Journey Into Sacred Expression Women's Forest Retreat, Lake Atitlan

San Marcos La Laguna, Sololá Department, Guatemala

AH
Aimee Hansen
  • Email address verified
17 reviews
Nov 29 - Dec 8, 2019
Group size: 6 - 12
Journey Into Sacred Expression Women's Forest Retreat, Lake Atitlan
San Marcos La Laguna, Sololá Department, Guatemala

Aimee Hansen
  • Email address verified
17 reviews

$1595
Deposit: $450
Nov 29 - Dec 8, 2019
Group size: 6 - 12

About this trip

Join this intimate women’s retreat event, recommended by Lonely Planet Wellness Escapes, for self-exploration through writing, yoga, meditation, and sacred ceremonies. This women’s circle event is one of 17 “Inspired” global offerings featured in the Lonely Planet travel guide – for experiences that combine creativity, personal growth and culture.


Relax for a week of inspiring landscape, higher perspectives, and beauty all around. We'll take a creative and spiritual journey at The Yoga Forest in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala. We invite you to pause and exhale, take an honest and creative journey inside, and connect with your inner voice. Within each of us lies the adventure of opening deeper into our hearts and animating our own sacred expression.


A Surreal Location


In the rural highlands of Guatemala, The Yoga Forest perches high in the jungle overlooking Lake Atitlan and three majestic volcanoes. A stunning location hidden away in the valley behind San Marcos La Laguna, The Yoga Forest offers beautiful shared cabins with comfortable beds, panoramic views, delicious vegetarian meals, yoga, and Mayan sauna in dream surroundings. Inspired by the creative union of yogic and permaculture principles, this location provides an eco-friendly living experience in harmony with nature for the adventurous of heart.


Retreat Highlights


Surreal and inspiring location with panoramic views

Daily meditation and yoga practice

Daily self-exploratory prompted writing sessions

Evening sacred ceremonies (eg. movement, fire)

Scenic outdoor thatch-roofed yoga shala and writing space

Three delicious vegan, organic vegetarian meals / day

Mayan sauna

Permaculture tour upon request

Breaks for swimming, hiking, kayaking, therapies, visiting villages, and more

Eight nights stay in shared, beautiful eco-friendly cabanas

Maximum of 12 participants


Meditation, yoga, and our intimate sacred circle for writing will be women only and privately held. Meals will be shared with other guests, women or men (the retreat center holds 20-30 guests, including our group).


A Women's Sacred Journey


Set out on a transformative creative and spiritual journey through daily meditation, yoga and self-exploratory writing as a channel to reveal insight from within. Participate in healing ceremonies that help to call your spirit and stoke your soul voice.

Breathe, stretch, relax, and connect with your center while sharing in the experience with other women. This retreat is not about ‘writing’ as a subject or art form. In this retreat, we ourselves are the art form. Every woman has a voice in her own life – we are gathering together to rise it up and own our self-expression.


Inspired by the four shamanic directions and the rising feminine, we embark on a revealing week of re-igniting the voices of our hearts and empowering ourselves as the storytellers of our lives. 


For more insight, details, images and reviews of the Sacred Expression Women's Retreat, please go to: www.thestorytellerwithin.com

Sample Daily Flow

Guests may arrive to The Yoga Forest on Friday, November 29th (check in is 3pm) to relax and settle in. We'll open our circle in the evening. Our daily flow will begin on Saturday, November 30th.

Our days will generally be structured in the following way, creating space for a couple of long breaks during the week to relax, hike, swim, or explore the village(s). We'll hold sacred evening ceremonies and gather around fire. 

6.30am-7am: Sadhana meditation

7am-8.30am: Holistic hatha flow / vinyasa flow

8:30am-9:30am: Delicious breakfast

10am-12.30pm: Spontaneous writing exercises / discussion

12.30pm-1:30pm: Delicious lunch

3.00pm-6.00pm: Spontaneous writing exercises / discussion

6:30pm-7:30pm: Delicious dinner

7:45pm: Sauna, circle, or healing sessions (some evenings)

Location

adventure to beauty

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala captures the heart of many travelers, with its volcanic peak panoramas, spectacular lake, small rural villages and local indigenous Mayan culture.


San Marcos la Laguna is a small Mayan village on Lake Atitlán in the western highlands of Guatemala. It has become a Mecca for international travelers attracted by its beauty, tranquility and diverse options for spiritual exploration and therapy. It is often quoted as the most naturally attractive and peaceful village on the lake.

The Yoga Forest is a 2o minute gorgeous hike into the valley from San Marcos, with an entrance of stone steps leading up, up to this surreal spot, where the adventurer is richly rewarded with dreamlike views over the lake and volcanoes. A basic level of fitness is good.

