As women around the world are awakening to their power and what it means to be a woman, more and more yoga retreat leaders are focusing on something called the “divine feminine.” Sloane Gerritzen and Gaby Colletta are two such retreat leaders. On their upcoming yoga retreat, held at the Apoyo Lodge in Nicaragua, Sloane and Gaby will be leading women in activities to connect to the Divine Feminine within. WeTravel had a conversation with Sloane and Gaby where they told us what exactly “divine feminine” means and why a retreat around the topic can be beneficial for so many women.
What Are The Key Elements of Planning Successful Retreats?
Timeline planning • Selecting your venue • Itinerary & program design • Sustainability considerations • Marketing • Financials & profitability • Legal forms & liabilities • Insurance
What is, in your opinion, the definition of divine feminine spirit?
Divine Feminine Spirit is Source. She is creation that feeds potential. She is that place deep within us that is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful. She is intuition. The Divine Feminine rises to the surface when a woman dons the role of mother, of sister, of she who nurtures and protects with the strength and endurance that is simply unmatched by her counterpart. She is Mother Earth, who provides for us all.
What we find so saddening about her Spirit is how buried she has become to so many. There was a time when Oracles and Shamans – those who connected humans with other realms, who were approached when humans desired guidance – were solely women. Then she became buried and nearly forgotten. She is always ready to rise and guide, but the key is in opening our eyes to the signs and allowing her voice to be heard. We keep denying our truth and our power, but if we allow this Divine Spirit to rise, we have every ability to heal, feel whole, and consciously manifest.
Can you tell us a bit more about why you chose Nicaragua, and more specifically Laguna de Apoyo, as your retreat location?
We feel an inexplicable draw to Central America – perhaps it stems from the yearning for simplicity, coupled with the intimate connection between one’s daily life and the natural world. Ultimately, it was the retreat space, Apoyo Lodge, and it’s sacred land that found us. This conscious dwelling is the manifested dream of two inspiring women who met on a peacekeeping mission in the U.N. The universe has a magical synchronicity to it. At separate points in our lives, prior to meeting, we both embarked on Seva missions in Uganda and other remote areas of the world. Thus, when we learned that our values aligned so clearly with the owners, Mirabel and Miriam, we knew that there was a divine reason we came upon this sanctuary. As we learned more about the love and intention put into cultivating such a space, we knew that it would be the exact nurturing and healing grounds for our vision.
The BeLOVEd Retreat is held on the shore of the Apoyo Lagoon, a natural reserve and the caldera of an extinct volcano. The world whispers many lessons. There is something powerful and transformative about the quality of water, it’s cleansing and purification that allows for a rebirth or renaissance of one’s spirit. Not to mention that this lagoon is not any old lake, but it was once a mountain and is now reaching the deepest point in all of Central America. Redefinition at its’ core and the ability to transform and galvanize one’s being was the empowering message we found in this land.
What are some of the benefits of going on a retreat with all women?
There is something sacred and powerful about being in a space that allows for vulnerability.
We will be creating a container that completely welcomes everyone to be who she is. When men and women hold space together, energies can fluctuate, grow too dim or too loud, which is understandable. But when the energies are solely held by women, we can tap into ancient wisdom only accessible in such a container. A sisterhood stands to be created, or, re-membered, where all women can sit in circle, absorb, and carry with them on their journey to heal, protect, and courageously love our world.
What activities on your retreat will you be facilitating to connect women with their femininity?
The activities on the retreat are focused on embracing femininity through the connection to our wild and raw intuition, to our hearts. Activities include:
• Two Asana practices daily – the morning a Yang, Sun-inspired active flow and the afternoon a Yin, Lunar-focused practice. Classes are centered on intentions from reconnecting to our roots and opening our hearts to unlocking creativity and expression.
• Workshops cultivating self-care rituals incorporating Ayurvedic medicine, sensory therapies such as aromatherapy, and partner massage to invite equanimity and nurturing into our lives
• Guided meditation hike that invites purification, reflection, and connection with Mother Nature
• A Cacao ceremony to support heart opening
• A Bonfire – symbolizing the process of letting go, realization, and transformation
• Acro Yoga Workshop: Supporting and trusting in our Sisters
Why is nature such an essential part of our lives, and how can we incorporate it more into the every day as a busy modern woman?
