Since I began teaching yoga in 2003, Yoga has been a powerful path to healing for me. Not just physical, but mental and emotional healing as well. Yoga has transformed me from the inside out and has changed my life immensely since I first stepped foot on a yoga mat. I've witnessed the power of yoga in the lives of the women I've met over the years since 2004 at Retreat in the Pines.
It took a series of traumatic events in my life for me to wake up to the incredible power of Yoga as a tool for healing, self-discovery and peace. For years I avoided yoga. I was a fitness junkie. I’d observe a yoga class at the Y - and think “I could do that at home - they're laying on the floor!” Ha. I took my first Yoga class in the spring of 2003. My mom had just died, I was laid off from my job as Corporate Sales Director of the YMCA and a relationship ended suddenly. At that point, all I wanted to do was lay on the floor and cry.
I skipped over Beginner Yoga and went directly to Power Yoga. I found peace. And got my butt kicked! That was the beginning of a (huge) shift and an eventual life change. Not only did I find myself on my Yoga mat, I embraced myself for being exactly who I was - something I struggled with for years.
In 2004, after teaching at a fitness retreat, I had an idea for a Yoga Retreat. My idea was exactly the opposite of what I'd experienced. The fitness retreat was a weekend of denial - no dairy, caffeine, carbs or fun. No thank you. I believe any retreat should be more of a treat and less of a punishment.
Wine and coffee (with cream!) and healthy yet delicious meals? Yes please. Dark chocolate and birthday treats? Of course! Retreat in the Pines was born.
Based on my 16 years of teaching yoga and leading retreats, I have created retreat experiences designed specifically for women to create a mental, physical and emotional shift.
Over the years of leading retreats, I've met so many amazing women and learned so much - not only about other women, but about myself. Our retreats have evolved. Community and connection are arguably the most rewarding part of the retreats. When women sit at our community dining table, not only do they laugh together, they have the realization that they are not alone in their struggles. Powerful.
I believe ALL women should be able to live life on their own terms. I struggled as a single mom, working several jobs to keep Retreat in the Pines going, for that very reason. I am passionate about women stepping into their power. We shouldn't have to earn respect, we deserve respect, from each other and especially, ourselves.
I am so over the back stabbing I endured from other women in corporate America, the PTO at my children's school and with so-called friends. It's 2021 and it's time to erase that from our culture. I believe we need to set the example and treat other women the way we deserved to be treated. My blog, Celebrating Women: Claiming Our Power, is one of my favorites.
I believe all women should have the opportunity to experience the life changing power of a retreat. Our Retreat Assistance offers scholarships to any woman who needs it. Retreats should NOT be an elitist thing.
If you think having young children is hard, wait until they grow up! In spite of the challenges my three adult children have given me over the years, I'm not giving up yet! I'm now raising Mason, he's four and brings more joy than I thought possible. I couldn't do any of it without self care as a priority and without my tribe having my back.
To read more about my story of creating and growing Retreat in the Pines, read My Journey.
In November 2020, Jenn was thrilled when she was able to get into our sold out Revitalize Retreat because of a cancellation. As an introvert she was hesitant about jumping out of her comfort zone, but as soon as she arrived she knew she was in the right place. As Jenn tells it, her first retreat experience was “like going to girl scout camp, but with better food - and wine!”
Luckily Theresa was in the kitchen during Jenn’s retreat. When she heard there was a chef among the guests her first thought was “ so much pressure - I hope she likes my cooking!” Upon meeting and talking to Jenn, Theresa realized Jenn was the elusive kitchen candidate she had been searching for for years - an excellent chef AND an amazing woman.
Jenn stumbled into cooking while working at a bakery after high school. So inspired by the women working there who were in culinary school, she decided to jump in and do the same. She hasn’t looked back since. Since culinary school, Jenn has worked in the Dallas restaurant scene, most recently as Executive Chef at Meddlesome Moth. Emotionally and physically exhausted by the long hours and demands of being one of the few women in a kitchen full of men, she knew she was in desperate need of a change when she arrived at Retreat in the Pines.
