Updated: Apr 4, 2019
By: Shelby Smit
Over the spring reading week, I had the opportunity to travel to Mancora, Peru to participate in a yoga retreat at Kichic Boutique Hotel. The retreat was hosted by one of my best friends Leanne Davis, owner of “Drift Yoga”.
Leanne's intention behind teaching is to make positive shifts in other people’s lives and inspire many through the practice of yoga. Throughout the last few years, Leanne has worked with many different yoga studios in Europe and in North America. She is currently living in Toronto, Ontario with her husband and little one, but is always busy planning her semi-annual retreats around the globe.
The retreat offered different types of room and pricing options. Depending on the size, style, or occupancy, the price would fluctuate a bit. For me personally, this was a very expensive trip to participate in. It was a bucket list item but also a great way to support a friend and encourage her path.
For me personally, I knew going into the experience that I was going to learn a lot of things about yoga and meditation as I have not been previously active in either. I can say that after participating, I have learned a lot about different yoga positions and breathing techniques than I had originally gone there with. I also believe that the experience is most definitely in the esthetic realm as the location and retreat offerings were incredibly convincing based on the descriptions and photos provided beforehand. Once we arrived, it was even more clear that this place was a luxury location in Peru.
Leanne had made a tremendous effort when engaging with her retreaters to inspire a relaxed but transformative personal growth experience. Throughout the entire process, from the first group email, during the retreat, and to the final group email she engaged in such a way to ensure the retreater felt included and welcome. The theme of the experience was to discover our true identity and dig deep to truly understand desires, dreams, thoughts, motivations or feelings and to explore our roots. She continuously reinforced the theme of rediscovery and harmony by including it in the way she interacted with each retreater individually, or within the group at a session. She made herself available to chat with each retreater to ensure a positive experience but to also symbolize and connect to maintain each relationship. Upon check-in, each retreater received a welcome gift bag that included things like: a branded journal, a branded beach bag, a “stress reducing” bracelet, SPF lip chap and much more. This definitely added to the retreat and was a nice surprise to receive for each guest. The five senses were definitely apparent at the location of this retreat. Kichic Hotel reinforced a positive experience and aligned well with the theme and goal that Leanne was working towards. The food was incredible and offered fresh, local ingredients, including fresh fish from the ocean caught that day. Between touch and sight, the retreat was beautifully decorated with a very earthy feel. Lots of wood and greenery everywhere you looked and there wasn’t a spot on the property that you couldn’t hear or smell the ocean. This location for this retreat was an incredibly stimulating experience for each of the five senses.
Between the food, the location and the staff, the retreat was an incredibly authentic and local experience. The food was all considered a local cuisine and offered things like: ceviche, corn dishes and local soup recipes. Leanne chose this location specifically for the hotel, but also because the location was perfect as it was so close to town for the retreaters to explore to gain an even deeper connection with the locals and understand their daily life. Many times, we would go into town on a 10 Sol tuk-tuk ($4 CDN) to experience a different restaurant, shopping or surfing experience.
There is very little that I would do to improve this experience for future retreaters. My only comment would be the price as it is very expensive, but also incredibly worth it if you can make it work. As mentioned earlier, it was a once in a lifetime trip, and I would not hesitate to
recommend this type of trip or the retreat operator, Drift Yoga, to anyone. I feel incredibly blessed that I was able to participate in a trip like this, and to experience it with other likeminded individuals. My take-away from this experience was how incredibly focused Leanne was on creating a theme and a positive environment that was reinforced throughout the entirety of the trip and each interaction.