Have you ever wondered what going on a Yoga Retreat would be like? We asked Maria Margolies Yoga Teacher; Health Coach, Founder of Holixtic who runs Yoga Retreat’s what a Yoga Retreat is and why we should consider going on one + what her own Health and Wellness Tips are. Here is our Exclusive Spa it Girl Interview with Maria Margolies:
Can you tell us what is a Yoga Retreat? A Yoga Retreat is meant to be a self-care practice. A place to Pause and Feel, to disconnect and Nourish yourself. This is different for everyone, whether for someone it is a detox opportunity, or an immersion in their yoga practice or so on.
Why should we go on a Yoga Retreat? I think this is different for everyone but essentially just taking time for yourself to nourish and go inwards is very important now a days. Life is so busy and loud, with so many distractions. We rarely have time for ourselves, just to Pause and Feel where we are. We are mostly going outward, distracting ourselves with work, activities, stimulants, parties, electronics etc. To have a vacation where you just take care of yourself, and you are not just drinking margaritas on the beach and eating but doing mindful practices is incredibly nourishing, rejuvenating and energizing.
What is the best part of going on a Yoga Retreat? It is a time to disconnect, and connect to yourself. Practice self-love and self-care. Connect to nature and slow down. It is also a great way to connect to other people and community.
How did you first discover Yoga? When I lived in London and was training as a dancer I rented a room at this amazing Brazilian woman’s flat. She was practicing Ashtanga Yoga one day in the living room and I was very curious and asked her to teach me. After that I was hooked and it’s been a 15+ yrs love affair with Yoga.
What Inspired you to become a Yoga Teacher? and to run your own Yoga Retreats? I have always had a calling for teaching. I started when I was young volunteering to teach under privileged children in Colombia, taught in the public schools is London, and taught dance when I was dancing professionally. So I guess teaching Yoga was a natural progression. I love studying and I am an eternal student, I am kind of a closet nerd! but I also love inspiring and sharing my humble knowledge. After apprenticing and teaching under the guidance of my teacher Eddie Stern for 7 years, I decided it was time to spread my wings and fly on my own. Since then I have been traveling and hosting my own Yoga Retreats in Colombia, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. I wanted to combine my knowledge and passion for creating balance and nourishing the Inner and Outer self with mindful practices, foods, plants and my love for nature and surfing.
What do you LOVE most about being a Yogi? That I have really good party tricks! Lol. No, seriously, I love that Yoga is my backbone. Is the one constant in my life. While everything else keeps transforming and changing and moving, my practice is always there and I can always go back to that when ever I feel disconnected.
Do you think we should all Meditate? or at Least try? and if so why? Absolutely! I started mediating with my son every night recently. I think meditation is an amazing tool, especially in these times where we are always connected. We never feel bored anymore, we are always distracted. That means we don’t have a chance to contemplate, to really know ourselves and our environment. Besides getting to know our true selves meditation reduces stress, anxiety, increases energy, creativity, your ability to focus and overall wellbeing. It balances your emotions and calms you down. It is scientific, if you look at what happens to your brain activity when you meditate it will blow your mind!
What things can we do to help lift a low mood? I really love this Hawaiian healing method called Ho’oponopono. And whenever I feel like I am in a place where there is hurt, or healing needed I sing this mantra to myself with a very soft voice:
I love you.
Please forgive me.
It evokes the spirit of love to heal within me and what is creating my outer circumstance. I think we need to start having a softer voice towards ourselves and others. Less judging, labeling and identifying and more compassion and love. Then I go and make myself a super nourishing Cacao scream bowl. I like to use plant, herbs and foods to support my life and how I am feeling or what I feel I need. Cacao increases circulation and stimulates your brain activity, relaxes your muscles, and of course we know about the induced feeling of euphoria. You can find the recipe on my blog.
What Makes You Feel Healthy & Happy? My yoga practice. Having a 90% plant based diet. Making my own food. Surfing. Spending time with my son. Meditating. The sun. Touch.
What things can we do so we Feel less STRESSED? Yoga and meditation! Taking sometime for reflection and slowing down. We tend to do the opposite when we are stressed out, finding comfort in going out of ourselves, over eating, sitting in the couch watching TV, drugs, alcohol, sex. Anything that dims our experience, these things will only make our experience worse. What we really need is to take in less, to reflect, to be quiet, to eat nourishing grounding foods, to exercise, whether that is Yoga or any sport you like. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. To go outside in nature, have fresh air, even if that means just a walk in the park. And of course if you can start to meditate at least 5 minutes everyday it will have a great effect in calming the nervous system.
