Yoga Eco Retreat – 12/1/2017

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Yoga Eco Retreat

at Salinas Grandes Turtle Sanctuary

Nicaragua

December 1 to 9, 2017

7 full days, 8 nights

“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.”

PURPOSE:

Empower participants to find harmony and balance in their lives through yoga, meditation, reflection and interaction with nature and each other in the retreat sanctuary

 

VALUES:

  • Leave the smallest footprint possible on the environment
  • Leave Salinas Grandes in a better way by supporting the Turtle Sanctuary and providing local employment that supports the retreat
  • Show respect for Nicaraguans and their way of life in our interactions with them
  • Leave a positive impression of “Americans” from the United States
  • Eat foods that are produced locally and experience “Nica” dishes
  • Provide a setting where participants can feel in tune with nature
  • Value the skills, talents, knowledge and insights of each and every retreat participant and staff member
  • Meet each participant where she or he is and provide an experience where she or he may grow and benefit others
  • Understand that not all participants need the same activities and experiences; thus allowing for individuality within the setting of the retreat
  • Provide an environment for participants to feel comfortable expressing their authentic self
  • Provide a holistic and mindful setting that promotes various paths and options for participants to further balance and create peace in their lives
  • Encourage reflection on current mindfulness practices and provide inspiration for additional practices that can be continued at home

 

Retreat Format

The intention of this retreat is to provide a time and space for the renewal and balancing of one’s energy or chi through both group and individual activities. Besides participating in group yoga/meditation sessions, participants will be empowered to engage in some individual practices such as creating a personal talisman and infusing it with an intention generated from the retreat experience. There will be a “mesa de harmonia” always available throughout the retreat with a number of options for personal activities for meditation and reflection including meditation and affirmation cards. If you would like to bring something to share at the “Mesa de Harmonia”, feel free to bring a book/activity/cards, etc.  Participants will be offered times to share some of their own practices both at the end of some yoga/mediation sessions and at the nightly Campfire. The group will design a Yin Yang Tapestry at the opening of the retreat to be displayed for reflection purposes throughout the week. At the closing of the retreat, the group will create a symbol in the sand with objects from nature we collect that reflects the group experience and take a group picture with the creation as the centerpiece. Participants will be encouraged to bring a journal and be given a daily topic for reflective journal writing. Evening bonfires will provide a time for participants to have the option to share insights and reflections from the day’s activities and their own reflection time. Participants are also encouraged to share any musical talents during the bonfires! No activity will be mandatory. We understand that participants have individual needs and may at any time need to do something different from the group. We just ask that safety be a primary consideration and that group organizers are informed of participants’ whereabouts and alternative plans.

Yoga Retreat Staff

Yoga Instructor and Practice

“Consider becoming the type of energy that no matter where you go, or where you are, you always add value to the spaces and lives of those around you.”

Yoga Teacher – Valerie

Valerie has had a lifelong passion for yoga, dance, fitness and other disciplines that promote health and well-being. She has taught yoga, dance, and fitness for over 30 years in numerous health facilities and accredited institutions throughout the Philadelphia area including University of the Arts and Temple University. In 1997, she established Studio 1831; her own fitness and dance studio. Valerie specializes in a “hands-on” approach to teaching, with a special focus on posture and proper alignment. She loves sharing her passion and enthusiasm with her students. Besides yoga, she teaches Belly Dancing and leads group Kirtan Yoga. She will teach classes that include both poses and meditation techniques that can be practiced at home and incorporated in daily life. The Yoga Eco Retreat will include yoga and meditation classes twice a day, incorporating the theme of balance, yin and yang, and finding overall harmony in one’s life. The classes are in an open form and any discussion, questions, ideas, suggestions are both welcome and encouraged. We love learning from everyone and what knowledge and experiences they bring with them, so please feel free to share any type of practice you love!

 

Retreat Owner & Co-Organizer – Truda Roper

Truda Roper is the owner of the eco-casita and provides property for the turtle sanctuary. She has organized the retreat. Truda will be ensuring that all participants are benefiting from the planned itinerary and that individual needs are met where possible. Truda is from Roanoke, Virginia and is a “tree hugging hippy” and “Latina at heart.” She grew up on 55 acres on the side of a mountain outside of Blacksburg, Virginia. She has lived overseas for 20 years in 11 countries and visited many more which has influenced her life greatly and the way she has raised her children. She speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and bits and pieces of other languages. However, the peace and connection to nature that she grew up experiencing in the Appalachian mountains has never left her. At age 56, she finds herself returning to those roots. She now practices yoga, tai chi, meditation and qigong with falung dafa being a favorite form of qigong. She is happy to share her practices with retreat participants as she hopes other participants will do the same.

Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul, create the symphony of life.” B.K.S. Iyengar

Turtle Sanctuary

The Turtle Sanctuary shares the retreat site. This turtle sanctuary is initiating its 3rd year. The first year 10,000 eggs were collected and saved from being consumed by locals. In 2016, 17,000 eggs were incubated. The organizer pays locals a higher price for the eggs than what would have been paid in town. There was an excellent hatch rate both years, with most eggs producing baby turtles. Participants will observe on a daily basis the accumulation of eggs and the process for preparing them for incubation. Each day, we will post how many eggs were collected the night before and prepared for incubation. Participants may choose to participate in looking for turtles laying eggs, collecting eggs for incubation the next day and/or assist in the morning collection and incubation of eggs. We will learn about the turtle sanctuary and everyone will have the opportunity to decide if they would like to participate. Profits generated from the retreat will go to support the sanctuary so participation in the retreat itself supports the sanctuary.

Retreat Location

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, & private: & therefore starved for meditation & true friendship.” (C.S. Lewis)

The Yoga Eco Retreat takes place on a remote, virgin beach about an hour from Leon, Nicaragua.  Here you can be on the beach by yourself most of the time where loggerhead and a few leatherback turtles lay their eggs  from September to December. There are a dozen houses on this stretch of the beach and only four families live on the beach full time. One of these families runs the turtle sanctuary under the supervision of the Nicaraguan Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The turtle sanctuary shares the site of the fully solar beach eco-casita which will be the home base of the yoga retreat.  The retreat location is on a lovely large beach front property with trees that are natural to the area and draped with numerous hammocks.  Both lots on either side of the property are currently vacant which gives the eco-casita an even more secluded feel. We will also be using the Ocean Villa for lodging options and possible other activities.

The beach is made of shiny, smooth, dark volcanic sand. The warm waters in this area stay shallow for a good distance into the ocean. There are occasional currents in the ocean so participants are asked to swim in groups of two or more and preferably enter the ocean with a boogie board or other flotation device. (Remember if you do get caught in a current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.) Pelicans and other nautical birds accompany the high tide as they dive in to capture their dinner. Fishermen frequent these waters prolific with a variety of fish. The fish cooked at the retreat will be locally caught. The local surf camp came to visit the Eco-Casita and shared that this is an excellent area of the beach for surfing.

The yoga spaces are a “rancho” (large wooden pavilion), the rooftop terrace on the Tres Volcanes Ocean Villa, and possibly even the beach itself. The yoga locations offer a lovely ocean breeze, view of the ocean, and several volcanos. The rancho is also a space where retreat guests can meditate and use for personal practice throughout the day.

Transportation

The eco-casita is located down a very rough road through the salt flats approximately 3.5 kilometers from the Salinas Grandes main road, which is a gravel road. We will be transported by way of double cab pick-up trucks to and from the site and to and from excursions. For short excursions down the back dirt roads to the local villages, some will ride in the back of the pick-up truck.

Meals

Meals will be prepared as much as possible with fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, beans, rice and locally caught fish, eggs and dairy products. Breakfast will consist of fruits, granola, oatmeal, bread, cheese, eggs and yogurt. Smoothies are available on a make-as-you-go basis. Special dietary considerations can be shared in advance so that we can cater to your dietary needs. Red beans and rice will be served each day for the staple of at least one meal as customary in Nicaragua.

Accommodation Currently Available for the Yoga Eco Retreat

You may choose a room in Tres Volcanes Ocean Villa, three houses down the beach, where we have reserved accommodations for this retreat. Each of the three bedrooms have their own en-suite bathroom. Each room has two twin beds that can be left separate or put together to form a king bed as well as a third bed. The downstairs room that does not have a balcony, has a/c. The two upstairs bedrooms open up to a shared ocean front balcony and have access to a balcony overlooking Momotombo and Cerro Negro volcanoes inland. Additional amenities include: ocean side pool, solar powered hot water, third story roof top patio (incredible for stargazing), Wifi, surf board available for rent, outdoor shower to rinse off, daily maid service, laundry service for a nominal fee, and massage therapy and fascial stretch available upon request in your room. The home is built specifically to take advantage of the cross breezes of the Pacific, therefore A/C is not used unless you specifically request the room with A/C.

Payment

The cost of the retreat ranges from $900 for accommodations in the solar eco-casita, $1125 for accommodations in an air conditioned room, double occupancy in Tres Volcanes Ocean Villa, and $1200 for oceanfront room with balcony, double occupancy in Tres Volcanes Ocean Villa. All options include all meals (except for lunch in Leon), two yoga/meditation sessions per day, one horseback riding session, one surf lesson, boat tour of Ecological Reserve, Isla de Juan Venado, City Tour of Leon, all on-site activities and transportation from and to the airport. To reserve your spot, a non-refundable payment of $200 should be made immediately to reserve your spot. The remaining amount is due by October 18, 2017. I suggest making airline reservations as early as possible.  Payments are made preferably by Venmo to Truda Roper. Items not covered by retreat cost are airfare, additional horseback riding or surf lessons or additional days of surfboard rental, lunch in Leon, souvenir purchases, and other individual purchases or additional days and tours. Also, you are responsible for your own airfare to Managua, $10 visa charge at Managua airport and any additional travel insurance you choose to purchase. For questions and more information, contact Truda at tru.trullc@gmail.com or call her at 540-521-8403.

