Wilderness Yoga © 2009 Kaylyn Messer

Yoga Retreat ~ An Inward Journey

Alaska Yoga Journey © 2015 Liz Gifford
Instructor Liz Gifford

Come take a journey inward to Southeast Alaska. We will spend our time kayaking, hiking, watching wildlife and doing yoga surrounded by the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Our 2017 Yoga Journey will begin in the beautiful town of Gustavus, with a pre-trip orientation on the afternoon of June 3rd. On the morning of June 4th you'll depart via water taxi for the scenic 2 hour boat trip through Icy Strait to the outside coast of Yakobi Island. Nestled in a protected harbor is the remote US Forest Service Greentop Harbor Cabin. The cabin will be your base for 4 days and 3 nights of sea kayaking, hiking, yoga, and relaxation! On June 7th, our water taxi will return to transport the group back to Gustavus. On June 8th, set out on a day-long boat tour of Glacier Bay National Park's tidewater glaciers, abundant wildlife, and incredible scenery!

Our experienced kayak guides and naturalists will be Spirit Walker Expeditions. Yoga and/or meditation will be offered daily, and students will have the opportunity for discussions on yoga philosophy, journaling, reflection and self-inquiry.

Alaska Yoga Journey © 2015
Liz Gifford

You will find plenty of time to enjoy this trip at your own pace. That may mean taking an after-dinner beach walk, or sitting quietly beside the water as you watch the graceful movements of a humpback whale. This trip is a way to immerse yourself in the spirit of the area, not to see how far and how fast we can go. We want you to return home invigorated and inspired by the beauty and grandeur of Alaska’s wilderness.

Our yoga instructor will be Liz Gifford. Liz has always had an affinity for living on or near water. Although she calls Juneau, Alaska home now, she has been a gardener on Nantucket, studied island culture and environment on the islands of Greece, and bought coho salmon from Alaskan trollers while living on a scow on the outer coast of southeast Alaska. After receiving her bachelors degree in anthropology and environmental studies, she moved to Alaska to combine her love of the outdoors with her passion for education. She enrolled in the University of Southeast Alaska and obtained her Outdoor Leadership Skills certificate. Liz never slept in and missed a class because her courses ranged from Backcountry Skiing and Navigation to Whitewater Safety and Rescue. Her favorite class was by far Expedition Sea Kayaking so when offered a job with the U.S Forest Service as a kayak/wilderness ranger she jumped at the chance. Liz spent three seasons in an “office” of glacially carved fjords and paddled amongst the icebergs of the three tidewater glaciers in the Tracy Arm/Ford's Terror Wilderness Area.

Six years ago Liz received her Masters of Arts in Teaching and spent a few years in the classroom teaching middle school language arts and social studies. Liz couldn’t give up her passion for playing outside and has worked summers as a glacier guide in Juneau and a sea kayak guide in Glacier Bay National Park. For two summers she connected her love of education with her love of kayaking and taught a month long college level sea kayaking course focusing on the ecology and natural history of the Tongass National Forest. Currently, Liz is a year round kayak guide and yoga instructor for a small polar tourism company that leads trips in Antarctica, the Canadian Arctic, Greenland and the Norwegian Arctic.

Liz has been practicing yoga regularly since her first college class almost twenty years ago. She loved the calm it brought to her during her busy college schedule. Liz kept returning to yoga as a compliment to her favorite sports, of which there are many. You can often find her either backcountry skiing on her telemark skis, going for a trail run, training for a triathalon, or most recently trying her hand at surfing. Yoga was especially beneficial in helping her train for two marathons, since the focus on breathing helped her work through her exercise induced asthma. Three years ago, Liz received her Yoga Alliance teacher certification in Hatha vinyasa flow in Costa Rica. She has since taken trainings in Hot Yoga and Yin Yoga. She is working on her 500 hour certification with a focus on deepening her knowledge of anatomy, yoga for therapy and Ayurvedic health. Liz is thrilled to be able to lead a kayaking and yoga journey in some of the most beautiful waters she has ever paddled in and looks forward to sharing the beauty and wild wonders of SE Alaska with like minded individuals.

