Eco-Friendly Yoga Retreat Leads to a Quest for Bliss: That Happened


ColumnAfter a week on an eco-friendly yoga retreat, I have no interest in making myself angry so I’m taking a break from sticking it to the man.

Those of you who live in the world know that this winter has sucked ass. In addition to the war on women, thousands of dogs being killed in Sochi, attacks on our right to choose and other insults, it’s been really, really cold. We’re breaking records here, people.

But I am smart. I escaped for an entire week and went on an eco-friendly yoga retreat.

 Now that I am back in Chicago, reengaging with my newsfeeds and thinking about the possible feminist issues to talk about this week, I have come to a conclusion: I just can’t.

I thought about adding my two cents to the atrocity of Pussy Riot being attacked with whips and tear gas at the Olympics. I considered writing about the mom who was arrested for trying to get abortion drugs for her daughter. These things are important.

But I can’t.

I had such an amazing time in a beautiful place with a great group of ladies (and one equally great guy) that I want to bask in the bliss of being surrounded by good people rather than think about who’s zoomin’ who and undermining my rights as a woman today.

Xinalani is an eco-friendly yoga retreat center about 40-minutes by boat from Puerto Vallarta. I went with my main Chicago-based yoga instructor, Sara, and Diana, a San Francisco-based teacher I also love to practice with.

The plan was: two yoga classes a day with time in between to enjoy various activities like sitting, reading, hiking, playing Cards Against Humanity and whale watching.

There were also like 18 meals a day. Who overeats on a yoga retreat? Everyone who goes to Xinalani, I’d guess.

Our Foodie Underground columnist would have jammed on the gluten-free granola I had every morning at breakfast number one—it was so good that even gluten-eaters opted for it—and, yes, there were two breakfasts every day.


The staff didn’t give side eye when asked three times if something was vegan and/or gluten-free (even though most things were labelled). Everything was fresh, local and delicious. Okay, there was one mole/mushroom thing I could have done without, but the rest of the meals more than made up for it.

The yoga studios are pretty much treehouses and all of the rooms have at least one wall open. Let me pause here. I don’t believe in camping as a thing I should do (if you’re into it, that’s super), and I was nervous about an open-air room in a jungle.

There was a net over the bed which is good because a few uninvited guests did venture into my room. Notably, a hand-sized spider that I am fairly certain is responsible for the bite on my back, and a little frog who joined me in the shower. I was cool with the frog.

As I hunker down for the next wave of record-breaking cold (there was thundersnow here this week—I honestly didn’t even know that was a real thing) and brace for the next barrage of sexist crap, I’m giving myself a mental health pass on fighting the man this week.

Instead, I’m just sharing some advice for all of you eco-travelers: Retreat to Xinalani and stay offline while you’re there.

That Happened is Libby Lowe’s weekly column for EcoSalon analyzing media, news and pop culture through a feminist lens. Keep in touch with Libby @LibbyLowe.

Related on EcoSalon

A Vietnamese Love Story

10 Green Travel Tips

30 Best Quotes About Travel

Images: Xinalani