Students at CorePower Yoga in Edina line up to take classes with Lindsey Ronning and Kyle Wilman. Both teachers are popular and experienced. Students stop to say hello as the two chat in the sunny lobby of the studio in Centennial Lakes Plaza on a Saturday morning. The community spirit in the studio is clear.
That sense of community extends beyond Edina, with a yoga retreat in Mexico led by Ronning and Wilman. This February will be the second year the duo will invite a group of students from the Edina studio to the Haramara Retreat for yoga and meditation. Many students who made the trip last year are signed up to go again, and retreat dates for 2018 and 2019 have already been set.
The Haramara Retreat is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico near the little town of Sayulita. The resort is described as “the place where Robinson Crusoe meets Architectural Digest.” There are individual cabanas, a dormitory and two open-air studios for yoga and meditation. The entire resort was built without large machinery in order to minimize disturbance to the land, and the residences have no electricity. An on-site kitchen provides meals, and the town is a short walk away. Cell-phone service is limited. Ronning and Wilman say the experience really is a retreat from modern life, but a very comfortable one.
When first approached about leading the retreat, Ronning said yes right away. She made a trip to Haramara with her mother and was certain that it was a special place. She asked Wilman to be her teaching partner and they came up with a weeklong set of practices built around the seven chakras. Ronning teaches and leads mediation in the morning; Wilman teaches a sunset yoga practice and mediation.
Wilman thinks the place has a lot to do with the richness of the experience. “The retreat has a sacred energy,” he says. “It’s been blessed by shamans, and you feel that you are in a special place.” The mediation and yoga practices take place in open-air structures called shalas, where students can see the sun rise during morning practice and set during the evening practice. The power of sitting down to meditate in the dark and then opening your eyes to see the sun rise is something both teachers talk about when asked why so many people from the first year are making the trip again.
The sacred space and the natural beauty of Haramara must surely be part of why students are making the trip a second time, but these two teachers are a big part of the draw. One of Wilman’s regulars, Andy Alstad, describes Wilman’s teaching this way: “Kyle is such an amazingly intuitive yoga teacher. He is inspired by the energy in the room, and so every class he guides is unique. It is no surprise I always receive exactly what I came to my mat in need of.” Ronning has been teaching at the Edina studio since it opened, and her students say similar things about her teaching style. Mandip Kataria talks about the energy in Ronning’s classes too. “Lindsey brings such calm and positive energy to the yoga space. I love that her classes have a very mindful balance of breathing and asanas, which to me is the essence of yoga. I feel honored to have her guidance and support in my yoga journey."
Two experienced and thoughtful teachers, a beautiful setting and a community of people who enjoy practicing yoga together: no wonder this retreat is becoming a tradition for Edina yoga lovers.