Exploring the boundary between pilgrimage and travel

For over 2 decades I’ve been traveling the world.  And for the latter half of that time, I’ve been attending and leading yoga retreats.

There is something about being on retreat that makes the travel experience more sacred, meaningful, and transformative.  After all these years, I can’t quite put into words the depth of the experience.  At the risk of sounding cliche, yet completely honest, being on retreat is quite magical.

Group meditation at a Fjord on Hrisey Island, Iceland

Whether I’m leading or attending a retreat, these three things come to my mind and heart when I consider what a yoga retreat means to me:


The retreats that I create, or those I choose to go on myself, are ones that are curated with intentionality.  A special location is chosen with a meaningful purpose; sacred space is carved out to hold the group experiences with sturdy yet gentle support. Practices such as yoga, meditation, chakra work, energy healing, journaling, dance, ceremony and ritual are carefully selected to help guide and foster a deeper group and individual experience.  The excursions and themes are specifically chosen to heighten the overall travel experience, honor the culture and history of our host country and create an arc in the flow of the retreat.


To my mindfulness practices, which often get squeezed into a busy day.  To the innermost parts of myself, the parts I seldom have time to visit in the fast pace of daily life.  To each other, the like-minded people who are drawn to my retreats. To the people, history and culture of the host country we are visiting.  To the wonder of Mother Nature and the world around me.  To divinity, within myself, others, and beyond.  When I step outside of my comfort zone, leave my to-do list and daily responsibilities behind and venture out into the world, with the support of a group of people walking alongside me on the path, practicing together, holding sacred space for each other, and creating a dynamic and potent energy, I’m faced with a level of elevated presence that gets diluted when I’m at home surrounded by familiarity and the sameness of a weekly schedule.


When I feel connected and intentional, there’s an inner and outer alignment I can sense, like a clear highway reflecting where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to go.  This is a sign that I am in my integrity.  From this integrated place, insightful reflections bubble up to the surface from deep within me.  The knowing part of myself starts to surface because she is nurtured and given the space to emerge in all of her wisdom and glory. The most intimate reflections are for my journal; other wonderings, inspirations and insights, I like to share with my new friends on retreat or with all of you here, in a more social realm, adding to, or starting the conversation about new discoveries I’ve made.  Venturing outward and turning inward helps me to clearly see and hear my true self.

Reflecting on our experience during yoga class in Bali

Retreat is an extraordinary, transformative experience for me, and for those whom I have shared it with.  If any of this speaks to you or lights a fire in your heart, then I encourage you to do yourself a great service and gift yourself with a yoga retreat.

xo Angela

Connecting with each other and Pachamama at Machu Picchu in Peru
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