I’ve been told that if you write something down, it’s more likely to happen.  If you tell someone, the percentage of it happening is even more likely of happening.  ::sigh::  Well, I have already done both of these things, but this is more personal (even though it’s public) and I can also include links and photos and make it my inspiration board too.

When I finished my YTT, I had said that my grand scheme was to travel the world and teach workshops.  I didn’t want to own a yoga studio.  I wanted to go around to other places and teach at their studios or host retreats.  Of course, I knew I needed some experience before I could go out offering such a thing and somewhere along the way I fell in love with this thing called “Ashtanga” and I fell down that rabbit hole pretty hard.

By no means do I think I am an authoritative person in the yoga world, but I feel like I am ready to step into my first yoga retreat.  So here are some things that I want to do during my retreat.

Things Included In My Retreat

  • Twice Daily Yoga Sessions
    • AM: sequenced vinyasa yoga
    • PM: slower vinyasa yoga (focus on: hips, twists, heart openers, etc.)
  • Meditation
  • Pranayama
  • Conference/Group Discussion
  • Asana Workshops (TBD: arm balances, backbends, etc.)

Things to Be Considered

  • Chanting
  • Other Workshops
    • Mala Making
    • Essential Oil
    • Healthy Food (diet, meal planning, prep, cooking, etc.)


  • Early 2018 or 2019
    • Depending on:
      • Location of retreat (weather)
      • Interest
      • Length required to plan
      • Work schedule (Nigeria trips)


  • Costa Rica (my number 1 spot)
  • Bali
  • Mexico
  • Guatamala

Location Necessities

  • Catering (I don’t want to cook the food)
    • Able to feed V, VG, GF & meat eaters!
  • Accommodations for 10-20 people
    • Single, double & triple rooms
  • Yoga cannot be outdoor only (i.e. on the grass)
  • Under $2,000 per person

Location Wants

  • Outdoor yoga deck (SWOON!)
  • Airport transfer available by hotel
  • Adventures/spa day’s available for purchase
  • $500-$1,500 per person would be ideal

Misc/To Be Considered

  • Early bird discount $100-$200?? (TBD)
  • Free gift/memento


Here are some of my ideas!

Option 1

I’m not sure why I didn’t think to check out Tulum before, but I just stumbled across this magnificent place and.. well, look!  ::sigh::  Check out Amansala!

Available Activities: (* On site)

  • Spa treatments/massage*
  • Bike ride to Mayan ruins
  • Climb ruins of Coba
  • Snorkling/Diving
  • Kayaking
  • SUP

Option 2

This place looks so tranquil! It is Isla Verde Hotel and is in Guatemala! This place is cheaper and everything isn’t quite as nice, but the location is still so gorgeous.

Available Activities (* On site):

  • Sauna/hot tub*
  • Massages*
  • Hiking Volcano
  • Kayaking
  • Diving
  • Zip-lining
  • Birdwatching
  • Nature reserve
  • Horseback riding
  • Paragliding
  • Coffee & corn tour
  • Visit local market

Value Option 1

Something a little different.  This is a house rental in Costa Rica.  The only issue I have with stunning place is there is no place to do indoor yoga.  I know that was on my necessities list, but with cost, you have to compromise somewhere…  Costa Rica is fairly dry in January and February, so perhaps the weather will favor us.  A little rain while we aren’t doing our yoga won’t be too bad.  Anyway, let’s get to the big reveal!  This is a beachfront, 5-acre slice of heaven, called Natura Reserve!  It prizes itself on maintaining a wild ambience, keeping in touch with nature, and having many of the items handcrafted.

This place is a perfect little getaway for my tribe and will definitely keep costs down.  I’d have to look into how much it would cost to have the catering done for us, and they say they can help people set up any tour activities they want.

Available Activities (none on site):

  • Tree climbing
  • Birdwatching
  • SUP
  • Kayaking
  • Waterfall repelling
  • Surfing
  • Horseback riding
  • ATV tour
  • Fishing
  • Zip-lining
  • Dolphin watch
  • Spa treatments/massage

Well, that’s it for now.  I may come back and add more to this and let it grow as I see fit.  At least it’s out there! Whoohoo!

Misc Planning Tools

Crossed Off Locations

Judgement Day

It’s been a while since I’ve been judged.  I don’t know what it is about politics, but it never seems to bring out the best in people.  I was having a civil conversation with someone about popular vote v. electoral vote when another person decided to call me out on a simple error I had written (all of this happened on Facebook)

  • Note: He could have just mentioned that I was incorrect in my mention of CA being a swing state, because it totally is, but instead he posted something along the lines of:
    • “LOL at you posting CA as a swing state, it’s been a blue state for the past 25 years!” and then proceeded to call me a hippie and then something along the lines of “if all the California liberals left, than those votes could be used for good.”  and then closed his statement with “and no, I’m not a Taurus.”
    • I fail to see how any of the above sarcasm or snark is beneficial to anyone…

Of course, being a good yogi, I took the bait and responded.  :/  I started off admitting my error and then went on to how I didn’t appreciate him making assumptions about me.  I’m fairly certain my response of “You are correct about CA, that was an error on my part. I’m capable of admitting my mistakes; however, I don’t appreciate you making assumptions of me when you know NOTHING about me. I don’t live in California, I am nowhere near a “hippie” and I’m actually fairly conservative. Take your presumptions somewhere else, please.” could have been written with a little more love and kindness.

