It's been a week since we returned from the small village of Yelapa, Mexico and I am still reveling in the experience! Now that we have been there and done it, Leraine and I are already planning our return. A week living in this amazing village with no cars and only the sounds of the jungle, the ocean, Leraine’s Dijerido, and our own beautiful OM’s truly reset the awareness of my own pulsation.
Every morning I woke up to the relentless sound of the ocean tide as our casitas were literally 50 feet from the ocean. The sunrise glowing on the lagoon with all the different species of birds flying around was the first delight my eyes got to behold and it certainly did get even better as each day progressed.
I loved the morning walk down the cobble stone path to Tatianna & Jeff’s outdoor kitchen paradise. I am so missing all the fresh papaya and Tatianna’s homemade granola and yogurt!! Somehow the papaya I’ve bought at Whole Foods this week just seems so pale in comparison. Equally special was the evening meander back to Tatianna’s for dinner. One of the biggest surprises of the trip was the unbelievable quality and preparation of the food! Tatianna is an international chef with impeccable taste and skill. Every course at every single meal blew me away! It was like dining in the best restaurant in Park City, except it was even better because the meals were healthy and the outdoor dining area wrapped the whole experience with the sweetness of Mother Nature dressed up in party lights.
Without a doubt, one of my favorite parts of the retreat was the 15 minute hike up through the jungle to the Sky Temple! It became sacred ritual to mindfully place one foot on each of the steps that lead me high up on the hill overlooking the entire village and ocean. Just entering the gate at the bottom of the village trail had its own special effect upon my heart. You could feel the sacred space that Judith Roth has created from the first step on the trail to the last ujjayi breath in Sky Temple.
Twice a day we would meet up at Sky Temple for asana, mantra, music, meditation and all around play of the heart. I watched my students step into their practices with great affection for what was possible within their self. We pushed some boundaries in many, many aspects and the end result was a group of people leaving in love with their bodies, their voice, their own divinity, the world around them and each other. Leraine and her infinite knowledge and gift of music graced each practice which so profoundly added to the magnitude of the experience at Sky Temple. She taught us how to use our voice and sometimes we would have to pause in silence as the jungle would do its best to be sure we remembered its glorious presence. 350 species of birds live in Yelapa and they certainly do know how to use their voices!
Living in the village and having time to engage the local culture quite profoundly opened my heart. The Mexican people are so warm and open hearted and willing to interact with the visitors that have such huge impact on their lives. Walking from one end of the village to the other always touched me so much because we got to see how they live so differently from our fast paced, technology driven lifestyle. It really reminded me of what is important in this life. We had several meals out in the village and time to play on the beach as well. Although, I will admit, I have gone to Mexico a lot in the past few years and this was the first time that I wanted to spend more time in the village than on the beach! It has a definite charm and it’s not a tourist trap. The village of Yelapa is authentic Mexico and it has a way of capturing your heart and opening your eyes to a way of life that is so precious and pure. That is not to say there isn’t a lot of opportunity to meet up with a tequila shot or two! We definitely got our fiesta on a couple of nights. I was happy to see everyone on their mats the next morning, as the dance floor held a weighty presence!
All in all, I think one of the top experiences for all of us was the silent meditation hike we took up to the waterfall. We started the morning with seated pranayama and meditation and went straight from that sacred space on a 2-hour journey through the village up the river and into the jungle. Something magical happened as everyone’s senses opened up due to being in sweet silence with the village and the animals going crazy in their own intrinsic ways. We all really got to see life from a different perspective that truly helped to put our own life into perspective. We had to navigate two river crossings, villagers burning their trash, a sweet man trying to peddle his six adorable puppies, an army of leaf cutter ants marching to their own purpose, steep rocky beauty and then the magnificence of the falls which took your breath away the moment you saw them. All of this was experienced in the splendor of silence and took you to a whole new level of appreciation and introspection.
So, like I said, we are already planning our return to Yelapa and Sky Temple! My words are sure to fail at capturing the essence of the experience. I hope you will come with us next year and see, hear, taste, and smell for yourself the magic of Yelapa through the Power of OM!