Lake Atitlán, Guatemala Yoga Retreat with Dr. Ariele Foster
I’ve travelled to many places in my life, but Mystical Yoga Farm, on the edge of sacred Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, is calling me back for a third time Jan 28-Feb 3rd, 2018 during a Blue Moon.
Please join me for my third year leading this extraordinary yoga eco-retreat over 7 days/6 nights (Sunday to Saturday) surrounded by the beauty of one of the most sacred landscapes on earth: Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.
At this magical place, your days will be filled with vibrant yoga, mantra, meditation and ceremony. Soak in the life force energy and rejuvenate in the sacred elements of sun, earth, sweat, fire and chocolate…
Because the best things in life aren’t things.
Off the grid, you’ll experience true rest and revelation, and have the option of day trips around the lake to Mayan ruins, indigenous marketplaces, historic tours, a volcano hike, and more. Daily jumps in the lake, stand up paddleboarding and kayaking are also available free of charge. Stunning vistas of a shimmering lake, spending 3-4 hours a day in creative, aligned yoga and meditation (firey morning practices, and nourishing evening practices – all levels), feasting on organic vegan food lovingly prepared for you, and jumping joyously into the lake after sweating your heart out in a Mayan sauna.
- Enjoy daytime temperatures in the 70s,
- Brilliantly sunny skies, and
- A *true* change of pace
This retreat is not for everyone. It’s rustic. It’s only accessible by boat. There is no internet on the property (except in emergency — though we’ll spend a few hours in a wifi-enabled coffee shop across the lake once or twice as you wish). The entire center is solar-powered, and the showers, solar hot water. There’s no bar, no smoking or other substance use. Our rooms are lit by candlelight. We use composting toilets. << Yep :). You get used to it amazingly fast.
All of Lake Atitlan is mind-blowingly beautiful, but nothing else compared to the magic of this particular place. Mystical Yoga Farm will feel like home very quickly.
The thrill of travel has much to do with novelty, so why am I going back to the same place a third time (I’ve never done that before)? Maybe this picture, taken of the sunrise from my bed, will help explain:
The whole lake is pure magic, but this particular spot…bliss. With the deepest sincerity, you won’t regret joining, but you might regret if you miss your chance. (please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions).
Traditional and indigenous cultures are a palpable force in this community as well as on our ecological, permaculture-based retreat center that has an organic farm on site (and a ridiculous number of hammocks to relax in).
Yoga classes will be offered twice daily and will last 1.5-2 hours each. They are open to all levels. Beginners are welcome to join the retreat, though a little background in yoga asana (poses) is suggested. More experienced students can expect to have breakthroughs in advanced asana. In addition to asana, we’ll explore pranayama, mudra, mantra and meditation techniques. Classes will leave you feeling both restored and expanded.
The retreat price is inclusive of everything you will need on site: 2 daily yoga classes, all on-site meals and room/board. There’s even a lending library, and your private shuttle from airport to site is included (i.e. one way).
Day trips and guided hikes may have nominal fees (typically less than $15). Participation in each activity is optional, though highly recommended:
- Morning and evening 1.5-2-hour yoga classes daily
- Cacao (Chocolate) Ceremony led by a local shaman
- Vegan buffet-style meals with fresh organic ingredients from the farm (3 meals daily, gluten-free and other allergy options can be accommodated)
- Free time for day hikes and excursions
- Sauna (temescal, a traditional healing Mayan sauna)
- Medicinal herbal tea bar open 24 hours/day
- Access to stand up paddleboards and kayaks
- Daily meditation, satsangs (chants) and darshans, or learning opportunities. Topics may include myofascial release, the essence of happiness, thai yogic massage, Permaculture, anatomy, and indigenous traditions
- Seva, or volunteer, opportunities
- Shuttle from the airport (or Antigua, or locally around the lake) to the retreat center on Sunday January 28th
- Shared or private rooms. Please note at this time we are not able to reserve specific shared rooms, but I will make sure everyone gets their first choice of roommates
Let yourself be completely cared for in this all-inclusive yoga retreat.
We recommend the purchase of travel insurance for this trip.
