Dominican Republic Caribbean Yoga Retreat Ki-Ra Holistic Living, La Romana.
I got invited to an Ayurveda yoga retreat in the Dominican Republic by Sun Sand Spirit DR in La Romana, near Casa de Campo, this summer. It was my first time traveling to the Dominican Republic for a 3-day yoga retreat and learning about healthy eating habits from the Ayurveda teachings of Ki-Ra Holistic Living.
I practice hot yoga regularly in NYC (my home,) so I'm no stranger to intimidating yoga poses like the wheel, 3-legged dog, camel, rabbit, dolphin, plow, and other asanas. I've taken classes of Bikram, Vinyasa, Hatha, Kundalini, HITT, and Yin Yoga weekly, thanks to The Bronx Yoga Lab, so I thought I knew what to expect at a yoga retreat in the Dominican Republic, but I was wrong. There's a big difference between being a yogi at home and going on a yoga retreat. When you practice at home, you incorporate yoga into your daily life for about 90 minutes a day and then move on to the next task on your to-do list. At a yoga retreat, you incorporate life into a yoga state of mind-- let me repeat that. At a yoga retreat, everything you do moves around a lifestyle state of mind rather than autopilot, mindless mundane activities. Don't get me wrong, I still love my yoga studio in NYC and try to take class on a daily bases. However, my appreciation for yoga and the art of being, living, and existing got upgraded to another level. I think everyone should go on a yoga retreat (and the Dominican Republic is an excellent destination for a yoga retreat) at least once, even if you're not that into yoga. Yoga is more than poses; If you allow it, yoga can connect your body, mind, and spirit and be the gateway we all need for inner peace.
Here's what to expect on a yoga retreat in the Dominican Republic.
KI-RA MEANS"HOME OF THE EARTH SPIRIT” IN TAINO
I arrived in Santo Domingo a few days before the start of the yoga retreat. I had been in Santo Domingo a few months prior, exploring La Zona Colonial, and missed all the foodie spots due to covid restrictions, so this time I made sure to indulge in some Dominican food!
Our yoga retreat started on a Friday, right before sunset. I vividly remember the drive over. We were starving and only found one restaurant along the way to satisfy our growling and aching stomachs. Upon arrival, we were surprised to learn that Ki-Ra Holistic Living is next to Casa de Campo. If you're Dominican or grew up in Santo Domingo like I did-- you know about Casa de Campo! Back then, Casa de Campo was the creme of la crepe or where people with money hung out during summer. Think the Hamptons in NYC, same vibes and unattainable status to the locals. Let me make it clear; I m not dishing on Casa de Campo-- I am dying to visit, but it has never panned out, so I have this idea of the place in my head.
Earlier that year, I stayed at Tracadero Beach Resort in Bayahibe and chatted with the Italian owner about Casa de Campo. He loves the place! He started telling us about how that's the top place to stay in the area if you could afford it and how beautiful Casa de Campo was. He also bragged about how good they were to the people. They build schools and educate unprivileged Dominican kids, teaching them English and prepping them for a brighter future. My husband and I thought-- that's freaking amazing! We love Casa de Campo too! But then, we had a moment of silence during dinner. As New Yorkers, we always tend to analyze things. Our dinner conversation went from Casa de Campo is impressive. They're teaching unprivileged Dominican kids English to wait a second--they have a sugar cane field-- did they enslave Dominicans and Haitians back in the day to work the fields? Is that why they're being nice now? A few negronis after, we were not so sure about Casa de Campo anymore. But this blog post is not about Casa de Campo... it's about good vibes at a Dominican Yoga retreat (right next to Casa de Campo,) so I'll save the full story on Casa de Campo for another blog.
My 3-Day Yoga Retreat in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic Yoga Retreat Day 1
3:00 pm- Check-in at Yoga Retreat
5:30 pm- Sunset Yoga
7:30 pm- Dinner
8:45 pm- Group Meditation
9:30 pm- Lights out!
Our first day was full of introductions, meeting other yogis, and taking in the view of our new Dominican Republic Caribbean home for the next 3 days. I was so glad to find myself surrounded by the ocean. As a New Yorker, that's a luxury I mostly only experience when traveling. Kyra, the founder of Ki-Ra Holistic Living and our guide for the journey, introduced us to natural medicine, healthy eating, the principles of yoga, and how it's all connected-- setting the tone for what was to unfold over the days to follow.
Dominican Republic Yoga Retreat Day 2
Full Day of Silence
8:00 am- Morning Yoga
10:00 am- Breakfast
11:00 am- Massage/Consultations
1:30 pm- Lunch
2:30 pm- Free Time
4:15 pm- Yoga
6:00 pm- Fire Cleaning Ritual
8:00 pm- Dinner under the stars
9:30 pm- Lights out!
Our second day was full of silence and simply being without creating. It was a day dedicated to keeping the body and mind still while connecting with the spirit. Ki-Ra means home of the earth spirit in Taino, and we honored that spirit while connecting with our higher selves and letting go of what no longer served us by doing a fire cleansing ritual.
Dominican Republic Yoga Retreat Day 3
8:00 am- Morning Yoga
10:00 am- Breakfast
10:30 am- Mud Bath & Sea Swim
1:30 pm- Group Meditation
2:00 pm- Lunch
3:30 pm- End of Yoga Retreat
Our third day was the most fun of them all despite it being a half-day. Kyra's yoga retreat is designed to perfection even in its short duration. During our three days, we healed from the inside out. On our last day, we got to do a mud bath cleanse to heal the skin. After, we jumped right into the Caribbean sea! I felt like a 5-year old not wanting to go home.
Thanks so much for reading this blog post! Till Next time!
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