The Yoga ForestThe Yoga Forest was founded as a sustainable living experiment, through a desire for living simply, greenly and in communion with everything surrounding us.
In yoga practice, we clear the body and mind making space for wisdom and deeper understanding to flow freely and openly. In making space, we allow ourselves to experience our fullness and connection to everything around us. Yoga is therefore about cultivating flow through the body and mind and opening up to optimal experience - union.
Permaculture follows the same principles. In Permaculture, we are essentially making space for the wisdom of the entire system to fully flow, to become a more open and thriving container for life. Permaculture teaches us to observe the natural environment and work with rather than against the natural order of flow. Thus, in Permaculture we are also cultivating union. Through the Yoga of Permaculture, we are facilitating the experience of Yoga as deep ecology – by allowing the ecosystem, and ourselves within that system, to demonstrate their own evolution.
As we step into deep ecology and recognize ourselves as part of the ecosystems and world that we breathe, we begin to recognize the impacts we make. In Permaculture the idea that everything gardens means that everything we have in place is cultivating the whole. Therefore it is imperative to take time and recognize the impacts of all the plants, buildings, elements, animals, and insects on the whole of our Permaculture space. We are always dealing with ecosystems, whether it is in the personal body, the garden, home, or community. Everything we do with our personal bodies impacts the world around us. It may be subtle, and perhaps we may never notice, but regardless our thoughts affecting our actions affecting our world make us part of what gardens life in this world. In Yoga, a personal practice extends far beyond a quiet mind. It extends to where your attention goes. It increases your ability to respond as you become more aware. Through Permaculture, we unite the response to and awareness of our environment into a fusion of deep green yoga.
At The Yoga Forest, we want to live true to our ideals and honest with ourselves. For us, this means daily yoga, meditation and selfless service (seva or karma yoga) within the community and building a comfortable, peaceful place conducive to growth and sharing. To live in a healthy, balanced, natural manner is a way to make positive change for ourselves and for the ecosystems in which we live. See more events in this venue
Find yourself in an enchanted hideaway with magical views of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Watch the sun rise over the volcanoes during meditation. Practice yoga in an open-air shala with breath-taking views of the lake. Indulge in delicious vegetarian food. Gather for intimate expression and sharing with other woman. Sit in night ceremony by fire or candlelight. Fall asleep to the natural rhythms and sounds of the forest.
Surreal & inspiring location with panoramic views
Daily meditation & yoga practice
Daily self-exploratory spontaneous writing sessions
Scenic outdoor thatch-roofed yoga shala & writing space
3 delicious organic vegetarian meals/day
- Optional evening healing ceremonies
Permaculture tour upon request
Breaks for swimming, hiking, or relaxing
7 nights stay in shared, beautiful eco-friendly cabanas
Maximum of 14 participants
OUR SACRED JOURNEY
At the stunning Yoga Forest on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, you will step back from your day-to-day to surround yourself with beauty and nature and expanded perspective. The retreat provides the space to breathe, stretch, relax, and to connect with and express freely from your own center as you share in this experience with other beautiful women.
A transformative journey
You set out on a transformative creative inner journey through meditation, yoga, and self-exploratory writing - where writing serves as a channel to allow vulnerability and reveal insight from within. Together, you will form a sacred women's circle for expressing, reflecting, sharing releasing, and discovering. You will create the space for wonder and opening into deeper inner knowing and self truths.
You may also choose to experience evening healing sessions involving sound, movement, or other channels for invoking, releasing, and renewing wise, wild, and guiding energy which will be offered as part of the week. You’ll gather around fire. Ultimately, to seek to invite back and empower the voices of your heart and soul.
The four directions and rising the feminine
The four directions provide a thematic framework to inspire your sacred journey. Embodied by the serpent, the jaguar, the hummingbird, and the eagle, the four shamanic insights beckon you to an adventure of higher levels of perception and connection, to detach from self-limiting stories and come back to your heart and your courage. Becoming more aware of how you influence your reality and your experiences, you are each called to envision your life into greater beauty. You will plunge deeper into the rich and deep center of your wild, knowing and beautiful feminine nature, calling her to rise in strength as we journey.
