Besides being a photographer, I am a yoga teacher. In fact I was a yoga teacher before I got serious about my photography. I was fortunate to do my yoga teacher training with Joseph and Lillian Le Page in Garopaba Brazil. I spent a glorious month of immersion into yoga there. But that will come in next week’s blog…today I want to take you to Banderas Bay Mexico where I’ve taken groups of yogis and yoginis the last 4 years to enjoy yoga immersion in the tropics.

I found Xinalani online when I was looking around for somewhere to lead tropical yoga retreats easier to get to than Brazil. In fact it was the first one to pop up. Lucky me (and my yoga students!) because it turned out to be the ultimate not only in access (easy flights to Puerto Vallarta Mexico, mixed with a 30 minute boat ride to the resort: no road access ;<),

Loading up for the trip back to the airport

Loading up for the trip back to the airport

but in beauty,

Sunset from the Dining Deck

Sunset from the Dining Deck

accommodations (like living in a Robinson Family Tree House),

500 stairs from the beach to the studio!

500 stairs from the beach to the studio!

gourmet food (my favorite story is sitting at lunch and watching 3 men hauling dinner’s huge mahi mahi off the boat & into the kitchen),

Everything is fresh. Even the coconut juice!

Everything is fresh. Even the coconut juice!

beaches,

Got Beach?

Got Beach?

waterfalls

Life is GOOOOD!!!!

Life is GOOOOD!!!!

and yoga studios.

Not many walls in Xinalani. Chair Pose anyone?

Not many walls in Xinalani. Or windows, for that  matter. Chair Pose anyone?

Not to mention the delightful family that built and runs the eco resort. If you’re looking for such an experience, you can go to their website and either join one of the yoga retreats, or just sign up for a personal retreat. It might seem a little pricey, but when you see and experience what they offer, you will be blown away….truly.

Our third year there we decided to explore a little further down the Bay to Yelapa. You may have heard of it as where Bob Dylan used to hang out. Now THERE’S a recommendation! We fell in love with it too. Again finding accommodations right on the ocean with Garcias Rentals, complete with hammock

Hammock time...every morning...or evening...

Hammock time…every morning…every evening…aw heck, whenEVER

and breathtaking views.

Glass free windows...

Glass free windows…

Hanging out in the town means making way for the only transportation (and its refuse)

Everything moves much slower here

Everything moves much slower here

And mornings at my favorite breakfast spot Cafe Bahia, run by an ex-pat New Yorker! So funny to hear that accent amidst all the spanish.

Amazing breakfast...

Amazing breakfast…

Roaming through the town was great photographic fun. I loved the juicy cultural visions everywhere I looked:

A very different way of life

A very different way of life

Boats, boats, everywhere

Boats, boats, everywhere boats

So much color in the local ways

So much color in Mexico

The local grocery

The local grocery

When we’d had enough rest and roaming under our belts, Luis, one of the family members that owns the hotel where we stayed, took us out on his boat for whale watching and snorkeling at the Mariettas Islands, a National Park in Mexico. What a great adventure!!

Yahooo!

Yahooo!

The Islands were gorgeous

Peeking Under...

Peeking Under…

And I caught my very first sight of a Blue-Footed Booby!

His feet really are blue - cool!

His feet really are blue – cool!

Not to mention LOTS of whales.  Being in their presence is always thrilling, but photos of them were rather unimpressive given they were mostly underwater.

Lots more images of this lovely place are waiting for your enjoyment in my Gallery.

Next year’s version of Cultivating Joy Yoga Retreat will be in a private villa in Italy’s Tuscany area the first week in June. VERY excited to check out some different territory (and new photo ops!!). My yoga retreat partner Jodie Lea spent a month in silent meditation there last spring. She waxes over the moon about it’s beauty, serenity and pure ‘Italian-ness’.  If you’re curious, check out her website or message me below. All levels of yoga practitioner are welcome! We’d love to have you join us.

 

 

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