Yoga, Meditation, Service & Exploration
with Martha Whitney
March 24 – 31, 2019

Please note: The retreat begins on Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 1:00pm at the Villa Sumaya Retreat Center in Santa Cruz, Sololá, Guatemala.  The itinerary below includes the activities and accommodations included the Pre-Retreat Package as well as a description of the retreat itself.

SATURDAY (pre-retreat)
You will be welcomed at the airport by a private driver who will take you on a one-hour drive to the beautiful colonial city of Antigua.  Your driver will drop you off at our hotel, two blocks from the central plaza, and Kristin will orient you to the city. Spend the afternoon exploring the colors and sights of Antigua or resting after your long day of travel.  In the evening, we’ll gather for a group dinner.

SUNDAY (pre-retreat until 1pm)
After breakfast at the hotel, we will take a three-hour drive through the Guatemalan highlands to the shores of Lake Atitlan. A private boat will bring us to Villa Sumaya Retreat Center, an oasis of peace and tranquility that has received accolades in Tashen’s Great Yoga Retreats as well as in the Yoga Journal. Martha will welcome us at the dock and, on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Awaken Your Good Heart will officially begin!  We will enjoy lunch overlooking the lake and then will have the afternoon to relax and explore the gardens, paths, and views that make Villa Sumaya so special.  Martha will lead us in a grounding restorative yoga practice that will help us settle deeply into our retreat experience.

VS Woman by Dock

Our morning will start with meditation, and after breakfast we will receive an orientation from the Villa Sumaya staff. We’ll spend the day being nourished by the all the retreat center has to offer. You could relax in the tropical gardens, swim in Lake Atitlan, read by the dock, take in the volcanoes, schedule a spa treatment, rent a kayak, or hike nearby.  We will practice yoga in the afternoon, and our evening program will include time for reflection, connection, and gratitude.

VS Tiger Temple Outside

We’ll welcome the morning with a walking meditation and a yoga practice, and then we’ll hike up to the village of Santa Cruz to meet with leaders of Amigos de Santa Cruz, a remarkable NGO (founded by former Vermonter, Pat Thorpie). We’ll tour the village, learn about Amigos’ programs, and visit their handcraft shop. Lunch will be provided by teens trained in Amigos’ culinary program, and in the afternoon, local artisans who are graduates of Amigos’ job skills programs will teach us their crafts.  You will have the opportunity to learn how to bead your own bracelet, weave a scarf, or cook a three-course Guatemalan meal.   We’ll return with enough time to relax at Villa Sumaya before dinner. Our day will close with a gentle yoga practice.

x-Mayan mom & baby

Our morning meditation will start on the dock and then those who are interested will continue their practice by paddling in silence along the shore of Lake Atitlan.  After breakfast you are encouraged to soak up the beauty of the area in ways that make you feel most alive. Create the perfect day for yourself!  Consider strengthening your connection to the natural world: relax in the gardens, paddle again on the lake, explore the many walking trails in and around Santa Cruz, or simply be present to the magic at the retreat center.  In the evening, we will explore the Maya understanding time and creation and will try our hand at painting our own nuahal–a symbol of our energy.


After morning meditation, lakeside yoga, and breakfast, we’ll take a boat to Panajachel where we will meet staff from Mayan Families, the organization coordinating our service projects. Some us will travel up to San Jorge and serve lunch to elderly women and men who rely on the nourishment and community that Mayan Families provides. Others of us will hop in the back of a pick up truck and head to a village where most of the women and girls cook over open fires. Together, we’ll work with a local mason to build a fuel efficient, well-ventilated stove for a family. After our service projects, we’ll have some time to browse in Pana’s many market stalls before returning to Villa Sumaya. During our evening program we’ll integrate our experiences through movement and conversation. 

VS Santiago Tuk Tuk

We will savor our outdoor morning meditation and be uplifted by our yoga class. Breakfast will be early so that we can gather together in appreciation and participate in a Mayan fire ceremony.  Fire ceremonies, often considered to be the heart of Maya spiritual practice, are beautiful two-hour events, full of color,  fragrant incenses and flowers, and rich words. After the ceremony, you might want to revisit some of your favorite places or check out some things that you have not yet had a chance to do. Indulge in one of Villa Sumaya’s revitalizing healing treatments, take a sauna, hang out in your hammock, meditate in an ashram several towns away, hike to a restaurant perched on the cliffs, visit a nature reserve, go on a bird watching tour, hop on a public lancha (boat) and visit a village, or get together with some other participants and book a private boat tour. After dinner, we will honor our final night at Villa Sumaya and celebrate all that we have received.

Fire Ceremony Emma Bee

We’ll have our final morning meditation and yoga session at Villa Sumaya and then it will be time to say goodbye to Lake Atitlan. We’ll head back to Antigua and spend the afternoon visiting the handcraft markets and walking the cobblestone roads of this UNESCO World Heritage site. We will enjoy a final group dinner and then settle into our hotel nearby the airport.

We’ll take an early morning shuttle to the airport and, with our hearts full, we will travel back to the United States.

While our itinerary serves to guide the flow of the week’s activities, we will have the ability to adapt the schedule to meet the needs of the group, the needs of the local communities, the weather, and other changing conditions. 

Santa Cruz Boats