As mentioned yesterday, there’s nothing in this world that makes me happier than seeing positive change and forward momentum in the people in my life. I’ve been running wellness retreats for a while now, and reading reviews from regular students and clients is always one of the best experiences! Here’s what Maddie had to say about our retreat last June in Nicaragua (I’m also happy to report she is officially a yoga teacher now!):
Do you believe in magic? After one week in Nicaragua, I do.
I had one of the worst years of my life in 2017. I had the biggest mental breakdown (which I now refer to as a breakthrough) which landed me at the very darkest of rock bottom. I didn’t pay attention to myself and my well being, and focused too much on the world around me. I felt as though my whole life was crashing down on me.
Instead of spiralling even further into the deep end, I decided to treat 2018 as a fresh start. I was finishing university, I would soon have a degree and be able to start living my life the way I wanted to.
I first heard about Jodi & Nicole’s yoga retreat at the beginning of 2018. “Journey to your Yin”. How fitting that sounded to me… What better way to treat myself to a fresh start than to enrol in a yoga retreat in beautiful untouched Nicaragua? I decided to put in my deposit and start this healing journey, expecting only a relaxing retreat with maybe a couple of workshops, making friends and feeling like I was at camp again. I didn’t expect for my life to be changed in just one week.
Our first night in Nicaragua we all stayed at the same hostel in Managua. We bonded, learned from each other, and became shy friends. By the morning, we were dancing in the yard in the torrential downpour. I remember crying from feeling so free, although no one could tell because of the rain that soaked me through to my core. The cleansing and healing had already began.
We then hopped in a shuttle and made our way across the country together, playing roadtrip games & having snacks on the ride. When we got to El Coco-Loco, it was bliss. We were in the middle of absolutely nowhere. There were chickens, pigs & cows running free. There was nothing but a dirt road, a jungle, and obviously some great surf. This would be perfect for the week to come.
I shared a bungalow with one of my friends from back home that I convinced to join me, and we instantly became closer than we had ever been before. We had a relaxing hammock on our porch, two cozy beds with mosquito nets to camp under, and a glorious outdoor washroom that included a shower you preferred to use during the pouring rain.
It was like camp, only better. And harder. And more emotional. And more rewarding. The amount of times I cried on this retreat is countless, but they were all because of how happy I was that I had decided to embark on this journey.
I’ll start with the yoga classes— they were a dream. With a jungle as a backdrop (& the ocean waves as the soundtrack) we began each day in sync with our practice, Bonding as a group. I looked forward to waking up early & walking barefoot to the yoga studio. Yoga during the sunrise will forever be my favourite way to start the day.
Then we had the workshops. We had many workshops that were emotional that helped us connect to each other & understand each other a little more. I remember realizing that I wasn’t the only one who needed healing during these workshops. After the first workshop, I wanted to help people heal themselves.
The food was spectacular. We ate delicious meals together as a family, which were made fresh on the daily by the staff that soon also became our friends. Sitting together waiting for dinner to be ready with your family was one of my favourite parts of the day. We played cards, drank freshly squeezed juice, and reflected on our day before eating a delicious meal.
Next there was the ocean. we played together in the waves of the ocean like we were all children again. One of my favourite moments was simply just “being” with my new tribe. Being in the ocean. Being in the moment. Being a person. Being a group. Being a family. Being a tribe. The sun was setting over our heads, all of us were screaming together when the biggest waves would come, & we dove through them together. It was a dream. It was magic. The ocean was a quick walk away, just through the cow-field and across from where the giant pig was playing. But be careful, the hermit crabs’ favourite place to play is also along the path to the ocean!
My breakthrough moment happened during my one-on-one session with Jodi. I knew we were going to do some energy healing but I had no idea what was in store for me. I had no idea how the healing would affect me or my personality. I put everything. After our energy work, I felt as though I could fly. I was free as a bird.
Jodi & Nicole helped me learn how to manifest. They taught me the importance of working with the universe to make a dream come true. And that’s exactly what happened to me on this retreat. I manifested that I wanted to be in their shoes one day— I wanted to gather a group of strangers and make them become a family. I wanted to help heal people and guide them on their journey. I wanted to change someone’s life. So they helped me manifest my goal of becoming a yoga teacher. They helped me ask for the universe’s help in achieving my goals.
When I got back to Canada, I somehow got free tickets to the Muskoka Yoga Festival (thanks universe). At this festival, I met and mingled with many different yoga teachers and got to experience different styles- see what styles I would like to incorporate into my practice. At the MYF, I somehow won a free ticket to another yoga retreat for that fall (thanks again universe). I also received an energy position at a yoga studio where I was living, and the owner of the studio told me every day that she thought I should teach, and that I would have a spot with her teaching the following summer if I did my 200hr throughout the year. So I did.
With Nicole and Jodi’s help I did a little research, registered for a course in January, and will be a certified teacher as of February. My manifestations allowed the universe to remind me over & over again that this was my plan. This is what I was intended to do. So as of right now, because of Nicole & Jodi I am going to be a registered yoga teacher! I’m going to be able to help people the way that they helped me.
I wish so badly that I could be joining Jodi on the second retreat coming this January, but instead I will be completing the goals that she helped me set, and I will be following my dreams.
The one word I would use to describe the retreat is Magic. It was pure magic. My life was changed for the better. I cried, healed, shared, and loved. It was one of the best weeks of my life. I wish I could experience this feeling with all of my family & friends back home. The feeling of healing and magic. It made a believer out of me & gave me some of the greatest memories of my life.
I encourage anyone who is on the fence about enrolling in a retreat to just take that leap. Go for it. Discover the magic. & If you don’t believe in magic, I challenge you to go & see for yourself. Because what have you got to lose?
*Next retreat is at Coco Loco once again! October 20-27. Check out the deets!*