Stop trying so hard. What a concept! It may seem most advice given today is to lean in and try a little harder. I’m a proponent of less. Less effort equals less stress which equals more peace. Fewer commitments equals more personal time.
If you need a weekend with less effort and more relaxation, join us for a yoga retreat.
In the past few months I’ve incorporated small simple habits, which have, quite honestly, changed my life. One of my favorites is this corner in my bedroom where I’ve created a sanctuary for me. By spending a few moments every day in self- reflection and gratitude; I’ve discovered the space between effort and ease, which feels a lot like contentment to me.
There is a concept in Yoga of sukha which means ease or bliss. The challenge is to bring sukha not only to my yoga practice, but to my life. I admit I’ve forced a yoga pose, I’ve cursed and struggled. You know the pose, the one where the rest of the class looks like they aren’t even trying. So I try harder. That’s the point where I lose any ease or bliss. And I have to remind myself the appearance of no effort, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s effortless.
Risotto has been one of my favorite dishes for as long as I can remember. I found a recipe, and of course, made it healthier. This version can be made vegetarian by substituting veggie stock for chicken stock.
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 red onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pkg mushrooms, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- salt & pepper
- 1 ½ cup Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cup Chicken or Veggie broth
- ½ cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion & garlic, cook, stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add herbs & butter, saute for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside in a medium bowl.
- Saute mushrooms in 1 tbsp olive oil until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add to onions and set aside.
- Add the rice and 2 tbsp olive oil and stir quickly coating the rice and saute for 3 min stirring every minute. Watch carefully as to not burn the rice. Stir in wine and cook until wine is almost all evaporated.
- Add 1 cup of broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid.
- Add remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, placing the lid back on in between stirring.
- Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more.
- The risotto should be slightly firm (but not chewy, add more liquid if needed) and creamy (not mushy).
- Add onion, mushroom and herb mixture to the rice and combine.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese and cook briefly until melted.
Served with roast chicken and asparagus, it’s the perfect dish for spring. A glass of white wine is a nice touch. Enjoy while sitting outside, watching nature come back to life.
2017 is off to a great start! So excited about our upcoming retreats. One in particular, our Sound Healing & Yoga Retreat, April 21-23, is completely different from anything we’ve done before. Plus it’s co-ed! Kenny Kolter and I will take you on a journey of transformation. Find out more.
Our Mindfulness & Meditation Retreats are gaining in popularity, guests enjoy gentle yoga and guided meditation, plus tips on using mindfulness to find peace and joy. Our Yoga Nurture Retreats continue to be our most popular retreats. Perfect for ALL women needing a getaway. No yoga experience needed.
Guests find compassion and encouragement in our community of supportive women. Our retreats are like adult slumber parties – with wine! Learn more about our retreat offerings here.
Our Dining Hall is scheduled for completion by August 2017. You’ll be able to enjoy the view of the trees from every seat. You can join Kaycee for her popular hands-on cooking class at select retreats in our state of the art kitchen. Learn tips to easily cook from scratch, while enjoying a glass of wine and sampling the deliciousness of your efforts.
Our long-term plan is to build a larger Yoga Studio on the property, as well as additional guest accommodations. In the meantime, we are adding to our herb and veggie gardens, as well as creating a Serenity Garden for guests to sit in silence, to enjoy the peace and healing of nature.
We are excited to be working with the East Texas Veterans Resource Center to give scholarships to women who have selflessly served our country. We are giving these veterans a place to rest and renew as they get back on their feet. Our Scholarship program has provided financial assistance for many women over the past several years. If you know of any woman who could benefit from our Retreat Assistance Program, please refer them to this information. In the past, we have provided retreats for single moms, women struggling with tragedy and grief, college students and women coping with health and other issues.
Finally, we are happy to announce our new Retreat in the Pines Gratitude Club. This is for our guests who’ve retreated with us at least five times since 2004. If this is you, look for an e-mail in your in-box giving you all of the exciting details. There’s no cost to join and membership includes discounts on retreat and boutique purchases, special Invitation Only Retreats, free swag and so much more.
Every October we celebrate the Anniversary of Retreat in the Pines. Today I’d like to celebrate the opportunity of serving and meeting incredible women (like you!), as well as our staff of talented guest instructors and Kaycee and Heather and all that they to do to make sure every bite you take is delicious.
It is my honor and pleasure to do what I do. Thank you to each of you, our beautiful community of amazing and inspiring women who show up for retreats. And for each other.
Can you remember the last time you did something for yourself? Then, think about the last time you did something for somebody else. Your partner, your child, your parent, your friend, your pet.
If you drew a complete blank trying to think of something you did for yourself (taking a three minute break from work e-mail to read this doesn’t count!), yet came up with an immediate list of ten things you did for others, it may be time to schedule time to take care of you.
Of course, if you’d like a little bit of community with your down time, join us for a retreat. Retreat in the Pines is the perfect place to press pause and nurture yourself with good food, yoga, wine and a healthy dose of laughter, enjoying nature and the support of other women. If budget is an issue, check out our retreat assistance program.
If all you have is an evening or an afternoon to spare, this is for you. All of these options can be done in the comfort of your own home, you can also take a mini-retreat outdoors.
