Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Prana del Mar perfect for Yogatown retreat

Talking Trails is usually focused on self-propelled travel, the landscapes we explore, the people we meet, the cultures we learn about. [On self-propelled travel: At present I fly to far-flung places, yet I dream of getting to them on foot under my own steam ... how long does it take to walk/bike/boat to Patagonia I wonder?]

The yoga retreat we were just on does merit a little diversion - not exactly to the interior life, but rather 'off-trail'. This post is about Prana del Mar and the amazing experience Yogatown here in Ottawa created for us there. (To view images larger, just click on them.)
Early morning flocking. This is the largest number
of living beings I ever saw on our 2 km long beach.

My entry into expansion in thought and action, having connections in this world that are both strong and independent, comes from being outside. On mountains and in deserts, limits are at times not only redefined, but discarded; there I challenge my capacities, learn more skills, gain experience in self-sufficiency. That is where my spirit soars, where I am at my best. This retreat experience offered that by combining the leadership of a trusted Yogatown team (yeah to Paula, Tracy, Jenna and Michelle), a deepening yoga practice and the exquisite Prana del Mar in its wild Baja peninsula surroundings.
Roof top solar panels. Looking toward the entrance gate.
This garden like all else at the retreat is about
gorgeous design, details that delight.

Located in a semi-arid desert, Prana del Mar operates off-the-grid, but in truth it is simply self-sufficient: powered by solar panels and with its own water treatment. There is a wireless internet hub (via satellite), even though its downloads are limited on a daily basis. The retreat exudes a quiet luxury, with simple and beautiful design carried through in every detail and with comfortable, airy spaces everywhere.

The yoga studios are beautiful, the grounds creatively kept with little surprises appearing in the sand each day. Beach access is direct out the back gate. Most days, our group had the 2 km long beach to ourselves. There were just a few horseback riding groups and some dune buggy excursions. Swimming is not possible here due to the strength of the waves and currents, but this makes for impressive pictures ... and some fine frolicking at the edge of the surf.

There is a lovely salt water pool, hot tub, tanning area by the main building. Daily spa treatments were available with excellent reviews of Anna Maria's work.
The moon studio - great for yoga nidra ...

The chef and his kitchen crew created delicious meals each day. Unique breakfast smoothies and egg dishes (non egg options available), followed hot soups for lunch and dinners featured a variety of options from salads and vegetables to quinoa and fish. Pre-yoga fruit and coffee was always at the ready, too. Various dietary preferences, food allergies and such were easily accommodated.
New yoga ... :)
The main yoga studio with windows on all sides is infused
with the outside world.
The guest quarters from the main building's roof top. We had
the corner unit closest to the beach.

People are essential to creating the kind of perfect week we had. Our group of 23 gelled quickly and settled into a fine rhythm. Excursions and meal time conversations were filled with stories and view points. And at the heart of it all was an exquisitely led yoga practice twice daily - and our special delivery morning mail, which we all looked forward to.
Night view from our porch toward the beach.

Many staff members speak English very well. The Cabo San Lucas area at large has come to cater to American and Canadian tourists, so that we found that guides also usually spoke English, if they weren't, in fact, ex-pats themselves. This aspect is not what I would seek out: I prefer to participate in local culture and language but in the scheme of things that is a small quibble. Mexicans were surprised when I told them that I learned Spanish at UNAM. After all, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México is not only one of the most highly regarded in all of Latin America; more personally, I serve on its Advisory Board for its extension school here in Canada. In that sense, it was high time, I finally spent a few days in Mexico!

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