This was my first ever yoga-retreat and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. From the breath-taking views, the opportunity to deepen my yoga practice, delicious meals, adventure on the water, and more, I had such an incredible time at this yoga retreat. I left feeling so refreshed and rejuvenated and would recommend this experience in a heartbeat. Here are all the details on this experience and why you should attend yourself.
From left: Nate, Stefi and Jessica. The formidable crew of Creekside Yoga, Jess and Nate have joined Stefi at MKC to offer the perfect balance of effort and ease.
Why You Should Attend This Yoga Retreat
I honestly feel like everyone can draw value from this yoga retreat. How often do you get to fully focus on yourself for the weekend? Stepping away from our normal routines and distractions and moving into a peaceful setting in Hastings County made such a difference. It provides a unique opportunity to focus on yourself and really get in tune with your own thoughts and how your body feels. With so many competing responsibilities it can be hard to carve time out for yourself and I think being in beautiful Hastings County made such a difference. It was far enough that you get the benefits of a new environment but close enough that it’s an easy road trip.
I found myself coming back and instantly recommending this experience to family and friends. Yoga and meditation have been things I’ve tried adding to my day more but I’ve always been so guilty of pushing it off. I think having no distractions made such a difference in being able to fully embrace this experience. I was able to really see the positive benefits the experience was having on my body and my thoughts.
Madawaska Kanu Centre Was The Perfect Location
Madawaska Kanu Centre is a three-generation family-run business on the Madawaska River about two hours drive from Ottawa. They offer whitewater kayak and paddle courses and now yoga retreats. They have multiple courses available and bring people together through the atmosphere, food, and activities. It quickly feels like you’re among family and friends while you’re here.
Stefi of MKC
This was the perfect place to relax through yoga and disconnect through nature. This place is surrounded by forest and such a peaceful spot for your escape. You’ll have the rushing water of the Madawaska River as your soundtrack for the whole weekend. I spent a few mornings and nights just sitting by the water and taking in the view.
The yoga retreat has turned into an annual event taking place in the fall. I recommend adding this event to your radar now for next fall.
All Levels Welcome
Jess and Nate who run the retreat are the owners of Creekside Yoga in Stirling, Ontario. They fell in love with yoga in Bali and then did their training in India. I loved learning about their background and it was clear how passionate they were about yoga. We even got to see some of their acro-yoga while we were there.
As a beginner, I wasn’t sure what the levels at the retreat would be like.
Our group included experienced yogis to people who have never done yoga before. Jess and Nate did an incredible job or making sure everyone felt comfortable and was doing each position right. They were so attentive and willing to answer our questions. They also made sure we were doing each position right. With any physical activity, it’s important you have the right form and I really appreciated their guidance I was learning. I feel more confident in my yoga practice now.
What You Can Expect On The Yoga Retreat:
Yoga Practice and Meditation
We were able to try different types of yoga and meditation throughout the weekend. We started the mornings with meditation, enjoyed yoga after breakfast, different activities throughout the day, and then yoga to close out the day before bed. We also got to enjoy sessions like the self-care with tune-up balls that can help with muscle tension.
Disconnect in Nature
Madawaska Kanu Centre has some wonderful trails surrounding the property. We did a walking meditation where we walked through the forest in silence and focused on the sights and sounds. This experience stood out to me because I usually go on walks with a goal in mind for photos but this time I did it for pure enjoyment with no agenda. It was so easy to disconnect in such a beautiful place, especially by the water.
Enjoy The Water
I couldn’t resist getting out on the water in one of the kayaks. Stefi, the Director, took us on a mini-adventure on the Madawaska River. It was my first time using a whitewater kayak and we took them out on flat water. It took a little while to get used to but we had a blast. Steffi even showed us how to maneuver the kayaks to go through some level 1 rapids. It definitely sparked some interest in me to come back and try one of the paddling courses. There were lots of smiles as our group did the loop through the rapids back to flat water.
There are also opportunities for alone time. My go-to was the river. It was so peaceful sitting by the water and taking in the view and the sound. Other group remembers chose to use the time to explore the trails or journal/read in one of the Muskoka chairs.
What’s Accommodation and Food Like?
Madawaska Kanu Centre has multiple accommodation options available. Stay in their cozy lodge or connect with nature even more camping. Personally, I stayed in the lodge. Get a comfy sleep on a double bed and the rooms also have heaters if it’s a bit cooler at night.
There is a main washroom/showers nearby the lodge. There are also outdoor showers that are fully private and also have hot water. You can’t beat a warm shower under the trees.
Every meal was healthy and delicious. I was so impressed whether it was flatbread, broccoli parmesan broccoli, apple pancakes, or homemade ice cream sandwiches. They’re Feast Ontario certified which recognizes restaurants that source Ontario grown and made food and drink. Madawaska Kanu Centre even had hens on site for fresh eggs in the morning. They also accommodate any dietary restrictions you have.
Should You Attend With Friends, Partner, or Alone?
This totally depends on the experience you want to have. With friends or partners, this could be an amazing bonding experience. By yourself, you’re able to totally focus on you all weekend. Everyone doing the retreat was so friendly and welcoming and you instantly feel like you’re among friends. I’m glad I did the retreat alone but I was able to completely focus on my own experience and it's rare to get that time alone.
What I Learned From The Yoga Retreat
To slow down! Right before the retreat, I was listening to Jay Shetty on the School of Greatness and he was saying that we are often so busy that we don’t even slow down enough to know what our body truly needs. Whether that’s a bad knee, tension in our shoulders, or even just sleep, it’s so easy to overlook these things. Jess and Nate really helped remind me how important it is to get in tune with your body and thoughts.
Since returning I’ve been making the conscious effort to carve time out for myself and remind myself what Jess and Nate taught us. No matter how busy the day gets we can also make time for ourselves. There are so many physical and mental benefits to yoga and meditation and the yoga retreat really helps you see that. I returned to lots of deadlines and in a normal week, I would have overworked and tired myself out. Instead, I found myself listening to my body, and tuning in to what I learned from the retreat, whether that was a short meditation, a walk, or yoga. I loved how I felt after the retreat and I want to keep that going.