Originally from Germany, Dagmar Spremberg moved to the US 16 years ago. She lived in LA and in New York where she studied with Elena Brower. Now she lives and teaches in Costa Rica and leads yoga retreats in different parts of Central America. She gracefully agreed to be interviewed by Retreat Place about her lifestyle, her experience and her upcoming retreat in Honduras.
What is a typical day like during the retreat?
We love to get up early for our dynamic morning practice before breakfast at 7am. Coffee/tea and fruit is served for the early birds, then we start with the practice. Breakfast will be served at 9am. Then the rest of the morning is free time with options for excursions, massages, chillin’ out until lunch is served around 1pm. Afternoon is the same until we meet again at 5pm for our magical sunset slow flow vinyasa with the beautiful live music from the HANG. The day ends with a delicious dinner at 7pm. This is the main schedule, but we are flexible. We want to offer an island trip as a group excursion and are also accommodating any other group activities or requests during the week.
Have you taken a retreat yourself? What was your most profound moment?
What I always find most touching in hosting or taking a retreat is the transformation that happens in such a relative short amount of time. There is always a sharing circle in the beginning and in the end and while in the beginning everybody is rather a bit shy or maybe reserved, after 6 days of yoga and vacation together hearts just are so much more open, new friendships are made and dreams are being manifested…..it is such an inspiration for me and shows that we really are here to ignite and empower each other.
According to you, what are the top 3 benefits of taking a yoga retreat?
1. You leave your daily routine behind for a week and immerse yourself into the beauty of nature to relax and rejuvenate, a wonderful gift/treat to yourself. You deserve it!
2. You practice yoga twice a day which will bring you back into your own flow, connect you deeper to your breath and your body and remind you of your strength as much as of letting go.
3. You are surrounded by likeminded people that will support and inspire you; it’s like getting sparked again…
What makes the retreats you lead special?
We always find places that are very intimate and beautiful settings. Add the magical music of the HANG and you will relax very deeply and also take your practice to the next level. Music moves us in many, many ways…….We encourage students to do what they love to do and they can go off and explore and do their own thing, just chill out, or be with the group, whatever they feel makes them most happy. All activities and classes are optional.
Do you accept all levels? How do you balance advanced practitioners with beginners during a yoga retreat?
Yes, all levels are welcome. We always provide a safe and comfortable space for all our students and give them a lot of individual attention, so they can grow and expand in their practice and feel supported and challenged at the same time. For all students we offer modifications based on their level of experience. I love to give adjustments and always hold space for everyone’s questions or concerns. In my experience the group always grows together and beginners will find a lot of inspiration and support in the other students and vice versa. In our last retreat in Tulum we had one complete beginner, 3 yoga teachers and every level in between!
What is your favorite retreat place? Why?
I don’t have a favorite place……each place feels home after a short time, each place has its magic, I never had a bad experience, there is always a gift in it. The strongest connection always happens when you are in beautiful nature, that’s what we first look for in choosing our places, then of course the energy/intention/love to detail each hotel has to offer.
How did you first get introduced to yoga? And how did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
I first found yoga when I moved from Germany to Los Angeles in 1996. Of course in L.A. everybody was doing it :) I was very lucky to soon find an amazing inspiring teacher who opened a whole new world for me and started loving it more every time I went to practice. It was like coming home… I then moved to New York and went 5 times a week to yoga and that’s where I studied with Elena Brower , who is now one of the most influential yoga teachers in the US… When I moved to Montezuma, Costa Rica in 2001, and found the hotel with an open pavilion yoga space, I approached her to organize a retreat there and she said yes. When she came for the retreat she encouraged me to become a teacher and offered to mentor me, so shortly after I went to NYC and did my first yoga teacher training. I am forever grateful to her that she pushed me gently into that direction!
Who were you mostly influenced by?
I would definitely first mention my yoga teacher in Los Angeles, her name is Christi Minarovich. She showed me how to see the beauty in life and truly lives a yogic lifestyle, meaning she walks her talks…I loved that about her, she never gossiped or complained and even in challenging moments she dealt with it in a very graceful and trusting way. She is my biggest inspiration. Then of course Elena Brower, for her honesty and authenticity as a teacher and her wonderful classes. And my dear friend Ori Braun, who owns a hotel in Costa Rica, where I stayed in 1991 on my first travel to Montezuma, and she was living my dream right there and then when I was still living in Germany and thinking that it would never happen to me. But somehow when you see somebody else doing it, it becomes just a little bit more real…I never forgot her in my mind and she was one reason to come back here. There are many more people of course who I cannot all mention here…..all my wonderful students, my friends and family, who continue to inspire and support me and last but not least my wonderful partner Daniel, who is such a free and creative spirit and just loves me for who I am… I am so blessed and grateful to share my life with him.
Where do you live and what is a typical day like for you?
I live in Montezuma, a little fishing village on the beach in Costa Rica, surrounded by wonderful, vibrant nature. I build my own little house here a few years ago, Moroccan style, where I live with my partner and my cat. I wake up early and start my day with a green juice in my garden….then I either go practice or teach yoga, eat well, find time for the beach or river, spend some hours on the computer working in my house, teach again in the evening, eat well, come home and go to sleep early :) it’s a very healthy, simple lifestyle and it’s what I love most about living here… it is not constantly about money and the latest fashion, you need very little to be happy. We have an organic farmers market here on Saturdays and I feel so blessed to have everything I need right here. I spend hours just watching birds and monkeys and other wildlife….so much to learn from them….
You have a retreat coming up in Honduras, tell us a little about it.
We found this wonderful place called Paya Bay Resort through a yoga teacher friend and think it will be the perfect place. They are very accommodating and sweet and it’s very private. We have even our own beaches! The yoga space is very open and inviting, the food will be delicious and the rooms look very comfortable and nice. We are happy to offer the retreat at some incredible price which was important to us, so we can reach out to many of our friends and get a sweet group together.
Music moves us beyond sound and rhythm and the HANG is an incredible instrument. It is handmade and has a big variety of sounds that are very healing and soothing. People always fall in love with it and I love teaching with it. It brings us all into this beautiful flow and to me that’s always the goal of yoga, the dissolution of resistance, so you come to the bottom of it all, the heart, the love, the dance of life. That warm glow of the heart at the end of practice when you feel you are missing absolutely nothing…now imagine that feeling for a whole week, you gonna get home completely refreshed and rejuvenated……we can’t wait to go!
Thanks Dagmar for reminding us of how life can be lived simply and for the inspiration that emanates from retreats! For more information about Dagmar’s upcoming retreat in Honduras “Let Go Into The Flow Yoga Retreat – Vinyasa Flow & Hang Music”, visit her retreat page.