Memories from Wild Spirit - Waipu Yoga Retreat
This year, we all decided to take a break from handing out pieces of fruit to our young neighbourhood friends dressed in scary costumes... instead, we gave ourselves a treat of time and space to relax, unwind, read, practice yoga asana and breathwork, swim, eat, play, learn, dance and connect!
Taking in breathtaking views of Bream Bay (New Zealand's East Coast) from a magical venue up in the hills of Waipu... Paradise View NZ.
Join us on a trip down memory lane with photographs, video and our stories from Wild Spirit below:
Guests were greeted with the warm, Waipu Spring air as they arrived and settled into the space. Taking a peek into their goodie bags and being ushered around the property, each yogi made themselves at home in the space. In a natural rhythm, we gathered for a scrumptious welcome dinner and tasty desert (our full menu is at the bottom).
Thank you Rosé Glow for the beautiful smelling wax melts - these cute dinosaur shaped treats were perfect symbol of a wild spirit.
Sirius Skincare, a Local herbalist based in Riverhead, shared blended tea and natural bath salts to keep the calm vibes going.
The Crystal People for providing us with our beautiful Tibetan Flags.
Shifting a few steps from the dinner table to our comfy sofas with a hot cup of tea, we shared some short introductions around the room. Everyone giving a unique perspective on what brought them to a yoga retreat and a little about their own Wild Spirit. It's a special experience hearing about previous adventures that lead people to a yoga retreat; all life events, conversations, work situations, friendships and international travel that bring people together in one place to share space.
Raquel guided our first yoga class of the retreat with a grounding, Friday evening Restore practice using blocks, bolsters and a few blankets each! Everyone had their own wall space, time to digest, unwind and prepare for a restful sleep under the Blue Moon.
Halloween Saturday - Blue Moon:
Our favourite French teacher, Isabelle, started our first full day together with a Morning Sadhana - a thirty minute meditation including various breathing techniques; Uddiyana Bandha (our abdominal 'lock' which can improve the digestive system), Kapalabhati Breath ('breath of fire'), Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing).
We rolled out our mats in the spacious yoga room for Isabelle's 'Once In A Blue Moon' yoga flow; an energising class with themes inspired from natural wildlife from her farm in Riverhead, free movement and exploration off the mat, and a full-moon sequence to honour our wild, Halloween moon for the weekend.
After our tasty breakfast (full menu below) we had time to make a warm drink as we started to gather in the yoga room for our Chakra discussion. A guided, open discussion about the seven non-physical energy centres found in the body; a system which was originated in India between 1,500 and 500 BC and found with an ancient text called, The Vedas.
Yoga is a practice that can help unblock and stimulate these energy centres through regular movement and breathwork.
A chance to reflect, take notes and share personal experiences was all welcomed in this safe space. After we explored our Crown chakra (our connection to all things; one-ness) it just so happened to be lunch time; sometimes the universe just knows... Free-time followed as the rain started to patter down in Waipu.
With our bellies settled and feeling recharged from a short break, Stu lead the team through a Yin/Yang styled Primal Flow class. Taking it super gentle and slow to begin, encouraging use of the bolsters and blankets, we moved our way into an energetic flow class which brought awareness to our seven Primal movements. Some of these movements begin in-utero and develop through early infancy... they include actions like; push, pull, bend, squat, lunge, twist and gait (walking/running).
We explored our bear crawls, crab walks, frog squats, crane dips, kick-throughs and more as we built some heat and energy in the room. Tying things together with a Throat Chakra theme, we explored our Lions Breath, and shared a toning circle to close down the practice; a chance to express any sound that comes to you - whether it's an animal sound, an AUM, a gentle hummm or loud scream, toning circles give you a freedom to explore your voice and express yourself!
Just in time for a well-deserved meal sit down in the dining area.
To close down our Saturday night, we put on our festive colours and enjoyed the medicine of dance under the Blue Moon! Isabelle took us on a journey inwards and invited our fun, playful, wild spirits to arise as we danced the night away with DJ Stu weaving the sounds together. A magical and high-energy activity which eventually eased back into a grounding circle of connection, peace and harmony shared as group.
We met once again at 7.30am for our morning Sadhana (meditation) and enjoyed morning dip in the pool afterwards where Stu shared a little more about the benefits of cold water immersions and prepared those interested for a much colder dip in the ocean later that day.
Some benefits include improving our lymphatic system (which is responsible for removing waste, toxins and unwanted materials from our bodies), improving blood circulation around the body, great for repairing muscles after exercise, can help to improve your mood and is good for your skin and hair.
With breakfast served and a relaxed morning schedule ahead, we slowly made our way to Langs Beach - just a short 18 minute drive from the retreat venue. A truly stunning part of NZ's east coast and a must visit if you're new to the area. Note to self; the ocean water in early Nov is still pretty chilly =)
We enjoyed a lighter lunch with time to digest, then into our final yoga class for the weekend; Raquel's heart-to-crown flow with Latin beats playing in honor of Dia de Los Muertos and in preparation for our cacao ceremony.
Making our way outside, into the beautiful sunshine and refreshing breeze, we circled up one final time on the deck space, overlooking that stunning panoramic view of Bream Bay.
A full batch of cacao ready to go; brewed with love and gratitude, Raquel shared a little about the history of this sacred, Incan plant medicine and how it provides us with a greater connection to mother earth. Singing as we frothed the cacao together and experienced an elemental meditation to honour the cacao as it touched our lips.
Isabelle led us through a final chakra activation meditation, song and celebration followed by guided eye-gazing. A practice that can be quite challenging, and bring up vulnerable feelings, but ultimately a unique and special practice that can show a mirror reflection of yourself, in someone else's eyes.
Following this final session, Raquel re-centered the group, and gave space for final words, and closed down the retreat with the sound of Aum.
Yoga Retreats are a 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..
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