Expedition Details

Breaching Whale © 2008 David Sinton
Humpback Whale

Location: Gustavus, Alaska / Yakobi Island

Duration: 4 days/3 nights in the Yakobi Island Wilderness. One-day trip to Glacier Bay National Park.

Paddle Distance: 12-20 miles over four days

Activities: Yoga, kayaking, hiking, wildlife observation, rain forest and beach hikes, photography, whale watching & glacier viewing.

Highlights: Daily yoga and meditation, experiencing wildlife from our kayaks, making lasting connections, supportive guides and great meals.

2017 Schedule and Prices

June 4-8, 2017; $2099/person, plus 3% Gustavus sales tax.

Book Your Trip: go to Trip Reservations to book your trip today, or call 1-800-KAYAKER!

Trip Description

Alaska Yoga Journey © 2010 Kaylyn Messer
The View from Pleasant Island

Our Yoga Journey is designed to give you the maximum amount of adventure and fun with the least amount of planning stress. In addition to the four day Wilderness Isles trip, our package includes meals and lodging in one of Gustavus' finest inns, before and after the trip.

Upon arriving in Gustavus, you'll get acquainted with your guides and fellow trip participants over a fine Alaskan dinner. The guides will provide a pre-trip orientation that will cover all the particulars of the kayaking trip, and get you outfitted in raingear and waterproof boots. Spirit Walker Expeditions will supply you with dry bags for your personal clothing, cameras and binoculars. They will also provide all the quality camping gear you'll need to be comfortable. And the guides have earned an outstanding reputation for preparing tasty, healthy meals featuring wild Alaskan seafood, fresh produce and home baked goods.

Alaska Yoga Journey © 2008 Trevor Johnston
Alaskan Bald Eagle

This intimate (maximum of 8 students) 6-day or 7-day retreat is surrounded by nature, wildlife and beauty. This is a perfect adventure for someone interested in looking inward and slowing down. There will be time for strolls on the beach, hikes, relaxing, bicycling, and getting amazing views of Alaskan wildlife. Meals will be mostly vegetarian with some fish. Be prepared for a real Alaskan adventure! All levels of kayak and yoga experience welcome and encouraged.

Tide pool explorations, rain forest treks, and gourmet dinners among the tumbled boulders at our camp fill our four days and nights at Pleasant Island. It is not uncommon to hear Humpbacks slapping the water or their explosive breath from our tents at night. The impression is a lasting one, but only one of many you'll take home from this great kayaking adventure. The natural beauty, abundant wildlife and connections you'll make on this trip will all surely create the setting for many lasting memories.

Schedule, 2015 Yoga Retreat

Alaska Yoga Journey © 2008 Leonid Teytelman
Wild Strawberries, Alaska

Day 1

  • Arrive in Gustavus
  • Check-in, orientation and Opening Circle
  • Stay in lodge

Day 2 - Day 4

  • Kayaking to and around Pleasant Island
  • Hike, yoga, meditation, group discussions, journaling, relaxing, wildlife watching
  • Camping on Pleasant Island

Day 5

  • Kayak back to Gustavus
  • Stay in lodge

Day 6

  • Half-day whale watching trip
  • Yoga
  • Closing Circle
  • Depart Gustavus in late afternoon - OR -
  • Stay in lodge for an optional day

Day 7

  • Optional Day
  • Trip to Glacier Bay
  • Depart Gustavus in late afternoon

Included in registration is all yoga, meals, lodging, kayaking, camping gear, airport transfers, whale-watching tour and Glacier Bay tour (if staying for optional 7th day). Rates are based on double occupancy for lodging in Gustavus, and single-room requests can be accommodated based on availability. Participants who wish to have their own tent while camping will be able to do so. Airfare to and from Gustavus is not included.

Trip Map: Yoga Journey


[Trip Map]

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Even with the information age upon us, it's difficult to match the level of knowledge our guides have accumulated over the years. Our staff is always ready to help — if you have additional questions, please contact us today!

From Our Clients...

“It was a true, spiritual experience that I will never forget.”

– Pat W.

Did You Know?

The Alaskan coastal brown bear is the same as a grizzly bear. Coastal brown bears are larger than grizzlies due to the addition of salmon in their diet.

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