Akureyri, NORTHERN ICELAND

Yoga and Writing Adventure

with Susan Somers-Willett

March 10-17, 2018

Save $300 until July 30th

We’re heading north! Join award-winning poet and yoga instructor Susan Somers-Willett on a very special journey marrying the practice of yoga with the artistic and creative spirit of Iceland’s Northern cultural capital, Akureryi.

Poet Walt Whitman wrote in his epic poem Song of Myself, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes”—a statement that describes the true essence of North Iceland. Emerging from volcanic ash and pressure but also with snowy climes, the Icelandic landscape is the epitome of contradiction living in harmony. Here, delicate flora grow from the harshest of volcanic rocks, and locals enjoy naturally heated Jacuzzi baths outdoors under the Northern Lights in the twilight of winter.

In this literal land of fire and ice, Susan will lead you through optional Hatha and Yin yoga practices and writing workshops that take as their inspiration the contradictions and mysteries of this landscape. We’ll map this land of opposites on the body through yoga and onto our writing through metaphor, exploring the harmony that can exist between vast extremes. No yoga or writing experience is necessary to join this adventure. Guests only need to have a willingness and sense of adventure to participate in these all-levels practices and workshops that will be tailored to the interests of the group.

Vacation Details

This special week in Northern Iceland is open to all and offers the opportunity to learn about the culture, history and unique geography of Iceland while experiencing some of the most magical sights of this amazing country.  Each day will be accompanied by a professional guide who will share details of each site along with local folklore and personal stories.

OUR ITINERARY: Each morning, after breakfast, we will all have the option to participate in an all levels group yoga / movement class. Our hosts will pick us up at each domicile (all within a few blocks) and we’ll be transported across the fjord to our beautiful yoga and wellness center that overlooks the mountains and water.  Classes will be welcoming to all, and if you prefer, the center has a relaxation room, beautiful views, a dry sauna and jacuzzi available to our group. After class, we’ll be transported to lunch, and after this, we’ll head out for group activities, an additional workshop, or free time. If you decide any morning to sleep in and skip a class, you can simply meet us at lunch which is just a couple blocks walk from your home. Our afternoon and evening adventures together will include:

  • Hrisry Island – A lovely ferry ride to spend an afternoon picturesque exploration and hike of Hrisey Island. Situated at 66 degrees North, just a stone’s throw from the Arctic Circle, Hrisey is considered one of the “Power” places in Iceland. This can’t be easily explained, so we’ll offer some moments of pause to sit and feel this special planetary vortex energy.
  • Special hikes (on snowshoes as needed!) to various spots around Akureyri and the fjord, including hidden water falls and other surprises.
  • A full day adventure to Myvatn – an amazing geothermic region that will take you from the fjord, through the mountains, to the lava fields.  You’ll experience the rolling fields of Icelandic sheep contrasted with the barren lunar landscapes that the astronauts used to training for the first lunar landing in the 60’s!   Our day concludes with a visit to the thermal baths of the North.  In this front is a modern cafe, showers and lockers  … when you exit the back, you enter large natural pools of geothermic waters bubbling from mother earth herself.  With a high concentration of natural minerals, Icelanders often credit these waters with their health and longevity that is much higher than the norm.  We’ll watch the sun set, and the galaxies of stars arise.  A sight to behold!
  • The Northern Lights! This is a great time of year to witness the dance of lights, but of course, Mother Nature has her own agenda. However, with a timeframe of 7 days, the odds of sightings are high and our skilled hosts are experts at tracking the best times and locations!  be prepared on any evening at dinner for our hosts to offer a pick up time to go chasing the lights!  Perhaps we’ll even get show while lounging in our backyard jacuzzis or floating in the hot springs in Myvatn!
  • Three afternoons of writing workshops and optional activities. On these afternoons, writing workshops will be scheduled and you may be given several other possibilities. You may decide to explore the town on your own, visit the artisan market, have a massage, or walk to the Fjord and go take a boat to see the humpback whales. If weather permits, horseriding may also be an option. Also, our hosts have a beautiful pack of huskies (the only ones in Northern Iceland) which includes one of the country’s champs). These beautiful pups LIVE for dogsledding in the winter and it’s an experience not soon forgotten!

Each evening after our excursions, we return to Akureyri for dinner, then relax in our apartments and the backyard Jacuzzis to enjoy the fresh air and excellent company.

