Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation. Years have now passed since its first inception, and now you can’t walk a few blocks around town without seeing a studio offering Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, heated or not heated yoga. It's become an important fitness and mental health remedy in Seattle and is definitely here to stay.
From downward facing dog to twisted bird of paradise, the series of poses and breathing exercises are amazing way to keep your body nimble and your mind at ease. But there’s an aspect that could be explored further.
A 60 or 90 minute class is good for unwinding a day full of sitting at a desk, dealing with stressful work problems, and being stuck in Seattle traffic. Sure, the gal next to you with the cute Jade mat is nice, but you can never remember her name. Your instructor always knows how to assist you, but there’s never enough time to ask her all the questions that you have at the end of class. There are days you can’t bear the thought of circling the studio looking for parking, so you resort to an online class in your bedroom by yourself.
This is where Pulse comes in, a new Seattle-based, adventure-inspired Yoga Retreat experience. A place to hang your hat, make new friends, and dive deeper into your yoga practice. Created and led by skillful teachers Michelle Chambers and Chelsea Hoard, Pulse includes all the yoga, healthy food, and comfortable accommodations you'd expect at a traditional retreat, but with an extra-big dash of adventure and connection. No juice-cleanse detox here - retreaters enjoy meals family-style (prepared by local chef, Kristina Capulong) with a nice glass of wine.
I had a chance to catch up with the two entrepreneur yogis to hear more about their recent trip to Oregon and to learn how this all came to be in the first place.
Seattle Refined: How did you two meet? Why did you go into business together?
Chelsea: Michelle is the director of yoga for two Seattle studios so we met when I was auditioning for a job! We recognized our kindred spirits pretty much immediately - all of the things I felt most connected to in my practice and teaching, she did too. once we started talking about the possibility of leading retreats, we just couldn’t let it go. We were excited to offer something beyond what we could fit into a regular studio class, and also about all the places we could adventure to.
What makes pulse different from other yoga retreats?
Chelsea: The first thing that’s really important us is cultivating a sense of community, a supportive environment for retreaters to explore and re-center. Part of that is having a home base that’s somewhat tucked away, a place to ground and marinate in the experience and connect to each other.
Michelle: Then, we get out of the yoga room! We try to offer activities that are off the beaten path, or a little outdoorsy so that you can really get a feel for the place that you’re in. It’s amazing how you can see a part of yourself in a new place you’ve never been and really feel connected to it.
Chelsea: Oh! And the food is SO good! We have a brilliant chef on our team, Kristina Capulong, who creates meals for the entire retreat. Seriously, some of the Oregon coast retreaters were saying, “You should call this a food retreat!” We also think it’s pretty cool that we have a professional photographer with us to capture the whole experience.
What do you want retreat goers to walk away with after attending pulse?
Michelle: Folks from our Oregon retreat reported to us that after attending, they walked away with a sense of returning back to themselves, but also like they were not quite the same. And that’s exactly what we were hoping for. We hope that something slightly shifts after connecting to a different landscape, new people, and the parts of yourself you might not get to acknowledge on a daily basis. On the yoga side of things, we hope to make the more esoteric, maybe less physical, aspects of yoga more accessible and applicable to your everyday modern life.
Say I'm not a "yogi" ... is this retreat for me?
Chelsea: This retreat is for everyone - yoga is for everyone! We’re here to learn from each other and explore together. If you’re open to learning and exploring, this is the place for you.
Where do you all travel to? Where are you going next?
Chelsea: With our Oregon Coast retreat, we really wanted to offer something accessible and close to home for our Seattle yoga community, and also to celebrate the ridiculous beauty of the PNW. That’s a retreat we want to continue to offer every year. Save the date for June 2019!
Michelle: In choosing other locations, we’re starting with two categories: places we absolutely love, and places we know we will love when we get there. Our next retreat is in the Mohave desert, near Joshua Tree. We chose it because we both felt a strong pull to that part of the world, and to explore a totally different landscape. Also, sunshine in the winter! We’re happy that Joshua Tree retreat is starting to fill, but you can still sign up and get more info at our website.
Chelsea: And next we’re going full-on beachy paradise in Tulum! In the spring, we’ll be traveling to Mexico for a full week of yoga and exploring in the Yucatan. This one isn’t quite open for registration yet but will be soon. We are pumped! The best way to be in the know about what’s coming up is probably on our instagram.
How would you describe pulse in three words/short phrases?
Connection, exploration and heart