We’ve now passed a month (or 2) since the 2019 Deepen the Heart Women’s retreat and I have to say, I’m still reflecting and discovering each day because of the beautiful energy these women brought to the event.
I feel so fortunate to have been able to work together and create something this magical for the second time, and in true Melody fashion, I’m already brainstorming for next year.
There were a few changes in the way we structured things this year. We were able to fill 2 beach cabins instead of just one, we were able to offer a different price points and sleeping options, and we were more equipped for the weather and mosquito gods (though the odds seemed to be in our favor most of the weekend.)
One of my favorite moments of the trip was announcing my pregnancy. I knew leading this experience would be an absolute joy, but being able to do it at 5 months pregnant was more than I could have dreamed. This was the first group of students I was letting in on my (not so little) secret and everyone’s excitement and support made everything feel so much more real.
The prep work this year was a bit easier but also quite a bit different this year. I was fortunate to be able to call on all of my notes and lists and work from last year which made a world of difference. But with new facilities, new attendees, and new partners there were still some hurdles to jump.
It was still incredibly important to me that the ladies attending felt as confident and comfortable walking into the weekend as they could. So I organized a Facebook Group for the participants where they could introduce themselves, organize car pools, share packing tips and just generally get to know each other before all 19 of us jumped into two 3 bedroom cabins together.
I also created packing lists, itineraries, menus, and direction sheets for the group so everyone could be prepared for the weekend.
This year, each guest received a custom made Deepen the Heart Turkish Beach Towel made by my dear friend and Craft Queen, Tessa Elizondo!
Turkish towels are one of my favorite travel accessories. They are thin, lightweight, super absorbent, and dry quicker than anything else I own. Tessa made ours in a variety of colors with a sparkly Deepen the Heart Logo at one edge.
Each guest had a few more take-homes in store through the weekend as something we added this year was Self Care DIY sessions with Angie Cruise.
Angie and I have done a few workshops together and I was super excited to bring her on board for the retreat. I know I love all of the tutorials and inspired ideas on her blog and I was ready to see them come to life with our participants!
We created our own all-natural yoga mat spray using witch hazel and essential oils as well as some foaming bath salts with a secret ingredient!
It was so fun to see everyone decide which oils would work best for their energy and lifestyle and to know that the Deepen the Heart experience would continue even after we went home with each use of our fabulous DIYs.
I love that this year the weather didn’t keep us locked to one location! We were able to have practices and meditations all over the grounds of our cabins and even on the beach!
Because our retreat fell on the New Moon, a big focus on our weekend was setting intentions.
Friday evening we started things off with a physical practice to get back into our bodies after a log drive and travel day, then we followed that up with a long, leisurely intentions setting meditation and visualization. The new moon is the perfect time to plant the seeds for what you want to see going forward. Students were invited to set intentions for the weekend, for the month, and for the rest of the year. After that, we took some time to write down our intentions so that we could have a visual reminder of what we are working toward as we move forward.
Saturday morning’s class was on the beach and all about building heat! We let this sweaty, sunny practice wake us up and get us ready for our only full day at the retreat. We warmed up with sun salutations, using the tide as our drishti and found lots of strength and stretch as we moved through lunges, twists, back bends! We then balanced that out with our evening practice inspired by a Lunar Flow. This class saw a lot more deep stretch in our legs and hips (much needed after walking up and down the cabin steps a million times a day) and a deeper invitation to tune into your body intuitively and find what felt good in the moment.
Sunday morning we rounded out our practice with a luxurious restorative practice so that we could pack up and find our way home with ease and awareness. We followed this up with another lovely visualization and meditation focusing on how we could bring the energy of our weekend away to our daily lives, and how we can continue to take care of ourselves throughout the year.
Another really fun element of our classes were the Affirmation cards we drew each class. I bought a brand new deck specifically for the retreat and I have to say they are quickly becoming my favorite deck. Before each practice, everyone drew an affirmation to help guide them through. It was such a fun way to focus in and start off with some beautiful words of wisdom!
Each of our meals this weekend were made by the incredible Jodi Hebert. Jodi is one of the owners of Gather Paleo Cafe and Market and runs Feral Child a website and resource to connect you with clean eating and living products.
Everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions was well fed and happy throughout the weekend. Jodi created such a versatile menu for us, I was amazed at how easily everyone was accommodated and of course everything tasted GREAT!
The single greatest element of this whole adventure was this group of absolutely incredible women! The energy and love they cultivated throughout our short time together honestly amazes me. Watching their respect and support for each other in what could have been a very vulnerable and uncomfortable situation made my heart soar. I loved seeing old friendships deepen and new relationships blossom and witnessing a group of women spanning at least a couple decades, demographics, and counties come together so openly.
After the retreat, participants said:
“The yoga classes were very thoughtful and well planned. The classes were absolutely the best part of the retreat. I felt challenged, but I never felt as though I were excluded due to difficulty. The yoga locations – both on the beach and in the grass – were great! The food was extremely delicious. The meals were very filling, but still light enough so I felt fine during yoga classes. I really enjoyed the scheduling of events – we had plenty to do but also had down time to get to know each other. I never felt that I needed to skip out because I was too tired, but I also never felt bored.”
“How laid back and TRULY relaxing, the “schedule” was made the entire weekend fantastic. The whole weekend flowed so effortlessly, and I know a lot of hard work went into that. The food was spectacular, and everyone was so kind. Each yoga session was beautiful, fun, yet challenging, and I am grateful for all the different modifications that were offered for all the different skill levels that were in the group.”
“I did not realize how desperately I needed a weekend like this for myself. I can’t help but smile and feel so much peace when I think about the time I had during this retreat, and I can’t thank you (Melody) enough for organizing and leading it! You made it all seem so effortless, and I know how much thought, work, and planning goes into big events like this, so infinite thanks to you!”
I certainly couldn’t have done it with out any of you lovely ladies and with out the support and hard work of Angie, Jodi, and Tessa!
I cannot wait to share with you all the love I have planned for 2020!