Do we all have the ability to Feel Spiritually Connected within? Yes, I believe we are all spiritual beings in a material world. We just have lost a little bit of touch with ourselves and nature. We as humans just like plants always turn towards the light.
What MANTRA’S do you LOVE TO LIVE BY? Love and all is coming. Practice and all is coming. Kindness and all is coming. Intention and all is coming.
What’s Your Favourite Food to Eat? Smoothie bowls to drink? Matcha latte with coconut milk, tocos, mucuna pruriens, ashitaba and a little bit of raw honey.
Do you like to listen to music while practicing Yoga or in Silence? I have practiced Ashtanga Yoga most of my life and we don’t practice to music, our breath is our mantra, our focus and our music. But I do like to mix it up and when I am practicing at home or teaching flows I listen to Yeva Don or Nicolas Jaar, Peter Power or sometimes I like to listen to podcasts from the Upaya Zen Center.
What is your Favourite Active wear? Love Teeki.
What Skincare are you using right now? I make my own beauty products. I am working on a book with recipes that nourish both the Inner and Outer realms.
Do you try to get 8 hours sleep (even as a creative blogger)? I definitely try to get 8 hrs. I am no good if I don’t! During the day, I am always thinking for sure.
What is your Favourite Holiday (vacation) Destination? Costa Rica is up there on my favorite places to visit. The Harmony hotel is right on the beach with a fun surf break with amazing juice & healthy bar and really great Yoga space. For more off the beaten path; Palomino, Colombia is on the top of my list. Casa Coraje where I hosted my Wild & Free retreat in May is a beautiful laid back place right on the beach next to the Sierra Nevada. Or for a little more luxury One Love right on the mountain by the river is another magical place.
As a Yoga Teacher should we practice Yoga daily or is it ok to have rest day’s? I think we need to listen to our bodies. Rest days are great. We need to nourish and practice ahimsa (non- violence) to ourselves. Somehow we feel bad if we are not constantly doing something, if we have a regular practice, 5 or 6 days a week is ideal but maybe that is not so realistic for all of us. I would say do what you can but have consistency.
On Instagram you see a lot of Advance Yoga Poses such as Headstands, Handstands? Do we have to be able to do Advanced Yoga Poses to be a true Yogi? Being able to do advance Asanas is beautiful and great, but that does not make you a Yogi. This is just acrobatics. It is the external part of the practice. If you can breath consciously you can do Yoga. That is all that matters. Being where you are, accepting it and not identifying with it. And with practice all those other things come.
You created an Organic Brand in NEW YORK CITY called Heartbeat Juicery what inspired you to do this? This was really an extension of my lifestyle. I have been juicing, cleansing and living a healthy plant based lifestyle for a very long time. I would come to teach class and people would ask me what I was drinking and if I could make them some. Long story short I found myself making 80 juices a day and delivering by bicycle to their homes. So my best friend and later business partner and I decided to start Heartbeet Juicery and bring my creative concoctions to all.
What did you learn from setting up a business in New York? Wow, I learned so much! I really dove in into healing thru foods, herbs and plants. I developed my passion to educate people on health and bringing awareness to the importance of food and lifestyle. NYC is a tough beast to start a small business that is conscious driven and not willing to break your values for profit.
What advice can you give Spa it Girl’s wanting to live their dreams but unsure were to start? Vision, Intention, Unshakable Commitment, Manifest. I think the most important thing is to start with a very clear intention. Know what you want. Write it down. This is the first step, once you have that commit to your idea, no matter what it is and have consistency. If you have those things you can manifest anything you want.
What are you Upcoming Yoga Retreats?
Oct 6-10 Rincon, Puerto Rico.
Jan 20- 25 Marbella, Costa Rica.
March (date soon) Ayampe, Ecuador.
“Maria Margolies thank’s for sharing your words of wisdom with us at Spa it Girl” “I am truly grateful” “You are such a Beautiful Soul and a true Health and Wellness Inspiration and Light Worker too” Yvette Le Blowitz, founder of Spa it Girl.
photo credit: Jonathan Hokklo