retreat

Our 1st Journey to Morocco - RETREAT RECAP

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It was an incredible few weeks we spent with our guests at our first ever joint Noorish Tofino & Dryftwater Sports yoga & surf retreat in southern Morocco. It’s been a couple of months now since I have come home and had some time to reflect on a transformative week.

Stunning architecture surrounded us everywhere we went. Intricate tile and lattice work, Moorish-style doorways and lavishly landscaped gardens are all trademarks of the Moroccan design aesthetic.

Stunning architecture surrounded us everywhere we went. Intricate tile and lattice work, Moorish-style doorways and lavishly landscaped gardens are all trademarks of the Moroccan design aesthetic.

For our group in week 1, our guests started their trip with a smattering of Moroccan culture in Marrakesh. Retreat leader Mama Liz toured the ancient city’s sights including the Bahia Palace, Jardin Majorelle and Saadian Tombs with our guests before setting off for a cross country adventure on the road towards the Sahara desert. Crossing majestic landscapes that included UNESCO heritage sites, palm fringed oases and the Todhas gorges, our guests bonded on the road with spontaneous break-outs of Africa in song. A lightning and thunder storm temporarily halted the group from reaching their camel steeds but that is part of the traveling experiences – surprises are abound. 

It turns out the camels you ride there are one-hump, not of the two-humped variety.

It turns out the camels you ride there are one-hump, not of the two-humped variety.

Riding camels in the desert was a dream for some of our guests and they were not disappointed. From there, it was onwards to our retreat location by the sea, the small village of Mirleft. We settled into a routine of deepening our yoga practice, trying surfing for the first time for some and advancing our skills for others, and daily cultural exploration in town and nearby.

Morning ritual: Yoga followed by a sumptuous Moroccan style breakfast of crepes and fresh orange juice

Morning ritual: Yoga followed by a sumptuous Moroccan style breakfast of crepes and fresh orange juice

Surfing every daily strengthened our bodies, challenged our minds, and refreshed our spirits

Surfing every daily strengthened our bodies, challenged our minds, and refreshed our spirits

Over the course of the week, something magical occurred. Some of our guests experienced a transformation in mindset and well-being. Through the challenge of travel to a new country, through new activities and physical experiences, our guests found greater inner awareness and a new sense of empowerment. Intentions set at the beginning of the trip were being realized and by the time we said our goodbyes, each woman came away with some deeper and more valuable to carry through back home than simply just a surf and yoga trip.

We loved seeing first time surfer Nicole, an established equestrian and yogi, so pumped to ride her first waves.

We loved seeing first time surfer Nicole, an established equestrian and yogi, so pumped to ride her first waves.

Each of us, as retreat leaders, also experienced great personal growth on this trip. We are constant students of life and are humbled by the challenges that we face.

Each of us, as retreat leaders, also experienced great personal growth on this trip. We are constant students of life and are humbled by the challenges that we face.

I feel so grateful and privileged to be part of something so special and I believe I speak for our entire team of Liz, Carly, and Youba. To be a small part in providing the space and time and tools to help our guests blossom and grow is something I will never forget. I am thankful our first group of guests believed in us and allowed us to be part of their personal journey. 

Mama Liz and her team at Spot-M will be hosting the next set of yoga & surf trips this Fall and Winter.

WOMEN’S ONLY - October 19-26 and October 26-November 2

FAMILY/CO-ED XMAS BREAK - December 21-28 and December 28-January 4

Please visit Dryft Water Sports for full details.



Meet Our Retreat Leader Series - Carly Fox

I believe that we are all here on earth in this form to learn, to expand our understanding and to experience the wonders of being human
— Carly
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Part Two of Meet Our Retreat Leader Series brings you a gem of a person, Carly Fox. Carly brings a natural warmth and a quiet leadership to our retreats. She’s the kind of individual that radiates strength from within, and she possesses a deep well of knowledge and practice in the areas of yoga, meditation and self-exploration. Kind, compassionate, and strong, Carly creates a welcoming and comforting energy for those around her. Hailing from the winter heartland of Canada, Winnipeg, Carly has spent extensive time living abroad. Keep reading below to learn more!

