Camp Yoga was everything you could imagine from an adult summer camp retreat where you do yoga and camp things! I had the most amazing re-energizing, relaxing while tiring and fantastically fun weekend! I know it sounds like a lot but it was a jam-packed weekend of awesomeness.
Camp Yoga took place Sept 11 – 13, 2015 at Camp Manitou near Parry Sound. I drove up early Friday morning with my co-worker Bessie just in time to find my friend Allegra who showed us to our cabin. We then headed over to the main field for opening ceremonies which was of course a yoga jam class taught by a few of the instructors and the founder of Camp Yoga, Chesley Long (who is also a good friend of mine)!
After you registered for the weekend we were sent a link to their Mindbody online schedule so that we could pick our own schedule for the weekend. There were so many classes and activities to choose from that there were endless possibilities for fun. I tried to jam as much into my days as possible but was even able to change my mind on the spot at camp by logging into the app on my phone and re-arranging my schedule. I started off by canoeing with Allegra. We are both summer camp kids so we grabbed lifejackets, paddles, and the first canoe we saw and just took off. I wasn’t feeling that great so we only stayed on the water for 30 mins before heading back. Luckily we did because on our way back we saw something swimming across the channel. First, we thought of beaver, then we saw bigger ears. I thought maybe it was a baby moose so we started paddling as fast as we could. We arrived just in time to see a teenage bear climb out of the water which was pretty crazy!
Later that afternoon I had signed up for SUP #yinning which was a yin yoga class on stand-up paddleboards. The class was taught by Robyn Toner which I loved since we have the same names and it was so nice to hold long relaxed stretches on the boards while we floated gently and the breeze came over us. It was a pretty darn cool experience.
From there we headed off to dinner and my final activity of the day was Sunset Meditation on the Docks with my co-worker Bessie. This was led by Heather Coates and was my longest group meditation to date. We started seated and introspective and then she broke it up by having us stand up and walk around. We introduced ourselves to new faces, shared our intentions for the weekend and got to connect with some people we didn’t know. We then focused on walking around the dock and just being completely present in the moment followed by a final seated or lying down meditation. Once the sun set, it got really cold on the dock. I powered through but next year I’ll know to bring blankets and wool socks!
It was the perfect first day at camp. We finished up the day around the campfire and I headed to bed a bit earlier than everybody else to read and rest as I battled a high fever the day before arriving at camp. I got to hear the lovely campfire songs from my cabin so I didn’t really miss out. I think the rest of camp partied the night away with a live band inside the dining hall but I was happily fast asleep.
Our night was a bit eventful with a really chilly cabin, no hot water in the shower and it being overrun by mice. And by overrun it probably was only one mouse but that one mouse sounded like an army. We realized we were in one of the older boy’s cabins and that there were much nicer and newer ones just a few steps away so we hightailed it to a new cabin in the morning!
We even had a front porch with this view…
My first activity of the morning was archery. You may notice in the video I was trying to shoot left-handed with a right-handed bow. I had shot over 10 arrows before someone told me I was holding it wrong. Go me! After that, I for sure could’ve taken on Katniss Everdeen.
I then got to take Transformational Yoga with Darcy Hagerman. She was absolutely lovely and amazing. When you read a class description like the one associated with this class sometimes you can set really high expectations that don’t match up.
“This class is designed to help wake you up to the things you are holding onto that might be clouding your perception of who you truly are. The class will be a challenging vinyasa flow class where we explore resistance and how reframing the way we see things can create freedom and peace. The idea will be to leave you feeling more connected to your true self, whole, beautiful and powerful”
The class was perfectly challenging, we started to slow down near the end and in pigeon, I just felt a rush of emotions emptying my body. As I lay in pigeon tears began to spill out of my face but I had zero thoughts in my head. I was so confused as I wasn’t thinking about any events, any people or any stress. My body was just holding onto something that needed to be let go of. I then experienced what I’m calling a yoga hangover. I couldn’t think, really speak or do anything. So I grabbed my Kobo and Allegra and I found this perch and read for the afternoon overlooking the camp.
We finished off the day with a Sunset Jam Yoga on the main field. This time it was super cold and I just wasn’t feeling the class. After it finished I bundled myself up, watched this beautiful sunset, curled up with my Kobo and headed to bed fairly early again to ensure I was taking care of myself. The rest of the camp headed to the dance hall for a Yoga Rave. So there really was everything at Camp Yoga for the quiet and party yogis!
My last day at camp was my best day by far. I started the morning with Joanne Karpathiou, co-owner of Power Yoga Canada studio in Leaside. Her class was called Schwarzenegger Flow appropriately so because we were serenaded by Arnold himself several times during the class to get us pumped up! It was a great flow class and although my sore body protested at doing Chaturanga more than once my body also loved it! We danced along to great California-inspired music and giggled at the strength sessions narrated by Arnold.
Right after that class Allegra and I ran off to the ropes course to tackle one of the climbing challenges. We tackled the rope ladder, snowboard rock climb hold, and then climbed the canoe to land ourselves in an Adirondack chair!
And to end it all off we walked across a high balance beam, rocked Tree pose up high in the air and then were lowered gracefully to the ground to run off to our next class.
I wanted to take J-P Tamblyn-Sabo Ahimsa Yoga class. He is the brother of the president of our company so that was a cool work tie-in. His class is named after his studio which he is the founder. Ahimsa Yoga is founded on the principle that yoga should be safe, accessible, inclusive, and engaging for all students — regardless of physical condition, level of experience, or reasons for being interested in yoga. During the class J-P actually said something that was my biggest lesson takeaway from the weekend.
“Be content with what is and not how it’s supposed to be”
I scoped about what this meant for me this morning if you’re curious to find out how it touched me.
Finally it was time to pack up and say goodbye to our cabin. I clearly did not pack light BUT I made it to the car in one trip by myself with no help!
I rounded out the weekend with Yin & Tonic with Matthew Riggs. We started the class with a big cuddle pile. This was really for warmth and love and then we finished with a perfect and amazing yin class. It’s exactly what my body needed. An amazing memory I’ll remember for a long time is during Shavasana, Matthew began to play the piano. He sang Hallelujah and the whole class joined in during the last chorus. It was a beautiful thing. Just perfectly, imperfectly beautiful.