Kanuka Yoga Day Retreat Memories I Kula, Muriwai
Updated: May 25
Kanuka Yoga was created using inspiration from New Zealand's natural beauty. From the wild, West Coast beaches of Auckland, to the stunning Auckland harbour and Waitakere Ranges...
...so, with our yoga retreats we always aim to spend time outside in our natural environment; feeling the breeze brush our bodies, smelling the ocean salt in the air, and noticing the diverse terrain available to us. Taking these natural elements and sensations onto the mat and using that to inspire mindful movement and breath.
With a bit of rain on the forecast prior to our retreat date, we revised our schedule to allow us this time to be outside and be in nature; going with the flow every step of the way.
8am Slow Flow Yoga
Gathering inside the cosy yoga shala at Kula, Muriwai we settled in for Raquel's 8am Slow Flow. A gentle fire burning away in the corner helped warm us from the blustery morning weather, and the stunning ocean views in the distance kept smiles on our faces as we started to move.
Our main theme for the day retreat was embracing seasonal change, slowing down and finding moments of restoration. The yoga class invited lots of time to notice, to feel and to bring intention into the day ahead.
Cacao & Guided Meditation; Opening Circle
With our bodies feeling more awakened and a good hour of natural blue light streaming through the big, sliding doors of the yoga shala, we circled up to share cacao as a group.
Using ethically sourced cacao from Mamamuti, and a sprinkling of other ingredients like organic vanilla essence, raw coconut sugar, and a dash of cayenne pepper (to give it a little edge), Raquel shared some history of the plant before singing a few verses of 'Cacaocita'.
"Cacaocita, Cacaocita, la medicina, Cacaocita la di di di"
Cups were shared around and we experienced a guided meditation before taking time to introduce ourselves around the circle. We invited guests to bring a token, or momento; some shared photos, and others shared trinkets from past adventures and memories.
A beautiful, warming way to learn someones name, where they're from and also to hear something important and unique to them; something that comes from the heart.
Yin + Live Acoustic
Bolsters, blankets, straps and yoga mats all laid out, we began our juicy Yin class with Carol Jardine; one of the original Kanuka Yoga teachers from when we first opened back in 2018.
Accompanying Carol's class, was Stu J sharing his acoustic, looping melodies; instrumental songs of his own, some recognisable tunes and hypnotising interludes between postures throughout the calss.
Blu Poke Shed for Lunch
Our good friends at Blu Poke Shed once again delivered the goods, with their take-away catered poke; fresh ingredients, tasty proteins and all the sauces and toppings to make a personalised, colourful poke bowl.
With plenty to go around, and enough for a few seconds, we enjoyed some downtime to refuel in the yoga shala as we listened-in to the windy conditions outside.
We carpooled over to Muriwai Beach to start our short nature walk. Taking our time as we strolled alongside the river, being greeted by a horse named 'Bernadette' passing through the water, with a few other horses + riders following; a few people commenting on how impressed they were with the organised animal viewing during the retreat walk =)
Megan Blennerhassett captured some beautiful snaps of the group together at the turnaround point; the Autumn trees looking bare and brown with the Winter months closing in.
Making our return to the car park we took a slightly different route through the forest; admiring the pine-needles on the ground, fallen branches, birds singing and the variety of mushrooms growing around us.
Checking the time and checking-in with the group, we decided it was best to visit Muriwai Beach and take in the full force of the West Coast. The salty gales were blasting across the beach, the surf wild and unruly and dozens of kite boarders making the most of the high-winds. The chats continued as we felt the sand beneath our feet and water lapping our ankles.
Back to the yoga shala we went for our last couple of activities for the day.
Raquel, a psychology major and trauma-informed yoga teacher, shared a discussion on samskaras alongside a modern perspective of how our mind and bodies can shift out of a pattern that’s not longer serving us.
Oftentimes we can be unaware of how much Samskaras can influence our thoughts and decisions, however the practice of yoga, of mindful breath and movement, of meditation; these practices are all inviting one to become more present in the here and now; more aware of the moment; more aware of the thoughts that arise in each situation.
We can learn to make new choices and come back to our true nature, so we can continue on a path towards freedom of suffering.
During the chat, she weaved in attachment theory and polyvagal theory and how that could be related to a yoga practice.
The day drawing to an end, we had just enough time for a short, playful class flow led by Stu; inspired by the coastal surroundings and Stu's love of surfing.
As we opened up our imagination pathways, some highlights of the classes included our gentle warm-ups before 'getting in the water', our paddle out through the incoming swell which included a few duck dives, and finally catching some waves, getting tubed and hanging 10 on the yoga mats. A very lighthearted class after our deeper discussion around yoga philosophy.
Closing Circle and Platters
Our beautiful day of yoga inspired activities, conversations and learning was coming to an end, and to allow the integration of the day that had been, we create more space for people to share a memory of the day, or to share a lesson from the day, or to simply be there to appreciate others around them.
It takes time to integrate ideas, different ways of thinking, new movements, new friendships, and this is something that, over time, can create our new routines and rituals that serve us better; creating new relationships with ourselves and our stories; creating space to cultivate new 'grooves' (like Samskaras).
We closed the day with a few rounds of 'Om' and some delicious platters from Succulent Cakes before making our way back home.
We are extremely blessed to have a strong community of people lifting each other up.
Thank-you for taking the time to read our memories.
We look forward to hosting you at our upcoming Yoga Retreats.
The Kanuka Yoga Space Team