It's Friday morning. I wake up at the crack of dawn. Tired from a late night at work. I still have to pack and get myself to the train on time. Carrying two bags and a yoga mat on the subway, I’m feeling bogged down and stressed out. I just can't wait to get there. I'm off to my first ever SurfYogaBeer retreat, and it's coming at the perfect time. Off to Montauk I go, excited to see my friends and looking forward to the new ones that I will make along the way.
Day 2 – Harbor Yoga, Boat Party, group Dinner and dancing
I am a day late to join the party, but happy to be here and can't wait to jump right in. I missed a yoga practice, an awesome barbeque and a wild hot tub party the night before, so I was definitely looking forward to join the SYB crew on Day 2.
I find the crew on the beach in Montauk and everyone is slightly sun-kissed, salty, and glistening in sweat. I had been hanging out with the SYB crew in the city for the past few months and they had quickly become some of my close friends. Even so, as the introductions were made, I was surprised by how many faces I didn't recognize.
What better way to bond with new people, than to get a little sweaty, have some laughs, eat some amazing food, all in a new setting. First stop: Yoga overlooking Montauk Harbor, lead by one of the most gentle, wholesome humans I have met in my entire life. Erin Ward was our yoga instructor for the weekend, and was one of the most amazing leaders we could have possibly had. She instantly bonded the group, and was very in-tune with each individual’s strengths and areas of improvement. She was a consistent source of calm, strength, motivation, and she was everyone's biggest cheerleader.
After our harbor yoga, we went for the best boat ride. There were so many of us that we took two boats. SYB was taking the water, and no one could stand in our way. I was on Captain Mantas' boat. Our fearless leader was riding wakes and giving us quite the thrill. We posted up in the most gorgeous setting. Deep water, high sand dunes in the distance and the beautiful Hamptons’ houses sprawling the landscape. We were floating around on tubes, swimming in the water, and 100% living our lives. We caught a great sunset on the water. Perfect for some top-notch instagrams, of course adding our SurfYogaBeer hashtag.
With the sun going down, it was time to head back, change, and grab a great dinner on the water. Lobster rolls and crab spaghetti for the win, followed by a dance party to all Talking Heads songs. What more could a girl ask for? All danced out, it was time to hit the hay and do it all over the next day.
Saturday morning: 5:45AM wake-up call. I was off to do 108 sun salutations with the wonderful Erin. Erin explained that the number 108 is very significant, and represents the 108 human passions. She explained that around number 50, we would feel frustrated, around 70 we would feel motivated, and at the end we would be so proud of ourselves. AND... She was right. When we got to number 3, I was already thinking, no way can I do 105 more of these things. However, it started to become second nature. It was the first time in a yoga practice that I truly applied my breath to ALL of my movements. It was cool because we all were doing our salutations at our own pace, but at certain moments, our movements would line up with the person next to us, and even at one point, I found us all flowing together. Afterwards, I felt accomplished, proud of myself for sticking with it, and bonded to the 12 others around me who had done it as well. It definitely was a mental challenge, and left me feeling clear-minded, strong, and ready to take on my day. (Little did I know that I wouldn't be able to move my hamstrings the next day!)
Fast forward... The whole crew heads out the do some stand-up paddle-boarding. 22 paddle-boarders, some experienced, some for the first time. Talk about a fleet. It was so cool to all move across the water together. We stopped and did some headstands on the boards, some acro-yoga and to take a little swim. Our leaders Mantas and Nate went tandem on one board to go super fast, towing a train of tired paddlers behind them. The water was slick calm, the group was stoked, and the core workout was top notch. Definitely one of my favorite memories from the weekend.
We headed back to the house to do a circuit training exercise by the pool. This was hard….let me tell you. It definitely kicked my butt, but I was laughing the whole time. As Mantas says, laughter makes the best abs.
It was time to head out for our afternoon/evening adventures. Off to Gurney's we went. We did sunset yoga on the beach, lead by Erin. We were all excited for the night to come, some of us were a little tipsy, and we were happy to be in such a beautiful place with such fun people. Doing yoga on the beach, closing your eyes and hearing the sound of the waves was something special. It helped me stay calm, centered and focused. A beautiful setting with beautiful people was just was the doctor ordered. We finished this, and of course the best thing to do was to jump in the ocean to wash the sand off. Our sunset swim had me feeling like a SYB mermaid.
Hit the showers, or lack there of. The girls’ bathroom was a sea of bathing suits and "going out clothes." I've never seen so many girls get ready so fast. That's a testament to how much fun we were having, no one wanted to waste any time. Go with the flow was the name of the game. It was fun and free and everyone was living in the moment.
We headed back upstairs to spend the night on the upper deck. MORE lobster rolls and a few bottles of rose, all in the midst of a live salsa band. The dance floor was populated with SYB guys and girls, and we were definitely in our element. SurfYogaDance was our new name. But it didn't end there. Home we went, only to continue the dance party with the nae nae and some twerkin. Definitely a night for the books.
Sunday morning wake-up. Starting the day off with a partner massage and meditation. After our dance party the night before, we were definitely bonded, so massaging each other and getting real close was nothing out of the ordinary.
A Salud breakfast was the best thing for us. I grabbed two plates full of good food. Fruit, eggs, warm kale, and of course... bacon. Refueling after all of the adventures from the weekend.
The trip was coming to a close, so we wrapped up with an awards ceremony to acknowledge each other and celebrate together one last time. Prizes were awarded, including awesome SYB clothing, sunglasses, and the coolest 3D-printed trophy surfboards from Normal Ears. We got to do shout-outs and acknowledge each other for our triumphs, wipeouts, and hard work. It was a great way to wrap-up the weekend and bring everything full circle.
The friends started to head out, the trains started to leave, and the van was packed. The weekend was coming to a close, and I was definitely sad about it.
One last dip in the ocean was necessary to say goodbye. So we headed over to the beach for some champagne, a little acro-yoga and final swim.
Back to the city we went, still a little sweaty, still a lot salty, and our spirits feeling a little lighter than we first arrived.
Riding the subway home that night, with my two bags and my yoga mat. I couldn't help but notice the difference in my attitude than the subway ride to start this whole journey. I wasn't bogged down and I wasn't feeling overwhelmed. I was happy, clear-minded, more connected, and feeling ready for the week ahead. I couldn't help but smile thinking of this change of attitude from three days earlier and was feeling thankful for the connections I made that helped me feel that way.
I was signing off from SurfYogaBeer for the weekend, but in my mind I knew that the fun was really just beginning. On to the next one... Costa Rica, watch out, I'm coming for you!