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8 Days Compassionate Living Yoga Retreat in Guatemala

  • Villa Sumaya Retreat, Lake Atitlan, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala

8 Days Compassionate Living Yoga Retreat in Guatemala

  • Villa Sumaya Retreat, Lake Atitlan, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala

Meditation and Yoga Retreat Guatemala

Living in the Self invites you to join this retreat that will allow you to take the time needed for self-care and reflection. Although this is a group retreat, it has been specially designed to offer personalized, individual attention and guidance to each and every participant. You will be guided by three teachers who have all committed their lives to self-inquiry, holistic health, and compassionate living.


  • Daily yoga classes
  • Daily meditation practices
  • Access to individual coaching sessions
  • Access to individual yoga therapy session
  • Compassionate communication sessions
  • Daily discourses and guided exercises
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily vegan meals
  • 7 days with instruction
  • English
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During this retreat, you will stay either in a shared or a private room. Villa Sumaya has 20 comfortable and tastefully decorated accommodations, two inspiring group studios, two majestic open-air lounges, an office or reading room, the harmony spa healing huts, and their very own Café Sumaya Sol.

All rooms have warm, inviting decor, private baths, outdoor patios, amazing views, orthopedic beds, and quality linens. You will also have access to the complimentary, solar-heated, stone hot tub oasis that is tastefully tucked above the garden lounge.

Maya rose house

The charming Maya rose house has six rooms varying in size and decor. The room two is next to the manager’s office on the veranda and the room seven is located farthest from the courtyard. All rooms include sensational lake view patios and are conveniently located near the courtyard, dining room, gardens, and boutique.

Skyline bungalows

The bungalows are handcrafted rooms with unique charm and gorgeous views. The Bungalow nine is the comfortable thatched-roof, lookout room with an expansive vista and rustic charm. Featuring a queen bed and a spacious bathroom built imaginatively into the hillside, it is a great room.

The bungalow 10 is an intimate accommodation showcasing a vaulted roof, a queen-sized bed, a romantic seating area and a 100-year-old chipilean tree in its sizable bathroom. It also has a private patio with a handmade hammock and a sitting area with an outstanding view.

The bungalow 20 is the “writers’ roost”. It is a romantically-appointed room with a glorious view and a secluded location featuring a queen-sized bed with an antique carved headboard and a large white wicker writing desk. With enchanting artwork and a beautiful Turkish hanging, this room is a charmer.

Lotus house

The lotus house hosts six rooms with two rooms on each of the three floors. All rooms are gracefully appointed rooms with private baths and stone showers that offer stunning lake view balconies or glorious garden patios. The Tara temple is on the top floor and this house is easily accessible to all of Villa Sumaya’s amenities.

Ginger suites

The newest complex offers luxury accommodations varying in size. All the rooms have majestic lake view balconies and elegant antique furnishings. Both 17 and 19 are suites with appointed-seating areas. The room 17 has a fireplace for chilly nights, as well as a handmade hammock on the patio. The junior suites are rooms eight and 18.

The room eight has a snug bedroom with a queen bed and a separate single bed in the sitting area, as well as a spacious wooden deck and handmade hammock. The room 18 features a built-in window seat and a lake view desk to inspire your creative sensibilities.

The studio 21 is the crown jewel of the collection with luxuriously-appointed furnishings including a queen-sized bed and two twins, a fireplace, a kitchenette, a love seat, and an amazing 180 degree panoramic view of the lake.

During this retreat, you will experience two daily yoga classes, mindful meditation sessions, and compassionate communication and self-compassion sessions with Robert Gonzales that will serve as a springboard for continued growth well beyond the retreat. There will also be ample time to enjoy the pristine beauty of the tropical lakeside setting and the intimate, secluded location in Guatemala that is know for its serenity.

Kristof and Tiffany will share with you more than 30 years combined of experience in yoga and meditation during their classes and individual sessions throughout the week that will invite you into a contemplative practice and be highly considerate of your unique needs.