Jenn was born and raised in Austin and is close to her family. She values family time and loves to travel with her two nephews and niece, who teach her the power of being mindful and present. Jenn’s bulldogs Winston & Benson make her laugh every day and they all love to cuddle on the couch. Yoga has kept Jenn grounded and she looks forward to getting certified as a Yoga Teacher.
Jenn looks forward to growing the retreat experience for guests while growing herself. She’s excited to refocus on seasonal menus and cultivating relationships with local farmers and growers. Mostly, she’s thrilled to be a part of our Retreat in the Pines community of like minded women.
Join Jenn for a weekend of deliciousness without lifting a finger. We're now offering Sip & Savor Cooking Demos at select retreats - you'll see and taste the magic.
Jenn's Favorite Quote
Travel isn't always pretty, it isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that's okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind. ~ Anthony Bourdain
Jan has been treating our guests to the ultimate in relaxation since 2011. Guests love Jan’s soothing touch and calm energy. After a massage with Jan, most guests agree “That was the best massage ever!”
Jan, a Registered Massage Therapist since 2005, loves the connection with guests, and enjoys visiting with guests at dinner after a day of massages.
Jan loves the ocean and moved to Galveston in 2013. She is truly dedicated to our community; she drives up for Galveston to spend Saturdays with us at the retreat.
Book a retreat here to enjoy the ultimate massage on our screened in back porch.
Belen has been a licensed massage therapist since 2007. She has advanced training in trigger point therapy, myofascial release, deep tissue, as well as prenatal and post-natal care. She believes the best way to treat chronic pain, stress and injury, is through a combination of different modalities to personalize each massage to each individual’s needs.
Born in Mendoza, Argentina; her family moved to the United States in 2000, where Belen finished high school in Texas. She already knew she wanted to make a difference in the world. Belen’s daughter was born in June 2006 and has taught Belen “how real love feels.” Belen loves to travel and enjoys music, nature, animals and camping.
She attended a retreat with us in March of 2019 and was immediately drawn to our community and mission. Belen is grateful and honored to be a part of Retreat in the Pines and to provide women with the much needed healing touch of massage.
Nina,Theresa's daughter, reluctantly tried Yoga after years of telling her mom she had no interest in Yoga and couldn't possibly touch her toes. Once she found herself on her mat, she fell in love with a slower moving practice and the profound peace she experienced. Since then, Nina and Theresa have traveled together to Estes Park, Sedona and around the Dallas area for yoga events and classes.
Nina worked with Theresa for several years running the business side of Retreat in the Pines and cooking for guests at retreats. It was an especially enjoyable time as they would cook for each other trying out recipes and walk their dogs together while brainstorming business ideas. Now Nina creates blogs and recipes to give our guests encouragement and ideas in the kitchen.
Nina grew up in the Dallas area and has a degree in Entrepreneurship from UNT.
She is married to her wife Spencer, and resides in Fort Worth with their three dogs. Nina enjoys time with her nieces and nephew,traveling, writing, handlettering, ice cream, gardening, cooking, and hanging out with her mom.
After Dayna’s first child was born, she searched for a way to stay healthy and balanced - mind, body and soul. She started with Hot Power Yoga and never looked back. When approached by her teacher about teacher training, Dayna hesitated, concerned her struggles with insecurities and anxiety would stand in her way. Instead, her teacher training journey allowed her to find healing, clarity and self discovery.
Dayna went on to open a yoga studio in Midlothian Texas. Owning her own studio allowed Dayna to serve and make a difference in her community - something she is passionate about. She still cherishes the memories she made - on and off the mat. Since selling her yoga studio, Dayna has enjoyed teaching kids yoga, beer yoga, goat yoga, chair yoga and private parties. She loves the experience of bonding over yoga! Dayna is also a licensed realtor, which pays the bills and allows her to pursue her passion of teaching yoga.
Dayna is a proud single mom of 2 beautiful children. Motherhood keeps her grounded and gives her purpose. She is grateful to watch her children grow and they inspire her to be better on a daily basis.
Join Dayna for a retreat where she’ll meet you exactly where you are. She looks forward to meeting you and supporting and encouraging you along the way - whether it’s yoga or life.
Debbie found yoga in 2006, a time of uncertainty and turmoil in her personal life. Her yoga practice allowed her to find grounding. From that point forward, she was able to handle the struggles and depression she’d been experiencing.
