Updated: Dec 20, 2019
A blog written by our Surf Sisterhood 2019 retreat guest Theres Heinrich
One week, seven days returning to (or rather starting) a yoga routine. Cornwall, southwest England, is no typical place for yoga or surfing as you might imagine other places such as Bali or Sri Lanka. But, for me it was really the perfect combination.
I could not wait to get on the plane at the beginning of my trip, the journey really came at the right time. Digital detox and discovery of your own doshas included! However, more on this later - but one thing was said at the very beginning: It was so fantastically beautiful! I have not laughed and learned so much in a long time. From the group dynamics, to the conversations - it was just as good (or even better) as I had imagined it to be.
Cornwall is calm, harmonious, green and wet. In addition to the single airport runway, there is only space for 84 people at Newquay Airport. The weather changes every hour between rain, sun, fog and storm. But I like it and enjoy it very much.
The Week and Daily Run
Each day started with a morning yoga session in one of the most beautiful yoga studios imaginable. Looking out over the small boats, the first rays of sunlight of the day shone through the glass vaults of the studio, the wooden floor warm under our yoga mats and feet, we watched the dew and fog play millimeters above the water surface. Then home, for breakfast together. Every morning there was another hot dish, which we enjoyed in the kitchen overlooking the harbour and shared our goals for the day. Pear porridge, chia pudding with chocolate or grilled mushroom bread as a refreshment for the day prepared by the always smiling Kat. Then packing our stuff and start looking for the perfect swell. Change in the van (a mobile changing room!), warm up on the beach, grab the surf board and get into the cool water. After surfing we always had our strength returned with a cup of hot chai tea, banana bread and delicious energy balls by the beach. In the late afternoon, when we are back at the tranquil Salt House, where we lived together for the week, we have some free time for ourselves. Reading, sharing the experiences of the day, sharing tips and life philosophies. In the evening we went either to the town to eat together in one of the many sweet little restaurants of Falmouth or cook together in the kitchen at home.
Every day was different: Depending on the weather conditions, the swell and thus the perfect surfing conditions changed every hour. This means that the days are spontaneous and flexible. Depending on the location, a yoga session is held either in the morning or in the evening. Twice we did yoga in the morning and then we went out to the beach. Due to very good surfing conditions on two more days, that changed and the yoga and meditation classes were moved to the evening. We were able to use the right wind in the morning and take full advantage of the surf! On these days we had lunch at the van. After a break in the warm sun, we went in for a second time into the clean waves.
In the afternoon, we made small trips to more beautiful places, to Kynance Cove, to the workshop of OPEN Surf and to local brands like Atlantic Blankets.
Yoga and Meditation
How was the yoga? Can beginners keep up? Yes, definitely! The nice thing about this retreat is that you do yoga in a smaller group and spend several days together. Thus, the yoga teacher can better understand and meet the individual needs of each participant. It has become clear that the well-being of each person is very important to Lauren.
Basically you can divide the yoga and meditation sessions during the retreat like this:
Vinyasa Yoga (mostly in the mornings as an eneregising flow to focus and to start the day)
Breathwork as a support during the exercises and meditation
Yin Yoga (in the evening, as relaxation/opening of the muscles and reflections on the day)
Patrick was a great surf teacher. Full of patience, motivation and fun, he has approached every wave with us. Warming up at the beach, body surfing through the waves, Patrick has shared every little detail with us and even pushed us with confidence into the intermediate green waves on the last day. The surf sessions are something for every level. Lauren surfs the bigger waves further out with the more accomplished surfers while Patrick strives for the perfection of the still practicing beginner surfers. And so we had plenty of time for us, as well as always a private professional by our side, who surfed side by side with us in the white water waves to constantly give new tips and tricks for improving. Popping up, foot positioning for a better and easier turn, how to immerse yourself in a wave that is too big to avoid being swirled around by the force. The salty taste, the sound of the sea, the glitter of the breaking waves I still remembered all these details in the evening when I went to sleep. For hours we sat on our boards, enjoying the Cornish landscapes or a new wave towards the beach, facing the green cliffs - rushing with euphoria and freedom. And yes, on the last day we finally all sat together, out there in the green water, trying out the bigger waves. The sisterhood all together + Patrick.
The feeling as I take my first green wave, was indescribable. Strength, energy, self-confidence! Amazing. I came back up from the waves breaking over me, leaning on my board smiling, ready to paddle back out to the others as they cheer me and shine at least as well as I do, pure pride.
"And how does it feel?" Soft, gentle - happy.
Why I Loved the Retreat So Much
Lauren and Patrick really gave all their love to this retreat, the group had a great dynamic and I felt really good. We got along so well that we formed a little sisterhood "in our little bubble," as we called it. I was able to fully let go during the yoga sessions and was simply relaxed at the end of the week. The combination of the vibe of Cornwall combined with the family-like principles of the small retreat made one grow, relax and open up. Lauren has come up with sweet little things that have harmonized the retreat: The Salt Sisterhood Goody Bag, which greeted us on our comfy beds on arrival, was filled up with sustainable and useful products, especially during the retreat (Surfer sunscreen from SeventyOne Percent, A Salt Sisterhood camping mug for our chai teas, and my chakra band from Pineapple Island, which still recreates my daily mantra) and each of the yoga classes was completed with a blissful Savasana (the extended lying incl. Small massage of the forehead and temporal region with the fingertips with some delicious smelling oils). During the retreat, Lauren and Patrick are fully responsive to the needs of the participants, so we put the world to rights during the car rides, started a race with the other car or simply shared the silence and enjoyed the passing green scenery. All in all a very harmonious and loving retreat, which I would like to experience again.
Thanks to all participants and The Salt Sisterhood for this great experience!
Thanks to Theres for writing this lovely review of our Surf Sisterhood week, and also a BIG THANKS to these brands who supported our retreat and made the experience extra special by gifting us these treats for our Salt Sisterhood goody bags:
SeventyOne Per Cent
Thought & Built by surfers this amazing sunblock kept our retreat guests well protected from the sun while they were in the water. This stuff really stays on good and the best part - it's made from all natural ingredients! Check them out: www.seventyone-percent.com
We were treated by Pineapple Island to some delicate handmade chakra themed bracelets www.pineapple-island.com
West Coast Surf Wax
Our boards were kept nice and sticky with wax from this UK based wax company, not only that but they also very kindly kept our hair smelling delicious with some of their new eco friendly shampoo bars! www.westcoastsurfwax.co.uk
Do you want to join us in 2020 for our Surf Sisterhood retreats? Find out more here