Hearts on Fire in Akureyri
with Marybeth Grinnan & Niki Schemmel
September 21-28, 2024
Welcome to “Hearts on Fire in Akureyri,” an extraordinary Nia and Yoga adventure retreat in the mesmerizing north of Iceland. This retreat will ignite your spirit, rejuvenate your body, and connect you deeply with the elements of earth, water, air, and fire.
Iceland, especially in the fall, offers a unique and breathtaking experience for travelers. As the summer transitions into autumn, the vibrant landscapes transform into a tapestry of warm hues, creating a stunning backdrop for your retreat. The fall season provides a perfect balance of mild weather, fewer crowds, and the opportunity to witness the stunning phenomenon of the Northern Lights dancing across the sky.
Immerse yourself in the realm of water as you venture into the enchanting fjords of Akureyri. Here, you may encounter majestic humpback whales, known to call this area their home. Marvel at their awe-inspiring presence, observing these gentle giants in their natural habitat, and forging a profound connection with the ocean’s magic.
Explore the rugged beauty of Iceland’s volcanic terrain as you wander through the mystical lava fields. Feel the energy pulsating through the ancient rocks beneath your feet, reminding you of the raw power of nature. Allow the air element to invigorate your being as you breathe in the crisp Icelandic air, filling your lungs with vitality and clarity.
To further ignite your senses, indulge in the soothing embrace of volcanically heated mineral hot springs. Immerse yourself in the warmth and therapeutic properties of these natural wonders, releasing tension, and rejuvenating your body. As the fire element caresses your skin, let go of stress and embrace a state of pure bliss.
To truly embrace the Icelandic spirit, you will have the opportunity to ride the iconic Icelandic horses, renowned for their gentle nature and unique gaits. Traverse the countryside on these beautiful creatures, experiencing a deep connection with both nature and the horse, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
“Hearts on Fire in Akureyri” is a retreat that combines the transformative power of Nia and Yoga with the awe-inspiring elements of Iceland. Allow yourself to be captivated by the beauty of Akureyri, the harmony of the elements, and the nurturing guidance of Marybeth and Niki. Prepare to ignite your heart, rejuvenate your soul, and embark on a truly transformative adventure.
Iceland is one of the planet’s true gems. With a total population of under 375,000, Iceland has struck a perfect balance between a warm, welcoming culture and the raw, untamed beauty of its vast mountainous landscapes. 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. 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.
One Yoga Global is in an exclusive partnership with the only yoga and wellness center in Northern Iceland. Enjoy your daily 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. You’ll have the opportunity to ride Icelandic horses, see the humpback whales that live in the fjord, visit a nearby island considered one of the power places of the North.
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 lodging (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 our day’s activities! 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:
- Hrisey 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.
- Icelandic Horse riding! the Icelandic Horse is truly unique to Iceland and even boasts a unique gait called the “tolt”. Beginner riders will be in one group and enjoy a breathtakingly beautiful experience of the spring fields of Iceland. More experienced riders will have the opportunity to trot, canter and tolt through the countryside! We’ll learn about these beautiful animals and be treated to hot beverages and Icelandic treats afterwards. (*for those unsure about horse riding, whale watching can be arranged instead!)
- 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 train for the first lunar landing in the 60’s! Our day concludes with a visit to the thermal baths of the North. In the 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.
- A local adventure and gentle hike around Akureyri, learning about the history, architecture and folklore. We’ll drive along the fjord and make several stops including visits to some special places and hidden waterfalls, You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time, or onto the most spectacular movie set designed by mother nature herself!
- Two afternoons of optional activities. On these afternoons, your teachers may offer extra classes, you may decide to explore the little town on your own, have a massage or walk to the Fjord and go take a boat to see the humpback whales. With enough interest, we can take a 1/2 day excursion to Husavik and the amazing GoeSea baths.
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.
PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY.
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 which offers more options. This is ALSO the time of year that driving from Reykjavik to Akureyri is also possible and may be a great choice if you want to join a few others and make the 5-7 hour drive.*
If you are not renting a car, you’ll need to book 2 tickets to get 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.
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.
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: 12:15pm – 1:35pm From Akureyri: 9:45am – 10:30am
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!