Robert Gonzales will also share a lifetime of inquiry into the intersection between spirituality and human communication during the daily practices for living life fully, grounded in compassion for one’s self and others. Throughout the retreat, you will also have access to individual coaching sessions with Robert Gonzales and one-on-one yoga therapy sessions with Tiffany or Kristof.

  • Tiffany Nicholson-Smith

    Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Yoga)

    Tiffany Nicholson-Smith is a radiant yogini, an Ayurvedic practitioner, and a lover of life, who is known for bringing her clarity, abundant energy, and aspiration for truth into everything she shares and offers. A world citizen and sacred activist, she approaches life with an open heart and an inspired mind. Tiffany has studied and retreated extensively with various teachers in India and around the world, immersing herself deeply into Tantric, Hatha, and Kundalini yoga, Advaita Vedanta, spiritual nutrition, Ayurveda, compassionate communication, and sacred sexuality.

  • Kristof Wittstock

    Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 (Yoga)

    Kristof Wittstock is a down-to-earth spirit, who is known for his clear dedication to truth and his humble heart. He has had the opportunity to study for the last 20 years with various teachers and schools, most situated in India, and steeped in the traditional, classical wisdom of Hatha, Laya, Kriya, and Kundalini yoga. Kristof also has a deep respect and love for Buddhism and has retreated extensively in the Theraveda tradition. His offerings are always infused with this revolutionary edge of Tantric yoga, meditation, and Buddhism.

  • Robert Gonzales

    Robert received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1989 and was a practicing psychotherapy for many years offering individual and couples counseling. He has contributed to the work of the International Center for Nonviolent Communication as a certified trainer for many years and currently as the director of the Center for Living Compassion where he conducts seminars and retreats internationally.

This retreat will be held at Villa Sumaya Retreat in Santa Cruz la Laguna, Guatemala. The retreat is situated on the shores of Lake Atitlán and nestled in a landlocked bay on the north shore of the beautiful lake on 18 acres in the traditional homeland of the indigenous Maya.

This area is known to the Maya as the belly button of the Earth. The retreat looks directly across the lake at three spectacular volcanoes. The 5,000 foot altitude and proximity to the equator, offers a high plane semi-tropical paradise often referred to as “the land of eternal spring.”

The deep caldera walls of the lake create a powerful inverse vortex to the volcanic mountains and ridges above, creating tremendous beauty and distinct natural challenges to work with.

Lake Atitlán

Lake Atitlán is believed by the Maya to be the center of the universe where God’s seeds of mankind evolved. This large endorheic lake (one that does not flow to the sea) is the deepest lake in Central America with a maximum depth of 1,120 feet (340 meters).

There are 12 villages around the lake. Each village has its own distinctive style, revealed through the traditional dress of the women. The two Mayan dialects spoken on Lake Atitlán are Kaqchikel and Tzutujil.

  • Hiking nearby
  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi
  • Massage
  • Mountain walking/trekking nearby
  • Sauna
  • Shopping nearby
  • Spa
  • Swimming nearby
  • Zip lining nearby
  • Balcony
  • Bar
  • Café
  • Concierge desk
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Lake
  • Restaurant
  • Yoga studio
  • ATM / banking nearby
  • Currency exchange
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Toiletries
  • Tour assistance

Three daily organic and gourmet vegan, live food meals are included in this retreat, as well as specific nutritional guidance for your optimal detoxification and wellness. You may also enjoy other meal services at the local restaurant Café Sumaya Sol. The center can accommodate most special dietary restrictions like allergies, vegan, and non-gluten diets on request.

Café Sumaya Sol

Café Sumaya Sol offers a stunning view of the lake and a culinary-conscious menu for slow food lovers and eco-epicureans. The homemade buffets are abundant and freshly prepared in the kitchen daily. Each meal is balanced to meet the nutritional needs of the active guests. Breakfast buffets includes a main dish, granola, yogurt, fruit, and daily specials.

