While I was in New Zealand, I wanted to go on a yoga retreat. It would’ve been a great addition to my trip. In my research, I found one place online and emailed them for more information. But it was in a town that was a bit difficult to get to by bus and would have inconvenienced me. It wasn’t impossible but it would’ve taken some time to rearrange a few things and spend a lot of time going back and forth and spending more time on the bus than expected. They offered to pick me up from the nearest bus stop (Kiwis are so freaking nice!) but it still seemed a bit stressful and a yoga retreat is supposed to be the complete opposite of that, right?
It was also a bit pricey. While in New Zealand, my number 1 priority was my happiness (honestly, I don’t know why that’s not a number 1 priority in my everyday life), so I was willing to pay the price. But since I didn’t know if I could swing it, I figured I’d just do my own little yoga retreat when I arrived in Wellington.
So this is what I did in this exact order: I steamed up a hot shower and placed a towel on the floor and went in the downward dog pose completely butt naked for about 30 seconds followed by 10 chaturangas (the yoga push-up) breathing in and out and sweating out all the bad toxins. I ended with a child’s pose for about a minute. The whole thing lasted about 30 minutes. I was sweaty AF! I did this every day for about 2 weeks straight.
Hahahahahahaha! I’m totally kidding, you guys. I didn’t do any of that and please, don’t try this at home. I am not responsible for your stupidity.
This is what I really did.
When I arrived in Wellington for the second time, I found a hot yoga studio about a block away from where I was staying and they were offering an awesome beginner’s/new member deal. Since I’d been hoping around a bit and traveling nonstop, and I really didn’t appreciate Wellington the first time I was there (mostly because I was overwhelmed with stress and making myself do things that I really didn’t want to do… thank goodness I came to my senses!), I wanted to spend some quality time in Wellington before leaving New Zealand.
My only regret is that I wish I started the hot yoga DIY journey a bit sooner. I spent the first few days bumming around but I totally could’ve done 14 days in a row. But oh well, I can’t go back in time and do more hot yoga in New Zealand, but I can tell you about the 12 classes I did. For 12 days. And it was AMAZING.
So, yeah, I actually went to a studio, you know, with trained instructors and people around. How is this DIY? Because a) technically, I was on holiday and b) as I mentioned earlier, happiness was my number 1 priority. So even though I didn’t actually go to a retreat, I feel like I got all the benefits that comes from going to a retreat such as gaining new perspectives, feeling relaxed and re-energized and taking time for self care.
I was in a strange mood during this time and I decided to dedicate the hot yoga sessions to mornings. So I’d wake up really early, head over to a yoga class, sweat like a pig, and then I’d come back and shower and have breakfast. Then I’d devote the rest of the day to exploring the city, taking time to write (a book I was working on that I completely abandoned!), take a walk by the harbour, visit the Te Papa museum (seriously, it was an AWESOME museum – I went four times! And it’s FREE), drink a cappuccino, visit Cuba street, go to the night market (and eat all the things), go to a movie, hangout with friends, and just be. Just be.
One day I even decided to wake up extra early to go for a short sunrise hike up Mount Victoria (totally doable in 30-45 minutes) before my yoga class. Yes, you read that right – SUNrise hike (seriously who was I?). So I set the intention to have a sunrise experience and went on my merry way. There was only one problem – I didn’t realize that so many locals would be out walking their dogs without their leashes. This made me a bit nervous as I have a slight fear of dogs (it’s gotten better over the years). For the most part, the dogs didn’t pay any attention to me and minded their own business… until this one dog came up to me and aggressively started barking and growling. I thought he was going to attack. Thank goodness he didn’t! He eventually backed away and his owner walked away without even apologizing. I was a bit shaken up after that but tried to enjoy the sunrise anyway and continue on with my day. (It helped that I ran into three smaller, sweeter dogs on my way up the hike to show me the world isn’t such a bad place.)
If I were on an actual retreat, this would be called having a “Breakthrough”… haha, just kidding. It’s just called hiking when a really mean dog barks at you.
Most days I felt great after my yoga class. I think there was only one day I wasn’t feeling it but did it anyway… I think that was the day I took a nap (no complaints here!). And you want to know the best part? I got to treat myself to my favorite baked potato place… because BAKED POTATO.
There you have it, folks. My version of a DIY Hot Yoga Retreat…in New Zealand!