I stood waiting for at the ferry jetty in Lyttelton Harbour on a gorgeous Sunday in January for 9 participants to turn up and sail with me to Quail Island. I had a day of hiking, exploring historical sites, meditating, sharing and yoga planned. An outing from 10am – 4pm fits nicely into a Sunday for most people and the environment out in the harbour is exquisite rain or shine.
I breathed out a sigh a gratitude as I observed the arrival of each person and the way they all warmly introduced themselves as well as the ease in which conversation flowed. It was obvious to me we had a great group for the day.
As we sailed across the water the captain stopped the ferry to show us the Hectors Dolphins (mother and calf) swimming in our wake. Delightful and special to watch these amazing creatures in their natural environment. After a short cruise, we disembarked and began our hike to the upper part of the island, through forest, along the tops of the volcanic cliffs and into the new forestation project. We had some topics to discuss amongst ourselves as we paired off along the hike which gave us opportunity to consider ourselves in a different way and share a little bit more about who we are.
I pointed out various points of interest and shared some information on the sights. We sat together as a group in a small clearing higher up the hill, looking out over the harbour to the heads. The sky and water shared a similar moody blue grey. I spoke to everyone about living a connected lifestyle and how to prioritise and maintain balance for ourselves so that we may better serve our families, relationships, community and work. It created a soft tone in which we sat for a silent meditation. It was powerful to be still together in that space. Some expressed the desire to have a meditation focused retreat at some point because they enjoyed the stillness so much.
Up over the hill we went when we encountered two Kereru (wood pigeons) stuffing themselves with red berries on small shrubs an arms length away. The weight of their bodies bending the branches as they pecked away. Soon after we observed a quail crossing our path – how appropriate. We continued our walk down to the first beach where we set up for a 40 min stretch on our yoga mats before a picnic lunch.
The yoga session was set up under some old pines on the waters edge. A soft breeze cooled us. The birdlife all around us, abundant in species, gave an extra special element to practicing breath and pose together. The poses were gentle, focused and completely supportive to boosting our bodies after the long walk. Savasana was grounding and expansive out in nature, you just can’t beat a natural environment to experience this!
Over lunch we had topics of conversation and the real magic began to happen as each person chose to share more about who they are, what they do and how they would like to move forward in their lives. It’s amazing how rapport and trust builds over an experience like a retreat with intention. We wrapped up our lunch break and skirted the island by her shores on low tide to find the shipwreck graveyard as our last stop before the boat.
Time passed and we absorbed ourselves in the experience. It was easy to let go of life on the mainland and get right into it. I’m running another retreat with the same destination on February 11th. Read all about it on our Facebook event page and make your booking. Life has so much in it, that it’s important to take time out and recharge. Hope to see you there! ~ Persephone Singfield