Realizing how much joy yoga brought to her life, she decided the best way to share that joy with others was to teach. Two days after her husband retired, she left for Costa Rica and a month of teacher training. She began teaching and her classes have since grown into a tribe of like-minded individuals.
Debbie attended her first retreat at Retreat in the Pines in January 2018 and is excited to host retreats and connect with others.
As Debbie has aged, she has discovered the power of yoga to be the saving grace for those entering their golden years - keeping older adults mobile, strong and flexible to meet the demands of the best years of their life. Debbie teaches gentle, hatha, yin and Kundalini.
I believe meditation is the cornerstone of yoga.
Debbie, teaching since 2007, came to yoga out of a need for balance in her life and fitness habits. She is an RYT-500, certified through Blue Anjou’s Breathe into Awareness teacher training, Yoga Bridge Yoga for Cancer training and Studio Samadhi Kundalini/Tantra teacher training. She is also a Foundations Yoga Therapist through Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy School.
She also has a MovNat 50+ certification for those days when she just wants to get outside and climb some rocks or hang on trees!
Debbie and her husband are empty nesters and though she misses her boys, she is enjoying new found freedom to travel…and a lower grocery bill!
Debbie led her first retreat in 2012 and is thrilled to be part of the Retreat in the Pines family of instructors.
Jennifer started practicing yoga to add variety to her gym workouts and running. Soon, yoga took hold and she found herself returning back to the mat more and more frequently. With yoga, she found strength, stress relief and new depths within herself. The practice allowed her to slow down, honor her body, and find peace within, especially during her pregnancies.
Outside of yoga, Jennifer works in corporate finance and actually enjoys excel spreadsheets. She is a foodie and can be found eating her way through Dallas with her husband. She is the proud mom of two, her daughter, her newest boss, and recently she welcomed a baby boy who keeps her on her toes.
She loves introducing newcomers to yoga and helping experienced yogis deepen their practice.
Keitha, practicing many different styles of yoga off and on for about ten years, turned whole-heartedly to yoga in a desperate attempt to quickly heal her body after injuring herself training for a marathon. After an instructor ended a Candlelight Flow class with a meditation and a reading of “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver, Keitha knew yoga was intended for more than just her body. With an intense curiosity as to what yoga could offer beyond the physical, Keitha began looking into teacher training programs and in 2015 she completed her teacher training.
Yoga allowed a much needed shift in my life and an awareness that has truly been life changing.
She works to bring thoughtful and intentional sequencing and a focus on energy and breath to all of her classes. Join Keitha for an energetic shift at her one of her retreats.
Keitha draws energy from spending time in nature, loving on her two rescue dogs and adventuring around the world with her husband.
After discovering self-compassion and acceptance from her Yoga practice, on and off the mat, Lisa turned her passion for yoga into teaching. Lisa, teaching in the Dallas area since 2001, received her initial yoga certification from YogaFit and has been studying for 9 years with Yogarupa Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga in Colorado She recently became a Para Yoga Nidra Certified Teacher.
She guides students of all levels to experience their own authentic practice. She includes Ayurveda, yoga philosophy and alignment cues in every class. As a Holistic Health Coach, she helps clients find a balanced way to feed themselves – physically and emotionally. Lisa, certified as an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist since 2013, and a Yoga 4 Cancer Teacher since 2017.
The healing power of Yoga is a powerful tool to transform your body and your life. I've seen tremendous transformation in myself since beginning my Yoga journey 35 years ago.
Lisa and her husband are empty nesters. After years of being a hands on mom to her three boys, she’s looking forward to new adventures. She loves to rehab homes and is currently living in her current project.
She is dedicated to guiding students of all ages and abilities through their practice where they can find health and happiness. She teaches with love and respect for the practice, the lineage of her teacher and for each individual in her class. Explore Ayurveda and Yoga as a path for wellness at Lisa’s next retreat.
Journey into feeling your best and knowing your healthiest self.
In each session over this three month series you will enjoy Yoga practice, lecture and Q&A
Practicing since 2008, Michelle fell in love with yoga as a way to manage stress. At first she struggled to relax in poses, now she can’t imagine her life without yoga. Michelle, teaching since 2011, loves sharing the healing power of yoga with guests.
