The Girlvana Summer Retreat 2016: Day 1

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. - Coco Chanel

The arrival day marks the beginning of a week that's always bound to be something special. This summer's group is by far our most global, with girls from Nashville, Miami, London, California, Manitoba, Alberta and Vancouver. With nervous excitement in the air, the girls walked off the Gulf Islands ferry to a warm, sunshine filled afternoon and ecstatic mentors awaiting their arrival. Beginnings are always SO special.

Our afternoon kicked off with a hearty meal, filled with ingredients foraged from the Bodega Ridge property and gardens. The dining table was filled with conversation and questions, where nervous excitement began to fall away as the girls got to know the new friends they would be spending the week with.

After eating, we got connected, unpacked, settled in, then got into movement. The yoga practiceβ€”while new to some and a daily routine for othersβ€”was an invitation for the girls to simply move and be in their bodies; to feel all the feels we so quickly choose to numb, and to experience giving themselves permission to just be. In this place, experience and exposure don't matter - only being with one another and moving from pose to pose, breath to breath.

girlvana_yoga_room

Girlvana uses yoga for just that: a chance to give teens a different way of interacting with life - free of judgement, labels and personas. It's an access point to shedding layers that have been put on and built up - and to find a true, real and honest self expression.

Feeling lighter, we shared another meal around the dinner table, this time conversations felt deeper and connections were starting to form. The magic of the week was already being sparked - and we can't wait to see what the rest of the week holds.