one of them.  
7:30am--wake up and meditate together for 30 min.
8-10:00am-- free time for breakfast (choice of hardboiled eggs, toast, jams, cheeses, skyr with cereal, waffles, fruit, yumminess) and time for use of the wellness rooms (hello massage chair!) or a soak in the hot pots
10:30am-11:45 or noon-- Vinyasa Yoga practice.  We practiced in a larger hotel room with wooden floors and nice view out to the old cemetary/church and mountains.  And the last day we had a very special practice on the 3rd floor of the separate school building.  It was full of windows looking out into the fields, the mountains, the horses, the glaciers, the light.  And it had cozy meditation cushions, buddhas, and a great energy.  
Each of our practices were different, per my usual style.  The moon was in Aries and then Taurus, so we did a bold Prana Flow on Monday.  Tuesday, we honored the goddess Idunn, for rejuvenation, innocence & beauty and we started our inversion work.  Wednesday was for the Norse god, Odin, who rules wisdom, courage, poetry.  It was a special practice, as it was our last one in Reykholt.  Everyone was beginning to make breakthroughs, both mentally and physically.  Beautiful.
12-2:00pm--open time for yourself and for lunch
2:00-sometime around 6 or 7pm--adventure excursion of the day (post about these to come next!)
7:30/8:00pm--Dinner.  We always gathered in the dining room at the same table.  Usually we had a different waiter each night, but they were always cheery and delightful.  The chef on staff did the most amazing job at creating delicious vegetarian meals for us all.  Homemade bread with creamy Icelandic butter was always a favorite to us hungry yoginis and yogis after a long day.   On our last night we had the option to choose fresh arctic char, which was absolutely splendid in every bite.  
After dinner time--
Sometimes we'd soak in the hot pots, sometimes use the wellness rooms, but we always had something going on...
Our 2nd night there, the hotel manager, Haukur, gave us the most interesting presentation about the history of mythology and the hidden people of Iceland.  He was the most brilliant speaker/performer and engaging storyteller.  On the 3rd night, we ended up chatting for a long time with local people and the staff (mostly Oskar and Daniel).  It was great to ask questions and they didn't mind answering our curious minds about their culture and people.  A really fun bunch!  Our last night there, Oskar gave us many a riddle during and after dinner to try to figure out.  Lots of laughter!  Later, around 11:00pm, we all went with him to the yoga room to do a session of AcroYoga.  Ben (our SolYoga Trip organizer) taught us some basics and we tested them out for a half hour or so.  My partner, David, and I were able to take turns holding eachother up and "flying" in different asana positions.  Such fun to practice trusting yourself and the person you're working with.  It brought a lightness to our last night in the countryside that we all needed to feel.  

So, the days were long and full.  We all dealt with various soreness and tiredness, but the energy from the land and our excursions made up for it and kept us going, going for those 4 days.  None of us had experienced the 21 or so hours of daylight before.  It made us want to stay up late chatting or yoga-ing.  I guess tiring ourselves out helped us sleep better with the light streaming into the room.  
It was a time for laughter, solidarity, personal goals, serious stillness, overcoming fears and working through them, quirky conversations, openness, magic, belief in oneself, and change.  

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Flow of Iceland

"Maybe the goal with anything you do is to find the flow, it makes you feel alive, and it's important to me to feel alive.  And the more it flows the purer it gets, you know, you get into this mode where the things just happen and you don't even think about it, and afterwards you look at what you've done and you feel like 'wow that's really amazing.'"  --Jonsi 

I found this quote (from one of my heroes) in the magazine at the hotel where we started out our Iceland Yoga Adventure.  It pretty much sums up our experience there and how it feels to genuinely get into your groove on and off the mat.  It's certainly my goal in life.  
So, here I begin my story-telling of the month-long journey I just took.  Bare with me as I try to make interesting posts and share my stories.  ;)

We arrived in Iceland on the early morning of Sunday, June 6th.  There were 6 of us from New England, ready to feel the power of a new land.  My partner and I were the only ones who had been there before, so it was up to us to bring the enthusiasm and insight into such a special country.  The first thing we did was have skyr (Icelandic yogurt) and swiss mochas at the airport.  It was lovely for all of us to gather and chat over breakfast.  We already began a yogic discussion and I knew that the week was going to be a special one.  Then we took the drive to the Blue Lagoon.  It was there that we overcame our tiredness from the red-eye flight as we soaked for a couple hours in the healing, milky-blue, warm water.  Two of the gals got in-water massages.  You can also put the silica mud on your face and body as a sort of mask.  After turning our fingers to prunes, we decided to leave.  Drove into the capital of Reykjavik and had a nourishing vegetarian lunch at one of the restaurants there that specialized in simply veggie cuisine.  I was SO excited to be back in this city that I love.  Was constantly asking questions to our driver for the day (Siggi) as well as constantly pointing scenery and facts out to the group.  I am a total nerd about Iceland, but I feel this only adds the experience of everyone...right?  Haha.  
Once we arrived in the small town of Reykholt in the area called Borgarfjordur, it was late afternoon and the sun was shining bright.  We checked into our rooms at the hotel, took time to freshen up and relax, then met for our first yoga session!  It was warm enough that we did our 1 hour practice outside on the deck by the hot pots (the geothermal hot tubs).  We were facing the mountains and had just the sound of the birds and wind to rejuvenate us after the long day.  I led a rinsing flow for our hips and legs with a few backbends.  No warriors or standing poses at all.  It was just the right beginning for our week ahead.  
Dinner was beet salad with a lentil/barley mishmash.  Delicious and creative cuisine which had us excited for the week as well.  Bedtime around 10:30pm.  It was still light out and easy to want to stay up and explore/play, but sleep was calling.  First day in Iceland=success!  In fact, one of the gals said she could have left the next day and been satisfied.  Oh, just wait...