I’m back home after an awesome week in Montego Bay, Jamaica where I led a yoga and fitness retreat with Brittany Holtz of Studio B Power Yoga. We spent five nights at the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall. (Note: I will not be writing a formal resort review but if you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask in the comments of this post or to send me an email.)
I have tons of photo highlights to share from the experience so get ready to see lots of yoga, beach, sun and fun in this post!
YOGA + FITNESS
Our daily schedule was a 30-40 minute fitness class or activity around 7:45a followed by a 90 minute yoga practice at 8:30a.
I led all of the fitness classes. We did one HITT workout, a 5K run and two beach bootcamps. It was a sweaty and fun way to start the day. The two couples in the photo above made it to every single workout! (And they were not easy…haha…in the photo above they are running suicides in the sand.)
Brittany and I alternated leading the morning power yoga classes. We each taught two of them.
We also offered an evening practice at 5:30p. We had a back to basics workshop, two restorative/active recovery practices and one yoga “play-shop.” Brittany led most of the evening practices but we co-taught the play-shop.
Here’s a scene from the play-shop. We split them into two groups based on what they wanted to work on. My group was all about poses/stretches targeted to certain problem areas. They really enjoyed the quad/hip flexor stretch you see them doing. 😉
It was so great to co-lead the retreat because we got to take each other’s classes, which is a treat we both loved! I’ve always worked with Brittany traveling to present workshops and trainings at her studio. This retreat was my first time taking her classes and she’s a phenomenal teacher!!! We both had the notes app open on our phones and were taking notes on each other’s classes during practice.
Another cool bonus was that our resort offered paddleboard/pool yoga classes on two of the mornings that we were there after our yoga class wrapped up. Quite a few of our participants took advantage.
DOWNTIME + RELAXATION
One thing Brittany and I were aligned on when planning this trip is that we wanted to be sure to offer plenty of time for relaxation. After morning workouts and practice, we usually all grabbed breakfast as a group and then took off for the beach or the pool.
Almost every day we were able to snag a group of chairs by the pool that gave us this view. It was so nice! We also spent time at the beach.
The pool area at this resort was one of the nicest of anywhere I’ve stayed in the Caribbean. There were tons of options for lounging from chairs and lounge beds out in the sun to shaded chairs under umbrellas to cabanas.
Another shot to give you a better idea.
I also spent lots of time relaxing out on my balcony.
SNORKEL AND KAYAK EXCURSION
We did one group excursion through Dressel Divers. We chartered a boat for a snorkel and kayak adventure.
We took a 30 minute cruise from our resort over to a reef where we snorkeled for about 45 minutes. It always takes me a minute to settle into snorkeling but once I do I find it to be so meditative. While we didn’t see anything crazy, the reef was beautiful and I saw some cool fish. I really mostly enjoyed the completely immersive experience that snorkeling offers. I also asked one of our guides about a million questions about the reefs, the health of the ocean and what we can do on land to help our oceans. His number one was reduce single-use plastics drastically.
After snorkeling we went over to an area off the shore where mangroves grow for a kayaking trip. Mangroves are trees or shrubs that grow in brackish water and serve an important purpose in protecting the island. They are also a nursery where a lot of marine life lives until they are ready to go out into the open ocean.
I loved this experience and it was a highlight of the trip. Our guide talked to us so much about how important mangroves are from an ecological standpoint.
We even got to paddle into some of the mangrove islands to see their root structures up close. It was magical and so special.
On a less magical note…our excursion ended on a harrowing note. A few of us had a bit of an “emergent need” to go to the bathroom on the boat ride back to the resort. Our guide Jarryd (who was a super cool dude from South Africa) nonchalantly suggested we jump in the ocean to take care of our needs. Well friends, let me tell you, jumping into the deep ocean with all of its waves and currents was NOT a good idea. We literally had a deep ocean rescue of one of our group members. It was crazy town and something Brittany and I will talk about for many retreats to come. Sweet Jarryd should have at least had us wear life jackets.
THE BEST PART of this retreat was the people. Hands down.
First off, partnering with Brittany was perfection. She and I are so on the same page about so many things in life and our approach to the retreat was so in synch. We spent so much time hanging out and in deep conversation about everything from yoga to relationships to politics to family dynamics to health/wellness and much, much more. I am so lucky to be aligned with Brittany and Studio B Power Yoga.
And the group that came together for this retreat was truly special. I am so introverted and the first day was hard for me. It takes me a minute to warm up but once I did…AHHH THESE PEOPLE!
One thing I love about retreats is that I have the time to have deep and meaningful one-on-one conversations with people and to form deeper relationships.
I got to meet a couple that came because she has followed my blog for a long time. I basically now want them to be my BFFs.
These two made me wonder why I don’t live in PA so I can practice and work with Brittany on the regular and workout with and train them regularly. They are #goals when it comes to relationships, career and parenting.
This is something Brittany and I plan to do on an annual basis. Stay tuned for details on our next fitness and yoga retreat! We are thinking something more intimate and eco-tourism focused. 🙂
Where would be your ideal yoga + fitness retreat location?
Do you enjoy snorkeling?
Would you rather do a relaxing vacation or one with excursions?