You have lived quite an interesting life so far, with your lifestyle interests merging well with your career path, and it’s taken you on a journey of living abroad for quite some time now. Tell us how that came to be and where are you now.

I have always had the drive to follow my passions, maybe I can thank my parents for that. After university I spent a few years working, saving my money and taking long trips whenever I could to explore the world. It was then I started surfing which really changed the trajectory of my life.  In September of 2011 after years of regular yoga practice I took my 200hr YTT in Costa Rica. I chose the training in Costa Rica because of the teacher, and then also because I knew there would be surf nearby on my days off!  After completing my training I took a few months off with the plan to surf and get teaching experience in Central America.

In November of 2011 I arrived in Nicaragua on the hunt for waves and I never left!  I lived in Nicaragua for 7 years and started my business Papaya Wellness there- with India Reinartz a fellow Canadian female surfer and yogi. We have been doing yoga and surf adventure retreats together since 2012 and it has led me to a lot of beautiful places and opportunities- including this one with Noorish and Dryft! Last month after 7 years in Nicaragua I moved to San Pancho, Mexico to keep exploring, growing and hopefully surfing a lot. 

Photo Credit: Papaya Wellness

Photo Credit: Papaya Wellness

In addition to working with Noorish Tofino, you are the owner and operator of your own surf & yoga wellness retreat company, Papaya Wellness. What inspired you to start your own business?

Papaya Wellness from the start has been a project grown out of love. India, like me, lives what she loves. We connected through our complimentary perspectives on achieving a state of health through balance, daily creative movement, connection, travel, mindful breathing and a lot of ocean time. We both have the desire to create the space to share that lifestyle and energy in a fun and playful way with everyone we can! We created Papaya Wellness to share and celebration what has brought to our own lives so much joy and inspiration. I have found that when I slow down and connect with myself a beautiful path unfolds from there with more connection to nature, deeper and more compassionate relationships in the world and an overall feeling of health and vitality! That is our goal and the experience I try to create for our clients! Life is instant and we relate to each other through technology now more than ever. I view cultivating channels of connection to ourselves, to nature and the human beings around us through practices like yoga, meditation or going for a walk in the woods as holding the utmost importance to the overall health and wellbeing of the whole planet

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A lot of people are going to read this and think, she’s living the dream! Working remotely in a warm destination, surfing all day. What is the reality of a typical day for you?  

My days are super varied. I would be lying if i said I didn’t have days like you mentioned above. I try to surf a lot and when the waves are good I get in the water daily. When I’m at home I try to design my work day with enough freedom to schedule around the tide times for optimal surfing. What can I say, it’s an addiction! I work online and also am studying online so carving out unplugged time is vital to my wellbeing. 

I also end up travelling a lot for work which is amazing and has it’s challenges. Maintaining balance and healthy habits can be tough when on the road and working retreats. On retreats most of my energy is flowing outward to be present in the moment for the guests and ready for anything (and unexpected things happen everyday!!). You have to walk a fine line of sharing a calm and loving space for guests while smoothing out the unexpected and sometimes hectic things that can arise when you are with groups in remote destinations

Photo credit: Papaya Wellness

Photo credit: Papaya Wellness

What would be your best advice to someone who wants to pursue their dreams and passions, like you, but are afraid.


Well, you have probably heard this before AND really you just have to do it. Whatever it is. If you can’t stop thinking about, it terrifies you and you keep coming back to the idea- that thing. Do it!  I believe that we are all here on earth in this form to learn, to expand our understanding and to experience the wonders of being human. When you can approach any experience as a learning opportunity, you really have nothing to lose. Would you rather wonder forever what life would have been like if you stepped into the unknown and tried? I’m more of an experiential learner. When you are opened to finding the learning or catalyst for growth in any opportunity, truly everything can become a blessing- even a small blessing. What did you learn that you would have never otherwise known? That’s a gift right there! It doesn’t mean that it is always easy or rainbows but we truly do have the power to frame any experience however we like and that is an incredibly empowering space to live from. 

Photo credit: Papaya Wellness

Photo credit: Papaya Wellness

What do you say to someone who might like to join you on a retreat but have never surfed or done yoga before?

I guess it’s along the same lines as above. There is so much capacity for learning and growth when we dance outside our comfort zone! That is a great reason!

