Bring Tulum to your living room with 200-hour certified yoga teacher and Aerie’s very own Senior Manager of Digital Creative, Catherine Gignac. Join us for an Aerie-ized mini take on The Retreat: Catherine’s 5-day yoga getaway that brought 15 yogis together this past spring in Tulum, Mexico. This digital version of Catherine’s Retreat is an opportunity for you to unplug, move your body, rest your mind and reconnect with yourself at the core of who you are through yoga, meditation and self-awareness. 

Practice her 5-part series and follow the journal exercises if you’re looking for more, or pick which practice speaks to you most today and return to it as many times as you want. We hope you’ll leave with renewed confidence, refocused energy and newfound clarity. 

If you want to take a yoga retreat with Catherine IRL, join her in Tulum this October! Sign up here.

Start your mini retreat by clearing out everything that’s clouding your vision and preventing you from feeling grounded. It’s easy to feel like there are too many tabs open in your brain, and it can be hard to get out of your head. Today is all about creating clarity of mind. To get there, you have to acknowledge what’s not serving you, work to eliminate it and in turn make space for all of the beautiful things you want to invite in.

Start with a simple flow that gets you out of your head and into your body, and create some much-needed energy where you may be feeling stuck, heavy or sluggish. 

Journal activity before your practice:

  • Write a letter to yourself. Ask yourself: 
    • Where are you in your life right now?
    • What areas of your life are you feeling drawn to improve or change habits in?
    • What areas of your life do you feel like you need more time and energy to focus on? 
    • What are you hoping to get out of this mini retreat?
  • Next, fill in this statement: I want less ______ in order to have more _________ . You can repeat this phrase and fill it in with different answers as many times as you want, or you can elaborate on one answer. 
  • Challenge yourself to make space today. Figure out what you may benefit from less of: thoughts in your head, plans on your schedule, relationships in your life. Do your best to take stock of what is overwhelming you right now, and acknowledge the things that are making you feel heavy and congested. 

To finish your efforts for making space, set a timer on your phone for 3 minutes. Sit upright with your legs crossed in front of you. Place your hands on your thighs, roll your shoulders down your back and sit up tall. For the duration of the 3 minutes, repeat this meditation in your thoughts:

“Breathe in lightness. Breathe out heaviness. Breathe in lightness. Breathe out heaviness…”

Today’s practice is about connections: with yourself, with your world and with each other. 

The best way to create a connection is to change your perspective—and we’re going to set the tone for that physically by flipping upside down! The first time you try it, headstand can feel scary, but focus on your connection with your body and remind yourself that you are already strong. Take this practice as an opportunity to change your perspective to feel even stronger, more confident and better connected with your true strengths. 

“It’s about perspective. You don’t need to change what you’re looking at. Maybe you just need to change where you stand.” 

After you’ve attempted your headstand, grab your journal: 

  • Write a letter to someone you feel you have the deepest connection with, telling them what you feel and why you feel that way. Choose to send it or not. 
  • Next, write a letter to someone you wish you had a deeper connection with, and consider how a change in perspective about that relationship could lead to a closer connection. Tell them what you feel and why you feel that way. Again, choose to send it or not. 

Instead of a yoga flow, today is about journaling. You can do it anywhere you can find 5 private minutes—home or work. Grab a notebook and get started!

Exercises in today’s journal practice: 

  • Write a list of things that you say to yourself on repeat that you know you shouldn’t but allow anyway. Things like, “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t feel beautiful.” Notice when you’re done if you can recognize where you’re adding self-inflicted stress and rigidity to your self talk. Notice how those statements aren’t benefiting you.
  • Next, write a list of “I am” statements. This time, they all must be both true and positive. Write as many as you can think of. Challenge yourself to fill this list up! 
  • Ask yourself how easy or hard it was to write your “I am…” statements. If it was hard, think about ways you can make this exercise a daily practice that you can feel good about. Maybe you start with an “I am…” statement every morning when you wake up so that it gets easier to find softness with yourself about who you are. 
  • Keep your “I am…” list as a gratitude and self-positivity note in your phone. Return and add to it any and every time you need a reminder that you are YOU. 

Sometimes the things you’re most afraid of are the things you’re most meant to do. You can be soft, but you can also be strong. 

Yoga builds strength all over our bodies, but we’re going to take a break and supplement it with some cardio today to get your heart rate up and feel an energy shift in your body. Especially if you’re not someone who typically does cardio, today’s practice is a great way to spend 5 minutes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. 

Here’s how:

Pick your favorite song with a fast beat and do jumping jacks for the duration of the song, setting your movement to the beat. This is all about turning your brain off and just letting your body move with the music. After about a minute, this repetitive motion will be overwhelming, but power through it. Close your eyes and keep jumping. The beauty comes when you push yourself to jump through the end of the song without stopping. Allow your body to surprise you with its strength, even when your mind tells you to quit.

Journal activity after your practice:

  • Take a moment to acknowledge where your sources of strength come from. It may be other people, or it may be something within you. 
  • Now acknowledge which areas of your life you would like to create more strength in. 
  • Write a note with an important reminder for yourself: When I feel weak, I’m going to stop and remind myself ___________________.

Remember to differentiate between strength and power. Sometimes we give power to things that aren’t necessarily powerful, but we make them so by giving them our attention. If you don’t like something that someone said to you, take away its power—your attention—and focus instead on your own strength. That’s something that no one can take away from you. 

We have to uproot before we can re-root, change our approach to our lives and grow. We started this week by making space, creating connection, finding softness and building strength. Essentially, we unrooted some of our habits and perspectives. Today we root back down. We’ll get centered and finish our mini retreat feeling like the best versions of ourselves. 

Use this grounding flow that connects every breath to a movement in your body. From here, you can go everywhere.  

Today’s journal activity can come after your practice: 

  • If you’ve followed each journal activity in sequence, take a moment to write a new letter to yourself to document how you’re feeling after this experience. Here’s a suggestion of some things that your letter can include:
    • What space have you made this week?
    • What has changed in you since day 1?
    • What do you want to promise yourself to remain clear of?
    • What connections do you want to continue strengthening? 
    • Create a list of magnitudes. Answer: WHAT are you? Remember: it’s not who you are, it’s what you are. You can be a badass in one area of your life, and soft and sensitive in another. You don’t have to be either one thing or another, you can embrace all of the different and amazing sides of you.  

Catherine’s first Retreat was made possible by 15 people—some strangers, some friends—who came together in Tulum for a week like none other. YOU can come to a Retreat, too! Follow Catherine on Insta and see more deets on her next Retreat this October

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