Meditation and yoga
With daily guided meditation and yoga, you bring your awareness back to yourself. You reconnect with the direct sensory experiences of your breath, of your motion, your stillness, of your mat, and become increasingly aware of the power and influence of the energy you bring to each moment. Meditation and yoga support us to reach beyond your daily thoughts and connect to a deeper possibility of love. You become more present to the moment and to yourself. Stillness and movement help you to listen deeper within, open up, and release.
Meditation & yoga will take place in the Yoga Forest shala, and may be shared with other guests, women or men (The venue only holds 18 guests, including our group). Our intimate writing circle will be women only and privately held.
In your women's writing circle, you raise inner journey themes and work through them with dynamic, reflective, and creative self-exploratory exercises, with the opportunity to share with the group. In addition to verbal prompts, you may bring in movement, images, nature, or sound. You will find that prompted writing gives you a key inside.
Somehow you are more able to sneak past your internal fears and filters and unlock fierce personal truths and insights, showing up to the creativity and spontaneity of the moment. The circle provides a loving and encouraging space to free your inner voices, speak your experience, enliven your possibilities, spark your imagination, and connect more deeply to energies within and with each other. The alchemy is in the sharing.
With raw expression, you will play at exploring the inner stories that constrain you and limit your perception, such as character roles you play, limiting beliefs you animate, narratives you create and recreate, and the words that entrap you. You will open the possibility to transcend these ‘creative blocks’ of innate female creative energy, of your life energy.
You will practice giving your feelings form, putting them into motion and expression so they can transform. You will play with the creativity of perspective. You will explore how to write your experiences - past, present, and future - and how you can reclaim your narratives and your role as a story teller. You will let awe in. As you explore your inner stories with honesty and compassion, you will feel your voice begin to emerge more authentic and true. This retreat is an invitation to the journey of the storyteller within.
SAMPLE DAILY FLOW
- 06:15 - 07:00 Sadhana meditation
- 07:00 - 08:30 Holistic Hatha flow / Vinyasa flow
- 08:30 - 09:30 Delicious breakfast
- 10:00 - 12:30 Spontaneous writing exercises / discussion
- 12:30 - 13:30 Delicious lunch
- 13:30 - 14:45 Break to relax, or restorative/ yin yoga
- 15:00 - 18:00 Spontaneous writing exercises / discussion
- 18:30 - 19:30 Delicious dinner
- 19:45 Sauna, circle, or healing sessions (some evenings)
Your week will include a couple long breaks to relax, hike, swim, kayak, receive a treatment, or explore the village(s). Guests may arrive anytime on Thursday, November 5, 2015, to relax and settle in. We'll open our circle in the evening. Our daily flow will begin on Friday, November 6, 2015.
In the rural highlands of Guatemala, The Yoga Forest perches high in the forest overlooking Lake Atitlan and three majestic volcanoes.
San Marcos La Laguna is a small Mayan village on Lake Atitlán in the western highlands of Guatemala. It has become a Mecca for international travelers attracted by its beauty, tranquility, and diverse options for spiritual exploration and therapy. It is often quoted as the most naturally attractive and peaceful village on the lake.
The Yoga Forest is a 20-minute gorgeous hike into the valley from San Marcos, with an entrance of stone steps leading to this surreal spot, where the adventurer is richly rewarded with dreamlike views. Inspired by the creative union of yogic and permaculture principles, this location provides an eco-friendly living experience in harmony with nature.
The Yoga Forest offers beautiful shared cabins with comfortable beds, panoramic views, delicious vegetarian meals, yoga, and Mayan sauna in dream surroundings. Retreat guests will stay in shared cabanas of up to 4 people. Made of bamboo frames, adobe walls, cypress, and thatched palm roofs, each cabana features Guatemala furniture, Mayan fabrics, and Indian textiles. Cabana living is attuned to the natural electricity - free rhythm of day and night.
