It was a last minute plan but let’s be honest…last minute plans turn out to be the best!
My friend had invited me to a yoga retreat in Balandra, on the north eastern coast of Trinidad, a good 2-3 hour drive from home. It’s an area of Trinidad I have not been to in almost 10 years so a weekend getaway to the beach and some most needed relaxing yoga after Carnival led to a resounding YES response! Off course I dragged my cousin with me, to share in the impromptu road trip.
The weekend retreat was hosted by the Yoga Meditation Society of Trinidad & Tobago and held at the Seventh Day Adventist’s Balandra Camp facility. This place blew away any expectations I had prior to arriving. It was the perfect post Carnival unwind!
The views of the fierce open Atlantic Ocean on the north eastern coast of Trinidad were just spectacular. Spending time listening to the ocean beat against the rocky coastline and taking in the views was a form of meditation in itself. It definitely gave perspective to the greatness of nature. It was a gentle reminder of the awe-inspiring natural beauty that makes Trinidad so special.
Whilst the 5AM yoga sessions,complete with a 4AM wake up call, was a first for me (and my dear cousin who loves her sleep dearly!), it was an experience to start meditation and breathing exercises at that early hour and continually do the sun salutations during sunrise. My yoga guru in India would be so proud! Heck my grandmother would be shocked I woke up that early to meditate and “exercise!”
There are no words to describe the positive feeling of doing Surya Namaskara (the sun salutations) to Surya (the sun god) as the sun rose over the coastline outside and dawn greeted us. I snuck in a few photos in between asanas.
The weekend wasn’t all about yoga, I quite enjoyed the lectures in between particularly on holistic health and Ayurveda…this was a complete 180 compared to a week prior when I was “wining away” in my Carnival fetes. Off course when alcohol and eating meat were mentioned, I reminded myself I believe life is all about balance and equilibrium, I choose to be balanced. And I am, last weekend feting, this weekend all zen!
My cousin has never done yoga in her life. Experiencing it through her virgin eyes (and flexibility with her young skinny self) reminded me why I enjoyed practicing yoga and meditation. She was open and excited to trying new poses, learning and challenging herself nevermind we were all more experienced. Heck she got up for the 5AM session, that’s a feat in itself!
Meeting Pamela, a local yoga instructor trained in India, was a treat to spend time with. From swapping stories of our experiences in India to sharing yoga techniques for anxiety and stress, Pamela added to the memorable weekend.
It was such an overwhelming feeling of being at peace, a feeling I had forgotten lately. Afterall I had become lazy with my yoga in recent months blaming my hectic travel schedule in various climates and time zones. It’s time to get back on the yoga wagon!
Being by the ocean this past weekend I feel renewed, motivated and inspired, ready for the couple months of travel I have ahead of me. Next weekend when I have my 6AM yoga classes in cold Chicago, I will remember these 4AM wake up calls and not complain about it being too early! The power of the mind is an amazing thing…we are all constantly reminded of that if we just take a time out to regroup.
For now…I remember the beautiful sunrises from the weekend and be at one with nature!