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Yoga & Cultural Heritage Retreat in Guatemala

February 1, 2025 - February 8, 2025


A Yoga & Cultural Heritage Retreat in Guatemala

Join us for a 8 days of exploration

February 1 – 8, 2025

With Heather Haxo Phillips
at Villa Sumaya

located in the Guatemalan highlands on the shores of Lake Atitlan

This retreat is for Iyengar Yoga practitioners ready to decompress in a dramatic way and explore a new part of the world.

Retreat highlights:

  • Enjoy the practice of Iyengar Yoga: Daily sessions with Heather in our private space overlooking the sacred Lake will open your body and mind to new possibilities.
  • Explore this incredible property and countryside: 8 days / 7 nights at Villa Sumaya with awe-inspiring views and plenty of time to explore each of the unique villages and personalities that surround this sacred place.
  • Nourish yourself: Connect over morning tea and coffee, enjoy three delicious organic vegetarian meals each day, linger over the incredible juice bar…it will help you experience just how healing food and community can be.
  • Relax deeply: Solar hot tub, lake-side massage and other healing spa services are here to revive you.
  • Experience traditions: A talk on the Mayan Cosmovision by an initiated “calendar keeper”, a sacred Mayan Fire ceremony led by a local shaman, and other unforgettable opportunities will help you settle into the present moment and gain insight for your life back home.

This program is especially aimed at adventurous people with an interest in personal growth, self-inquiry and conscious connection with oneself and fellow travelers.

Our yoga classes are suited for people who have at least 1 year experience studying Iyengar Yoga consistently.

This is your opportunity:

Let go of your responsibilities for a week so you can feel supported and nourish your spirit!



“This retreat was exactly what I needed. I loved being in community, having the time to focus on practice, and exploring a new place. I came away feeling joyful, inspired, and empowered to find the moments of quiet in my daily life.”

~Tami Lau


“Since this was my first retreat, I had an open mind going into the trip. The views of the Volcanos along Lake Atitlan were breathtaking and provided me with a deep sense of calm to start and end the day with. The in-person pranayama and progression of sequencing in asana everyday was playful, restorative, inspiring and rejuvenating. Having such a fun group to practice with, chat with over meals about life, and go out on excursions, reminded me how necessary community is to healing and growing.
~Natalie Palms

Amazing Accommodations


Majestic lake views with balconies

The spectacular property will allow you to rest, relax, and recharge.

All bedrooms have warm, inviting décor featuring indigenous handicrafts, private bathrooms, outdoor seating & lake views.



Retreat Rates

$2985 Double Occupancy


$3285 for Single Occupancy – SOLD OUT


$2685 Triple Occupancy – SOLD OUT

$2250 for participants not doing yoga



Reserve your room today

You can pay a deposit, pay in full or design a payment plan that works for you

Here is what we have available at this time:

One room that is double occupancy




3 pm | Arrival and Check-in
Asana Practice
Dinner and Welcome Ceremony
General Schedule

  • 8:30 am Light Breakfast
  • 10:00-12:30 pm Asana
  • 1 pm Lunch
  • Free Time
  • 5-6:15 pm Asana
  • 6:30 pm Dinner
  • Some evenings will include philosophy discussion or special activities

The actual schedule varies per day.  We will usually have two yoga-related activities together each day, whether it be pranayama, asana or group discussion.

The morning classes will be asana classes geared toward all levels.  You may want to swim in the lake before or after class!

The afternoon classes will be geared toward your specific interests and include restorative asana. We can focus on typical conditions we all face such as back pain, and issues in the neck and shoulders. These two afternoon sessions will help retreat participants and serve as teacher education for those who teach.

We will have some afternoons free for activities on your own, which could include:

  • Get a mayan horoscope reading, sweat in the temazcal or explore the many healing traditions at Villa Sumaya
  • Massage, energy therapy, reflexology or other spa treatments
  • Kayak or hike to San Marcos.
  • Chichi Market visit.  An incredible regional market.  Enjoy visiting the Mayan Catholic churches there.
  • Reading a book
  • Napping in your hammock

In our final day we will gather together over a traditional Mayan fire ceremony led by a local shaman. Bring an intention and prepare to learn something about yourself.

7:00 am | Final Class
8:30 am | Final Breakfast & Check out
9:30 am | Departure

Schedule any plane transport for 2:30 pm or later to allow you sufficient time to get to the airport.






Our yoga classes are suited for people who have at least 1 year experience studying Iyengar Yoga consistently.

There are plenty of hills! You must be physically able to walk on your own and climb stairs.

“In a week, I got to just ‘be’. Starting the day with pranayama without having to rush to start my day was invaluable. And then I got to practice a lot of yoga with Heather and receiving her precise adjustments. And to top it off, every morning I woke up to the steadiness of the volcanoes across the lake, ate well, and learned so much about the Mayan culture in Guatemala.” ~ May Mei Chong


Cradled by rural highlands and lush forests, Lake Atitlan is a breathtaking beauty framed by three majestic volcanoes. The lake is known to attract travelers in search of soulful reconnection. Resting in a secluded lakeside cove, Villa Sumaya is an eco-chic sanctuary dedicated to holistic practices, and preserving Mayan tradition.  You will experience an eco-friendly wellness retreat perfect for self-care, refreshing perspectives and renewing energies.

This program is especially aimed at adventurous people with an interest in personal growth, self-inquiry and conscious connection with oneself and fellow travelers.  A retreat is a quiet place that you go to in order to withdraw from the regular routine of daily life and rest in a private place.  So you should feel comfortable keeping your phone away (for the most part).