The Yoga Forest has been built using various natural and traditional building methods. They use solar energy for simple electricity and hot water, natural grey water filtering systems for the kitchen and two outdoor showers. There are no private bathrooms. Compost facilities are outdoors with outstanding views. The Yoga Forest uses bio-degradable products in the kitchen, for laundry and for personal hygiene, and you are encouraged to also help protect the beautiful property from harmful chemicals. This is a real chance to disconnect and re-treat yourself to the experience of going inwards.
All meals are vegetarian. The Yoga Forest is dedicated to growing food organically and understanding the organic nature of our relationships to our food, our environment and the people within it.
- 3 delicious organic vegetarian meals daily
- 7 nights shared accommodation in beautiful eco-friendly cabanas
- Daily guided meditation and yoga sessions
- Daily prompted self-exploratory writing sessions
- Mayan sauna
- Permaculture tour upon request
Excludes: Flights, transport to & from the retreat, travel insurance, extras, contributions for optional evening healing sessions
The closest international airport is Guatemala City, four hours away from San Marcos. The village of San Marcos La Laguna is easily accessed via shared shuttle or private shuttle, morning or afternoon, from either the airport or Antigua (3-4 hours).
Guests are advised to fly into Guatemala City by noon on November 5, and book return flights for late afternoon on November 12, or the following day.
Arrival by shuttle
Private shuttles can be arranged for a direct service from Guatemala City to San Marcos La Laguna for a cost of 800 GTQ (110 USD), or less if you arrive at the same time as other participants. Please send an inquiry to Storyteller Within Retreats to arrange this for you. Shared shuttles are regularly available either from the airport / Antigua to San Marcos directly, or via Panajachel (followed by a boat to San Marcos). Both options take around 4 hours.
Check-in: Noon Check-out: Noon What to Bring: Bring a backpack (rather than suitcase) & spirit of adventure! Please also bring your own biodegradable toiletries, a towel, and layers of clothing to suit varying temperatures during the day and night. Natural insect repellent is nice to have and a headlamp is a necessity. The Yoga Forest is a 25 minute hike out of town, so we advise bringing anything you might need on hand. Flight & Transport: Unless you contact us to arrange you a private shuttle at an extra cost, you are entirely responsible for transportation to & from the retreat. Passport: Please note a valid passport is required to enter and depart Guatemala. If flying from the US, or through it, you will need to provide evidence of a departure within 90 days of arriving. Tourists will receive a visa stamp upon arrival, normally of 90 days. Travel Insurance: You are fully responsible for attaining travel insurance for your visit to Guatemala.
This transformative women's retreat offers a creative inner adventure through meditation, daily yoga, and self-exploratory writing on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
Aimee Hansen, Creator of Storyteller Within Retreats
Aimee chases big questions with butterfly nets, only to set them free again. She's always had an irresistible attraction to words and metaphors as a way of playing, provoking, revealing, exploring, understanding, and connecting. Twelve years ago she began sneaking away from the office for creative writing classes at Central Saint Martins College, writing short stories and rekindling a childhood love for all things lyrical.
On a quest for more meaningful plot in life, she left her corporate job in London to travel for a couple years. In 2012, her travels guided her to Guatemala and back to herself. Her intensive studies with an intuitive mentor who called her "the storyteller" and her own passion for human insight started her on ever curious and unfolding journey into the nature of perception. Her work explores the power of the stories we tell within our lives and invites a creative and playful adventure in the yoga of perspective.
She works as a freelance writer, writes children stories, plays at poetry, and is writing a novel about the storyteller within. She holds a 200+ hr yoga teacher certification. She is inspired and humbled by witnessing how something raw and honest in the human spirit aches to open, when given the invitation. She began Storyteller Within retreats to share in the experience of exploring our humanity and stepping into our courage.See more photos and other events by this presenter