Reclaim Your Self Yoga Holiday, Iceland
Jivamukti yoga and untamed nature in the Arctic wilderness
Best for: Anyone who loves being active and exploring wild nature
Not for: Someone looking for a relaxing yoga holiday in the sun or who wants to avoid driving for day trips
Takes up to 16 guests
On this holiday you can enjoy five days practising yoga and exploring all that makes Iceland unique on the Troll Peninsula in Northern Iceland. You’ll stay on a beautifully renovated Icelandic farm located in the wild and peaceful Skíðadalur valley, surrounded by majestic mountains and endless nature. Practice Jivamukti yoga each morning daily, relax in the sauna, soak in hot pools and head out exploring every day. Hike to a glacier, ride Icelandic horses and explore the Mývatn geothermal wilderness, where you’ll find volcanoes, fiery fumaroles, huge waterfalls and a nature bath. The remote location makes it ideal for seeing the Northern Lights.
This part of Iceland is off the beaten track and truly remote and wild. The landscapes are dramatic and beautiful and the location really is in the middle of nowhere. The daily routine of a strong yoga practice, hearty vegan food and then being out in amazing nature is incredibly invigorating and inspiring. Ending the day in the hot pools and very likely watching the Northern Lights makes this an unforgettable trip.
The weather in Iceland is unpredictable and it is likely to be fairly cold in October (it is the best month for the Northern Lights though). Usually the temperatures range from 5-15 Celsius but it can be sunny and warm and then cold and windy all in one day. This can affect some of the excursions, so the schedule shifts to accommodate this where possible. Three of the excursions involve driving in the minibus, so if you get travel sick or don’t like spending time travelling in a group, this may not be the holiday for you.
Practice Jivamukti yoga each morning, relax in the sauna, soak in hot pools and head out exploring every day. In the evenings there’s a restorative class or a meditation/relaxation practice.
Emma Henry is an Advanced Jivamukti teacher. Morning classes will be a strong flow practice and in the afternoon you’ll either have a yin/restorative class or if it is an excursion day, then meditation or a relaxation practice in the evenings.
Jivamukti classes combines a vigorous and dynamic asana practice supported by chanting, breath awareness, alignment exploration, hands-on assistance, relaxation and meditation.
All levels are welcome, and modifications and progressions are given so that everyone will find the yoga classes rewarding, but the Queen of Retreats team do recommend you have previous experience of a flow class and enjoy being challenged by a vigorous and dynamic style of yoga to go on this holiday.
From the lodge you can head out on foot or horseback to explore the valley and nearby waterfalls. Excursions include a day hike to the glacier and an afternoon in the traditional fishing village of Siglufjörður. A trip to this part of Iceland would not be complete without a day out at the world famous Lake Mývatn geothermal region, where all that makes Iceland so unique can be experienced within a few hours – powerful waterfalls, characteristic volcanoes, geothermal activity and a nature spa.
These are a must-do in Iceland and the perfect compliment to the dynamic yoga and explorative focus of this yoga holiday. The retreat location has an outdoor hot tub with views down the valley and a sauna. You also visit the local thermal pools in Akureyri, and spend a few hours soaking at the Myvatn natural spa at the end of the day exploring the area.
A good, warm coat is essential for this trip. You’re also asked to bring a water bottle and a flask in the name of sustainability.
When to Go
Iceland in October is autumnal and fairly cold but not freezing. The hot pools are amazing this time of year and it is still light between 9am and 4pm. It is usually a brilliant time to see the Northern Lights and it has not yet become too cold and snowy, so you can get out and about and see plenty.
You’ll be served a hearty and healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner every day prepared by the Reclaim Your Self expert retreat chef Saba Rahbar. Meals are served in a cosy dining room in the farmhouse.
Menus are designed to support your yoga practice, so you can expect tasty and sustaining plant-based meals. As you are often out and about over lunch, you’re asked to bring a flask with you which the team fill with warming soups and daals.
A breakfast might include banana pancakes with cinnamon and chocolate sauce, seasonal fruit salad topped with toasted coconut, potato, onion and rosemary rosti, and roast sumac mushrooms served with cashew chive cream cheese. A (packed) lunch might include sweet potato, red pepper & spinach daal, buckwheat turmeric crackers, whole fruit and a homemade trail mix (nuts, seeds and dried fruit).
Dinner entails delights such as roast tandoori cauliflower slices, cashew raita, chana masala (chickpea curry), cumin, lemon and cardamom steamed quinoa followed by chai spiced ‘amazeballs’ with Icelandic herbal tea.
There’s plenty of herbal teas, infusions and drinking water available. No caffeine or alcohol is served, but there are local cafes and bars in the nearest town which you will visit a couple of times during the retreat should you fancy something – though meals are super healthy, this is not a retreat of deprivation.
Reclaim Your Self’s policy is to support local economies by booking locally-owned venues. The company works alongside local teams, skill sharing and learning from each other in a culturally sensitive and engaging way.
They buy their food from local suppliers and avoid supermarkets, and their chefs create menus where they can recycle leftovers into the next day’s meals if needed. The tap water in Iceland is delicious, so guests are asked to bring a water bottle and they strongly discourage the purchase of plastic water bottles.
Akureryi (via Keflavik international airport)
Transfer Time: 45 minutes