He shot back with something along the lines of “AWESOME! Glad to see you’re reading.”  At that point, I decided it was best to disengage.  There was nothing to gain from this, though what I really wanted to do was type back was “Fuck off.”  Instead, I went to his Facebook page and blocked him.  Now, I can’t see anything he has written, so that is why I cannot put verbatim our conversation.  I thought about unblocking it to get it, and then re-blocking it, but I have decided it is in my best interest to stay away.  Could he be writing more things about me and I wouldn’t know it; absolutely.  Would it do me any good to know about it— nope.

As I sit here, I do the real homework.  Why did that interaction piss me off so much?  It wasn’t that I got called out on being wrong.  Admitting my mistake wasn’t difficult.  Was it the fact that I was called a hippie?  I don’t think so; I’ve been called much worse.  So, if it wasn’t any of these things, then what was it?

I think what it may boil down to is that I felt like I was back in middle school all over again.  I was the kid being judged for things that weren’t true.  I ran away from that for YEARS.  I even changed school districts when high school came around, to escape from all the teasing, bullying and drama.  The thing is, so what if the things he said were true? What if I was a hippie from California?  Big deal!!!  That wouldn’t make me a bad person.

So, I’m already feeling threatened, having a hard time choking down the food plopped on my plate, and he insults my knowledge by throwing in my face that I’m more or less finally “reading”.  GAH!  Again, another topic of my life I struggled with and ran away from.  I ran away to college and eventually ran all the way across the country to escape it.  Despite being an honors student in high school, I had to hear that I wasn’t smart, that I wouldn’t go to college.  Essentially, I felt like I wouldn’t really amount to… well, anything.  That left permanent scars on my heart and I don’ t know if I’ll ever truly get past feeling inept.  Being wrong is one thing, being made to feel inept is another.

So there it is… that is why this person pissed me off.  He reminded me of my school days, where I was made fun of, and he made me feel inept, all in a matter of minutes.  ::sigh::  It’s okay though, because even though he hurt me in a matter of minutes, he was also out of my life just as fast.  He is blocked and I won’t be seeing anything from him ever again.  I’m determined to remove as many obstacles and as much negativity from my life as possible.  The power is back in my court.  I call that a win.  🙂

Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride
Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no
I got to keep on movin’

Dream, Dream, Dream

I had the strangest dream the other night; probably because I was in a lot of pain.  I always have vivid dreams when I have migraines.  They aren’t necessarily medication induced either, because I have them whether I take medicine or not.  One dream was pretty vivid and I am sure there is some symbolism in it, so I will share.

I was on an adventure with my mom.  I’m not really sure where we were headed— maybe the beach.  Anyway, we were in the car and she was driving like a bat out of hell, which isn’t her style.  LOL.  She drives like a Grandma in real life.  It was a nice day and we had the windows down and I was wearing a midriff tee (also not my style) and she had to swerve for some reason, she veered to the left, which made us take the left fork in the road and ultimately, put us on a different path.  She was wondering if it would still get us to where we wanted to go.

I was yelling at my mom for driving like a crazy person when this wasp came in through wasp2the window and started stinging the shit out of me!  It kept stinging me all over my exposed stomach.  BAM, BAM, BAM!  I’m screaming and trying not to aggravate the thing anymore than necessary, but when it kept stinging, I take to smacking at the thing in an attempt to kill the bastard.  Finally, I grab-a-hold of it and it starts stinging my thumb.  I throw it out the window and roll it up in order to keep it outside.  Wasp be gone! Sayonara mutha!

I look down, and my stomach has like 8-10 angry red welts all over it.  😦  Ain’t nobody gonna be looking at this tummy now.  LOL.  I think it’s the same dream, but next thing I know we are parked at some sketchy lot and I’ve been there before, but my mom hasn’t.  I’m a little weary of the abandoned buildings and the biker-type people lurking around, but my mom is completely fine talking to them (stop it mom!).  The whole point of us being there is because I want to take her to this square.  Instead of walking though, we are going to fly.

I grab ahold of her and lazily float up into the air like a hot air balloon.  We begin to float past the grungy buildings.  I’m appalled looking down that this was our destination.  Ick.  I know that where I wanted to take her is coming up though and I point to it.  It’s actually… pretty.  There is a square with an exquisite garden full of flowers and a bubbling fountain, and there’s a tower… all sorts of stuff.  Our destination is the tower (maybe because I can’t float down). As we head towards it, I just take in the beauty; this hidden gem amongst this grungy city.

head-explosion_1Then I wake up… and reality hits.  Pain washes over me and I wish I could go back to sleep and escape reality once more, but I can’t.  I have to drag myself out of bed and get ready for work.  I have escaped the horrendous reality that was my last job, but along with it, I ran away from the fantastic healthcare and sick leave.  Now I have an okay job, but I have to deal with the reality of having no sick leave and what must be the shittiest healthcare plan there is.  ::sigh::  In the meantime, I deal with the chronic pain the best way I know how— pure resolve, medication and knowing that when I get home, I will be able to dream, dream, dream… once more.

