Take a break from the cold this winter for a unique, culturally-immersive yoga retreat in Panama with holistic instructor, Rachel Haley, and featuring community-based workshops with local fishermen, chefs, and artisans, designed to provide immersive practice in mindfulness.
Between yoga practice, cultural activities, and delicious vegetarian meals, you’ll have plenty of time to relax on the beach, try paddle-boarding, take a walk in the woods, and enjoy the sunny and dry climate of Panama’s Pacific coast.
February 9th - 15th, 2020
Location: Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat in Playa Grande, Panama.
Our retreat leader and yoga instructor is Rachel Haley. She completed her 500 hour registered yoga training in 2012, and since then has drawn on a background in women's health and somatic healing, to combine traditional yoga (Kundalini, Tantra, Bhakti, Ashtanga, and Iyengar) with medicine from dance, shamanistic ritual, mysticism, mythology, and visualization.
Day 1 February 9th (-,-,D): You’ll arrive to Panama City’s International Airport (PTY) and take the hour and a half drive to the retreat center. Upon arrival, we’ll have a healthy vegetarian dinner with local ingredients while discussing the logistics for week. After dinner we will have an Opening Circle to set our intentions for the week.
Day 2 (B,L,D): We will start with a half-hour morning Sadhana exercise to set our daily intention and make progress toward the ultimate expression of a healthy and fulfilling life. Following this we will have an hour and a half morning Yoga Flow, followed but a delicious, vegetarian breakfast with local fruit. After taking a bit of time to digest and relax in the warmth and tranquility of the Panamanian Pacific, we’ll have a Stand Up Paddle board (SUP) class. SUP boarding is an excellent compliment to yoga practice as it develops strength and balance while providing cardiovascular exercise. SUP boarding is easy to learn and will be available throughout the retreat at no additional cost.
We will have lunch just after mid-day, followed by some free time. You are welcome to take out a paddle board, practice yoga on your own, enjoy a walking meditation in the private forest surrounding the retreat or in the stone labyrinth on premises, or simply relax in a hammock or at the beach. Dinner will be served around 6 pm. We will end the day with a restorative yoga session.
Day 3 (B,L,D): After Morning Sadhana followed by Yoga Flow and a healthy breakfast, you’ll have some free time to relax and enjoy the surroundings or take a walking meditation. After lunch we will experience our first community-based activity: a workshop with a local master hat weaver. In rural Panama, straw hats are a rite of passage for men and even a status symbol. Each hat takes dozens of hours to make and costs enough to require saving for over a year for the average Panamanian farmer. You will learn from the craftsman how the hats are woven and actually try weaving yourself. This activity is designed to immerse participants in the local culture and provide a hands-on experience to reinforce the lessons learned during yoga practice: patience, determination, positive mindset, and a focus on the present. Learn from Travel will facilitate and translate this workshop. Dinner will be served back at the retreat. Today will end the day with Yoga Nidra session, a meditative exercise of yogic sleep.
Day 4 (B,L,D): Start your day with a Morning Sadhana and Yoga Flow. Enjoy a healthy locally-sourced breakfast and some free time to relax, paddle, practice independent yoga, or take a walking meditation. After lunch you’ll have some free time and then our second culturally-immersive workshop: a cooking class with a local chef to learn to prepare a traditional Panamanian dish. We will enjoy the fruits of our labor for dinner.
Day 5 (B,L,D): As always we will start with a Morning Sadhana and Yoga Flow, followed by breakfast and free time to enjoy the retreat grounds, the beach, or the forest. After lunch and some time to digest, we will have an Elemental Asana Workshop. During this two-hour workshop we will explore the qualities of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Ether, in connection to our bodies and yoga practice. An understanding of alignment as well as connection to our surroundings can be cultivated through sequences created around the compositional elements of the universe. Awareness of the elements’ presence in asana, pranayama, and meditation deepens the yoga practice. Another healthy vegetarian dinner awaits us this evening. We will end the day with meditation and breath work.
Day 6 (B,L,D): On this last full day of the retreat, we’ll start with Morning Sadhana and Yoga Flow, followed by a delicious breakfast. In the late morning, we will have our final community-based activity: a workshop on mending fishing nets with a local fisherman! Through this activity we will reinforce the concepts of mindfulness, attentiveness, and patience. This will be a unique opportunity to learn about the way of life of rural Panamanians. Learn from Travel will facilitate and translate this workshop. After lunch we will have some free time to enjoy paddle boarding or the other activities available at the retreat, followed by delicious vegetarian dinner in the early evening. We will close the day with a restorative yoga session and, weather permitting, a meditative bonfire.
Day 7 February 15th (B,-,-): Before breakfast we will have a Closing Circle to reflect on our practice and takeaways from the week in Panama. Following breakfast we will arrange for transport to the airport. Depending on the time of your departure, you may wish to spend a few hours in Panama City to see the canal, the historic old town, or other sites. If choosing to spend extra time in the city, you will need to arrange your own taxi or Uber to the airport (aprox. $15).
Please contact us about extending your stay for a private tour of other destinations in Panama, including the Panama Canal, surfing destinations, rain forest and cloud forest ecotourism, and indigenous culture tourism.
You’ll stay in beautiful and sustainably-built eco-lodge in the Panamanian tropical forest, a short walk from the beach. The cabins are equipped with aromatherapy diffusers and feature all modern amenities including air conditioning. Housing is available in double, triple, or quadruple occupancy in cabins with simple yet stylish decor and private bathrooms. Single occupancy available by request.
Early registration before August 31, 2019:
You can save $200 by signing up early!
$2,350/person - double occupancy
$2,255/person - triple occupancy*
$2,185/person - quadruple occupancy*
Regular registration starting September 1, 2019:
$2,550/person - double occupancy
$2,455/person - triple occupancy*
$2,385/person - quadruple occupancy*
*Triple and quadruple occupancy may not be available.
Includes: Six nights of lodging in eco-lodge and retreat center. Three healthy vegetarian meals made with local ingredients each day, starting with dinner on day of arrival and breakfast on day of departure. (Gluten free and vegan options are available. Please contact us to request.) Fruit bowls, tea and drinking water will be available throughout the day. Transportation to and from airport (once on arrival and departure days). Introductory Stand-Up-Paddle board (SUP) class. Use of SUP boards throughout your stay. Evening bonfire on the last day of the retreat (weather permitting). Use of aromatherapy diffusers in the rooms with DoTerra essential oils. Use of gardens, labyrinth, and nature trail. Daily housekeeping. All activities as described in the itinerary.
Excludes: International airfare, travel medical insurance, alcoholic beverages, personal spending, additional optional activities, tips for workshop teachers, and meals not described in itinerary.
We suggest booking airfare to arrive on the afternoon of February 9th and depart in the afternoon or early evening on February 15th. COPA Airlines flies direct from JFK and United flies direct from Newark. Numerous airlines, including Spirit, fly direct from the Ft. Lauterdale/Miami area.
US Citizens receive tourist visas upon entry to Panama without extra charge. Please contact us if you are a citizen of a different country.