Luncheon buffets include a hearty vegetarian main course, organic greens, homemade bread, and a local fruit platter. Dinner buffets include soup, a vegetarian entree, seasonal side dishes, organic greens, and a scrumptious dessert. The juice bar features exotic smoothies as well as the famous home-brewed strawberry ginger kambucha.

The extensive self-service hot beverage bar offers over 30 alluring teas while the coffee bar features organic artisan coffee from a local cooperative. Tea and coffee service is available the whole day and night during the week. Additionally, they offer local beers, wine, homemade margaritas, and cuba-libres for those looking to relax with a cocktail.

  • Coffee tours
  • Guided village tours of Santiago, San Juan, Santa Catarina, San Antonio, and Chichicastenango
  • Hikes from Villa Sumaya
  • Pico del Cielo hike
  • San Pedro Volcano climb
  • Shopping trip to Panajachel
  • Ziplining

Spa services are available at Villa Sumaya Retreat for 65 USD for 60 minutes, 90 USD for 90 minutes, or 120 USD for 120 minutes.


  • Acupuncture
  • Energy healings
  • Facial
  • Ionic foot baths
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Meditation instruction
  • Private yoga sessions
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Sports massage
  • Swedish and Esalen massage
  • Thai massage
  • Women’s health and wellness
  • 2 daily yoga classes
  • 3 daily organic vegan meals
  • Access to all amenities
  • Access to individual coaching sessions with Robert Gonzales
  • Access to one-on-one yoga therapy sessions with Tiffany or Kristof
  • Compassionate and communication sessions with Robert Gonzales
  • Daily discourses, guided exercises, integration sessions, and mindfulness practices
  • Daily meditation sessions
  • Additional activities
  • Additional transportation
  • Airfare
  • Airport transportation
  • Gratuities
  • Spa treatments

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at La Aurora International Airport (GUA). Airport transportation can be arranged with Villa Sumaya Retreat for an additional cost. Upon arrival at the airport you may have to travel to Panajachel and then take a boat to Villa Sumaya.

Arrival by shuttle

The shuttle service of Villa Sumaya is a three-hour drive to Panajachel, and then a short boat ride to the dock at Villa Sumaya. The cost of the van depends upon how many people are in the shuttle ranging from approximately 25 to 100 USD per person.

Most guests like to have a private boat waiting when they arrive in Panajachel. The cost is 25 USD for one to four persons and 5 USD for each additional person. Public boats run between 07:00 to 19:30 leaving every half hour. Be sure to ask to be taken to the Villa Sumaya dock. The cost is about 3 USD per person on public boats.

  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 60 days before arrival.

Verified reviews

  • R
    Review by Roger Morter from Nicaragua

    Incredible Teaching in a Fantastic Location

    CONS Cons: Larger group occasionally was too much for single bathroom facility.

    PROS Pros: Content of teachings was really comprehensive and included 'tasters' of a large variety of practices and techniques. The centre is set in a beautiful and peaceful lakeside location. Healthy vegan food.

    2017-Apr-29 16:22:54

  • E
    Review by Emily Corkery from Canada

    PROS Pros: Beautiful property with a lovely couple that runs it all. Delicious homemade vegan food. Off grid with outdoor shower and compostable toilet.

    2017-Apr-15 13:35:37


  • Review by Mary from London

    "I just completed the YTT300 in Ecuador & highly recommend Living in the Self. Tiffany & Kristof are warm hearted, extremely knowledgeable, compassionate, organised, professional with an appropriate sense of humour & years of experience teaching & practicing yoga. We did so much on top of the curriculum such as a five day silent retreat, one day fasts, learning Sanskrit, partner yoga & attending kirtans. I've left with so much info to share with my clients in London & with guests on the yoga holidays I am running. Thank you, can't wait to attend another of your courses & pilgrimages. "

    Living in the Self, edited

  • Review by Atia Marie from Toronto

    "Tiffany and Kristof are the most humble and dedicated teachers I know; so much so, they probably won't include this in their testimonials, but they should. What drew me, and many others to their work, was their commitment to fostering love, compassion and community through yoga. It has been monumental for my spiritual growth, and I am certain it would aid anyone's physical well-being as much as it would serve one's overall life."