This retreat focuses on spiritual study and self-care. In addition to yoga practices, you can expect to attend several ceremonies both Mayan and Yoga related.  And, you will likely want to book several treatments with their Holistic Health & Spa team on site.

“I’m so grateful to have been a part of this unique group and practice and learn from one another. Heather: you have a special skill of curating top notch retreat experiences–on and off the mat. I appreciate you and Tiffany and all behind the scenes time and coordination efforts. Villa Sumaya team is next level – all of the services offered, and the exquisite meals, knowledge and support. I felt welcomed from the moment I stepped off the boat to our departure. I loved the ease and trust with which the retreat center operated… It felt so right. Learning about the local villages, and Mayan weaving collectives, and Mayan cosmovisions, and Mayan Sacred Fire Ceremony was incredibly special. I’ll marinate in those lessons and spiritual guidance for a long time. The location of Villa Sumaya is a wonder of spiritual energy—I truly experienced living and breathing at a different vibration – that was a new sensation. I hope to return some day.” ~ Sarah Jo Neubauer


Each of the 12 villages around the lake has its own distinctive style, revealed through the traditional dress of the women. Most men now wear western clothing, but if you walk around town, you will undoubtedly spot one or two dressed in the traje of his pueblo.

The Guatemalan countryside is far away from the tourist hordes.  That is why we picked it! After years of traveling across Central and South America, this location seemed ideal:  A professional retreat center able to handle a group of contemplative yogis, a breath-taking natural landscape, and a unique cultural environment both welcoming to tourists and supportive of the indigenous people who live there.

There will be time dedicated to exploring the villages around the lake.  This region offers many of our favorite things: chocolate, coffee, inspiring food markets and magnificent textiles.  We cannot wait to share it with you!


Fly into the international airport in Guatemala City (GUA). Right now, many airlines are offering flights at excellent rates.  Check out Avianca, Alaska, American and United as a start to get there.  Returning to SFO, there is a 3:45 departure on American that would be excellent.

If you have time, on your way in, we recommend you fly into Guatemala City and go directly to Antigua for a night or two. Antigua is place of rare beauty, major historical significance and vibrant culture. It is a must-visit destination in Guatemala, and an easy place to rejuvenate after your travels. A former colonial capital, Antigua is easy to navigate on foot and offers a magnificent introduction to Guatemala with cobblestone streets, bustling plazas and excellent food.  We can pre-arrange a van to meet you at the airport and take you to Antigua.  On the day of the retreat, a group van will take participants to the lake.

Or, you can go from Guatemala City directly to the lake, about 3-hours journey from the airport. We can pre-arrange a van to meet you.

The vans will take us to Panajachel, the commercial center closest to Villa Sumaya. From Panajachel, we  take a 10-minute boat ride directly to the docks of Villa Sumaya. Villa Sumaya staff will be waiting for us at the dock once we arrive.

For the return flight, schedule plane transport for 2:30 pm or later to allow you sufficient time to get to the airport.


Please fill out the registration form to reserve your room.




Villa Sumaya’s secluded lakefront cove is the perfect sanctuary for a peaceful getaway.

Each room has warm, inviting décor, private bathrooms, outdoor patios, incredible lake views, orthopedic beds and quality linens.

Each meal is a homemade buffet, abundant and freshly prepared in the Villa Sumaya kitchen. Meals are based around local ingredients, often from the Villa Sumaya gardens, balanced to meet the nutritional needs of our active participants. Villa Sumaya accommodates most special dietary restrictions like allergies, vegan and non-gluten diets. If you would like chicken or fish options, that can be arranged.  Snacks, tea, coffee and other beverages are available throughout the day and night.

Harmony Spa is onsite, offering rejuvenating bodywork session ranging from Swedish, Ayurvedic and Thai massage to energy work. We encourage you to indulge!

Villa Sumaya is a place for participants to unplug from daily life, allowing time for rest and reflection. That said,wi-fi is now complementary. .

The complimentary, solar-heated, stone hot tub oasis is tucked above a garden lounge. There is now a fire-heated hot tub located lake side.  Or, for a detoxifying sweat, you can choose the wood-burning sauna. Either can be reserved for a small charge.

Villa Sumaya has a concierge service.  They are happy to organize all your transportation, spa services and cultural outings.

Villa Sumaya works closely with Amigos de Santa Cruz, a non-profit organization that supports the indigenous people of Santa Cruz, our local village. If you would like to bring donations, they would be happy to coordinate this act of kindness. Providing this kind of help often gives groups a true sense of connection with the local Mayan community and thereby a deeper retreat experience.




Heather Haxo Phillips is a Senior Iyengar yoga teacher and the Director of Adeline Yoga. Heather offers expertise in yoga therapy, and is a Certified Yoga Therapist (c-IAYT), Relax and Renew restorative yoga teacher and Yoga Alliance E-500 level instructor.

Her teaching is rooted in the ancient yogic traditions, including yoga philosophy, Sanskrit and chant. Every class offers an opportunity to delve into all these aspects of Yog.

Certified at Level 3 (Senior Intermediate I level) Heather serves as a mentor to aspiring teachers and CIYT, leading teacher education programs. She is a mentor and assessor, and serves on the IYNAUS Assessment Committee.

Heather studies regularly with senior Iyengar Yoga teachers, the Iyengar family in Pune and with Sanskrit scholars.

Heather is dedicated to her volunteer work. She is past President of the Board of Directors for the Iyengar Yoga Association of Northern California and an active volunteer for the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States.

Heather has traveled widely throughout the world, especially places off the beaten path.  She is known for her well-organized events and retreats. This will be her fourth trip to Villa Sumaya.

Still have more questions?

Learn more by emailing


February 1, 2025
February 8, 2025