- warm clothes and several layers for variable days!
- jeans / pants
- waterproof boots / hiking shoes / good socks and cloves
- an outer shell that is warm, and wind- and rain-resistant
- warm headgear (just in case!)
- a buff or balaclava for the neck and face for wind protection
- a bathing suit for the Jacuzzis and springs
- yoga clothes
- adapters for electronics (Iceland uses the round 2-pin style common throughout Europe)
Marybeth Grinnan, SoulShine Studios owner, First Degree Nia Black Belt
Marybeth is a First Degree Nia Black Belt with over twenty years of experience teaching Nia, an accessible and joyful movement practice that combines elements of dance, mindfulness, and martial arts. She has deepened her practice by attending many Nia trainings, and is certified to teach Moving to Heal, Nia Five Stages, FloorPlay, FreeDance, and MOVE It. In addition to her teaching practice, she has led over twenty retreats in the United States, Costa Rica, and across Europe.
Over the past two decades, Nia has taught Marybeth to live with more joy, connection, and belonging, and it is her passion to share these lessons with others. Since returning to her hometown of Richmond, VA, in 2008, Marybeth has magnetized a thriving community of Nia students and teachers who uplift and support each other’s growth. In 2019, she co-founded a home for this community: SoulShine Studios, a Nia and yoga studio in Richmond. Marybeth loves dancing in community and creating the space for people of all ages to feel playful, loose, and free.
Niki Schemmel Nia First Degree Black Belt, RYT 500 e-RYT 200 YACEP
Niki Is a passionate facilitator of growth and joy. She began teaching yoga in 2001 after she fell in love with yoga philosophy that opened her heart and alignment principles that strengthened her body. Being a former jazz dancer she was drawn to the freedom and artistic expression of the Nia practice and began teaching Nia in 2010. In all of her classes, Niki is committed to creating a space that is inclusive and supportive for every body. She offers modifications and progressions while encouraging participants to focus on how they feel rather than how they look. She experiences the depth of yoga and the playfulness of Nia as the perfect marriage of practices to nourish body, mind and spirit.
In addition to teaching weekly public classes at SoulShine Studios, Niki has been teaching yoga and Nia retreats locally and internationally since 2012. She lives in Midlothian, VA with her husband, two teenage kids and her cat Cheddar.
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.
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: $3995 per person
2 Double rooms still available, one with King bed, one with 2 twin beds
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 4-5 persons total in the apartment.
Cost: $4495 per person
Last small single room
Double Occupancy room (Private Bath)
Private room in 2-room apartment with private bath, kitchen, living room, backyard jacuzzi and access to washer/dryer.
MASTER BEDROOM: RESERVED
2nd BEDROOM: RESERVED
Cost: $4295 per person
Private hotel room with private bath in the town center. Hotel KEA or equivalent.
Double Occupancy Cost: $4895 per person
Last 2 shared hotel rooms
Single Occupancy Cost: $5795 per person (SOLD OUT)
When you click to reserve, you’ll set up an account and then have the choice to pay in full or place a $695 deposit. If you place a deposit, your balance can be split into monthly payments through July, 2024. We will send confirmation when you enroll.
7 nights accommodation in Akureyri,
Transfers to and from the Akureyri airport and daily to classes and excursions
Breakfasts, Lunches and 4 group dinners in Akureyri
Daily classes with your teacher
International Flight to Reykjavik (KEF) and domestic flight to Akureyri
Optional Extras (massage, special excursions)
3 dinners in Akureyri
Refunds and Cancellations: Refund less deposit ($695) before June 1, 2024. No refunds after June 1, 2024. 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. Due to arrangements made with our vacation hosts, there can be no exceptions to this policy.
If you place a deposit, the balance due will be set to charge in equal installments starting the month after deposit through June/July 2024, unless other arrangements are made.
We HIGHLY recommend that you consider purchasing Travel Insurance. Travel insurance companies like Travel Guard and Trawick 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.
We recommend that you consider purchasing trip insurance to protect your investment. Trawick International and Travel Guard are two providers that we recommend. Please review policies carefully to ensure they provide the coverage you need.