Check out these related blogs 👇
*  Chronic Pain: Lessons Learned
*  Returning to the Mat: A Lesson in Ahimsa

Going the Distance…

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line
Engines pumping and thumping in time
The green light flashes, the flags go up
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern

He’s going the distance
He’s going for speed
She’s all alone
In her time of need

– Cake

As my holiday season comes to a close, I am coming off an Ashtanga high.  Much like Cake’s “The Distance”, my engine was pumping in time as I rang in the New Year by  spending four glorious days in a Mysore intensive with my teacher- David Garrigues.  An intensive with David is just that… intense.  My practice is sorely lacking already, so I knew going in it was going to be a bumpy ride, but that was alright.  David has this way of pulling things out of you.  He asks more of you; constantly.  Even the littlest request could leave you going “Why am I sore here?” the next day (he’s the king of nuances). There were days where I had to really push through parts (mainly the beginning) because I was tight, sore, tired, etc.

Day one didn’t start off too well.  I woke up to discover that I had started my period; AWESOME.  :/  A few other things went wrong that morning too and by the time I made it to the shala, I was ready for a do-over.  LOL.  Luckily, things began to look up once I went into the Mysore room.  I found my spot by the wall and the heaters (yay warmth) and soon enough, my four days of bliss had begun! 😀

I have taken several classes/intensives with David and it is now at at point where he is getting to “know” my practice.  He knows that my shoulders are hella tight and he pokes fun at me and my horrendous shoulderstands.  In return, I get to make small jokes back.  One day, I was up in shoulderstand with my arms behind me in a belt (because otherwise they will run amok) and he comes over and squats down beside me “Ashley, this just won’t do! Get your hands down on your back behind your ribs.  You are on your sides.”  He fixes my hands, and the belt, and gives me some more pointers as he watches.  At this point, I’ve already been there somewhere around 7-10 minutes; I’m sore, tired and my arms are rebelling because they dispise this pose and he goes “You’re losing it…”.  I look at him and go “David… I’m tryyyyying….” in this pathetic voice and he starts laughing, and I start laughing and then half the room starts laughing.  There is just something sincere and honest about him that makes every encounter special and unique.

There were a lot of small things he asked me to work on, but a couple things he really asked me to work on were:

  • Full inhale/exhalations on my vinyasas

I hav a tendency to rush the vinyasa and not fully inhale after my chaturanga

  • Working on my backbends

I have really been working on opening up my chest and to do that, I have been sending my weight towards my chest.  Well, that is good as an exercise, but not for the asana itself.  He had me work on internally rotating my thighs towards the midline (because “Ashley is doing something funny with her legs”) and sending the weight back towards my legs and walking my hands in.  I was having a hard time getting my feet “heavy”.  I just-couldn’t-do-it.  At one point I asked “How do I do that?” and he said, “How do YOU do that?  Figure it out!  You have 40 years!”  Oh David….  The next day he said I looked much better, but that I now needed to work on lifting the chest.

If you ever attend a class/intensive with David, don’t be surprised if you hear any of the following:

  • “Better.”
  • “Go Back!”
  • “STAMP!”
  • “65% better”
  • “Ground.”
  • “What is he/she doing?”
  • “Again.”
  • “25% better”
  • “No, you’re not doing it. Try again.”
  • “Dynamism.”
  • ….. etc

From my experience, each of the above is said with love, conviction and with the best of intensions.  His expectation is that you try; and that you try 100% — even more!  He is very serious about each asana, and that it be done correctly, though he will modify for you if necessary.  Although David is not at the shala all the time due to his teaching schedule, I am blessed to have him as one of my teachers.  If you train with him regularly, he will get to know you, your flaws and recognize when you improve and/or open up.  Expect pranayama work, because that is something David is passionate about.  Personally, I really enjoy it so I enjoy the one hour sessions and it helps me wind down after the two hour practice.

I’m usually lost during the chanting, but I stumble my way through it to the best of my
yama_with_dandaability. HAH! David did make chai this time and it was pretty good.  He closed out the session with a lecture.  Usually with the intensives there are two conferences.  I am usually only able to make one because the other is at a time I am not able to attend.  This talk was all about Dharma.

It was actually quite fascinating.  The talk is on periscope if you want to go listen to it!  It’s about an hour long and he even weaves in some folklore too!

All in all, it was a great way to ring in the New Year!  I met some great people and I also got to reconnectwith some old shala pals I haven’t seen in a while.  It gave me inspiration to try to reconnect with my practice as often as possible and I’m already looking forward to seeing David again in the spring (if my schedule allows).

Check out these related blogs 👇
*  Slow and Steady
 Enjoy the Storm