How often do people truly take time for themselves; to learn more about who we are, what we like, and what makes us, us? To strip away all the things that makes up your comfortable world and become completely and utterly vulnerable to your true self can be a scary thing. But who are you when everything has been stripped away and things go quiet? What parts of you do you truly value and what parts do you need to let go? These are some of the questions Alexzandra Peters posed as we sat around a quiet, ambient light in the Sacred Valley of Peru.
I’ve never been the type of person to treat myself or put myself first. I’ve always been a giver and a pleaser, quietly lending out pieces of my heart that I often never got back in an effort to make others happy. I have never found it to be too exhausting, but I know I’ve needed to focus on myself more and more over the past few months. And I think all of the beautiful souls on the retreats felt exactly the same way.
When I first saw the Journey to the Soul Retreat I knew it was something I needed to experience – and in Peru? How magical! I joined this retreat solo and I really wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of it. I came with an open mind and I left with a truly open heart. It was one of the best and nourishing experiences of my life. As soon as I stepped out of the van, Azma from Adzenture Retreats and Fernando from Samadhi greeted us girls with a warm hug. From that first moment, both Azma and Fernando ensured my experience was the best it could be. From the food and accommodations to the activities and experiences, my journey in Perudise was, without a doubt, life changing.
Let me know just start with what we were so graciously fed during the retreat. First of all, the food was absolutely delicious. Each day we were served authentic and organic food from the wonderful kitchen staff. Breakfasts consisted of smoothie cups, a variety of quinoa pancake renditions and warm apple cider, eggs and avocado, and fresh fruit. Lunches and dinners were brightly coloured with sweet potatoes, eggplants, fresh Peruvian corn, delicate salads, homemade pizza, and tasty Peruvian style tacos. The tacos were everything –I mean, the avocado mash, the chicken, the sauces, and the puffed up taco shells were drool worthy. I am still dreaming about the food! Needless to say everything we ate and the kitchen team blew me away. I definitely had a happy belly and happy heart after each meal!
If you are ever looking for a place that embodies true spiritual purpose, intent, and integrity, Samadhi Sacred Valley Retreat Centre is it. I don’t think I have ever stayed in a hotel or hostel quite like this. Each cottage was themed by the chakra system and housed three guests. The little cottages were surrounded by beautiful gardens that followed the chakra colours and were completed with chakra styled stained glass skylights that shone brightly in the moonlight. The staff carefully cleaned and stocked the rooms daily and were very respectful of our things. Every morning we woke up to an incredible view of the Sacred Valley Mountains. It was such a great place to snap a picturesque yoga pose or Instaworthy photo. Trust me, I don’t think any of us girls passed on any of the photo ops!
Excursions and Adventures:
Between scenic train rides and spiritual walks through Macchu Picchu and local market shopping, it wasn’t hard to forget the dull concrete jungles we all escaped from. While we were only there for a short time, Adzenture Retreats made sure to offer us a variety of opportunities for the best experiences Peru had to offer. This included making pottery at a local shop, hiking Rainbow Mountain (highly recommend seeing this landmark), a full-day excursion to Macchu Picchu with an experienced guide, and making chocolate at a local market. For such a quick trip, it was great to have so many different options to explore Peruvian culture and the gorgeous countryside.
Yoga, Workshops, and Inner Work:
Between the scenic morning flows and evening journal prompts, this retreat was exactly what my soul needed. Our teacher Alexzandra Peters is possibly one of the most beautiful humans I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with. Her guided practices and deep thought-provoking questions drew together a group of 20 strangers in the best way. When Alex first told us that the week was going to be emotionally difficult, I had no idea what to expect. As I walked into our first journaling session, I was almost shaking with the thought of having to share my inner turmoil. It was terrifying, the thought of being so vulnerable in front of strangers. I thought I was going to die from the anxiety when Alex announced that we would be reading one of our answers out to the group. I was panicked by the thought of sharing my entry with just one person, but the whole group absolutely shook me to my core! However, I was there for a reason and participated with an open heart and mind. Through tearful eyes and an almost stifled voice, I literally spilled some of my honest inner truths to these women. I read my entry word for word as the person to my left rubbed my back and the person to my right held my hand. Then it went on: one by one we all listened to, cried for, and supported every piece of vulnerability that was put out into the ether. It was cathartic. It was hard but freeing – and exactly what I needed.
Accompanying the journaling and yoga were a few workshops and spiritual ceremonies we also got to experience. On the first night of the retreat we were privileged to experience a Depascho Ceremony. Led by a local Inca shaman, we were guided to express intent and gratitude for the retreat by offering gifts to Mother Earth. A despacho is a prayer bundle or offering that is used to help restore balance and harmony, and send gratitude to the four winds and Mother Earth. Each of us was given four cocoa leaves to set our intentions for the retreat and contribute to the despacho. At the end of the ceremony, we sat around a bonfire as the despacho burned, and bonded with each other for the first time. I think we all knew then how close we were going to become.
One of the best outcomes of this retreat was creating all the lasting relationships with the women on the retreat. Some nights were spent quietly chatting about life, ambitions, and inner truths, while other nights were spent listening to music, laughing, and dancing like free spirits. We all felt at home with each other; braiding each other’s hair, eating Peruvian treats and laughing about the events of the days, lying on each other’s laps on the main house couches, and celebrating the Raptors win in the NBA finals. The bonds created between each woman were deep and full of life. It was amazing to see so many different personalities; stories, memories, and life experiences come together in unity, searching for a similar sense of understanding and belonging. I truly believe each woman found a space in themselves they didn’t think they had. I know I did.
I am so grateful I took a leap of faith to attend this retreat with Alex, Azma and the rest of the women. I am so grateful for the experiences, the friendships I made, the adventures I had, and for being able to piece together a part of me I thought would be fragmented forever. The contents of this retreat have fueled my passion for discovering the world and connecting with my soul even more than before. I am grateful for the professionalism, love, and care of Azma, Alexandra, the Adzenture Retreats team, and the Samadhi Sacred Valley family.
I cannot wait to go on another retreat and adventure with Adzenture Retreats in the future and find paradise in another place.