AKA….I MET ALLIE!!!!
This post actual starts about 4 years ago. I was working as a nurse and my husband had just broken his back in a construction accident. We have 4 sons, and at that time only 3 were living with us and so I had a spare room, and lots of time at home.
I had been falling back in love with yoga, and having this new space allowed me to have a sacred area to practice it-que @thejourneyjunkie Learn 30 Yoga Poses in 30 Days. It was my first real introduction to Allie VanFossen, and looking back, the begining of my yoga journey. Corney right??? I know!! But its so true guys!!!!
I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t do A LOT of the poses that Allie demonstrated, but it gave me the confidence to try them, and become more interested in learning about them, and then pushing myself to actually DO them. I subscribed to Allie’s newsletter, and found myself so damn excited every Sunday when she would send out a new video AND always a worksheet to go with it.
One of those worksheets was How To Create the Most Epic Day. When I filled this out, I realized that teaching yoga was something that I really wanted to do. I found myself cueing “students” during my practice, and daydreaming about holding a class of my own.
Yep, you guys know how this story went…..I enrolled in my YTT, graduated with some pretty freaking awesome women that I still keep in touch with, and started to grow my yoga business.
So jump forward to…….2018 Allie announces that she will be hosting her first ever yoga retreat. June, my birthday month. June!!!!! I had already booked a birthday vacation with my husband! And this is the month she chose to host it??? My heart was broken.
But later that year, I got an email from Allie, letting me know that she is hosting a second retreat, this time in January. My heart skipped a beat. Do I want to register…….um……KEVIN!!!! GRAB THE MASTERCARD!!!!!!!
So I booked it. And the months slowly ticked away. Until one day, January was upon us.
I specifically remember looking over at my 3rd son Ethan the night before I left, and sincerely asking him how to act when I met Allie. I was so fan girling that I was afraid I’d be a total spaz and Allie would have to call security on me. He told me that he had a similar fear when he met one of his favourite skateboarders, Figgy. He said he played it cool (my words not his, I actually can’t remember the words he used, but I DO remember thinking that I should let my bestie Kim know-we try to keep up with the latest lingo), and that he and Figgy just skated all day together like friends, and when the day was over, he asked him for a selfie, and it was the best picture. “Just don’t be weird, Mom.” Those are 100% his words.
So I boarded my flight, alone. Gitty with excitement, nervous with flying 100% alone and being the only Canadian going to this retreat. I landed, and texted my jungle sisters. Two of them were also at the airport. I met up with them and we boarded the bus to goto Selva Armonia. Man was I nervous. My stomach was in knots, I was regretting signing up. WTF was I doing? Foreign country, total spaz and I don’t know anyone. The bus pulled up to the hotel where the remainder of our retreat members were staying. One by one they boarded the bus…..”Hey Kim!” Mindy climbed in, smiles and love! “Oh hello there Kim” Karen says as she sits down beside me. Have you ever had this kind of experience? The online friend experience and then getting to meet them in real life? It’s a neat feeling. I knew these woman, probably knew things about them that their closest friends didn’t know, and now here they all were, sitting with me on a bus that was bringing us to the woman that laid the foundation for all of this. “Don’t be weird” kept replaying over and over in my head. Don’t be weird, I’ll be fine!
For 4 hours we treked up a mountain, 4 HOURS. We stopped along the way to shop at small gift shop and gaze upon some WILD CROCODILES!!! ALLIGATORS???? I think CROCODILES. Just sunning themselves. It was outrageous!
And then we arrived. It was dusk. We had switched vehicles from the bus to 4×4 trucks to get us up the rest of the mountain…..yes you read that right. I looked out the window. There she was. Others had already gotten out of the vehicle and were being greeted by Allie. I was frozen. Don’t be weird. I was the last person off the bus. I immediately went for my backpack and stood outside of the group of retreaters, dyeing inside. WHY WAS NO ONE ELSE FREAKING OUT??!!
And then Allie approached me….Don’t be weird….”Kim!!!!! I’m so honoured to have you here! It’s so nice to finally meet you!!” Don’t be weird. “Hi.” That’s it. I remember Allie standing there, her tiny frame looking right at me with a huge welcoming smile, and me staring at her trying so hard not to be weird, or cry, or embarrass myself because I was so star struck by her. It felt like hours of weird silent minutes went by. “Okay………..so let’s get you to your room, you’re likely exhausted.” Nope Allie, not exhausted, weird.
The next morning, we woke, ate some fruit and practiced yoga for 2 hours on the most amazing floating yoga deck I’ll ever in my life see. Now that it was daylight, we could see the vast beauty of this very isolated, rustic and self sufficient resort. It was unlike anywhere I’d ever been.
My nerves were not calming at all, I found myself acting bizarre. During the first yoga session, I do recall we were to go around the circle and say how we were feeling afterwards. I don’t recall the exact word I said, but I said it honestly….I think it was “confused”. I remember everyone else saying calm, at peace, beautiful, relaxed. And I did feel all those things, but my most honest answer was confused, I felt like I didn’t know how to act. I needed to get out of my own head for sure!
The days at Selva Armonia were unlike anything I’d ever experienced. We did 4 hours of yoga a day, ate vegan meals that were prepared fresh by the in-house staff with food they grew. We listed to cicadas so loud you sometimes couldn’t hear your neighbour talking. We co-habitated with cockroaches, lizards, spiders (SO BIG), cicadas, monkeys and so many other animals.
My room was a double bungalow with 2 beds and space to hang your clothing. The bathroom was in another building and shared with our neighbour Brianne. The sink was outdoors…..OUTDOORS. So you brushed your teeth with bats and bugs bigger than your hand. So, sometimes they didn’t get brushed, judge all you want, we were in the freaking jungle people!!!
I was weird for some time, guys. I felt like I couldn’t speak or make sentences when Allie was around. I planned what I was going to say so hard that it really made no sense. On around day 3 I remember Allie coming up to me after most of the girls had left the table. She rubbed my back and stood right beside me “Talk to me about these retreats you’re running. I want to know everything.” And that was it. We talked honestly about everything from planning to self care when you run retreats or workshops. How energy depleted you feel and how important it is to both ensure you engage but also self care. The conversation lasted about 45 minutes. It was amazing. She offered advice, shared experiences and gave me the warmest hug. And I felt comfortable, accepted, heard.
For the rest of the week, we were immersed in the Chakra System. We manifested our wildest dreams and step by step allowed our chakra system to bring them to the earth plane, ground them, make them real. We planned, we dreamed, we talked, we explored and we bonded. It was safe.
There were excursions too! I rode a horse in the jungle, through a river to a freaking waterfall! Yep! Some of the girls went zip lining and a brave bunch hiked up a mountain to a waterfall-while some of us stayed back and drank wine by the pool!!
And then in a blink, it was all over. We were drinking margaritas and eating nachos in San Jose, a farewell dinner.
A quick evening visit, and I stumble up to my room. Unable to say goodbye to some of the most amazing people. I didn’t want to say goodbye, so I ran. And I regret it. I didn’t hug anyone with the exception of Allie. I ran, slept for 3 hours and then left for my solo flight home…..which is another story in itself guys….stay tuned!!!!!
It’s funny how connected I feel with these women. I absolutely know that when I need support, boosting up, advice, honesty they’re there for me. It’s such an amazing thing.
We talk about a yearly reunion….and I can’t wait for that to happen. We are a very eclectic bunch of babes, ranging from corporate professionals to stay a home moms to yoga teacher to artists. A perfect mash of bad ass babes….The Journey Junkie Jungle Sisters.