Day Five: To Build a Home

girlvana yoga and meditation for teen girls
girlvana yoga and meditation for teen girls

Today was our last day of the retreat. My heart was pounding as I walked into the lodge this morning to grab a coffee and edit the previous day's photos. The girls and mentors slowly came in for breakfast, you could taste the heartache in the air as our final day began. We grouped together in the yoga room one last time to do a journal activity where we re-introduced ourselves to the world and moved through our final yoga practice. While in child’s pose near the beginning of yoga, the song “To Build a Home” by The Cinematic Orchestra came on, a wave of sadness flowed through my body, and the tears started to fall. Girlvana is a home and sanctuary for myself and every other girl who comes, so this final day at Bodega Ridge comes with a broad spectrum of emotions. We said our last words to each other and the mentors who brought our retreat to a close, there was not a dry eye in the room.

We packed up the cars, said goodbye to Bodega Ridge and headed out for a day trip around Galiano Island. We went to the Retreat Cove caves to explore the beauty that nature creates, chatted and took many pictures. Afterward, we traveled to the Galiano Soap Works to purchase some bath bombs and face masks and talked some more. We then made our way to the ferry terminal where we got some delicious, refreshing ice-cream to cool off and looked at some books at the Galiano Bookstore. We loaded onto the ferry and made our way back to civilization. My eyes glistened with tears as I hugged the girls and mentors one final time before saying goodbye to my safe haven of three years.

girlvana yoga and meditation for teen girls

I never felt like I had a home where I felt safe, listened to and loved, only a house that I would sleep in every night. Here at Girlvana, I was able to find a home and a family that loved me for me, scars and all, without a wavering doubt. I have made so many long lasting friendships and deepened others. I have made such close connections with the mentors that I call them my moms. They have created a beautiful, nurturing and safe space for girls who deal with serious issues, and are able to peel off their layers and be raw with one another.  

After being wrapped up and cradled in the loving arms of every single person at Girlvana for three years, I am sad for my last retreat to come to an end. I will continue to nourish the lifelong friendships I have made with these women while practicing all that they have taught me. My sensitivity is a superpower, not to be afraid of my emotions, to work on loving myself and to keep the people you meet at Girlvana close. Girlvana is not just spending five days doing yoga, eating fantastic food, laughing and crying with amazing girls, it is a way of being. It is a presence that travels with you all your life, no matter what you may face or where your journey may take you. Girlvana lives inside us all. I will forever be grateful for the memories, lessons, and connections I have made here at Girlvana.


Written by Girlvana Girl, Abby Pfortmueller
Photos by Abby Pfortmueller