Yoga Retreat in Kiruna

Last weekend I traveled to Kiruna in Northern Sweden. At 67.85, it is well inside the Arctic Circle and this time of year combines lots of daylight with lots of snow. I went for a Wellness Weekend Yoga retreat hosted by the travel company Ask Mr Nilson and taught by Ina Schuppe Koistinen. Ina’s main gig is as a microbiology researcher at Karolinska Institutet where she does research on the microbiome of the vagina and gut. So, in addition to 3 yoga classes and 2 dance classes, we also got a short lecture on latest research findings on the microbiome’s effect on human health and a bit of myth-busting, since there is a lot of inaccurate information on social media about this. The lecture was really great, and gave me some good ideas for communicating research findings to a diverse group of non-researchers. The yoga and dance classes were also really nice: I came to this weekend without ever taking a yoga class from Ina, but after one of her dance classes I liked her approach so much that I was sure it would be a good fit. She is welcoming and inclusive, non-dogmatic with a lot of allowance for different ways of practicing and encouraging people to find their own personal practice. All the classes where held in Swedish, but at this point that felt OK, Ina speaks slowly and clearly and I was able to follow everything with my eyes closed. (Not bad!)

Below are a few photos of the Kiruna and the yoga venue, Camp Ripan, named after the Swedish word for ptarmigan (artic grouse) which are the city’s mascots. They had well-appointed little cabins which I shared with Stockholm buddy Linn, really nice food, and also great looking cross-country tracks which I would love to come back and try sometime. They also had a rad spa with indoor and outdoor pools and saunas (snow rolling between sauna baths was optional, but I did it!)

While in Kiruna we also went to the famous Ice Hotel, which I will describe in another post.