In Pursuit Of A Dream On The Wild West Coast

Bathing in twilight at Tonquin Beach in Tofino

While I’ve had a quiet winter creatively (as I alluded to in this post), I have not been idle, and am slowly beginning to feel my inspiration and motivation flow more freely with the spring season on the horizon. I’ve also been longing to share more about my time spent on the west coast of Vancouver Island over the last few months, in pursuit of a longstanding dream of mine involving my chosen spiritual practice of yoga.

The yogic path has seen me through some of the darkest times of my life. It supported me in repairing my sense of self-worth after traumatic heartbreak; it guided me back to self-love as I recovered from an eating disorder; it helps me to feel strong, capable, centered and grounded when life circumstances tempt me into the swirling depths of despair. It is something I have always been able to return to and depend on when my mind, body and spirit need some loving care and attention.

Photo by Eternal Happiness on

Last year, both to challenge myself and to deepen my relationship with this practice, I signed up for a 200-hour yoga teacher training course which I had pondered doing for many years prior. What made this training particularly special was undoubtedly its location, at Coastal Bliss Yoga studio in the stunning oceanside setting of Tofino, British Columbia, Canada. Tofino is a place that speaks to my soul, and I knew it would offer the supportive energy needed to embark on this intimidating but exciting endeavour. To honour the journey, which took place from December 2022-February 2023, I would love to share some highlights of my time in Tofino with you.

Vivid west coast skies

Situated on the west coast of Vancouver Island facing a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Tofino is well-known for its radiant sunsets. The unique way in which the light reflects off the water creates dramatic and ever-changing displays of colour as the sun moves smoothly below the horizon. The yoga studio was only minutes away from a couple of the most gorgeous beaches in the area, and I would often spend my dinner breaks basking in the peace of the day’s waning glow.

Memorable accommodation

I stayed in a cozy Airbnb during most of my time in Tofino, but for the last module of training I treated myself to a unique and unforgettable accommodation at Wildpod, a luxury glamping experience in the heart of downtown Tofino. I had a geodesic dome all to myself, situated right at the water’s edge, which was beautifully decorated with all the comforts of a high-end hotel room. The huge panoramic window facing the water was a dreamy way to frame the beauty of the area and from which to take in the activity of the bustling harbour.

Breaking new ground

There are so many trails that I love to explore when I’m in Tofino and it thrills me to research new hikes on each visit. The first novel hike that I took this winter was a hidden gem which is easily accessed from the downtown core, called the Tonquin Trail (named for an early 18th century fur-trading ship that sailed to the area). The trail is a combination of boardwalk and path that winds through rainforest along the coast, with access to Tonquin Beach partway through- a treasured (and quiet) sunset spot, tucked away from the more popular and well-known surfing beaches.

The second new trail that I experienced is a bit of a well-kept secret among the locals- for this reason, I will refrain from naming it; however, you need only stay at this resort and you will surely happen upon it. A boardwalk trail winds its way through the forest, leading to a sincerely breathtaking view of the vast coastline with roaring surf as far as the eyes can see. I was awestruck by the sheer power and energy of the ocean as felt from this vantage point.

A wilderness excursion

Tofino serves as a home base for a variety of wilderness adventures including mountain hikes, a visit to nearby hot springs, whale-watching and other wildlife tours. One such excursion that has been on my Vancouver Island bucket list for a couple of years is a visit to nearby Meares Island, which is home to some of the largest red cedar trees in British Columbia. A 10-minute water taxi brought me to the shores of this pristine wilderness for a secluded and soul-filling exploration of the old growth forest.

Ample beach time

As with the trails in this area, it would be impossible for me to choose a favourite beach in Tofino- it is what the area is famous for, and with good reason. The smell of the saltwater and rhythmic sound of the waves has such a calming effect on my mind and body, which was particularly helpful during this new learning journey. I spent a considerable amount of time on Long Beach, Mackenzie Beach and Chesterman Beach, all pictured below and all magical in their own right.

New friendships and mentors

Without contest, the most memorable aspect of this whole adventure was the time spent with the other beautiful souls who were taking the yoga teacher training, as well as the wise teachers who I was so inspired by and privileged to learn from. There was an intimate group of 9 other students that I will be forever bonded to through our shared experience; as one profoundly stated at the end of our time together: “I will always miss this.”

Photo courtesy of Owen Perry (@circa_1983)
Photo courtesy of Owen Perry (@circa_1983)

My biggest takeaway

Yoga teacher training has fundamentally enhanced my yoga practice; it has changed the way I think about my body and how to align and protect it; it has connected me to the roots and philosophy of what I am practicing; it has even brought up big questions and reflections about my purpose in life, how I want to show up in the world, the motivation behind my actions and how I want to treat myself and others. Where this dream will take me is yet to be determined, but for now, the experience itself is where the true value lies.

My time in Tofino this winter has also deepened my affinity and reverence for the spirit of the west coast. There is no other learning environment that could have better supported me through this new venture, and I have further solidified the true knowing that this island is where my soul belongs.

Sunrise on my way out of town at the end of the journey

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  1. What an amazing. magical place – even in the winter months it looks so beautiful. Well done on completing your Yoga teaching training I hope it brings you and others to a better state of mind and body πŸ™‚


  2. Your pictures from your time in Tofino are absolutely breathtaking. It’s amazing that you were able to spend so much time there as you were completing your yoga teaching training course. And your accommodations look lovely especially the views overlooking the water. Sounds like you had a memorable experience.


    • Thank you for such a lovely comment! The training days were long, so I planned to arrive in Tofino a day early or stay an extra day each time so that I could still play ‘tourist’ during my visits. It was such a memorable experience, indeed- I will carry the memories with me always.πŸ’•

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  3. A beautiful location for the course. We spent a week in Ucluelet and Tofino in October and enjoyed every minute of hiking and cycling. Meares Island was a highlight (we spotted the glamping pods on our return boat ride). Will have to remember the Tonquin Trail for next time. Thanks for sharing Laura.


    • Thank you for reading, Allan! I am so happy to know that you’ve been to the area and enjoyed it- the hiking and cycling options are abundant and so scenic! I hope you have the chance to return again- where were you visiting from?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember discovering Tofino in one of your earlier posts and I must say your photos and descriptions this time round just deepen my desire to visit myself. It looks a wild, expansive, healing place. The cedar forest and all your chosen beaches are magical. The geodesic domes look like a great accommodation option, the location right on the edge of water and the views are glorious. Congratulations, finally, on completing your yoga teaching training!


    • I am so grateful for your thoughtful comment, Leighton! It truly brings me joy to know that you would desire to visit Tofino after reading my post. The way you described it is absolutely perfect: a wild, expansive, healing place- this captures its essence beautifully. I am elated to have had this experience- it was rewarding for body, mind and spirit. πŸ’ž

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like a wonderful place to experience & such gorgeous natural surroundings to reconnect with nature ❀ Very envious of such a wild untouched haven within driving range – glad you had a marvellous time there! πŸ™‚


    • Thank you so much for commenting, Tom- it was an incredible experience in such a beautiful and soul-nourishing place. I love being able to share this island’s beauty with others virtually! πŸ’ž

      Liked by 1 person

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