Accommodation & Delicious Meals

Accommodation


Retreat guests will stay in shared cabanas of up to 4 people. Made of bamboo frames, adobe walls, cypress, and thatched palm roofs, each cabana features Guatemala furniture, Mayan fabrics, and Indian textiles. There are no private bathrooms. Showers and compost facilities are outdoors with beautiful views. Cabana living is attuned to the natural electricity-free rhythm of day & night. 

Delicious Meals

All meals are vegetarian. The Yoga Forest is dedicated to growing food organically and understanding the organic nature of our relationships to our food, our environment and the people within it.

Off-The-Grid

The Yoga Forest aims to help grow and inspire deep green yogis – people dedicated to viewing the environment and their relationship to it in a sustainable manner.

The Yoga Forest has been built using various natural and traditional building methods. We use solar energy for simple electricity and hot water, natural grey water filtering systems for our kitchen and two outdoor showers. We cook outdoors with a beautiful rocket stove and barrel oven installation. We blend our smoothies using a bicycle blender with much joy. We use compost facilities with outstanding views and minimize waste. 

This is a real chance to disconnect and re-treat yourself to the experience of going inwards. Internet is available on one main computer, and electricity is used only in the cafe. We encourage you to connect into your natural rhythms during this retreat. Living amidst nature, spiders and scorpions can be present in the forest.

Getting There & Away

Getting There & Away


The closest international airport is Guatemala City, four hours away from San Marcos La Laguna. The village of San Marcos La Laguna is easily accessed via shared shuttle or private shuttle.


Guests are advised to fly into Guatemala City by noon on November 29th and book return flights for late afternoon on December 8th, or the following day. 


We can arrange private shuttle transport to San Marcos La Laguna (which can often be shared) from the airport or nearby hotel. We can also recommend options for additional overnight stays in San Marcos, Antigua or near the airport.


It's recommended, budget and schedule permitting, to stay at the lake for some extra time and enjoy the beauty it has to offer. 


Payments, Cancellations, & Refunds Policy


A $450 deposit is required to reserve your space. The balance is required 30 days prior to the retreat start date. If you cancel before 60 days in advance of the retreat start date, 50% of the deposit is refunded. If you cancel 60-31 days in advance of the retreat start date, no refund of the deposit is provided, unless your spot can be filled within contract, and then 50% of the deposit is refunded. If you cancel within 30 days of the retreat start date, no refund on payment is provided. No refund is provided if you miss the event or part of it for any reason. Storyteller Within reserves the right to cancel any program at any time. Retreats have final confirmation on or before 30 days out. If an event is cancelled, you will be fully refunded your retreat fees. Nevertheless, Storyteller Within is not liable for events beyond all control - such as natural disasters, political upheaval, or other such unexpected circumstances - that would necessitate cancellation of the event.

 

Travel Insurance


To protect your investment (including travel costs) against unforeseen circumstances, travel insurance is strongly advised for all participants. Providers such as Travel Guard offer packages (travel, medical, cancellation) with "cancel for any reason" options that must be purchased within 15 days of buying airline tickets or incurring trip costs.


Suggested Packing List


Bring a backpack or duffel bag (rather than a wheelie suitcase) and a spirit of adventure! Please bring your own biodegradable toiletries, a towel, and layers of clothing to suit varying temperatures during the day and night. Natural insect repellent is nice to have and a headlamp is a necessity. Hiking or running shoes are handy for walks in the valley. The Yoga Forest is a 20 minute hike out of town, so we advise bringing anything you might need on hand. There is one ATM in San Marcos and none of the businesses take credit cards so we advise you to arrive with a modest amount of cash for extras. Please note that neither Storyteller Within nor The Yoga Forest are responsible for any loss, damage or theft to personal items.

Facilitators

Aimee Hansen

Creator, Storyteller Within Retreats

Aimee chases big questions with butterfly nets, only to set them free again. She's always had an irresistible attraction to words and metaphors as a way of playing, provoking, revealing, exploring, understanding, and connecting. Fifteen years ago she began sneaking away from the office for creative writing classes at Central Saint Martins College while living in London, writing short stories and rekindling a childhood love for all things lyrical.

On a quest for more meaningful plot in life, she left her corporate job in London years ago to travel. In 2012, her travels guided her to Guatemala and back to herself. Her intensive studies with an intuitive mentor who called her "the storyteller" and her own passion for human insight started her on an ever curious and unfolding journey into the nature of perception. Her work explores the power of the stories we tell within our lives and invites a creative and playful adventure in the yoga of perspective.