More Info

North Iceland is one of the planet’s true gems. With a total population of only 330,000, Iceland has struck a perfect balance between a warm, welcoming culture and the raw, untamed beauty of its vast mountain ranges, soaring waterfalls, and other-worldly volcanic landscapes and hot springs. While most tourist groups and cruise lines visit the southern capital city Reykjavik (where the majority of population is), we’ll be heading to 66°North Iceland to the town of Akureyri–one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. The cultural capital of Iceland, Akureyri has been voted the number one destination in all of Europe by Lonely Planet on more than one occasion (including 2015). With a population of only 18,000, a mild climate on the longest fjord in the country, and close proximity to the Arctic Circle (meaning amazing Northern Lights!), Northern Iceland is truly THE place to visit.

The weather will be snowy but temperate for the season, giving guests the opportunity to engage in optional snowshoeing adventures and dogsledding with huskies. In addition to guided tours of nearby islands, a dip in the volcanically heated hot springs baths, and Northern Lights excursions, you’ll also have plenty of free time to reflect in nature, write on your own, get a massage, soak in the Jacuzzi, and explore the artisan shops and studios of local Icelandic artists and craftspeople.

One Yoga Global is in an exclusive partnership with the only yoga and wellness center in Northern Iceland. Enjoy your yoga practice in a newly-built, one-of-a-kind studio with majestic views of the fjord and soaring mountains that will warm your body and soul. This wellness center is complete with massage rooms, dry sauna, Jacuzzi, showers, changing rooms, and all the amenities, and our friendly and knowledgeable guides live on site, giving this space a personal touch. Guests of our retreats have a choice of staying in local private apartments complete with geothermal Jacuzzis or at a local hotel in the city center. These comfortable and modern accommodations serve as a launching point for exploring some of most powerful places in Iceland and diving into the island’s rich traditions.

Because of the high demand for this destination and limited accommodations, these retreats are typically organized 8-16 months in advance. Please register early for your chosen dates, or contact us directly if you are interested in leading your own retreat in the future.

Travel, Additional Information & FAQ’s

Most of you will depart your home city on Friday to arrive Saturday early morning in Reykjavik (KEF = Keflavik International) then take a smaller flight from the Reykjavik smaller domestic airport to Akureyri. Your return will be the following Saturday morning from Akureyri – Reykjavik domestic, then a transfer to the International airport (Keflavik) and back home.
Some of you will choose to add extra days on your own in Reykjavik before or after the retreat dates.

Everyone will need to book 2 tickets to get to Akureyri, Northern Iceland (unless you decide to rent a car in Reykjavik and enjoy a picturesque 6 hour drive to Akureyri!) The first flight will be from your hometown to Reykjavik (Keflavik International).  From here, you will either drive, or book an easy 45 minute flight from Reykjavik Domestic Airport to Akureyri.  This is a different and smaller airport than Keflavik International.

If you add extra days on the front or back end in Reykjavik, the city center is only 10-15 minutes to the domestic airport for the shorter inland flight.  For those of you arriving and departing on Saturday and flying all the way to Akureyri and then home on the last Saturday (no extra time in Reykjavik)  – The international airport (KEF) is 45 minutes away from the smaller inland airport (RKV), so you will need a minimum of 3.5 hours between the flights to ensure you make it through customs, luggage and take the transfer to the domestic airport.

For this: ARRIVALS the first Saturday – Look at the overnight flights that depart on Friday night and arrive Saturday morning. 
DEPARTURES on the last Saturday – Most flights (ex. Iceland Air is recommended) leave between 5 and 6pm.   If you are flying home on Saturday, do not book a flight that leaves KEF before 2pm.

The short inland flights can be booked at: www.airiceland.is and most of you will book:
To Akureyri:  2:05pm – 2:45pm  From Akureyri: 9:45am – 10:30am

For more detailed advice, links and details on booking travel, we have created a Google document that any of you can access. CLICK HERE for that document.

Upon arrival to Akureyri, we will be transferred to apartments or hotel rooms (available between 2 and 4pm), settle in, then enjoy dinner together at a local cafe in the town center. The apartments will be stocked with breakfast foods so each participant can manage their own breakfast routine before we head to daily morning yoga classes. Lunches and 5 group dinners are also included (2 dinners in Akureyri are open for the group to explore). Our hosts do their best to accommodate various dietary restrictions (such as dairy free, gluten free, and vegetarian needs); please let us know these needs in advance if possible.

Each morning at a designated time, you’ll be picked up from your apartment or hotel and transported just a few minutes across the fjord to the beautiful yoga studio and wellness center. After class, we’ll head to lunch and then out on our daily adventures to experience the majesty of our surroundings.

Once you are registered, we’ll be in touch about your travel plans!

