You’ve Got a Friend at Renew + Restore Yoga Retreat in Baja Sur

Tragically, you can’t always take your vacation when you need it most: when your SAD hits its max, when confronted by a cold front, after crushing a stressful work project. Schedules are like shackles.

But there are ways to recharge without taking off time. And sweating and stretching during a soothing yoga routine might be the best way to cheat the effect of a relaxing vacation.

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga

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We spoke with Anna Douglas Levin, yoga instructor at Urban Yoga Spa and cofounder of Renew + Restore yoga and surf retreat, about what happens at her eco ashram in Baja Sur, Mexico.

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga

What should someone look for when signing up for a yoga retreat?

Yoga retreats are a chance to celebrate a person’s innate capacity to renew and restore mind and body. When searching for a yoga retreat one should be mindful that both the yoga style being offered and the location of the retreat resonate with you. It’s good to consider the yoga instructor and if they are someone who can “hold space” for you for whatever experience and goals you’re hoping to achieve. “Holding space” refers to a teacher who will be right there with them, without judgment, on their journey.

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga
Who signs up for retreats?

Part of the beauty of Renew + Restore is its affinity to attract every type of person. We have all manner of participants, some as young as 12 and as old as 70. The yoga is accessible to all levels, and beginners are encouraged.

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga

Zella Contour top | Pure Energy seamless bralette | Impulse high waist midi leggings | S’well Los Angeles stainless steel water bottle 

Why do people go?

Those taking part in the retreat may be looking for grounding, centering, relief from stress, maybe seeking a fulfilling memory. Often it is a transitional period in their lives. For whatever reason people decide to attend, the intention is to provide a safe, supportive and meaningful experience that embodies the things we love most: high-quality yoga, community and the sea. One can hope to experience a heart-opening, heart-mending week, physically and spiritually.

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga

What is an average day like at Renew + Restore? Can you tell us about the food, surfing and the spa trip?

The day starts with the sun at Renew + Restore’s retreat in Baja Sur, Mexico. Sunrise reaches out across the Pacific and spills into the studio with a 360° view of the water. Students enjoy a light breakfast plus coffee and tea, then the morning vinyasa practice. During the day students can learn to surf, take time on the beach, take advantage of the opportunity to hike the coastline and explore the special charms of the nearby, art-filled town of Todos Santos. Evenings consist of sunset yin classes with meals on the veranda as well as in Todos Santos.

Renew + Restore Yoga Retreat, Baja Sur, Mexico

Renew + Restore Yoga Retreat in Baja Sur, Mexico; photo by Danny Pellissier

The food in Baja is a huge part of the experience. The locally sourced, fresh ingredients prepared by locals couldn’t be better. A few evenings we gather for dinner at the studio—all healthy meals made with love by the studio’s friends. Fresh-juice margaritas are always on the menu. Other nights we take students into Todos Santos to experience fresh farm-to-table meals, harvested from the gardens they see all around them.

We make sure to take the group to a traditional Temescal spa. I think this is one of the coolest and most unique parts of the trip. It consists of a dome clay sweat lodge located in a backyard oasis of a local, followed by agave masks and the best lemonade you’ve ever tasted.

Renew + Restore Yoga Retreat

Anna Douglas in Baja Sur, Mexico; photo by Danny Pellissier

How do you take care to be eco-friendly at Renew + Restore?

Renew + Restore takes great pride in the eco-friendly environment of the retreat. We embrace a simpler, back-to-basics philosophy. Baja Zen [their studio] is entirely solar powered, as Baja is very much an off-the-grid kind of place. Students are encouraged to detach from technology and be fully present in the beauty that is Baja. We also partner with companies that share our mission of environmental protection.

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga

Alo Jubilee sports bra  | Coast capris | Hydro Flask 32-ounce wide mouth bottle

Do you have a favorite pose?

My current favorite posture is a forearm stand. I’ve recently circled back to it in my own practice and so enjoy how it changes every time I come to my mat. This kind of posture is a very raw and honest reflection of where my mind is, whether I like it or not. The balance reminds me of where I need to be.

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga Retreat

Anna Douglas, Renew + Restore Yoga

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Photography: Matthew Sumi
Styling and shoot production: Morgan Dillon
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