Aimee works as a freelance writer, writes children stories, dances with the muse at poetry, and writes into tricky spaces. She holds a 200+ hr yoga teacher certification. She is inspired and humbled by witnessing how something raw and honest in the human spirit aches to open, when given the invitation. She began Storyteller Within retreats to share in the experience of exploring our humanity and stepping into our courage as women.

Aimee is most moved by living in harmony with the mysterious sway of her heart towards whatever lights her up from within.

Yoga:
For each retreat event, Aimee brings in a highly experienced female yoga teacher who personally inspires her. She loves to work with awesome women who bring passion, energy, and insight to their practice on and off the mat. The daily yoga practice will be appropriate for all levels, varied and complementary to the journey.


Ceremonies & Sessions:

For each retreat, we invite in magic and mystery, through ceremonies and sessions (eg. movement, sound, fire) with guest facilitators that enrich and expand the power of our journey by sharing their gifts. We gather for sacred connection and expression that goes far beyond words.

What’s included

  • Yoga
    Daily guided meditation & yoga
  • Writing Circles
    2x Daily Self-exploratory writing circles (most days)
  • Accommodation
    9 nights accommodation at The Yoga Forest (shared - 4 people)*
  • Meals
    Delicious vegetarian breakfast, lunch, & dinner
  • Snacks
    Afternoon Love Probiotics bliss ball snacks & tea
  • Ceremonies
    3+ sacred healing ceremonies (eg. Mayan Fire Ceremony, Sound Healing, Cacao, Dance & Movement)
  • Sauna
    Mayan Sauna (one group sauna)
  • Gratuities
    Base gratuities for local staff
  • Taxes
    All Taxes
  • Transport
    Flights & transport to & from the retreat center
  • Extras
    Optional treatments, excursions
  • Insurance
    Travel insurance

Available Packages

Shared Cabana (4 people)
Available until Nov 28, 2019only 1 left

SHARED CABANAS (4 PEOPLE):

Made of bamboo frames, adobe walls, cypress, and thatched palm roofs, each cabana features Guatemala furniture, Mayan fabrics, and Indian textiles. There are no private bathrooms. Showers and compost facilities are outdoors with beautiful views. Cabana living is attuned to the natural electricity-free rhythm of day & night, with solar power only.    

Retreat package includes:

- Daily guided meditation & yoga

- Daily self-exploratory writing sessions 

- 9 nights accommodation at The Yoga Forest (shared - 4 people)

- Delicious vegetarian breakfast, lunch, & dinner

- Afternoon Love Probiotics bliss ball snacks & tea

- 3+ sacred healing ceremonies (eg. Mayan Fire Ceremony, Sound Healing, Cacao, Dance & Movement)

- Mayan Sauna

- Base Gratuities for local staff

- All Taxes  

excludes:

- Flights & Shared transport to & from the retreat

- Travel insurance

- Extras during your break (eg massages, treatments, etc)

$1595
Deposit: $450
Private Room or Cabana (Upgrade)
Available until Nov 28, 2019Sold Out

2  Enclosed Private Rooms - Radha & Krishna:
With wonderful views of Lake Atitlán and the surrounding volcanoes, private rooms Radha & Krishna are located under Shakti Shala and accommodate one or two people in a queen size bed. The beds are comfortable with warm feather duvets and pillows, and decorated with Guatemalan cushions. The rooms have an outdoor deck area for relaxing.  There are no private bathrooms. Showers and compost facilities are outdoors with beautiful views. Living is attuned to the natural electricity-free rhythm of day & night, with solar power only.    


Enclosed Private Petite Cabins:
With wonderful views of Lake Atitlán and the surrounding volcanoes, these new petite private cabins have a queen bed and single day bed. The beds are comfortable with warm feather duvets and pillows, and colorful Guatemalan touches to make your stay cozy. There are no private bathrooms. Showers and compost facilities are outdoors with beautiful views. Living is attuned to the natural electricity-free rhythm of day & night, with solar power only.  

