Finding Healing in Aruba: A Retreat with Yoga Girl

Welcoming Vulnerability, the amazing people, how to make the most of your time in Aruba, and what to pack for your retreat at Island Yoga.

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I thought that I was flying to Aruba to meet one of my idols, Rachel Brathen, otherwise known as Yoga Girl. I thought I’d get to become closer with my friend Kristen, hang out on the beach, look inwards, and maybe even improve my yoga teaching.

I never expected that I’d find the ability to open up. To tell strangers things about events that I had been hiding for years, to open up about my current struggles, and to cry so openly.

Here is my retreat experience with Yoga Girl and the Island Yoga Community.

yoga girl retreat

Photo belongs to Najib Gomez Photography

Yoga Every Damn Day: A Retreat with Yoga Girl

If I said pinch me, would you?

It’s been a dream to attend a retreat with Rachel. The only other time that I had practiced with Rachel was at Envision Festival. Her class was a hot sweaty mess where I got kicked in the face not once, but twice.

Once I found out she was building the largest yoga studio in the Caribbean, I knew that I would be traveling to Aruba to practice with her.

Oh did I mention that I got kicked in the face during the yoga retreat too? Those three-legged dogs will get you…

yoga girl retreat

Photo belongs to Najib Gomez Photography

Using Vulnerability to Create Healing: A Retreat with Yoga Girl

Yoga girl has always being authentic and vulnerable with her community. Her transparency and calm demeanor makes you feel safe.

Each night with Yoga Girl, we’d spend a great deal of time subconscious journaling. She’d pose a question and for 5-10 minutes we’d write non-stop about that topic. We weren’t allowed to stop writing – even if it meant you wrote “this is dumb” or ” I don’t know” over-and-over on your paper.

For the first three nights, I’d only half explore the questions. I’d find a “good” answer. Something that worked but wasn’t at the core of my beliefs & pain. I’m really good at that. i’m not afraid to explore myself, until a certain point. What’s that point you say?? The point where I have to deal with stuff that I’ve tried very, very  hard to forget.

I skimmed the surface until the fourth night, when I decided to say “Screw this, I want progress & change.”

The next two nights, I wrote about my  traumas & I cried with strangers as I told them my stories. The ones that i was ashamed of, confused by, and were still affecting me without my conscious awareness.

By allowing myself to VOICE these pains I was finally able to PROCESS (some of) my pain. I have a little  more understanding of why I am the way that I am. Why certain situations terrify me.  I can now see why I hold in so many emotions until the point where my Anxiety gets out of control. I see where I learned certain habits.

I now understand and physically feel the importance of RELEASING shame, fear, or pain. I can see why journaling & talking about pain can be therapeutic. I feel lighter & happier thanks to our yoga retreat with Yoga Girl.

yoga girl retreat

Photo belongs to Najib Gomez Photography

My Favorite Part of The Yoga Retreat with Yoga Girl

My favorite part of the Yoga Retreat was the people, hands down.

From the minute we landed on this little Caribbean Island, everyone was beyond friendly & eager to connect. We may have been strangers, but we had one thing in common: yoga & wanting to better ourselves.

We’d spend breakfasts talking about yoga, life, & the day to come. After classes we’d reflect on our experiences and dreams that we wanted to create. During our boat ride, we talked about our past & the future. I’ve never been immersed in a situation where it was o.k. to tell the truth about life- you didn’t have to sugarcoat or make excuses. It was o.k. to just BE yourself.

yoga girl retreat

Photo belongs to Najib Gomez Photography

Tips for Taking Advantage of Your Time in Aruba

  • If you plan to see the Flamingos, plan ahead of time. The flamingos are a short boat ride away BUT the only way to see them is to acquire a ticket from the Renaissance Hotel in the capital, Oranjestad. Unfortunately for us, the tickets were sold out for the entire week. Otherwise, we could have booked a hotel room or an expensive massage through the hotel, but we decided that the experience wasn’t worth it.
  • During our retreat, we ate lots of meals out. My dinners & lunches cost approximately 25 U.S.D. without a drink.
  • If you want to get to know the island really well, consider renting a car. It’s a small island, but I imagine it would be quite expensive to taxi around other parts of the island. A friend booked a car for 6 nights and it cost $180. Since we had the flexibility of a car we checked out Arikok National Park, Baby Beach, and tons of other beaches!
  • Credit cards are widely accepted in Aruba.
  • Their are tons of restaurants that cater to Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, & Vegan diets!
  • Aruba uses the same outlets as the U.S. 😀
yoga girl retreat

Photo belongs to Najib Gomez Photography

What to Pack for Your Yoga Retreat with Yoga Girl

  • 1-2 pairs of yoga clothes for each day
  • LOTS of undies! You will sweat A LOT
  • 2 swim suits & 1 cover up
  • Clothes to explore in
  • Hiking Sandals
  • Flip Flops
  • Sunglasses
  • A hat that wont fly away in the wind
  • Your favorite yoga mat
  • FOOD! You’ll have a kitchen to cook with & not all your meals are included in the retreat package
  • Water Bottle (the water in Aruba is safe to drink!)
  • Journal & Pen
  • Eco / Coral Friendly SUNSCREEN (it’s really expensive in Aruba)
  • Toiletries (the hotel doesn’t give you Shampoo / Conditioner)
  • Optional: 1 nice outfit for the last night
  • Optional: Tight shorts for your SUP class

Doing the hard work to grow & become yourself is vital. instead of running from the pain, embrace it and work through it. When you can release yourself from anger, confusion, sadness, etc., life can be so much better.

If you’d like to attend A Retreat with Yoga Girl, explore hereThey’re worth it, trust me! 😀

Thank you for being here friends, I am so grateful for your presence.