We come from nature. We are organic organisms that thrive through connection with sunlight, seasons, and the lunar pulls – just like the forests and the animals. It is when we forget about this intimate connection that life becomes less balanced and more confusing. It is when ailments arise. When we spend time in nature, we spend time with our original selves. We are reminded of what matters, of what is needed and what isn’t, and of the cyclical flow that sustains ALL life.
We don’t have to live in a tree without wifi to reconnect like this. Whatever effort is available, do it with your entire attention, all senses engaged, and it counts. Maybe that’s just choosing a coffee table outside versus inside while you work at a café, and pausing to look up and feel the breeze on your skin, notice a bird chirping, and feel the earth touching the soles of your feet through your shoes. Maybe that’s opting for a hike on a Sunday morning, or seeking out a vantage point for the sunset, phone not in hand. Like green smoothies or yoga, it can be a challenge to begin this sort of effort. And like green smoothies or yoga, the more you dedicate moments to it, the more your body and spirit will crave it. There’s a reason for that craving; it’s like you are being called home. Because you are.
To learn more about Sloane and Gaby’s upcoming yoga retreat to the beautiful Nicaragua, check out details and sign up below!
About Sloane Gerritzen and Gaby Colletta
Sloane Gerritzen: Seattle-born, everywhere-raised, I am a living testimony of Yoga as medicine. I believe nobody is broken or weak. At the brink of what I refer to as my quarter life crisis, I met Yoga. My mat became my cure from years of looking for answers and remedies in all the wrong places. After only a few yoga classes, it clicked – I knew it was my purpose to share this sacred space with as many others as I could. Years later, again and again, I return to my mat and rediscover Truth. With backgrounds in education, psychology, and dance, my classes are rhythmic, accessible, and as playful as they are deep. I love guiding my students on their unique healing journeys through classes that are strong and sweaty, slow and soft, and everything in between. However we choose to move on our mats, the effects are always transformative medicine. This is why I keep coming back, and why I am here to help you do the same. We are all inherently brave, strong, and whole! When I am not studying Yoga, I am on the hunt for empty beaches or dense forests. I am a firm believer in exploring every corner of our earth, feeling everything, loving more, and including peanut butter in all meals. Wine and chocolate can come, too.
Gaby Colletta: Whether on or off the mat, Gaby teaches yoga as the journey of rediscovering one’s true nature. By inviting subtle awareness and love-inspired intention into each movement, yoga becomes a cathartic and empowering practice. Her classes are rooted in strong Vinyasa, with an emphasis on self-exploration and soulful expression. Her sequences are dynamic, energetic and unexpected while using the power of the breath to move through each asana in one fluid dance. Centered on an intention, incorporating mindfulness and drawing inspiration from the natural world, philosophers, poets and thought leaders, Gaby’s style encourages creativity and positive transformation of the body, mind and spirit. Gaby is a 500-Hour Yoga Alliance Certified Instructor.The foundation for her teachings has grown from a diversity of experiences. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Media, Culture & Communications from New York University. With a curiosity for understanding the beautiful complexity of the mind, she found herself working in advertising. Witnessing the insatiable patterns of modern society, she was inspired to leave her corporate job in pursuit of finding ways to reveal the existing happiness that resides in humanity’s heart. Her greatest education is in the shared experiences of different cultures and people. She volunteered her way across Southeast Asia and Europe, drove her car into the heart of the Earth, learned from the land and the lessons nature has to offer. In 2014, she completed her Yoga Teacher Training rooted in Classical Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa. In 2016, she went on to study Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy through the California College of Ayurveda. Her advanced training took her into the depths of Tantric Philosophy. Gaby has been a practicing yogini for over nine years. When she is not leading yoga classes, she’s off hiking in the mountains, rock climbing, shooting photography or scribbling poems on napkins in a far corner of the world.