Expand Your Light - Waipu Yoga Retreat Memories, June 2020
It's been one week since our Waipu Yoga Retreat (Expand Your Light) and we're still buzzing from the memories! Such a beautiful tribe of people gathered together to connect, practice yoga, enjoy the outdoors, share vulnerabilities and to try something a lil' different. The Paradise View orchard and garden provided the most wholesome food throughout the retreat and was definitely a talking point throughout each day.
It's incredible how much an individual, and a group collectively, can gain from a single weekend away; when the focus is shifted away from distractions and we practise presence, awareness and breath, we can tune into our feelings in a more profound way so greater connections can be made; people speaking their truth! This is the type of safe space that is created right from the moment people arrive through the front door.
Take a journey with us (Raquel, Stu and Isabelle) down memory lane and read more about the Expand Your Light Retreat below...
Beginning Friday Afternoon
We saw the rain trickling down as the yogis slowly trickled into the cosy lodge; greeted by the roaring firing, tantalising smells from the kitchen and personalised Goodie Bags for each individual attending.
With plenty of space inside and time on our side, the chats began with a warm cup of tea in hand, and continued into our first meal of the weekend; lentil & vegetable dahl, cauliflower & chickpea korma, basmati rice, poppadums, cucumber raita, mango chutney. Easy to say everyone had huge smiles and there was more than enough to go around. Our chef for the weekend (and Paradise View co-owner), Chris, put the cherry on top with an apple & fig crumble served with coconut yoghurt - bliss!
As the food digested, we begun our welcome introductions and everyone had their chance to say hello to the group, share their experience with yoga, what inspired them to this weekend getaway.
Stu led the first session of the weekend that Friday night; a 30 minute candle gazing meditation, otherwise known as Tratak; literally meaning concentrated gazing.
A few yogis started the day fresh with a cold water dip in the pool, followed by some time in the spa before the first yoga session of the day! Za led us through a light-filled Slow Flow in the gorgeous yoga room on-site.
A fresh fruit breakfast served with granola and a variety of yogurt, jam, butters, and beautiful sourdough fuelled us for our next morning activity!
We headed out for a leisurely walk outdoors (and a salty cold dip in the ocean for some!) at Uretiti Beach. Before starting the walk, we set an intention to pick up a few trinkets that caught our eye for our beautifully-crafted mandala on the beach.
We made our way back into the hills of Waipu for another gorgeous lunch of carrot and ginger soup, marinated tofu poke bowls and more, fresh sourdough bread!
We then leaned into a yoga philosophy and journaling session on the Yamas. Providing space and time for people to think, write, ask questions and share their own unique experiences and perspectives.
After some downtime, we continued with the Saturday schedule and into our Cacao Ceremony and Kirtan. We gathered in a circle of flowers, Mexican totems, crystals, candles and the smell of sage and Palo Santo as we sipped on Cacao and shared gratitude for our beautiful earth. As the cacao started to warm up our hearts, Stu led us through some Kirtan; literal translation is 'collective performance', and we sung our way through a few call-and-response chants with the sounds of singing bowls, bongos, and clapping; basking in the good vibrations felt after each chant.
With hearts feeling open and full of cacao and music, we were once again greeted by the delicious smells of the kitchen and warm logs on the fire. Dinner for Saturday night was a basil & lemon risotto, roasted cauliflower and mango relish, green salad and for desert, homemade banoffee pie!
If you thought the day couldn't get any better, Isabelle surprised the group with a Full Moon Dance! We had full freedom to flow, move, and just be our authentic selves as the tribal beats blasted under the full moon; a special highlight for many.
With such an event filled Saturday, we really eased our way into Sunday at a slow pace. For those that were keen, we started the morning with another cold immersion in the pool (naturally followed by some spa time) and into our fruit salad and granola breaky.
Our second yoga philosophy chat came next; the Niyamas. We opened up the discussion to some current events we're seeing around the world and how these moral guidelines (being the Yamas and Niyamas) could be interpreted and put into practise.
As lunch was being prepared, Stu guided the group through a moon salutation flow as the sun streamed through the windows into the spacious yoga room. Flowing around the room, building a bit of heat and energy and just enough to make room in the belly for our Shakshuka lunch (a traditional Mediterranean dish of herbs, spices and tomato based sauce) and Turkish white bean salad. Eating this tasty meal overlooking Whangarei Heads!
Leading us into our final yoga flow for the weekend; a heart-opening Restore with Raquel, accompanied with the relaxing sounds of acoustic guitar from Stu. Feeling nourished and rested, we formed our closing circle and gave space for everyone to share their experience and final comments with the group - Namaste!
Yoga retreats are an opportunity to unwind, relax, and dive deeper into your yoga practice. This may mean participating in a different type of meditation, trying a new style of asana practice, or diving deeper within through self-reflection.
It's beautiful way to connect with others and form new friendships with like-minded people. As individuals we are constantly evolving our thought processes, and developing (in our own way) new practises to better serve us in life; the Expand Your Light Retreat came at the perfect time after NZ's Lockdown and we (at Kanuka Yoga) are extremely blessed to have a strong community of people lifting each other up.
Thank-you for taking the time to read our memories.
Thank-you Chris & Rachel from Paradise View for being amazing!
We look forward to hosting you at our upcoming Yoga Retreats.
The Kanuka Yoga Space Team