What to Pack:

  • winter clothes and several layers
  • thermals (top and bottom)
  • winter pants (wind- and/or water-resistant are recommended)
  • winter gloves / socks and waterproof boots / hiking shoes
  • an outer shell that is warm, and wind- and rain-resistant
  • warm headgear
  • a buff or balaclava for the neck and face
  • we recommend “ice treads” for show / walking around town in case of icy roads
  • a bathing suit for the Jacuzzis and springs
  • yoga clothes (compression pants make for a nice underlayer)
  • adapters for electronics (Iceland uses the round 2-pin style common throughout Europe)

You do NOT need to bring a yoga mat or any yoga supplies, the center is fully stocked.  The apartments also have perfume free soap and shampoo plus laundry machines and laundry powder.  Snow shoes will be provided as needed for hikes.  We do recommend Ice treads for walking around town in case of ice on the streets (especially walking to and from apartments).  You may also consider “hot hands” for hands, feet and toes.  You can find these items online (ex. on Amazon)

This retreat is open to people at various levels of fitness, with the understanding that some group activities require snow shoeing and hiking. 

If you have any burning questions, please email us at info@oneyogaglobal.com. There will also be group communications along the way.

Teachers

Susan Somers-Willett

A poet, teacher, and yogini, Susan Somers-Willett specializes in body-appropriate movement, relaxation, and helping students through physical and emotional transition. She encourages her students to pursue a diverse and inward practice that balances challenge with restoration, and her Hatha-based flow and yin classes emphasize alignment and modification based on individual anatomy.

For many years, Susan was an intermittent practitioner, only going to yoga classes for the occasional stretch—but always feeling better after each class. It wasn’t until Susan faced some major transitions life, including pregnancy in 2007 and a thyroid cancer diagnosis in 2011, that she realized the benefits of a daily yoga practice. Since using yoga as a way to recover from cancer, she has been passionate about encouraging others to discover their own regular practice that meets them where they are in ability and need.

The author of several books of poetry and criticism, Susan enjoys bringing poetry and yogic readings to class as a way to explore the interior practice of yoga. In addition to her Hatha and Hatha flow students, she is inspired by beginners and families sharing their practice; you will often find her practicing with her young daughter Libby, who is also a yogini. [Read more about Susan]

 

Accommodations

Your home base in Akureyri will be in some of the most modern apartments in the city, or in a centrally located hotel. The apartments provide comfort and privacy, and they are just a short walk from the city center. Each apartment has several rooms, some with a shared bath and some with private bath, and each has a kitchen, living space, and backyard geothermic water Jacuzzi. We will place female travelers together and couples together. When you reserve, we will be in contact with you directly to confirm your housing placement. A limited number of private hotel rooms are also available for those who desire this option.

Apartments

Double Occupancy Room (shared bath)

Larger private room in a 3-bedroom apartment complete with kitchen, living room, backyard jacuzzi and access to washer/dryer. Family bathroom shared with 4-5 persons total in the apartment.
Cost: $3195 per person
SPECIAL: $2895 (Save $300 until July 30)

Single Occupancy Room (shared bath)

Private room in a 3-bedroom apartment complete with kitchen, living room, backyard jacuzzi and access to washer/dryer. Family bathroom shared with 4 persons total in the apartment.
Cost: $3495
SPECIAL: $3195 (Save $300 until July 30)

Double Occupancy room (Private Bath)

Private room in 2-room apartment with private bath, kitchen, living room, backyard jacuzzi and access to washer/dryer.

Cost: $3595 per person
SPECIAL: $3295 (Save $300 until July 30)

Hotel Room

Hotel KEA Akureyri or equivalent. Breakfast included. In the city center.

Double Occupancy: $3795 per person
SPECIAL: $3495 (Save $300 until July 30)

Single Occupancy: $4195
SPECIAL: $3895 (Save $300 until July 30)

 

INCLUDED:
7 nights accommodation in Akureyri
Transportation from airport, to classes and excursions
Daily classes
Breakfasts, Lunches and 5 dinners in Akureyri
Group Excursions

NOT INCLUDED:
Flights to Akureyri
Optional Extras (massage, special excursions)
2 dinners in Akureyri

Refunds and Cancellations: Refund less deposit ($595) before October1, 2017. No refunds after October 1, 2017. In case of cancellation, you may transfer your deposit or your reservation to another person as long as you notify One Yoga Global 21+ days in advance. In case of cancellation by One Yoga Global, you will receive a full refund of all funds received by One Yoga Global. Due to arrangements made with our vacation hosts, there can be no exceptions to this policy.

If you place a deposit, the balance will be scheduled in monthly auto-payments through December 2017 unless other arrangements are made. All participants will be required to sign a liability waiver to participate on the trip.

We HIGHLY recommend that you consider purchasing Travel Insurance. Travel insurance companies like TRAVEL GUARD offer policies that insure your investment in case you need to cancel (including “cancel for any reason” coverages), coverages for expenses incurred due to to weather & travel delays, personal property loss and emergency travel medical.  Please review policies carefully to choose the coverage you need.