Sometimes, all a mom needs is a getaway where her only responsibility is to relax and nourish her soul. Yoga is a centuries-old transformational practice that has been proven to calm and recharge the mind and the body. Here are three yoga retreats to consider and what yoga teachers and moms say about “travel guilt.” These retreats can help both beginner and well-seasoned yogis find balance.
Retreat in the Pines, Texas
Started in 2004 by Theresa Polley, Retreat in the Pines offers two-day retreats that are women only. Located in East Texas, two hours from Dallas, these retreats take place at a cabin in the middle of the an East-Texas pine forrest.
These all-inclusive retreats include yoga, meditation, hiking, wine, lodging, healthy meals, and a focus on community building.
Polley herself is a mother and yoga instructor who created Retreat in the Pines after realizing that yoga is “transformational” and can have many benefits for women and for mothers like herself. She hopes that the retreats will show women how important mental, emotional, and physical health is for motherhood.
“I do remember, especially with young kids, you don’t have a moment to even think,” Polley said, while reminiscing about her experience as a mom. “Sometimes just getting away from that environment where you are constantly needed, going somewhere where all you have to do is worry about yourself can really transform you into the best version of yourself.”
Yoga for Moms
Since Retreat in the Pines began, Polley has met numerous women and mothers who are looking to push the “reset” button on their busy lives. One of these moms, Tonya Cauduro, says she has attended Retreat in the Pines for years and that she always has new discoveries when she attends. She also enjoys the sense of community that the retreat provides.
“What I’ve found in the numerous times I’ve been there, is that everyone seems to be going through a big transition,” Cauduro said. “When you go on a retreat with other women who are going through that, it gives you that space to really figure things out.”
The weekend retreats at Retreat in the Pines take place year-round, a schedule and registration is available on their website.
Thoughts on “Travel Guilt”
Both Polley and Cauduro know that lots of moms feel guilty when they travel without the kids.
“You might have a little bit of guilt when you’re driving there but when you get there and you see that your only responsibility is to relax and take care of yourself, you’ll come back a whole new person,” Cauduro said. “Your kids will thank you for it, everyone in your life will thank you for it because you’re coming back more present, more tuned in and definitely a lot more rested than what you were when you left.”
Greatlife Retreat, Canada
Started in 2014 by Sherrice Kirby, this three day, two night retreat takes place on Vancouver Island in Canada at the Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa. Greatlife Retreat takes place once annually, this year June 3-. It’s a girls-only club that focuses on nourishing the female soul.
Kirby says that one of the main focusses of the retreat is the thought of “embodying the goddess” and creating a “sisterhood” or “tribe” with the women who attend.
“This retreat is all about sisterhood and you make life-long friends there,” said Kirby. “You’re going to be with other women who are going through the same experience, but their own. You’re going to create a community so that when you are having that bad day and it’s feeling really hard you have that community to connect with.”
Yoga for Moms
When the word “yoga” is used to describe a retreat many people immediately think of folding and bending the body into funny shapes, but for Kirby the true essence of yoga can be found in many aspects of life.
“Yoga is so much more than asana (poses,)” Kirby said, when speaking about her reason for starting the Greatlife Retreat. “We talk about yoga in essence throughout the entire retreat. It encompasses yoga, art, other workouts, and a lot of transformational teaching.”
The retreat also offers prepared meals, lodging, presentations and talks by fitness and life-coach experts, and different activities and surprises that are meant to build self worth and acceptance.
Kirby herself is a mother. She created the retreat not only for women and mothers, but for those who want to have successful careers as well. During her years with Grealife, she has met many mothers who bring lessons they have learned from the retreat back home with them.
Angelina Alonso, who has attended Greatlife twice, said she found a community of busy moms just like her at the retreat and that is why she returned.
“We all have that connection and realize how hard it is to just sneak away for a weekend and to work on yourself and nourish yourself,” Alonso said. “It allows you to work on you and just be present and return as a motivated and enthusiastic parent.”
