Sayulita Mermaid Yogis Retreat: Part IV


And just like that, a whole year has passed since I took off on a yoga retreat with a group of girls I'd never met before. A year ago yesterday, I was on a flight back to San Diego from Puerto Vallarta, smiling to myself as I thought about the amazing week I'd just spent in Sayulita.

Today, as we get further and further into the fall season, I'm already trying to figure out my next trip back to Mexico. But before I do, I want to wrap up the recap from the trip I already took. Writing the recaps from the trip have let me hold onto it beyond that final plane ride home. Over the past year, I've found myself inspired to write them on rainy days, when I need a little dose of sunshine in my life.

It's not raining today but after a night of howling winds and a blustery morning, I could not have been craving Sayulita's sunny skies and warm waters any more than I am now.

Day 6 - Sneaking Into Hotel Swimming Pools

On our last full day in Sayulita, it was time to take our delayed trip to Islas Marietas. We loaded into the van for the short ride over to Punta de Mita, where we had a couple of hours to kill before we were supposed to meet up for our panga boat ride to the islands. Which, obviously, was just enough time to load up on beers and sneak into a hotel swimming pool.

For the most part we split into two groups, half of us headed off to shoot some yoga poses in front of a cool mural we'd driven past on the way into town. The other half, the half I was with, decided to walk into the newest-looking building on the street, Hotel Cinco.

I don't know whose idea it was to randomly ride the elevator to the top floor of a random hotel, but it was one of the best ideas anyone had had all week. On the rooftop floor, a blissfully empty infinity pool awaited us. Within a few minutes we were all inside it, soaking up the cool water and the views.

After underwater shots, twerk lessons and a beer or two, the jig was up. One of the hotel's employees discovered us and nicely but firmly told us to GTFO. Something about "hotel guests only, blah blah blah." Doesn't matter... we had pics to prove that our too-good-to-be-true adventure did happen.

It was time to meet and load up the boat anyway, so we roamed the quiet streets in search of beer and stocked the boat with booze for the ride. Then Salim and our panga boat driver met us and away we went.

The afternoon was filled with drinks, laughs, snorkeling, yoga, fishes, SUP, and photo shoots, making me even more sure that any day spent out at the Marietas is sure to be a great one.

On the way back to shore, Rebecca serenaded us with some of her original songs and we all sang along to her cover of "Riptide" (if you want to get a taste of the gorgeous music we floated along to, check out her SoundCloud page).

There may be no better peace than listening to a beautiful friend sing and play the ukelele for you while salt water breeze whips through your hair as you fly across the ocean.

Back in town, Janalyn and I joined a local band while we waited for the van. 

Though I don't have many pictures from that night, it was a wonderful final night in Sayu. We went back to Stand Up Sayulita for a catered dinner in the Iguana Gardens behind the shop. The owner, Leila, brought out several tequilas for us to taste and Janalyn crafted us cocktails using fresh ingredients. Angel and I and several others danced to an iPhone hooked up to the speakers and laughed the night away.

Then we headed to Friday night Cumbia, a dance party on the beach. Rebecca, Anna and I tried to dance in the packed club and eventually took some beers out onto the beach and talked under the stars while the bass bumped loudly behind us. Eventually, Salim found us on the beach and offered us a ride home, which we gladly accepted. And just like that, we had spent our last night in this magical little town.

Day 7 - Adios

Every one was more or less on the verge of tears on our last morning of the retreat. Breakfast was short and scattered as everyone hurried into town to get some final souvenirs. Throughout the morning we drew names for Secret Santa and passed around a sheet for addresses. We packed our bags and posed for pictures.

I headed into town with a couple of the girls and opted to stay for breakfast at Yah-Yah, where I had gone to write and mail my postcards. Then we headed to the boutique next door and did a little bit of shopping before walking back to town for one last yoga flow.

As we sat around the yoga shala after class, laughing and crying, it was time for the first group of girls to head out for the airport. I grabbed my bags, snapped a photo with the van I wish I owned and squeezed into the car with my fellow merbabes.

Now a year later, I can happily say that this retreat was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was good to get away from everything, to travel and bond with total strangers, and to spend so much time in the company of such amazing women.

In fact, because of such a wonderful experience, I would venture to say it's necessary to head out on a retreat every few years, even if its only for a few days. It helps you to grow, to miss what you have and to make space in your heart for new people and places and things to love. Before this trip I had never done stand-up paddle boarding, floated in the ocean, or gone skinny dipping. I had never had a mud bath or a sound bath, had never done acroyoga or attempted inversions.

The retreat deepened my  yoga practice, reminded me of the importance of female friendships and helped strengthen my new relationship with the ocean. Most of all, it introduced me to a dozen new friends. I can't wait to see what the next one has in store!