– Airfare to / from Guatemala – Excess baggage fees – Visa or passport fees – Travel insurance – Alcoholic beverages – Gratuities – One way shuttle — Other personal expenses
Please keep in mind this retreat center does not serve alcohol nor permit alcohol on site. It is also “eco-rustic”, meaning you will be close to nature (i.e. sunlight filtering through the wall beams). This is part of the essential charm: creating an experience truly different from your daily life, grounded in the rhythms of nature.
All of the lodging options have twin beds, which can be pushed together for couples.
If none of the housing options work for your needs, please email email@example.com for alternative arrangements.
Our retreat center is a working permaculture farm and yoga school. It is located across the bay (Bahia Atitlan) from Santiago Atitlan, a small city known for incredible indigenous textiles and its marketplace. (We’ll visit the market!).
Guatemala has a majority indigenous population, and the most of the residents around Lake Atitlán are native peoples. The women continue to wear their traditional dress most of the time. There are 12 native languages spoken around the lake. Many of the younger (45ish and younger) residents speak Spanish, though it may be a second language for them.
The following video shows typical scenes around the farm.
Daytime highs average 78-82 degrees. Mornings are typically bright and sunny, and the lake is calm. After 10am the winds may pick up (and give you just the right amount of challenge on a paddleboard). Afternoons often see clouds roll in, which can be a relief from the intensity of the morning sun, and the temperature stays pleasant. Evenings are comfortably cooler (maybe add long sleeves), and nights can dip down to the mid-50s (Fahrenheit) pre-dawn. Warm, locally woven, wool blankets cover the beds, and we recommend warm socks and fleecy pajamas just in case you might get cold.
We will have access to both indoor and covered outdoor practice spaces, as needed. Rain is rare this time of year, but possible.
Mystical Yoga Farm is accessible only by boat. Once you land at the airport (Guatemala City), you’ll take a private shuttle van (included in price) approximately 4.5 hours to Santiago Atitlán (this includes expected traffic), where a private boat operator will take you by motorboat across the water to the farm (5-10 minutes). You may travel with others who are part of the retreat.
We highly recommend booking your flight to arrive in Guatemala City by 2 or 3pm on Sunday so that you can arrive at the farm before night. (If not possible, or if your flight is delayed, we will accommodate). If you can arrive a day early (Saturday), do it! We recommend staying overnight in Antigua or in a hotel near the airport.
What to Pack
- Sandals or flip-flops as well as sturdy hiking or tennis shoes
- Clothing layers, including clothes for yoga, a swimsuit or swim trunks (or quick dry clothes) for jumping in the lake, long sleeves or a cardigan for the evening, light colored breezy long sleeves, pants or skirts to help keep the sun at bay during the day, and warm pajamas for nighttime. If you tend to run cold, you may want to bring an ultralight down jacket or fleece hoodie. Sturdy wool socks may come in handy for both hiking (if you choose) and sleeping. (You may hand wash your own laundry on site by hand or for a nominal fee, a staff person will hand wash it for you).
- Brimmed hat and sunglasses
- Toiletries (all natural, biodegradable if at all possible), including good sunscreen
- Cash (or credit card) for exchange for quetzales (Guatemalan money) for day trips, tips, etc.
- Light sealable or wrapped snacks (if you may need)
- Yoga mat (optional — see below)
Yoga mats (and props) are available for use onsite if you choose not to travel with your own. If you choose to bring your own, we recommend the Manduka eko folding travel mat or a yoga mat towel. They are thin, but you can place them over one of the mats at the center (and the fabric absorbs sweat).
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to see our FAQ (a Google Doc) for detailed travel information about health, safety, meals, shuttle, and so much more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Please do reach out to me if you have any questions. Share this event with friends or RSVP on Facebook. I look forward to seeing you!
to ease and joy and sunshine and self-care,
P.S. If you don’t join, we will miss you terribly! BUT: you have two other chances to retreat with me in 2018 on my 3-day Memorial Day weekend retreat in the mountains of Maryland near Harper’s Ferry or a surprise retreat in the fall.