Also because they are awesome! Obviously ;) but seriously- it’s a pretty special platform to meet really beautiful people, some that will inevitably become life long relationships. 

Photo Credit: Gerald Acevedo

Photo Credit: Gerald Acevedo

What are you currently reading? 

A friend gave me a book called the New Codependency that I just started to read. I’ve been sober for 2 years and am learning more and more about my relationship to substance and also how I operate and relate in most of my other relationships and this book seems like it has some practical tools. 

We are so thrilled to have Carly join us on both our upcoming retreats to Morocco and Tofino. 4 spots left for our southern Morocco trip in May 2019 and now accepting reservations for Tofino June 2019. You can also join Carly on a beautiful retreat to Mexico with Papaya Wellness, in February and March 2019


Meet Our Retreat Leader Series - Elizabeth Finkle Sans AKA "Mama Liz"

We are starting a new series of posts at Noorishing Thoughts so you can get to know us a little better. We start with Noorish’s premier partner, Elizabeth Finkle Sans of Dryftwater Sports, who is an inspiration to me. We call her Mama Liz (she’s mom to two teen daughters) and she’s always looking out for everyone around her. She’s an accomplished athlete (former pro skier!), entrepreneur and a big part of her community in the Hamptons in New York. Mama Liz gives us some insight into what makes her tick.

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Tell us a bit about yourself - who is Mama Liz and what is she all about?

Mama Liz is a wife/ mother/ yogu/surfer/skier/hippie trapped in a 45+ body, a peter pan who never wants to grow up! I worked so hard to be a grown up while working on Wall Street for 20 years, I want those youthful years back!

What inspires you?

Young people who don’t realize the gift of youth,older people who live like they are decades younger. 

Like many of us today, You’re a wearer of many hats - entrepreneur, mother, wellness advocate. What keeps you balanced and gets you through your many tasks in the day?

While I love my husband and daughters dearly, and I love my home, I always have a trip planned. I have had the good fortune to travel my whole life and whether it is a new location or a return to an old location, the excitement of travel keeps me in balance. 

You created Dryft Watersports, which makes beautiful, handcrafted surfboards. What is like working as a woman in the surf industry?

It is a very competitive business.There are not a great deal of women who are making boards, but there are many shapers out there. I just have to keep getting the boards into more hands and into more locations and hope the word spreads! We are in America and Central America and soon North Africa

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You were a former professional skier and now you are an avid surfer. What have outdoor sports taught you that has translated into something bigger in life?

Outdoor sports teach you that nothing goes as plans, and that we must be flexible and able to change plans on a dime. One day we are skiing in packed powder in sunny weather and great visibility, and within 40 minutes its cloudy and there is no visiblity where you cannot see your hand in front of you! Or you are surfing nice shoulder high waves, the sky turns grey, the wind crosses, and the waves are sloppy, overhead, and there is a strong rip. We have to adapt. Life changes too. We can be healthy one day, and be diagnosed with cancer the next.  Some people are so much in tunnel vision, that the slightest change throws them into depression.

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What are your favourite places in the world? Do you have any bucket list places you want to check off?

Nicaragua is one of my favorite places. Paris is my favorite City. I cannot wait to visit Africa!

Liz at her Nicaraguan home having a blast

Liz at her Nicaraguan home having a blast

If there's one piece of advice you would give yourself when you were in your teens or twenties, what would it be?

I would have spent more years traveling and not have settled into a serious job until I was over 30. I don’t regrets, but there is no reason to hurry to settle down!

You can come meet us, that’s me (Liv), Mama Liz, and retreat leader Carly at our upcoming event in New York!

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We are hosting a COMPLIMENTARY Pop-Up Yoga & Essential Oil event at the LeRose Dance Company. Take some time out for yourself next Saturday afternoon and enjoy a restorative yoga session led by Carly. Stay for a social over some light snacks and kombucha afterwards as we take questions on yoga, surfing, essential oils, wellness and anything in between! Details below:

WHEN: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1:30PM - 3PM

WHERE: LEROSE DANCE COMPANY, 202 Montauk Hwy, Westhampton Beach, NY

WHAT: NOORISH TOFINO & DRYFTWATER SPORTS POP-UP YOGA & ESSENTIAL OIL SOCIAL

RSVP: Email me hello@noorishtofino.com, or check out our Facebook Page at Noorish Tofino Retreats under Events. Or just show up early with your mat and you’re good to go! Limited spots available so come early.