Research has shown the more time working mothers spend taking care of themselves equaled improved physical and emotional health for their children. Read more here.
Let 2017 be the year you celebrate you and what makes you unique. Let this be the year you embrace your body for all of the amazing things it allows you to do. And the year you stop chasing after the “perfect” body.
I posted this quote to Facebook in 2010. I’d spent most of my life punishing my body for not being perfect. Yoga allowed me to (finally) celebrate my body. Celebrate, not only the way I look, but more importantly, celebrate what my body can do and the way I feel about my body.
This is my story of how I overcame shame about my body. Maybe you can relate. If you’re struggling with acceptance for any aspect of yourself, join us for our Love Yourself Retreat. Begin the journey of love, acceptance and compassion for your body and every aspect of yourself.
I started hating my body when I was eight. My dad and brother called me fat and constantly made fun of me. I look back at photos from that time, and while I had baby fat, an 8 year old should NEVER be called fat. Over the next couple of years, I grew taller and slimmed down. But I STILL felt fat. I started hunching over as I grew taller – so nobody would notice me. My dad admonished me, “Stop slouching. Stand up straight. What’s wrong with you?”
Ha. I felt like so much was wrong with me. Not just with my body, but me. It’s interesting how the two are related.
One of my favorite creations from Kaycee, homemade applesauce, it’s delicious, yet simple. A great way to start your morning, by itself, or on top of our Ayurvedic Crockpot Oatmeal. Or for a snack, with a little more decadence, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Or still creamy, yet not as decadent, a dollop of Greek Yogurt. And of course I add extra cinnamon on top of mine for extra deliciousness.
- 5 lb of apples (peeled and cut into chunks)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 whole cloves
Maybe you know someone in your life (maybe it’s you!) who would benefit from a weekend away. It has been quite a year!
Give the gift that will keep on giving, long after you or your someone special returns home. A retreat is an excellent way to press pause on life and take a breath. It’s an opportunity to slow down and find stillness in the mind, relaxation in the body and possibility in the heart.
Our community of women support and encourage each other – at the retreat and in the days that follow – through social media or in-person connection. Some guests make instant connections with each other and return to a retreat together.
Retreat guests are able to –
- Consider the direction that life is taking.
- Find a fresh perspective.
- Discover gratitude for the little things.
- Truly relax and unwind – no chores to do, no meals to prepare, no errands to run.
- Savor delicious home cooked meals without chopping, cooking or cleaning a thing.
- Enjoy quiet time in contemplation – walking, journaling or simply sitting in nature.
- Engage in conversation with inspirational women, sharing stories and laughter.
- Reconnect to self.
Choose the retreat you think is perfect, or let your recipient choose her perfect retreat. Gift Certificates are available for either option.
Choose the ideal retreat here.
Email for your Personalized Gift Certificate.
“There are all different kinds of women at a retreat and you’d think we have nothing in common. But we really have everything in common,” Dionna, a frequent retreat guest, sharing with her sister what makes our women’s yoga and wellness retreats so special.
I have found that’s so true. Even though our guests travel from across the country, have different backgrounds and experiences, we are ALL women. And because of that, we have so much in common.
Our mission is to support and empower EVERY woman. Yoga and meditation are a crucial part of our retreats, but women gathered together, sharing laughter and stories and supporting each other in community is where the real magic happens. Just ask our guests. Our yoga classes suit all levels, perfect for women of all ages and body types, with absolutely no yoga experience required. Yoga is breath-based movement. I tell guests at the beginning of every retreat, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
Take that much needed break and join us for a retreat, discover exactly what you need here. We offer a Retreat Assistance Program and strive to keep our retreats affordable, so we can really serve as many women as possible.
Sweet potatoes are abundant in East Texas in the Fall. Join us for a retreat the fourth weekend in October and you can check out the Golden Sweet Potato Festival. So much fun…even Oprah made a visit a few years ago.
We absolutely love sweet potatoes, not only for their great taste, but also for the nutritional value. They are high in fiber, yet low in sugar, plus a great source of Vitamin A (366% of the necessary daily requirement).
We serve mashed sweet potatoes and mini sweet potato pies (as a birthday treat) in the Winter. We add sweet potatoes to our Chicken & Vegetable Curry and we have a to-die-for sweet potato hash on Sunday mornings during our Fall and Winter retreats. But this recipe is my absolute favorite. A little bit of spice makes it interesting. This is especially good for you, based on Ayurveda principles, to warm you up in cooler weather and keep your digestive system happy and functioning properly. Plus, you can make a double batch and freeze what you don’t use. Enjoy!
Do you ever find yourself driving with no recollection of how you arrived at your destination? Or going through the motions of listening – while not paying attention at all? Or watching TV, while checking Facebook on your phone? I’m definitely guilty.
Practice mindfulness and find peace, joy and so much more when you join us for one of our Mindfulness and Meditation retreats. Learn more.
I admit, I have struggled with being mindful. I keep thinking to myself (instead of being mindful) “I’m busy! I don’t have time to be mindful.”
But I’ve realized just the opposite, I don’t have time to be mindless – to let the moments of my life pass me by. I don’t want to miss a single thing – interesting conversations with friends, a beautiful sunset, the relaxation of moving my body in yoga, the deliciousness of my first cup of coffee, laughter, tears, hugs.