It’s hard to remember for how many years now I have wanted to go for a yoga retreat. Finally the studio I have been going to practice for the past 4 years organized their first retreat this spring. I was hooked to it the very moment I heard about it and couldn’t wait to experience it. The retreat was in an organic farm called Wellsprings in West Bend, Wisconsin. My two favorite teachers at the studio organized it and the retreat was at about 2 hour drive from Chicago in the woods of Wisconsin.
I went there with my two other friends. As soon as we reached the retreat center, we could see the stream of water flowing through the forest and immediately felt closer to nature. Our host was very welcoming and greeted us with her lovely laughter. We got out of the car, stretched for a bit, unloaded our luggage into the dorm and did a quick tour of the farm. We enjoyed gazing at the chickens in the farm and strolling along the farm felt great after the long drive. Soon after we met the other yogis who joined us at the retreat. We all together, about twelve of us introduced ourselves to each other at the dining area while savoring the delicious lasagna served by our host, Mary Anne.
After dinner we had our first yoga class which was more restorative and relaxing in nature. The artistically built yoga barn felt like a sacred place to practice yoga. The sun was setting and it was getting dark when we practiced our restorative flow surrounded by serenity of nature in the lovely barn. It felt great to stretch after the long car ride and immediately after we started to collect woods to burn for the bonfire. As some of us tried to start the fire, others gathered wood and it felt like a great community. Conversations and s’mores were the best part around the fire. As we all bundled up around the fire to keep us warm, time just flew past and it was bed time.
I was super pumped for our next full day at the retreat center. We started off with a two hour energetic yoga flow followed by breakfast at the main house. While we ate oatmeal topped with pecan and maple syrup from the farm, we watched colorful birds by the large tree come visit for food. Mary Anne explained us how she feeds 87 different species of birds in her farm specific to their needs. After breakfast, we had some free time to explore the area. We used this time to explore the Kettle Moraine state park that was right around the corner. The drive to the park was really beautiful with vast stretches of rolling hills. As the weather got warmer, we enjoyed walking up and downhill of the Parnell Tower Loop Trail at the state park.
As soon as we returned, we enjoyed the fresh lunch and headed to our yoga nidra class which as guided sleeping meditation. The class felt right on time as we all craved rest after the long hike. I remember napping for an hour or so before we all got out to get our hands into the dirt and help Marry Anne with some of her garden work. We also enjoyed taking vary many yoga pose pictures at the garden area. Soon after the pictures we had our inversion workshop at the basement where we learnt about body alignment while being upside down in hand stands and head stands. The class was enjoyable and it was fun to practice and help each other to get into inversions.
Soon after we all were hungry again and ready for dinner. It was starting to sink in that the yoga retreat was coming to an end and I was trying to embrace every present moment while it lasted. Soon after we had our restorative yoga class while the sunset and then bonfire right after which felt much warmer than last night since it was a warm day. We then set up our tent right next to the fire and were ready to camp that night and sleep outside. I was so excited as it was my first time to experience it. I loved the sight of the stars while I was going to sleep and the sunrise woke me up early morning. The noise of the crickets frogs nearby also were very distinct. The birds started to chirp early morning too.
That was the last day at the retreat and I remember starting to wrap up and sit down to write my journal about how grateful I was for this experience to meet and share space with like-minded souls who practice yoga, write journals, dig gardens, eat clean and laugh their heart out. We had a brief meditation at the end which felt just right. We also had a sage ceremony to instill positive vibes with in us. As we started to wrap up and pack, I felt so nostalgic, thanked everyone around and felt a special bond with everyone whom I didn’t even know two days ago.
This trip has definitely hooked me to yoga retreat trips forever. It was short yet sweet getaway into the woods with my favorite activities. What are some of your favorite things to do? I would love to read. Please share!