Integrative Wellness Retreat

Food| Movement | Lifestyle | Soulful Travel

TULUM 2015 RECAP | Ayurveda, Alignment + Yoga Retreat

Ayurveda, Alignment + Yoga| Tulum, Mexico| February 2015

In 2015, a full moon in Leo illuminated our journey as we brought IWR's signature Ayurveda, Alignment, and Yoga Retreat offering to an international level! Tulum, Mexico was the perfect place to slow it all down to the pulse of the jungle and the rhythm of the ocean in order to be able to share our passion for food, movement, lifestyle, and soulful travel! 

On the food front we had Claire Ragozzino infuse her ayurvedic wisdom into the IWR menu. We used local, seasonal ingredients and let the deeply nourishing Mexican flavors take center stage. Most of our soulful travelers came from states that were at one point knee deep in snow, so needless to say they were oh so welcoming of the hot and humid climates Tulum had to offer. As exciting as it is to get away, we knew that we had to keep their digestive systems balanced with the switch in climates and cuisine (as well as ward off any travel induced constipation- In Ayurveda, that's known as the Vata/Air Energy taking over!). Our welcome meal was a Macrobiotic Taco Feast. The rice served on the side had grounding/kapha qualities, which helped our guests (who we're likely eating pretty hearty winter meals before arriving) stay grounded.  We wouldn't do Mexico justice if guac wasn't present at the table at all times. Claire's go-to guacamole recipe used local avocados, rich in healthy fats. Healthy fats provide the medicinal benefit of keeping our insides lubricated, especially when we engage in the super dehydrating act of travel. Fat is the macronutrient that assists the gut with the lubrication necessary to stay regular and provides the nourishment for the skin barrier that takes a beating and gets dried out during those bitterly cold, windy winter days. Along the way we eventually lightened up the meals and made it a point to serve raw and super hydrating foods like Jicama, Avocado, Citrus + Mint Salad. It would not be vacation if deserts were not had- Claire's vegan, raw Chocolate Chili Torte drizzled with cinnamon, cayane chocolate sauce definitely stole the show!  

On the movement front, Amanda Ramirez guided the group in daily morning walks through the jungle to arrive at the eastward facing, oceanfront yoga palapa. A guided meditation took place as the sunbeams brilliantly broke through the horizon casting light on our days- which made being up before dawn well worth it. In Ayurveda dawn is considered a juncture in the day in which our bodies are most receptive to meditation. At this time our minds and bodies are better able to acknowledge that it's all about newness, fresh starts, and the shining of light in places where there was once darkness. In shamanism, the East direction, where the sun rises, brings energy that allows us to gain a distant perspective on our lives, to see far into the future and understand what the best direction we are to take.

An invigorating yoga flow energized the group to start their day. With Amanda's background in physical therapy she understands that traveling involves long bouts of sitting which shortens the calves and the hamstrings, so she made sure the yoga sessions initially emphasized a lot of back body lengthening to prepare the yogis for the deep hip openers and spinal twists that were to come. In her hour-long yoga flows she weaved in alignment cues that foreshadowed the interactive alignment and anatomy lectures that took place later that day. For example, one class was themed in the ruby red root chakra and included lots of grounding poses and opportunities to explore the feet as the foundation through balancing poses. Later that day in the lecture, Amanda explained how hip strength helps to support foot alignment down the chain and showed everyone how foot positioning can influence whether or not their yoga practice was capitalizing on the use of those deep hip stabilizers that help prevent the hip, back, and SIJ dysfunctions that secretly plague so many yogis.

The lifestyle we aimed to create for our Soulful Travelers in Tulum was one that we knew could renew spirits and revive souls. The people who we envisioned joining us were people who looking to make SHIFT happen. We asked our Soulful Travel Tribe "Where in your life do you need clarity and guidance to help you thrive in 2015? Is it with your diet, movement habits, stress levels, sleep patterns, relationships?" and we reminded them that we didn't set up our retreats to be an escape from their reality, but rather, as an incredible opportunity for them to slow down and be taught the self-care tools to transform their life! Proof:  Check out how our retreat experience transformed the way this physician is now practicing medicine and approaching patient care with Ayurvedic principles!

We ended our retreat with a POWERFUL temazcal (sweat lodge-esque) ceremony led by a local shaman. We all had no idea what to expect, but we sang, sweat, laughed, cried and all felt so moved to share those pieces of our stories we hardly share with anyone. One of our attendees, a massage therapist named Michelle, we think summed it up best, "Thank you for all the absolutely ridiculous circumstances in my life that somehow brought me to this moment where I find myself sharing my deep soul story with a bunch of strangers." 

They say that we all arrive at certain places in our lives for different reasons, and all we can say is THANK YOU to all the amazing people who said, "YES!" to this experience. Sometimes the way we end up in certain places seems "random," but when we are aware and connected we start to see that there are lessons woven into every moment and realize that our lives are divinely built with so much meaning. We put so much intention into this retreat and it absolutely brought us to life to be able to watch everyone interact, laugh, learn, cry, and come back home to themselves. Have you ever given yourself permission to be in a space where your to-do list doesn't exist and you' re able to connect to the things that matter most? If you're ready to make shift happen, check out our most current Ayurveda, Alignment + Yoga Retreat offerings here. To see more about where this all started, check out pictures from our Malibu 2014 Retreat!

Timelapse video of Amanda + Claire saluting the sun in Tulum. Woke up before dawn to experience a sunrise meditation, pranayama (breathing), and yoga practice.


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