I can't believe the Yoga & Fitness Retreat is here and gone. I started planning this trip over a year ago and experienced a number of highs and lows along the way.
The idea for a Yoga & Fitness Retreat came about after my husband and I returned from an exceptionally indulgent vacation. For two people who enjoy living a healthy lifestyle so much, we couldn’t understand how we let ourselves get so offtrack on vacation. We thought wouldn’t it be nice to leave a vacation feeling better than when we arrived?
It was from that experience the Yoga & Fitness Retreat was born. We rounded up a group of like-minded people, seven of whom I had never met before, and traveled to Riviera Maya, Mexico for a health-and-fitness-focused vacation.
It was truly a magical experience. Pictures and words can't really do it justice, but I'll give it a try:
The retreat took place at El Dorado Royale, an all-inclusive resort located right along the beach. The resort was beautifully landscaped and very clean. It is a large property, so we never felt on top of one another. They offered plenty of activities throughout the day - everything from ocean kayaking and bike riding to tequila tasting and rifle shooting. There is a lot I want to say about the resort, so I will provide a full review in a separate post.
Every day started with Yoga at either the Gazebo Capella or JoJo's Deck. Both locations, reserved for our group, overlooked the ocean. We practiced yoga at least once a day and sometimes twice, depending on the schedule.
The Free Time
It was important to me to keep the itinerary flexible with a good chunk of free time built in each day. Most people used this time to lay on the beach, hangout by the pool, or explore the resort. Most of our late mornings/early afternoons were spent this way. One day a bunch of us ended up at the same spot on the beach. So we spent that time together practicing yoga poses in the sand and posing for pictures. At one point we had a pretty large audience, and thought about charging the resort an entertainment fee ; )
Needless to say, none of us will be Instagram models anytime soon, but we had fun trying. This particular afternoon brought me back to my childhood when my friends and I would do gymnastics on the beach. I didn't attempt any backhandsprings this trip, but maybe next time.
Every Friday the resort offers a 5k Run in Paradise to benefit a local animal shelter. I signed our group up for this event and am so glad I did. It was a blast! The course took us onto the property next door and through a swamp area with tons of wildlife. Some of our participants even spotted an alligator.
I am so not a runner, but it felt great to start the day by pushing myself physically. Plus, it was fun to do this as a group. The resort staff was helpful and very encouraging.
Another group activity we signed up for was snorkeling. I have to admit, I was really nervous about this one. I was worried about getting motion sickness on the boat and also about feeling claustrophobic in the snorkeling gear. It ended up being my favorite activity of the trip. The activity took place off property, so around 1230pm we all loaded up on a bus and took a short ride to Maroma Beach.
Most of us agreed that Maroma Beach was the most beautiful beach we'd ever seen. Once there and checked in, they walked us to our boat where we were joined by a few other groups of people.
The boat ride was fine and no one got motion sick. We also took a bunch of dremamine, so maybe that helped? .
I adjusted to the snorkeling gear instantly. To my surprise, I actually found the breathing technique very meditative. We saw beautiful fish, a sea turtle, eels, lobsters, and some other sea creatures. We also saw the worlds second largest coral reef. I wish I would've brought my camera down!
Needless to say, I'll definitely go snorkeling again! It was a lot of fun and a great way for our group to bond.
Speaking of bonding. My absolute favorite part of the trip was the people!!!! Planning this trip, I was most nervous about managing a group of people, some of whom I had never met, and making sure everyone got along. In retrospect, I had NOTHING to worry about. I absolutely loved getting to know every single person on the trip and watching them get to know each other. Lifelong friendships were definitely formed. It's really cool to think that this somewhat random group of people, who may have never met otherwise, took a vacation together in another country and now share very special memories together. Some came as individuals, couples, siblings, etc. but we all left as one group bonded by this special experience!!
Leading up to the trip, I wasn't sure if I would offer another or not. Now that it is all said and done, I feel like I HAVE to! I learned so much from this trip and it was such a special experience that I feel like I need to do it again. Right now, however, my blinders are on and I am fully focused on getting the second studio up and running. But stay tuned, I have a feeling this isn't the last of our Yoga & Fitness Retreat adventures.