Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk into a glowing pink and yellow sunset that lasted for 6 hours?
Or hiking through hills with clouds of hot moist steam blowing out of every crevice and then suddenly finding an icy glacier? How about soaking your stress away in naturally healing hot springs that abundantly flow out of the earth?
Iceland is an enchanting country, with a landscape straight out of a storybook, an earth that breathes life, and an unusual combination of fire and ice. I’ve become quite a collector of adventurous experiences over the last several years of teaching yoga globally, not to mention growing up with a wide spread of U.S. living experiences. I wanted to add this to my “Epic Experience” life list. Done.
It was June of 2011 and I arrived a week early to explore the land and ground before our Iceland yoga retreat began, ‘Yoga in the Midnight Sun’. I was thrilled to help get a group of curious yogis off the grid and into a new place where magic unfolds.
Of course any journey out of our daily norm is potential to let go and unfold into the mystery. However with all the rumbling waters, blowing winds, intense seasonal shifts, and erupting volcanoes (yet still there is a calm throughout) it’s safe to say that the land of Iceland requires you to be present and open to the flow.
The experience was both healing and adventurous. A perfect combo for a girl like me and the ultimate storyboard for a yoga retreat of new heights. Practicing and teaching yoga here is spectacular with the clean air and inspiring surroundings. Plus with daily adventures, yoga is needed!
Before finally landing there myself, Iceland had been on my radar for a few years.
I’d heard about this tiny island in the North Atlantic filled with healing waters, stunning landscapes, beautiful people, and geothermal energy. I was thrilled to simply turn on the faucet and drink high vibe, truly hydrating, and alkalizing water straight out of tap. (And you’re showering in it!). Plus it’s growing yoga and health scene made it extra enticing.
The second I landed I knew it was something special.
The sky was luminous and the vast open land was awe-inspiring. It was a huge relief coming from the hustle of New York.
I happened to be there in the summer when there’s a 24 hour stint of sun. So perhaps my perspective is a bit biased since during the winter there’s a 24 hour stint of darkness which I’ve yet to experience.
Somehow, however, this contrast adds to the mystique of Iceland, her beautiful charm and likely helped produce the many acclaimed Icelandic musicians, artists and writers. The summer experience was energizing with so much light. I felt a sense of ease. I could finally take my time with an endless day and a sun that ‘set’ around 1am as the sky turned to a light sweet sultry pink with rolling clouds that reflected the water and land below until the bright sun took over again.
As you might have guessed, the earth is very alive here. Volcanoes. Waterfalls. Hot springs. Explosive geysers. Bubbling mud. Gorgeous horses. And the strong folklore (or fact?) of the ‘hidden people’ such as elves, trolls, mountain spirits, fairies, and gnomes which is so deeply engrained in the culture that highways and other building projects have been negotiated to avoid harming suspected homes of these spritely beings.
I have to admit, if they were to live anywhere, it would be here. Especially Snaefellsnes, one of my favorite stops on our Iceland yoga retreat, with it’s rolling hardened lava rock hills covered in thick soft green moss and the sweetest little yellow and pink flowers.
One morning our group hiked to one of the peaks of these rocks overlooking the peninsula, perched ourselves on the highest point, and dove deep into a still and silent meditation. After our sit on green, we gathered and went up to the glacier.
Suddenly we were running through white snow and up the steepest side of this glorious mound of ice. When silent enough, you could actually hear it crackle like it was speaking directly to you.
You could say I fell in love with Iceland. Like any healthy relationship, I’m excited to get to know her better. It is a unique place with an otherworldly view of what this mama earth is capable of.
I would recommend a visit to anyone who is willing to take in the inspiration while respecting the intrinsic beauty and ways of the culture. Just be sure to sporadically pause, breathe deep and wide, take it all in, and be refreshed by a new adventure. I suppose that’s advice for any traveler going anywhere.
Edited by Hayley Samuelson
Aarona Pichinson is a lover of movement, a designer of lifestyle, and a believer in the power of collective awareness. Aarona is a dedicated teacher and guide. In addition to being a well known teacher and superfood savant in NYC, Aarona is teaching at Wanderlust,Vermont; Eden Hot Springs, Arizona; Mexico and in Iceland in 2012.