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News from the Retreat

Finding Hope to Move Forward


New Friends at the Retreat“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,” Diondra, 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.

Over the years, we’ve had guests who were originally from other countries including Norway, Mexico, Ukraine and  Russia. Overwhelmingly, these guests have expressed gratitude for the freedoms our country offers women. A guest who moved here from Russia 12 years ago, shared this with us: in Russia, the simple act of women gathering together in a group (as we do every weekend at our retreat center), would be STRONGLY discouraged. How terrifying!

Every retreat closes with our Gratitude Brunch, where guests share gratitude for their health, their yoga practice, their families, and so much more.  I’m always humbled by stories of triumph over struggle and perseverance through challenges, as women deal with health, family, financial or career setbacks. I believe women are stronger than we know and during challenging times, we truly discover our inner strength. For me personally, the struggles in my life have allowed me to grow. Sometimes it takes a shift in perspective (a yoga retreat!) to realize we are capable of so much more than we think.Peace Love Hope

I have a peace sign tattooed on my right shoulder  (designed and tattooed by the talented Star – one of our amazing guest instructors.) This tattoo is so meaningful to me because it includes the words peace, love and hope.  I chose to get the tattoo after my divorce seven years ago during which peace, love and hope seemed like a distant memory. After my divorce, I went through many struggles. I lost friends, my home, material things and my way. I watched helplessly as my children faced challenges and I couldn’t save them. I struggled for years to grow my small business to a place where I could support myself and my family without being forced to work two other jobs.  Life changes, yes. You either choose to stand still and mope or you choose to move forward with hope. I won’t lie – it was incredibly difficult to take that first step to move forward. But I did. One step at a time. Sometimes I took three steps forward and four steps back. But I kept moving, and I arrived here.

Today I choose to live by the words tattooed on my shoulder. When I begin to get overwhelmed and I lose my way, my yoga and meditation practice reminds me to breathe. When I reconnect to my breath, I embrace peace, love and hope. I witness this same challenge and transformation over and over again with our retreat guests. We really do have EVERYTHING in common.

Let’s move forward and continue to support and empower each other as women. Let’s be grateful that we can gather, recognize all that we can share and fill the world with peace, love and hope. Will you join me?




Fiesta Sweet Potato Soup

Yoga Retreat Meal

Enjoy it with a piece of your favorite rustic bread

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!

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Discover the Power of Mindfulness

Yoga Retreat Guests in Meditation

Guests in Meditation

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.

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Congratulations to our 12 Year Anniversary Winners!

Dearest Friends,

Yoga Retreat Guests

The Amazing Women of our Retreat in the Pines Community

Thank you to each of you who participated in our 12th Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway. We are so grateful for our Retreat in the Pines community! We loved seeing your comments and we appreciate you sharing your stories,  inspiration, memories, and love with us.  We are grateful for each one of you. Thank you for supporting and loving each other on our journey of  yoga, wellness and healing.

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Choose Gratitude

Thank You

Maybe you’re thinking, “How can I choose gratitude?” Then again, how can you not? Gratitude, like many things, really is a choice. Some choices are challenging, while others come naturally – if you let them.

A yoga retreat puts everything in perspective, and allows you to choose gratitude. We finish every retreat with a gratitude meditation and a gratitude brunch. Book your retreat here.

Benefits of Gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.”  Melody Beatty.

Gratitude improves physical and psychological health.  Gratitude allows more restful sleep. Gratitude is good for self-esteem and improves relationship. Studies have shown that gratitude leads to happiness. Gratitude really is a game changer. Read More

Watermelon Mojitos

Watermelon MojitosOh the excitement when I first posted this photo a few weeks ago on my personal Facebook page. First of all, any photo with Zoe in it, always gets extra attention. If you’ve attended a retreat, you may already know Zoe. And to know Zoe is to love Zoe. If you haven’t met her yet, it’s not too late. Book here.

But then there’s the Watermelon Mojitos! Until this summer, I had never enjoyed the refreshing pleasure of a Mojito, watermelon or otherwise. At first taste I was sold. It was like a taste of  tropical paradise…with a kick.

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Savor Deliciousness & Avoid Food Waste: Freezing Tips for Fruits & Veggies

Now’s the perfect time to savor the flavors of summer before it’s too late. The end of summer is always bittersweet for me – the promise of cooler weather, yet the end of the season for my favorite fruits and veggies.  There’s nothing better than a juicy peach from Ham Orchards or a handful of plump East Texas Blueberries to make my heart sing.

Farm to Table Yoga RetreatIf you have yet to savor our freshly prepared, Farm to Table dishes, you’re in for a treat. Our guests rave about our healthy and delicious meals, prepared with lots of love – from locally sourced produce and meat to homemade rosemary and garlic breads. Best of all, you don’t have to lift a finger. No chopping, no cooking, no cleaning up – just relaxing, chatting and enjoying the flavors. Hungry for homemade meals alongside yoga, laughter and wine? Book here.

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Go Solo: Open Your Eyes and Your Heart

It’s an Adventure! When I traveled with my kids when they were younger, my common phrase when things didn’t go as planned (which is quite frequently when you’re traveling with children) was “It’s an Adventure!” Of course they grumbled and made fun of me (and still do!), but now I know when things don’t go the way I plan, it is indeed an adventure. Whether in travel or in life.

Yoga Retreat

Solo Adventures at Retreat in the Pines

My favorite adventure is solo travel. The absolute best place to travel to by yourself is Retreat in the Pines. Find your tribe at a retreat. View our upcoming retreats here.

My divorce was messy, I was stressed, I needed to do something for myself. As I pondered my future, I knew I needed to do something to challenge my comfort zone and give me fresh perspective.  I decided to take a trip by myself.

I started to plan. I was thrilled when I bought the plane ticket, excited as I booked a room with Airbnb (Airbnb is my first choice when I travel) and feeling proud of myself as I figured out the details of a trip to San Francisco for the Yoga Journal Conference with a few nights in Napa.

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Self-Care after 40: All Natural Wellness Tips to Boost Energy and Feel Better

Theresa Polley Retreat in the Pines

Theresa – April 2016

The struggle is real. To maintain your energy and weight and stay well after 40, that is. Maybe that seems a bit dramatic… I’m 53 and when I take care of myself I still  feel like I’m 35. When I don’t take care or take time for me…watch out.

Maybe you struggle with trouble sleeping, hot flashes, weight gain, lack of energy or dry skin and hair; know you’re not alone! I’ve gathered easy,  all natural and budget friendly tips to include in your daily life for immediate results.  I’ve taken the guess work out of living well. All of these habits have helped me with the struggle of feeling good after 40.

First, take time for you. Find new perspective and your tribe at one of our yoga retreats. Find your retreat here.  Take care of you first, and everything else falls into place. I promise.

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Follow Your Intuition to Your Bliss

Marianne Williamson Powerful QuoteYou know the voice in your head saying…I got this…This is my dream…I deserve better than this. Great news, your voice is right. You’re right. When you hear it, stop what you’re doing and listen. Learning to listen to your intuition, is the first step on your journey to bliss.

If you’re like me and have struggled with listening to your intuition, join us for a retreat. Being away from your daily routine will clear away the clutter. Your voice will come in loud and clear.

I could tell you about the times in my life (disasters – truly) where I had an intuitive feeling about something and I RATIONALIZED it away. Big mistake, every time. Then I can tell you about the times I LISTENED to my gut…and things went amazingly right.

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