Yup, it's official: "that" time of year has arrived. I love my hometown of Vancouver dearly, but there comes a time every winter season when my Vitamin D supplements and Magnum P.I. screensaver (yes, this exists) no longer satisfy my longing for warm, sun-filled days. The walk to my neighbourhood coffee shop, yoga studio and pub is met with gusts of wind and rain, and while I do love feeling like I live on the set of Twilight, after awhile even the most passionate Pacific Northwester can get a little down in the dumps. My weekly passive-aggressive email to my boyfriend about travel deals is followed by a cruise of my social media channels, where I see friends having incredible trips in far-flung places, radiant smiles across their faces as they Down Dog and sail through turquoise waters. My normally positive and generous spirit shifts into a darker, more jealous space. It doesn't feel very good.
When this happens, it is what I call a Seasonal Affective Disorder Rock Bottom.
Luckily, I work with a bunch of awesome yogis from across the globe who have gone on wonderful retreats all over the world. I asked a few of them to share their favourite retreat experiences so that we can find amazing places to take ourselves from SAD to "I Can't Believe I Am Listening To The Pacific Lap At My Feet While I Savasana" bliss. Listen to Aly, our Hometown Community Manager who just returned from a week of yoga in Mexico:
"At the Haramara Retreat just outside of Sayulita Mexico my husband and I and one of our best friends joined Connections Through A Sacred Practice with Mara Branscombe from Jan 5- Jan 12, 2013. It truly was a transformational experience. The Haramara was an amazing venue - a true retreat with no electricity or internet, amazing food and beautiful open bungalows in the middle of the jungle just steps from the beach."
Aly, you had me at "transformational." Here's a photo of Mara doing her thing. Looks pretty tempting, right?
Without further ado...here are our pro-tip picks for 2013 retreats!
jess, international community manager
"You have to check out The Travel Yogi. Jen Hoddevik, the founder, is collaborating with some of the best instructors (a lot are our ambassadors!) and leading some of the most amazing adventures. Can you say Galapagos!?!"
janine, design director - the lululemon lab
"I'd find something with Chris Chavez or Elena Brower. Or something focused on meditation, like a Vipassana retreat."
- Chris Chavez's 2013 retreat and workshop schedule
- Elena Brower's upcoming retreat in Miraval, Arizona
dee, community connector, hong kong
"These are the retreats I've got my eyes on for 2013!"
- Claudia Whitney - DIVE & Yoga Retreat in the Maldives
- Eoin Finn – Blissology Yoga, Ecology, Surf retreat in Bali
- Patrick Creelman – Sky Heart Retreat in Bhutan
katie, accessories design manager
"On my bucket list is a yoga cruise...this lady owns a gorgeous sailboat in Turkey. For around 1100 € you get a week of yoga and delicious meals."
These all look like incredible journeys - we'd like to do every single one! What experience are you going after this year? If you need encouragement, may we quote our manifesto..."do it now, do it now, do it now." You deserve it!