Retreat package includes:

- Daily guided meditation & yoga

- Daily self-exploratory writing sessions 

- 9 nights accommodation at The Yoga Forest (private)

- Delicious vegetarian breakfast, lunch, & dinner

- Afternoon Love Probiotics bliss ball snacks & tea

- 3+ sacred healing ceremonies (eg. Mayan Fire Ceremony, Sound Healing, Cacao, Dance & Movement)

- Mayan Sauna

- Base Gratuities for local staff

- All Taxes  

excludes:

- Flights & Shared transport to & from the retreat

- Travel insurance

- Extras during your break (eg massages, treatments, etc)

$1895
Deposit: $450
$1595
Deposit: $450

Shared Cabana (4 people)
Past Trip

Your Organizer


AH
Aimee Hansen
17 reviews
Aimee chases big questions with butterfly nets, only to set them free again. She's always had an irresistible attraction to words and metaphors as a way of playing, provoking, revealing, exploring, understanding, and connecting. Her work explores the power of the stories we tell within our lives and invites a creative and playful adventure in the yoga of perspective.  ​ She works as a freelance writer, writes children stories, plays at poetry, and is writing a book about the storyteller within. She holds a 200+ hr yoga teacher certification. She is inspired and humbled by witnessing how something raw and honest in the human spirit aches to open, when given the invitation. She began Storyteller Within retreats to share in the experience of exploring our humanity and stepping into our courage as women.

Reviews

I had a great time meeting new people and re-connecting with old. The venue was breathtaking and the accommodations were comfortable. I enjoyed the delicious Ayurvedic food! Amy
Aimee, it was a magical weekend. I will write more later so for now please know you are One who transmutes everything into positive energy. I feel much love and gratitude for you, Marianne, and the circle of women I was blessed to share this experience with. Namaste
This trip was once again a life changing and memorable event. Aimee did an amazing job coordinating the events. The artistic and writing challenges stretched my mind and my soul. It was heart opening and healing in so many levels. There was no time to be bored! I met some amazing people from so many different walks of life! I will never forget this incredible weekend! Thank you Aimee! Suni
I arrived at our retreat in the Yoga Forest filled with fear of the unknown. After meeting the other 4 women who would accompany me on this journey I was intrigued. We were all so different and yet I felt as though I wanted to know everything about them. They all were feeling the same way and after a delicious meal, we went to our lovely, cozy cabins and prepared for our first writing circle. No time to waste, we went deep and real right from the very first words written and spoken. Aimee led us through our journey with style, grace, grit and wisdom. She is indeed an old soul, a fun loving and flexible person with the right amount of "agenda" to keep us and herself honest and on track. Our ceremonies are indelibly printed on my heart and our morning Yoga practice with Robin put me on the right track to self care. It turns out I had lost my way and was not feeling very fit. Once I returned home I joined the Y and walk everyday. Aimee is a fierce and intuitive woman who held and challenged me as I discovered what does not serve me, examined what I could lovingly discard and then start to heal from the baggage I've been carrying around with me for over 40 years. I was supported in trusting myself and to direct my energy only to what sparks and nourishes my heart. She intuitively made space for all of us, and we had so much fun, singing, dancing, and just being with each other. I would pay twice as much for this powerful and life changing experience. I now have the Women of the High Heart to hold in my circle anytime I need them-even with the many miles between us. Thank you Aimee and many blessings to you!
This trip was an amazing experience before it even began. Aimee did an excellent job prior to the retreat start with planning, organizing and keeping all of us informed. We had flexibility beforehand both in choosing excursions and our best-fit transportation. The retreat itself was beyond what I could’ve hoped for. The yoga and meditation practice were daily and they were excellent. Our instructor spent so much time with us and learning about us - a true delight. The other planned events, excursions, traditional ceremonies, singing and dancing, all were thoughtfully planned and executed. The team of healers Aimee has pulled together are sincere and wonderful people. And then, there’s Aimee and her writing circles -wow, just wow. She is a beautiful person in and out, a healer and a giver and a true friend. She’s poured her heart into her writings and readings and will surely capture your heart too. This retreat is an amazing value and once in a lifetime experience. I am grateful and fortunate now and forever.
Show More Reviews

References

The Storyteller Within Retreat with Aimee was a unique and totally-worth-it-experience! The conceptualization of the retreat is sophisticated and considerately. It´s like going on an adventurous journey through your feminine self and accompanied by a intuitive and smart mentor and poet. Aimee unites effortlessly unknown women from different worlds in a respect- and trustful way, the sacred circle arises. She creates a space for self-reflection, exchange and for silence and integration as well, another circle completes. In Guatemala there is even some time for seeing some of the beautiful surroundings and dip in the magical and by volcanos surrounded lake Atitlan. This was a great experience that helped me see and grow. Thank you so much, Aimee!
By Katharina Goetting on Aug 27, 2019
MC
This retreat was fabulous. Aimee had an incredible ability to bring all of us together to the point where at the end of the journey we all felt like we were long lost friends. Her ability to create space and foster the telling of each woman's story allowed each woman to own what story she was telling herself and what different one she wanted to create. This was a life changing perspective shift for myself and many others. If you have an opportunity, do this retreat!
By Maggie Carr on Feb 06, 2018