    "The YTT from Living in the Self, with Tiffany and Kristof, is absolutely unlike any other - it has changed my life, brought fruit to all of my relationships, and helped me grow in ways I didn't know were possible. It has been one of the most emotionally, mentally, and physically challenging and rewarding things I have ever done. "


    Living in the Self, edited

  • Review by Jody Harrison from Peterborough

    "I searched and searched for a 200 ytt that was suitable for me but also coordinated well with family life, business and daily schedules. Nothing seemed to be panning out until i heard through stoney lake wellness of the living in the self 200 yoga teacher training held in lakefield, on. "

    "I can truly say that gifts come to us in all different ways, but this was a blessing."

    "Kristof and tiffany offer a lovely style of teaching. Without a doubt, all of their teachings come directly from both of their hearts. this in itself created a wonderful learning experience. "

    "Over the last few months i have learned so much about myself, the yogic path, yogic philosophy, asanas, chakras, pranayamas, patanjali's eight limb path, the yogic diet., but one teaching that has really hit home for me is living in the present moment. I feel like this is such an importnant practise and will benefit not only ourselves, but our families, friends and students. "

    "Thank you tiffany and kristof for all of your offerings throughout this teacher training it has truly been a wondeful experience. "

    "Much gratitude to you both, "

    Living in the Self, edited

  • Review by Crystal Lee from Peterborough

    "When I signed on for the 200hr YTT with Living in The Self Yoga I had not attended a yoga class full time for years. I had roamed from class to class looking for something I knew should be there. None of them seemed to have that aspect of both the spiritual and physical practice I craved. After attending one Yoga class with Tiffany & Kristof I realized I had finally found it. Their warm loving personalities combined with a vast knowledge of the practice made me begin a journey into my self as a whole. I began to eat better, I slept better, I started meditating on a regular basis and the shifts didn't just happen within me, but also within my social circle and my family. I cannot recommend this program enough to anyone, whether you do this for yourself or to become a teacher, you will leave this program changed for the better of your own being. As busy mother of three children making the time for myself to do this course was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am eternally grateful for the gift Tiffany & Kristof of Living in the Self Yoga brought to my life. We are forever changed for the better, more loving, centred, whole and beautiful beings inside & out."

    Living in the Self, edited

  • Review by Jocelyn Sousa from Boulder

    "This is SO much more than a yoga teacher training, words cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for this experience. You will not only learn yoga and meditation, but also ALL the tools you need to live a healthful and vibrant life. I 100% recommend this training, it will change your life!"

    Living in the Self, edited

  • Review by Rory Freedman

    "The time I spent with Tiffany and Kristof was transformative. The teachings, meditation, and yoga were profoundly impactful and I am so grateful for their mastery and passion."

    Living in the Self, edited

  • Review by Tonya Dowding

    "Tiffany's workshop addressed food in a different way than most cooking classes...She is a walking human encyclopedia regarding nutritional information, who addresses the issue of food examined from a spiritual standpoint. I learned so many amazing things that allowed me to transform my diet to a healthier alternative, and improve my perspective on cooking and eating consciously. Bon appetite!"

    Living in the Self, edited

  • Review by a traveler
    10 out of 10

    "The yoga teacher training from Living in the Self with Tiffany and Kristof is absolutely unlike any other. It has changed my life, brought fruit to all of my relationships, and helped me grow in ways I didn’t know were possible. It has been one of the most emotionally, mentally, and physically challenging and rewarding things I have ever done."

    Living in the Self website, edited

Peterborough, Canada

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