Memories from Eternal Summer Yoga Retreat - March 2022
Updated: May 30
The Eternal Summer Yoga Retreat was a weekend event we created back in 2021, and it was originally scheduled to be in Waipu. With the Lockdowns that interrupted many plans throughout 2021, we had to re-schedule this retreat for an entire year later.
We (Tanija, Raquel and Stu) cemented the new dates in 2022, at our new location of Kula, Muriwai and made a commitment to do everything we could to run this yoga retreat. That meant having backup attendees on a waitlist, backup chefs and masseuses; just in case we had people needing to isolate at the very last minute.
So, here we are! It was meant to be =)
Check out some of the beautiful memories we created. A weekend filled with beautiful connection and sharing, yoga movement and breath, dance, live music, delicious vegan food, surfing, massage, ice baths and sauna at the stunning, Kula, Muriwai.
People trickled into the luxury retreat venue on Friday afternoon. Having three facilitators meant we could offer mini-tours of the venue for each group that arrived, getting everyone comfortable in the space at times that suited them.
Our amazing chef for the weekend, Deborah Sa (along with Maise as sous chef) had the welcome platters all organised and dinner perfectly timed for everyone's arrival.
A beautifully, colourful spread of seasonal fruits, veggie sticks, hummus, pesto, falafel, crackers and pickles. A few nibbles to tide us over until dinner time which followed shortly after.
Scattered around the platters were a collection for polaroid pictures. Each attendee shared an image with us prior the retreat of what 'Eternal Summer' meant to them. We printed these and brought them along. We were privileged to hear some warming, Summer memories as the wind battered the ceiling high sliding doors and windows - it was a fairly gusty afternoon so the summer stories were very much welcomed!
Debs and Maise shared their main menu for Friday night which consisted of Jackfruit arepas with salsa and mash avocado. Desert being a chocolate cake and berry nice cream (vegan friendly of course).
After our fair share of dinner chats and a chance to unwind from the week, we started to gather in the Yoga shala for our formal introduction to the weekend, and our Restorative Yoga class, with live guitar from Stu and some gentle, restorative touch from Raquel and Tanija.
A gentle practice, using bolsters and as many blankets a we could find. Soft lighting, acoustic melodies and plenty of time to notice the breath. A blissful start to the weekend retreat.
Debs and Maise were up bright and early to prepare the in-season fruit, coconut yoghurt and granola, plus tea/coffee for those that like to start the day with something light and tasty.
Our first two sessions for the morning were led by Stu; a short description on how a meditation practice can be a useful tool in life, along with a guided meditation around 'Noticing Space'.
The meditation was followed by a Surfer inspired yoga class to get the body moving and to build some energy for the day ahead. As you might imagine, a lot of cues revolved around looking out to the horizon, noticing the incoming and outgoing breath and finding gentle sways on your yoga mat as though you're floating in a body of water.
Other highlights from the Surfer Flow included a visualisation on getting barrelled in a wave, throwing the Shaka sign in reverse warrior, hang-10 for Shiva's Dance, and finishing with a few Dolphin sitings around the room.
We were greeted in the main dining area once again by Debs and Maise with delicious, colourful beetroot and quinoa fritters with tahini dressing and green salad.
Feeling nourished with what felt like a full day already, 11am swings around and our two masseuses arrived to share their magic with those who pre-booked a massage.
Another small group departed for their surf lesson with Muriwai Surf School, and another small group opted for the nature walk.
Kanuka Yoga Space was inspired by the beautiful NZ coastlines and, specifically, the rugged Auckland West Coast so it was important that we all made time to get outside and enjoy the natural environment. For many, the simple act of being outside in nature can encapsulate a mindfulness practice.
Oh, did we mention the retreat venue had an ice bath, sauna and hot tub???
For many the ice bath was a first time; a real test of focus and mind-over-matter.
By 4pm we gathered back in the Yoga Shala for our Cacao Ceremony and Yoga Beats with Raquel.
Cacao is a plant that was first discovered and cultivated by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans in South America. Today, it is the foundational ingredient of something we all know and love, chocolate.
The cacao bean was an important element to the indigenous South American cultures for several reasons; it was used as a currency in trade, given to warriors as a post battle reward and served at royal feasts.
Unfortunately, as time went by and as colonists discovered the important value of cacao (in the more refined form of chocolate), is was commodified, turned into an industry and ultimately exposed in an unethical way. A lot of the wisdom, culture and spiritual practice connected to the plant was lost along the way too.
So, at Eternal Summer, we shared cacao as a way to acknowledge this deep and rich history of cacao. To pay tribute to our ancestors and to mother earth. We're proud to use cacao from Mamamuti, who sources the cacao directly from the farmers in South America into the cups we drink from. No corporate middle-men exploiting the farmers, the trade and beans themselves.
We moved straight into our next activity, Yoga Beats! A funky, fluid yoga practice which crosses between a guided dance class and yoga practice. Something Raquel is very passionate about; providing a light-hearted perspective to what Yoga can mean for each individual. If you want to vibe out in your disco-cat who's to tell you no?!?
We could have easily moved into a full-on dance party but dinner time awaited from an adventurous day of activities.
Food for Saturday evening was a leek risotto with parsnip and for desert, a Banoffee Cheesecake. We could have honestly done a full blog recap on just the food; thanks Debs and Miase - you gals rock!
Saturday evening was the perfect time for Candlelit Yin with a focus on 'surrender'.
The Shala was so warm and inviting with Stu playing soft, sweet tunes in the background.
Tanija guided us through different grounding postures, nourishingly supported with bolsters, blankets, blocks & straps.
In supported savasana, Tanija guided a meditation contemplating 'surrender and release'....creating space to let go.
Our Sunday practice began with a heart centred meditation led by Tanija, followed by Yin/Yang yoga. The meditation set an intention based on love, including compassion, forgiveness and self-love. The level of energy and emotion was almost tangible.
The yang flow and heart chakra focused breathing moved energy through the body, and invited a playful go at handstand hops and crow pose.
Debs and Maise delivered the goods one last time for our Sunday brunch; polenta loaf with creamy mushrooms and green salad.
We split off for another free-time block, and for a few of us that meant returning to the ice-bath + sauna. Before long we were back in the Shala for our final shared activities and closing ceremony.
We started with a fun Partner Yoga sequence which definitely brought some big smiles into the room. One of the key founding principles of Kanuka Yoga is being Playful. It's important to remember how to play; how to fall, how to get back up again, how to be a complete newbie again and laugh along the way.
In these situations we help re-build neural pathways to movements we have either forgotten, or haven't tried in a long time. It's fun, and so refreshing to take a light-hearted approach to Yoga, which can often involve a lot of deep reflections and introspection.
Following Partner Yoga, we shared a short Thai-Inspired Massage before hugging it out and forming our closing circle for the weekend.
We shared our favourite memories from the weekend, what we were grateful for, and provided space for everyone to share a few words to summarise their weekend.
We had a magical time, and we hope some of that magic shines through on these memories.
If you're interested in joining our next yoga retreat, pop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or keep a look out on our website and social platforms.
We look forward to practicing with you soon!