From Iceland — Finding Peace On The Water This Solstice

Finding Peace On The Water This Solstice

Published May 6, 2024

Photo by
Arnbjörg Kristín Konráðsdóttir/Supplied Photo

Connecting with nature on a voyage with North Sailing

There is plenty of lore swirling around the annual solstices in Iceland. While the winter solstice is marked by Jól and is welcomed by many as the point at which we can start expecting light to slowly overtake the heavy darkness of the season, there’s something particularly magical about the summer solstice.

It’s on this longest day of the year, when the sun merely kisses the horizon before reclaiming its place in the sky, that it’s believed cows gain the power of speech and seals take on human form. It’s also believed that rolling naked in the midnight dew will bring luck.

This solstice, there’s another way to experience the majesty of the bright night: embarking on a sailing voyage from north Iceland to connect with nature and the sea through yoga.

An initiative of North Sailing and H.A.F. Yoga, the expedition sets out from Húsavík on June 22, ferrying solstice celebrants around Skjálfandi Bay for two days of meditation, yoga and blue therapy. It’s an opportunity to experience the stunning scenery of Iceland’s north coast — a renowned whale-watching locale — while establishing a deeper connection with yourself and nature.

As Arnbjörg Kristín Konráðsdóttir, founder and owner of Ómur Yoga and manager at H.A.F. Yoga, told the Grapevine, the key components of the voyage are yoga, mindfulness and blue therapy, which she notes has a positive effect on the parasympathetic nervous system.

“There are many whales in Skjálfandi Bay — a lot of humpbacks and they’ve been seeing blue whale also — and we like to open up and hold space to connect with them and to nature through consciousness, not to just to go out and search for a whale for a photo,” Arnbjörg said. “We really want to go through our senses, because mindfulness is a lot about amplifying the senses in your body — sensing the breath, sensing the wind, the sensation of being out in nature, and just being in that sensory perceptive state.”

Over the course of the two day, one night journey, 10 guests will join yoga instructors Arnbjörg and Huld Hafliðadóttir to live, sleep and eat on the schooner Ópal as it sails around Skjálfandi Bay. The long, bright days aboard the ship will be filled with meditation, yoga and the healing vibrations of a gong, while sailing among whales and other wildlife. The excursion will also feature a visit to the nearby island of Flatey, where a stone sun circle was created in the 1100s.

“We teamed up with [Arnbjörg and Huld] for gong meditation trips before, but this year we decided to take it to the next level and have this multi-day tour,” said Líney Gylfadóttir, sales manager at North Sailing. “Slow travel has always been our top priority at North Sailing, and we want to focus on longer tours. So we are emphasising slower travel, spending more time on board, and more peace and quiet.”

“I’ve worked with water, consciousness, sounds, and connection to nature and the whales for a long, long time,” Arnbjörg explained. “I think what makes this trip very special, instead of just going on a boat on the sea, is that you have two people — Huld and I — who have this beautiful connection to nature and we share that. It’s amplified when we work together, and if we bring people on these trips together with us then it’s amplified more. So we’re holding space for this approach to nature.”

Learn more about Solstice Meditation Journey — and reserve your cabin — on North Sailing’s website.

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