Just this past week I was in Iceland with an amazing group of people. It was my second trip to this gorgeous country... Eight years ago my best friend Jenn and I spontaneously traveled to Iceland for the first time and ever since then this special land has stayed firmly rooted in our hearts.
After all these years it was amazing to return. This time Jenn and I took a group of 11 people on a yoga and herbalism retreat. For five days we traveled around the rugged and remote Snaefellsnes Peninsula, having daily yoga and herbalism classes. We went on incredible hikes, visited waterfalls and streams, gathered wild herbs, and were even lucky enough to see the northern lights one night.
Jenn taught her special blend of yin and vinyasa yoga, with a combination of movement and restorative introspective poses. And I was so happy to be able to offer a different herbal class each day, on topics such as how to connect with plants through drawing, to making different kinds of teas, to using herbs during transitional times.
Throughout the trip we spotted some of my favorite herbs, and became better acquainted with the Icelandic flora. Even so late in the season there were still many vibrant plants -- we saw lots of dandelions, chickweed, dock, yarrow, lady's mantle, wild thyme, blueberries, crowberries, angelica and rose root, amongst others!
We were guided throughout the trip by our fearless local tour organizer, Vally. She was an incredible guide who enriched our trip so much with her vast knowledge of Icelandic history, culture and geology. She brought us to the top of a crater, showed us a secret waterfall, led us to a beach full of magic stones, and even introduced us to "chocolate-covered lava!"
I am still coming down to earth after being in such a majestic and expansive place. Words cannot describe the beauty, mystery and intensity of Iceland, so I'll let these photos speak for me...
Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity of being a part of a women's retreat on the beautiful isle of Nantucket. My dearest friend and yoga teacher, Jenn Falk, and I co-led this Summer Solstice retreat for an amazing group women, many of whom were meeting one another for the first time. For me it was a true honor to be a part of this circle, to teach about the herbs, and to hold the space for the women. It's a simple idea, the act of going on retreat, of getting away from the normal routine, but it can be so profoundly shifting. Time to slow down, time to play, time to reflect, time to connect to nature can be deeply healing for the modern spirit....
We were graced to have beautiful weather the whole trip, and our daily yoga practice led by Jenn had long views towards the sea, with plenty of beach roses to surround us. Indeed, we were so inspired by the gorgeous roses that they became a metaphor for our time together. We even made a flower essence out of the rose, calling upon it's ability to be open to love and to nurture self-love. There was an abundance of other lovely plants in the vicinity, which graciously lended themselves to our herb classes and wild flower bouquets.
It was such a beautiful weekend and it reminded me of the power that resides when women gather together in a spirit of openness. I thank all of the women who came to be fully present, to share of themselves, and to remind one another of our magic! I especially send my thanks to Jenn for envisioning it all and inviting me to take part in creating this retreat so many months ago. We are looking forward to many more collaborative events together, in order to weave together the practices of yoga and herbalism, and creating a space that allows for both connection and reflection.