Thursday, October 8, 2015

Iceland Equinox Retreat :: reflection

Just a short while ago, I was in Iceland (my Spirit home) for the 7th time. This trip it was my honor to have brought a group over on retreat for the 3rd time...and this time for a very special one. This retreat was a collaboration with my oldest and dearest friend, Steph. She and I first visited Iceland together 8 years ago! I've been the lucky one who has gotten to continue going back, so it was awesome that after all this time, we made this work. You see, we've been joining forces over the last couple of years to offer our passions as a special collaboration we call Poses & Plants. It's a combination offering of both yoga and herbal wisdom, and typically in rhythm to the seasonal and lunar cycles. After hosting a women's retreat at the Summer Solstice in June, it was powerful to take our new group to Iceland for the Autumn Equinox! We had such an amazing collection of artists, creatives, mothers, intellectuals, and soul searchers. It was potent to be on the Snaefellesnes Peninsula in West Iceland, where the glacier there holds a powerful energy that aids in aligning your 4th and 7th chakras. This is pretty much my favorite area in the world to visit. When I'm there, I feel that anything is possible and I feel so expansive and open to be the person I know that I am. What a gift it was to share that with the group, and to have done so with my very dearest friend by my side.

We stayed put for 3 nights at a secluded and magical hotel, in which we wandered in surrounding lava fields to identify plants with Steph, did an equinox ritual on the beach, ran out in the middle of the night to view the Northern Lights, and practiced yoga with a view of waterfalls, the sea, sheep, and an array of breathtaking beauty. 
The last 2 nights, we then moved to the northern side of the peninsula to stay in a larger town (full of 1,000 inhabitants...which is one of my favorite towns in Iceland). We were lucky enough to have insightful meditation and yoga practice in the art installation Library of Water there. This place I have visited before...is a dream setting and vibe for me to teach in, with powerful acoustics for my beloved Icelandic music playlists. Such reverence we shared in that space for the country, nature, and people of Iceland. 
Steph ended the learning portion of our retreat in our cozy hotel with herbs to help ease transition and stress, which is key upon returning home from such a place, and for re-entering city life. 
On our last morning, we took an incredible drive back to Reykjavik, from which we stopped at a secret waterfall and also to sample some traditional pastries. The whole trip flowed smoother and came together as it did because of our beautiful raven-goddess of a driver/native Icelandic guide, Valgerdur. What a gift she was to our entire experience. SO much love and good energy.
Once back in Reykjavik, some of the group had to depart right away and the remaining crew enjoyed a short city tour from the exceptional I Heart Reykjavik walking tour before going off on our own to take in the city. We ended the whole trip with the complete MAGIC of the Super (Full) Moon/Lunar Eclipse, in which I had the privilege of teaching my #lunarloveflow for a special Full Moon class at Solir Yoga in Reykjavik that night! Such a growth experience and honor for me. And the skies were clear that night for us to bask in the brilliant glow and then mystery of nature. 

Through it all, I had my supportive and wonderful husband and 2 young sons along for the ride! My babe is just-turned-one and we are still very attached and nursing, so I could not have done this trip without my little family along. What a dear, amazing, heart-filled group we had to embrace this for me and allow me to continue to grow as a teacher, leader, and woman. With my job being that as a yoga teacher-leader-creative...I've made a decision to simply try to integrate motherhood into it all. It makes sense and works for me and my family. It's not always easy, and our culture might insist I do it one way or the other way...but I'm so grateful for the opportunities I have and we will keep moving forward with it. This trip was an experience we won't forget. 

Until the next one...here are some photo highlights!




Steph and I on our first night back in Iceland together (with me wearing baby Gus)

Our altar view from our yoga space...with rainy windows that look like a watercolor.

Morning

Icelandic poppies were still in bloom, among other things. We had many herbs and plants to learn from!

My sweet littlest one and I while everyone hiked up a crater.
Connection. Rejuvenation. Listening.
Steph teaching her tea class on our last day.
Our whole group eating a fantastic meal in Stykkisholmur!



Typical fare: tasty local fish, a little bit of vegetable, potatoes, and sometimes some yummy Icelandic beer.

Stykkisholmur, our second destination.

Sunrise 

Yoga practice at the Library of Water. Such a special place to feel our breath.


Trolls!

View from a hike. 

Our unbelievable yoga practice space at our first hotel. And my set-up assistant, Isak.

Some of our group during Steph's intuitive plant-drawing session. In the lava fields.


View of the Snaefellsjokull glacier at sunset from our hotel. 

Fancy dinner times. 

Majesty. The words used to describe Iceland are cliche...but there really are no words. You just have to FEEL it for yourself.

My older boy, spreading his cute spirit wherever he goes. 

Us 3 leaders of the trip, post-hike. So grateful for these strong women. 

My husband and I taking a moment of rest while our older one naps and I nurse the babe.


Secret waterfall!
Legs up the Glacial Water Column-- sneak peek at a collaboration project I'm doing with Liza Voll. 


One of the various rainbows we saw...this one greeting us back in Reykjavik!

Beginning our walking tour of Reykjavik.

For more gorgeous photos and different viewpoints/takeaways of this Retreat Trip, please enjoy these blogposts:

~Steph's take : her insightful and graceful plant-inspired recap of our experience.

~Liana's take : a stunning array of her photography from the trip, as well as recommendations for her favorite spots.

And follow Liza Voll Photography! She was our professional photographer on the trip. I will be spending the winter revamping my website with some of her work, among other things we are working on together.

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