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 yoga practice that will help us settle deeply into our retreat experience.VS Woman by Dock

Our morning will start with meditation and a yoga practice, 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 before dinner, and our evening program will include a reflection on the Maya cosmovision in order to prepare us for the fire ceremony the next day.VS Tiger Temple Outside

We will savor our outdoor morning meditation and be uplifted by our yoga class. Breakfast will be early so that we can meet the local Daykeeper and participate in a powerful, two-hour Mayan fire ceremony. Throughout this traditional ritual, we will draw on the energies of our individual nahuales (personal day-signs) and cultivate an expanded awareness of our place in the world.  After lunch we will have the opportunity to integrate the experience of the ceremony by strengthening our connection to nature: relax in the gardens, paddle on the lake, explore the many walking trails in and around Santa Cruz, or simply be present to the magic at the retreat center.Fire Ceremony Emma Bee

Wednesday is market day in San Pedro, a town on the far side of the lake. After nourishing meditation and yoga sessions, we’ll have breakfast and then get ready for a full day excursion. We’ll take a private boat to San Pedro and walk up to the center of the town to experience the sights, smells and sounds of a typical Guatemalan market. Next we’ll head over to the village, San Juan, a community known for its spectacular weaving and painting. We’ll visit with a back-strap weaver who will demonstrate her traditional craft and then we will have time to explore this quaint community that is often described as an open-air museum because of the colorful murals throughout the town that depict scenes from Mayan life.VS Santiago Tuk Tuk

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 work on a volunteer project to support their efforts. Lunch will be provided by teens trained in Amigos’ culinary program. We’ll continue with our service in the afternoon wrapping up with enough time to relax at Villa Sumaya before dinner. Our day will close with restorative yoga.

x-Mayan mom & baby

After our yoga practice, 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! 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 browse the market stalls in Panajachel 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.Kayaking

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 at a farm outside of the city and then we will close our retreat with a celebration.

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. 

Who should go?

This retreat is designed for open-hearted, adaptable, and adventuresome individuals who have a willingness to stretch themselves, a good sense of humor, and a curiosity about themselves and their world.  All levels of yoga practitioners are welcome.  Participants should be comfortable getting in and out of a boat, as that is the only way to reach the retreat center.

Daily Schedule

The flexible schedule is designed to allow you to deepen your yoga practice, immerse yourself in local culture, and serve the community all while soaking up the majesty of Lake Atitlan.  The schedule below describes a typical day while we are at the retreat center.

6:15 – 6:45   Guided meditation
7:00 – 8:30   Yoga class with meditation and pranayama
8:30 – 9:30   Breakfast
9:30 – 12:30 Time for relaxation
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 5:00   Excursion
5:00 – 6:30   Yoga class
6:30 – 7:30   Dinner
8:00 – 9:00   Evening program: yoga, meditation, artistic expression, discussion, etc.

Santa Cruz Boats