Being There// What I Learned Leading My First Yoga Retreat

What I Learned Leading My First Yoga Retreat// Sunrose Yoga


I’m unpacking from a magical trip to the Northwoods of Minnesota for Truly North Retreat and reflecting on this experience. For the last few (or five) years, I have included “lead a yoga retreat” on my list of intentions for the year, but somehow found an excuse to hide from this opportunity until now. Why did I wait so long? That is probably a conversation for another day, but I am certain that fear was one of the main reasons.

And now that I’m on the other side of the sweetness of this retreat, “Why did I wait so long?” carries a different meaning.

Because it was breathtaking.

Lake Medicine// Truly North Retreat

Even thought I had been planting the seeds of intention for this event for many years, it unfolded in a completely surprising and spontaneous way. From a few words of encouragement on Facebook (bless that place), I managed to dream up, plan and lead an event in a super-remote part of the country nowhere near my home in Portland, Oregon.

Gunflint Lake// Truly North Retreat with Kelly Sunrose Yoga

I’m brave. I’m ballsy. I’m making it happen.

There were moments when I wondered if I was completely bat-wing mad trying to pull this off, but as we drove away from the bustle of Minneapolis and into the freshness of the Northwoods and on to the elemental waves of Lake Superior and on and on and on north until Canada was within ear-shot, I knew it was not only the right thing to do, but that it was so right.

Lily Pad Medicine// Truly North Yoga Retreat  15258820221_287822cc2e_k

We gathered at the Gunflint Lodge on Gunflint Lake. The South Shore of Gunflint Lake is in the United States and the North Shore (1 mile away) is in Canada. These are indeed the boundary waters.

Loons, ducks, chipmunks, herons, snakes, deer, moose, walleye, rumors of bears and wolves. Our kin for the weekend.


This part of Minnesota is called the Iron Range for its rich deposits of 4 kinds of iron. Laying my bones on this land, touching the waters, breathing the air, it felt like an infusion of minerals that I so dearly needed after a summer full of beautifully full exhalations.

Ancestor Medicine// Sunrose Yoga

We gathered in this place steeped in lore and family. We practiced yoga by the warmth and crackle of a fire. We floated with the waves in meditation on the surface of the lake. We alternated between soaking tub and sauna while engaged in the very best kind of conversation. We let the wind tousle our hair and sweep across our faces. We created sacred space.

And it was so right.

Why did I wait so long?

Truly North Retreat// Stay Curious

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