Packing List

  • School Supplies (for those choosing to participate in the visit to the local Elementary School, you may bring pencils, erasers, pens and other such items to distribute)
  • Money for lunch in Leon and for purchase of souvenirs (lunch approximately $12)
  • Anything you would like to share or contribute to the “Mesa de Harmonia”!
  • Bathing suits and bathing suit cover up
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Hat/Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Flashlight
  • Notebook/Journal/pens/pencils
  • Large insulated cup or bottle
  • Yoga mat and yoga equipment you generally use in your practice (we will bring a few extra props but cannot bring enough for everyone, so please let us know ahead of time if you need something)
  • Daypack for day excursions
  • Ziplock baggies for keeping personal items separated and safe from getting wet
  • Light weight  clothing
  • Comfortable clothing for yoga/meditation practice
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Snug water shoes or sandals
  • Health Insurance card and documentation for travel insurance
  • Passport and copy of passport page with photo
  • $10 cash to pay visa at Nicaraguan airport customs

Retreat Schedule

At Beach Side Turtle Sanctuary

7 Full Days and 8 Nights

The schedule is subject to change. Changes would likely be repositioning activities based on weather or other factors. All activities are optional. At any time, if a participant prefers to take personal time versus participate in group activities, this is completely acceptable. However, opting out of activities does not change the price of the retreat. We just ask that when swimming in ocean or horseback riding, always partner up with at least one other person.

Day 1, December 1

  • Arrival and pick-up at Managua airport
  • Transfer to Truda’s Eco Casita or Ocean Villa
  • Dinner upon arrival for those arriving by 7 pm
  • Get settled

Day 2, December 2

  • 7:30 Yoga
  • 9:00 Breakfast
  • 10:00 Morning talk on turtle sanctuary
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • Afternoon surf lessons/collect nature items for constructing personal talisman (dream catcher, hanging, item to carry with you)
  • 3:00 Yoga and Meditation
  • 4:30 Release baby turtles and sunset viewing
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • Evening Bonfire on Beach
  • Evening option to walk in pairs on beach to spot turtles laying eggs and collecting eggs for morning incubation

Day 3, December 3

  • 7:30 Yoga and Meditation
  • 9:00 Breakfast
  • Morning horseback ride on beach (half the group)/sand meditative art
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • Afternoon horseback riding on beach (half the group)/sand meditative art
  • 3:00 Yoga and Meditation
  • 4:30 Release baby turtles and sunset viewing
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • Evening Bonfire on Beach
  • Evening option to walk in pairs on beach to spot turtles laying eggs and collecting eggs for morning incubation

Day 4, December 4

  • 7:30 Yoga and Meditation
  • 9:00 Breakfast
  • 10:30 Belly Dancing Class with Valerie
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • Afternoon/evening – transfer to Salinas Grandes village to board boat for tour of Nature Preserve Isla de Juan Venado
  • Family style dinner in Salinas Grandes
  • 8:00 Moonlight Yoga
  • Evening option to walk in pairs on beach to spot turtles laying eggs and collecting eggs for morning incubation

Day 5, December 5

  • 7:30 Yoga and Meditation
  • 9:00 Breakfast
  • 10:00 Transfer to Colonial City of Leon
  • Morning shopping for souvenirs at craft market
  • Lunch (Paid by participant) at El Sesto on Central Plaza
  • Afternoon city tour (option to roam around on your own)
  • Transfer back to beach
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • 8:00 Yoga by Moonlight
  • Evening option to walk in pairs on beach to spot turtles laying eggs and collecting eggs for morning incubation

Day 6, December 6

  • 7:30 Yoga and Meditation
  • 9:00 Breakfast
  • Free morning
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 1:30 Construct personal talisman, set your intention for your talisman
  • 3:00 Yoga
  • 4:30 Turtle release and sunset viewing
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • Bonfire on the Beach/After dinner sharing of talismans
  • Evening option to walk in pairs on beach to spot turtles laying eggs and collecting eggs for morning incubation

Day 7, December 7

  • 7:30 Yoga and Meditation
  • 9:00 Breakfast
  • Service project with local children/learn about Salinas Bonitas (local recycling project)
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • Construction of Group Creation in sand
  • Followed by Group Photo with Creative Construction
  • 3:00 Yoga
  • 4:30 Turtle release and sunset viewing
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • Beach Bonfire with Kirtan Yoga (call and response sacred singing)
  • Evening option to walk in pairs on beach to spot turtles laying eggs and collecting eggs for morning incubation

Day 8, December 8

  • 7:30 Yoga or Meditation
  • 9:00 Breakfast
  • Turtle Sanctuary wrap up/question and answer
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • Construction of Group Creation in sand
  • Followed by Group Photo with Creative Construction
  • 3:00 Qigong (moving meditation and personal energy work)
  • 4:30 Turtle release and sunset viewing
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • Farewell Beach Bonfire
  • Evening option to walk in pairs on beach to spot turtles laying eggs and collecting eggs for morning incubation

Day 9, December 9

  • Early breakfast for those departing early
  • 7:30 Qigong and meditation
  • 9:00 Breakfast
  • Transfers to airport throughout day
  • Lunch provided for those still on site at lunch time

 

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