Thoughts on “Travel Guilt”
Kirby knows that many of the mothers who attend her retreat feel guilt, but she believes that self-care is essential for motherhood.
“You are useless to everyone if you are not taking care of yourself,” Kirby said. “Self-care is so paramount to the life’s blood of your family. If you aren’t fully in connection with you, you cannot give anything. When the tank is empty everybody is miserable, when mom isn’t happy the whole house isn’t happy.”
Alonso also recognizes travel guilt and said she has found a way to deal with it by giving everyone a weekend to look forward to. She said that when she plans her retreat, she also plans a fun weekend for her children back at home. This way, even though the children did not come on the retreat they still got to have a fun experience without mom.
The purpose of taking a retreat is about finding balance within your life, and finding a way to resolve the guilt can contribute to this purpose.
Rock Your Bliss, Various Locations
Started in 2013 by friends Jacki Carr and Mary Beth LaRue, Rock Your Bliss offers a variety of retreats and experiences. Their retreats focus on creating global experiences and community and emphasizing “the power of play.”
Many mothers attend Rock Your Bliss retreats because of the combination of yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and this power of play.
“At the end of the day we will all go out and have a margarita and that’s just a part of the process,” LaRue Said.
Rock Your Bliss retreats have often taken place at a beach location. They include yoga classes, life-coaching sessions, meditation, and a multitude of other activities that the location of the retreat has to offer. A favorite location of returning clients is Sayulita, Mexico, where Rock Your Bliss has hosted two past retreats.
LaRue, originally from a small town in Iowa, has said that she has always been a beach girl at heart while her business partner and friend Carr is a mountain girl. The pair is working on scouting new unique locations for retreats and also plans on creating experiences within the United States. LaRue and Carr work together to create an experience that encompasses yoga and life coaching.
“The physical practice (of yoga) doesn’t solve everything and (life) coaching doesn’t solve everything,” said LaRue. “It’s the marriage of the two, bringing coaching and philosophy from both yoga and self-help to the yoga mat is what makes a practice full.”
Yoga for Moms
Carr recently had her first child and is just now being exposed to the wonders of motherhood, and although LaRue is not a mother she has said that Rock Your Bliss retreats are perfect for the female soul.
Although the Rock Your Bliss experience is not solely reserved for women, LaRue says that the retreat does play to women’s needs.
“Both of us (LaRue and Carr,) through time and practice, have gotten to a space where we regularly put ourselves in a space of major vulnerability,” LaRue said. “Helping other women do the same has become one of our missions. Because vulnerability gives way to a lot of self-discovery.”
Stephanie Patzer, a mother who has attended one of the retreats in Sayulita said that she experienced self discovery while attending the Rock Your Bliss Retreat.
“Through the life coaching and the intentions that were set through the yoga we were able to learn about ourselves,” Patzer said. “I was able to bring those intentions home with me.”
Being able to bring teachings and intentions home is also one of Rock Your Bliss’ focuses. LaRue hopes that the women who attend their retreats know that “they have the ability to create life of their own design…”
Thoughts on “Travel Guilt”
As a mom, Patzer knows what travel guilt can feel like, she also knows that letting go of that guilt can do a body good.
“It is hard as moms… We do feel guilty, but I feel like if you can go and reset your buttons, you come back home a better wife, mom, businessperson, and a better friend,” Patzer said. “So if you can get over that guilt, and incorporate a little self love, you’ll be thankful when you get back.”
Yoga is for Everybody
As a lover of yoga and as a certified yoga instructor, I have always wanted to go on a yoga retreat. After listening to these women talk about the benefits of yoga for mothers, I want to take my own mother on a retreat.
What I want to make very clear is that all of these retreats are customized to fit any skill level. Do not be afraid to try yoga, it can be a healing experience, even if you never knew you needed healing.
This post was written by Alexandra Olsen, a college student intern for TravelingMom.com and 200-hour certified yoga instructor. Her love of yoga began three years ago, at her very first hot vinyasa yoga class. Olsen also has her own personal travel blog, Trail Mix, which she started while spending a summer studying abroad in Norway.