Why It's Time To Let Go Of Your Fears

Do something that scares you

We all have fears. Small ones, innate ones, big scary dark ones. Ones that grip us and freeze us into stone. Ones that keep us from moving forward and help hold us in place of the same decision making and behaviour patterns. Even as I write this post and face a blank page, I feel fear. Fear of not being able to express exactly into eloquent words what I want to say. We put off doing things, confronting things, saying things due to our fears. And it’s time to let go and taste the freedom that erasing our fears can create.

Jump....or No?

Jump....or No?

When we overcome the ideas and thoughts that hold us back, we learn something new about ourselves. We feel empowered because we’ve taken control and created our own narrative. Our own self-limiting thoughts may have prevented us from doing the things we wanted to in the past. How many times have you wanted to pursue something that scared you slightly but yet excited you? Did you push past those negative thoughts and went ahead or did fear paralyze you?

A confession: I have a real deep rooted fear of failure. Despite being academically successful in my youth and having established a decent career in my field. I love starting projects but I can have a real problem finishing them. Why? Due to my self-imposed pressures I create and the thought that I will not meet my expectations. But as I approach the age of 40, I realize it’s time to shed those binds holding me back and push ahead with my vision. There is something very scary about starting your own business. I am putting myself out there, my ideals and thoughts. What if no one likes what I have to offer? Or, how can I possibly compete with that xyz? But by avoiding the deep calling I’ve felt within me to create Noorish Tofino, I won’t ever know whether this idea will spring into life. To overcome this fear, I must re-frame what I think of failure. Failure isn’t always bad. Failure is a learning opportunity if I can expand my horizons and learn from my mistakes and those of others.

I had a childhood fear of diving. It actually stemmed from being upside down, which meant I couldn't do handstands until about the age of 27 when I started practicing yoga regularly. It would be another 10 years before I actually learned to dive, head first, into a swimming pool.

I had a childhood fear of diving. It actually stemmed from being upside down, which meant I couldn't do handstands until about the age of 27 when I started practicing yoga regularly. It would be another 10 years before I actually learned to dive, head first, into a swimming pool.

So do something that scares you - once a month, a week, a day. You might surprise yourself. When I first tried surfing, I was terrified before I even stepped into the water. I couldn’t imagine myself out there having fun. I was afraid of the murky gray and cold water and of the waves sloshing around. The fear physically gripped me and I wasn’t breathing properly. My mindset was already in self-sabotage mode. Fortunately, I had a very kind and patient instructor who with her smile and calm energy, coaxed me out and on her first push off the big floaty foam surfboard, I stood up and felt the magic of “standing” on water for the first time ever. A smile spread across my face and I was hooked. Without pushing past my initial gut feeling of fear, I may not have ever started surfing, a sport that has brought such incredible experiences into my life and introduced so many wonderful friends I now know.

Are you making excuses, putting off plans, or avoiding something so you don't have to face your fears? Photo by  gabrielle cole  on  Unsplash

Are you making excuses, putting off plans, or avoiding something so you don't have to face your fears? Photo by gabrielle cole on Unsplash

What is it that scares you? You may instinctively know or you may need to contemplate deeply to find the answer. Maybe you are afraid to try new things because the unknown is scary, or maybe you are anxious to travel without your family because you believe without you they will fall apart. You find excuses to avoid the task; you put it off and procrastinate. Whatever it might be, try to recognize the triggers. Note how it makes you feel and try to understand where those thoughts came from and what behaviours it’s creating (or not creating, as in avoidance). Our fears can be created from previous bad experiences, or passed down from our family since early childhood. Once you recognize what you’re dealing with, you can find a way to overcome the blockage.

This is not an article instructing you how to beat your fears. That, is a path you must find. Rather, it’s recognizing that each and every one of us have things that give us anxiety. And by knowing what that is for you and how it limits you, you can focus on taking the power back into your hands. Living without self-limitations will give you new sense of freedom and a feeling that you CAN, do and achieve anything.