Where we’re at: I’m recapping my travels in 2019, including this retreat to Florida in July. Want to explore Florida with me? Be sure to nab one of the last few spots to our Wander Women Key Largo: A Sustainability Dive + Yoga Retreat rescheduled for July 15-18, 2021.
I realize for some this is a difficult time to read about travel. I am writing often about our current global crisis — the impact it’s having on me personally, on the world of travel, and on the world at large — regularly on my social media channels, covering topics like wellness-focused practices, and giving away generously to charities helping those in need.
However, my blog audience has spoken and they have overwhelmingly requested a break from COV-tent (content about, well, you know…), and a place where they can mentally escape right now. So, I will continue to post from my past travels to inspire those who wish to daydream about the day it is safe to travel again. Wishing all of you love and peace in this time of reflection.
By day three of our Wander Women St. Pete Yoga + Aerial Arts Retreat, our guests were as smitten with St. Pete as we are. If you missed Part I of this recap, start there to find out why!
After starting the day with our DIY breakfast nook at our hotel, we headed back over to The Movement Sanctuary for our next aerial workshop — this one in lyra, sometimes known as aerial hoop.
This was a particularly fun moment for me because I actually was able to assist! While I’m far from an aerial arts instructor (I’d classify myself as an enthusiastic intermediate, rather than even an advanced, student), our retreat was open to brand new beginners and so we had plenty who had never been on the hoop at all before.Still, there were two chicas who knew their way around a lyra, and I’d planned a few more advanced tricks for us to play around with. While I have plenty of experience working with my fellow aerialists to figure out a flow — it’s definitely the Good Karma way! — it was a fun new challenge for me to demo and lead a small group.
When Jess and I said the trip was about getting outside everyone’s comfort zone, we definitely included ourselves in that, too!
That afternoon, we were making yet another attempt to enjoy one of St. Pete’s famed beaches, despite unexpectedly hitting the stormiest week of the summer (“it hasn’t rained in a month!,” the locals loved to tell us while we sought shelter from a downpour.)
We’d planned to post up at Postcard Inn on the Beach, another hotel I loved on a previous trip to the area. The chic converted seaside motel boasts a fluffy white stretch of sand, a pool, and a lively beach bar, plus all kinds of water sport offerings right offshore — and we’d arranged wristbands to enjoy all of the above.
Read more about my stay at Postcard Inn here!
Of course, after arriving to bright blue skies and eating lunch overlooking the sea we couldn’t wait to leap in, thunder clouds rolled in more or less the moment we were finished. But you know what I loved about this group? They literally danced in the rain.
We played around on the cloudy beach for a while before retreating to the absolutely packed beach bar, where one of the girls bought a round of shots and we all sampled from the frozen beverage menu. When it really started to pour, me and two of the girls grabbed pool noodles and had a kiddie pool throw down, to the delight of the bar-goers who cheered us on and the bartender who got in on the fun by dumping a bucket of ice in the pool.
It was perhaps the most fun rained-out beach day I’ve ever had.
The amount of piña coladas we’d consumed kind of reflected that we assumed out sunset SUP yoga class would be cancelled, but to our surprise, they called and let us know the radar showed the weather was passing through and we were indeed on as planned. Hustling into cabs, we made our way over to Urban Kai at The Getaway for our private class.
I’ve taken classes with Urban Kai before in their Tampa location, and was thrilled when I realized they had an outpost at The Getaway, one of my favorite St. Pete finds. Tucked under the bridge from Tampa, this spot feels like it materialized straight from a Jimmy Buffet song. Brightly painted picnic tables in the sand, boats tied up to the dock, dolphins playing in the sunset, frozen drinks with a tropical twist, and live music lingering into the night.
After a quick paddle lesson on land, the girls set off to anchor up for their yoga class. I lingered behind to grab a few aerial shots with my drone before heading out to join them in time for a few flows.
I’m a huge fan of sup yoga, having taken it in Martha’s Vineyard, Aruba, Bermuda, Tel Aviv, Koh Tao and Key West, just to name a few. In fact, I’m planning to get my own SUP yoga teacher training certification one of these days — it’s a fun week or weekend long continuing education training!
I love SUP yoga for many reasons, one that it brings the fun and play back into a yoga practice, two that it takes the basic asanas you might kind of turn on auto-pilot for and gives them a whole new life with a massive balance challenge, and three that it puts you up close and personal with mother nature. Any retreat I can work it into, I do.
After class, there was an optional SUP paddle tour for anyone who wanted to participate, which most of the group did. However, I think a few of them were regretting it towards the end of the hour of paddling, ha — it really is a killer upper body workout, especially after an active day! Still, it was a beautiful paddle through the mangroves, and sometimes it’s good to feel the burn.
We’d snagged a front row seat for sunset at The Getaway, so after turning in our paddles we posted up, ordered dinner and drinks, and enjoyed a well-earned chilled out evening under the stars.
Some of my longterm readers might know that part of the reason this area is so near and dear to my heart is that my dad’s two sisters live in Tampa! I grew up there visiting them and my late cousin and grandma. My Aunt Karen is my biggest cheerleader and I was super proud to have her join us for dinner and get to see first-hand a little bit of what I do at Wander Women Retreats.
As the sun set on another day in the Sunshine State, we said cheers to tired bodies and recharged minds, my favorite combination.
My last retreat recap is still to come — stay tuned!