If you’re possibly thinking about doing a Yoga Retreat in the Caribbean or better yet a Yoga vacation in Jamaica, then I suggest you move it up on your list of things to do, as it is truly an experience.
I just completed my first ever Yoga & Meditation Retreat with Go Natural Jamaica in Portland and it has been one of the most breathtaking experiences; I cannot wait to share.
Overview of Portland, Jamaica
Before we get into the details about the retreat… Let me first introduce you to Portland.
Or, as I like to call it — the heart of nature, the quiet, zen, forested coast of Jamaica which has somewhat acquired a name for itself.
Portland is located on the very East Coast of Jamaica, contrasting the very thoughts you might have of the island. Ridged cliff sides, aggressive but picturesque ocean views, deep bluish-green glassy river waters — and if you’ve guessed it, yes, it is also one of my favourite parts to explore on the island. The lushness, the greenery, the wet and often times misty east coat will pull you in.
If you were once thinking why a Yoga Retreat in Portland, now you have the answer. What better place to be unplugged, to spend a few days to practice mindfulness, to cleanse and to detox.
Go Natural Jamaica: Yoga & Meditation Retreat
Aforementioned, this is my first retreat and I am happy to have had the chance to practice Yoga and Meditation in the heart of nature with Go Natural Jamaica.
A retreat sanctuary that caters to all levels. Located in East Portland, Go Natural sits on the very tippy toes of the cliff sides of Long Bay, feeding you endless views of sunrises, sunsets and ocean views. If I’d want to go a little bit more in-depth, I’ll go on and say the name “Go Natural Jamaica” couldn’t be more fitting.
Go Natural Jamaica offers a wide range of yoga retreat experiences — from Yoga by the Sea, Detox & Rejuvenation to Master Cleansing.
As for food, it is Vegan and Vegetarian based, which I will get into further as we go along.
The Setting: Nestled on the Tippy Toes of Long Bay, East Portland
I have always loved being in Portland, generally speaking. The nature, the calmness – you are on the east coast of Jamaica, off the beaten path and away from just about everything.
In terms of its physical location, coming in from Port Antonio (the capital city) it will take you about 35-40 minutes to get you to this stretch of Long Bay, Portland which is just about 10-minutes from the Boston Bay Beach.
The surrounding is very authentic, with a homey and chilled feeling. While planning your visit here, be sure to take a few of your favourite reads and enjoy lounging around in the hammocks, with a good book and ocean views.
Also, with this being physically located on the edge of the bay, catching the sunrises are highly recommended. Those 5:30 am wake-up calls are worth it!
Daily Activities: Outdoor Yoga & Meditation Practices
The Retreats are filled with active pursuits from the early morning hours until the sun sets.
Starting off the day with an Ayurvedic Ritual which includes tongue scraping, oil pulling and warm lemon water, it is the perfect way to start off your journey here…
A quick 15-minute and then you’ll slide into the setting of a 90-minute Kundalini style yoga right before a complete Vegan breakfast.
For anyone that has doubts about Yoga, or for anyone who has never tried it before and wonders about its purpose; as in why do people do it….or even thinking it’s not for people who are okay with their everyday lifestyle… I beg to differ.
Personally speaking, Yoga relaxes me, it helps to put me in a good mood and sets the tone for the day. It is a completed mind-body workout; which aims to strengthen the mind through stretches, deep breathing, relaxation. So often we forget to relax and breathe properly. It then gets you ready for mediation.
At the start of this year, I’ve added meditation to my early morning routines. I never thought this would be for me. I have an active mind, to be able to stop, relax and rid my mind of thoughts seemed so impossible.
After breakfast is being served, your afternoon can be used to reflex, to enjoy your surrounding before lunch is being served, then a Yin style yoga at sunset to wind down the day.
On given days, natural cosmetics and food & nutrition workshops are being conducted. You’ll have a chance to see how relatively easy it is to make your own natural toiletries (facemask, body lotion) and have a solid talk about the food benefits.
The Food: A Vegan Menu Plan
As an All-Inclusive retreat, Go Natural Jamaica will see to it that you are all set throughout the day. With already a really homey feel, the retreat program, room rates, and the strictly vegan/vegetarian meals throughout the days are all included.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner are served as family-style dining in the common area. It’s a great way to bond with any other present yogi’s whilst enjoying the meals tastefully and creatively put together with Jamaican’s locally grown produce. No sugar or processed food of any kind is being used — you will be eating super clean, drinking lots of still water, coconut water and herbal teas. Yes, feed me Go Natural! For me, eating this clean made me feel the difference. Once again, it embodies the name “Go Natural Jamaica”!
The in-between snacks and treats feature green juices, granola bars, dessert cakes; once again strictly homemade and eliminating any additives or added by-products.
For the record, I’m a meat eater. I eat everything as any typical Jamaican meat-eater would. You know, the Curried Goats, the Fried Chickens, the Beef&Cheese Patties, the KFC’s — just about everything. I would eat these anytime I want, whenever I want.
But being on a strict Vegan meal plan at Go Natural has allowed me to experience life on the other side and if I’m being totally honest and transparent — I feel better. I don’t feel bloated, neither do I feel sluggish after eating. I feel good and that’s important.
What to Expect Doing Your Stay Here:
If this is your first time doing a retreat, I’ll mention a few key things so you’ll know what to expect.
Yoga Classes: yoga sessions are usually done with a few other yogis. The size per session may depend on the season — high season/low season that is. Sessions are done twice per day.
Food Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner are all included and are usually served around the same time per day. The meals prepared are quite creative and tasty. My favourite one to date is the Avocado and Cucumber pasta. Delicious! Please note, Veganism is highly promoted, but, eggs can be provided if requested.
Security: I felt completely safe during my entire time here. Security is available 24/7 and the area itself is also pretty relaxed.
A very warm thank you to Go Natural Jamaica for their hospitality and the great energy. I am already thinking about a second retreat.