Michelle, an accountant by profession, enjoys time outdoors – walking and fishing, and she loves cats. Through Ayurveda, she discovered the importance of living a balanced life. Michelle lives in Tulsa and enjoys her drive to the retreat center.
Retreat in the Pines holds a special place in Michelle’s heart, ever since her first visit in 2010. She looks forward to meeting our amazing guests at her next retreat.
Michelle, teaching fitness for over 30 years, teaches all levels and a wide range of styles at the Arlington YMCA and Diana’s School of Yoga. She also leads yoga retreats worldwide. Michelle is passionate about helping students of all ages to better their lives through wellness.
Michelle and her husband have three children and three grandchildren. Michelle loves yoga retreats, cruises, cooking, reading, hot yoga and spending time with her family.
Michelle, along with her two sisters, enjoyed the connection at our Detox & Yoga retreat and she is so grateful to share yoga with our guests. Michelle believes our community makes Retreat in the Pines unique among retreat destinations. Join Michelle for a weekend of relaxation and connection.
Sarah’s first yoga class, at Retreat in the Pines in 2015, was a game changer. At the time, she knew nothing about yoga and was nervous about going to the retreat with a friend. Afterward, she was grateful to her friend Valerie for literally dragging her to the retreat. Sarah experienced the magic of the retreat and she was immediately hooked on yoga. Upon returning home, she began practicing at a local studio. Sarah believes yoga changed her life for the better. She was stressed out, anxious and experiencing panic attacks. The calming benefits of yoga were instantaneous and she was hooked.
In 2016, Sarah began her 200hr teacher training and discovered the more she practices and teaches yoga, the more there is to learn. She is also certified as a Paddleboard Yoga and Aerial Yoga instructor. She loves to help students release stress, relax and discover poses they didn't know they were capable of. Join Sarah for a weekend of authenticity when you join her for a retreat.
Worry is a misuse of imagination.
Sarah believes the above quote is a perfect outlook on life. She’s married to Kyle and they have two pups, Ruby Jean and Cleopatra. She is currently teaching Outdoor Classes at Caviness Ranch in Decatur, Hot Yoga at FitnWise in Decatur, Hatha Flow Yoga and Aerial at Apotheke Yoga in Azle and Hatha Flow Yoga at Spartan Fit MMA in Springtown, TX.
Photo credit: Jenny Reitz
Summer, a ballet dancer for many years, turned to yoga for fitness because it felt like a natural fit after dancing most of her life. Little did she know, yoga was so much more than fitness. After practicing for five years, Summer decided to deepen her practice by taking teacher training from Karmany Yoga in Dallas. She was surprised to learn how much she loved teaching yoga, and immediately began to teach after earning her RYT.
My classes are light and fun, and I encourage my students to not take themselves too seriously.
Summer is certified in Vinyasa, Yin, and SUP Yoga. Summer is also an ardent student of Ayurveda and spent six months of a recent career break as an assistant to an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner.
Summer is married and loves being a puppy mom to her two Siberian Huskies. As a life-long student, Summer enjoys learning new things and has dabbled in many hobbies over the years including aerial silks, rock climbing, obstacle course racing, and kickboxing. Her latest learning-endeavor is ice skating. She supports Texas Husky Rescue and Genesis Women's Shelter.
Join Summer for a magical weekend of healing at one of her retreats!
Tiffenny began her life-long love affair with yoga in the late 90s as a way to calm her overactive mind. In 2009, she suffered a lumbar spine injury, faced with the possibility of spinal surgery she set out on a path to find methods of healing herself naturally. Through a combination of Chiropractic care, Acupuncture, Yoga and Energy Healing, Tiffenny was able to regain her life back - drug and surgery free. From that life changing experience, she committed herself to sharing the practices of alternative healing arts with others and began teaching yoga and energy healing in 2012.
When she is not actively engaged with clients or developing her own yoga skills, Tiffenny spends time with her husband, their two dogs and her two daughters.
Her passionate and free-spirited teaching style is influenced by her studies in Hatha and Yin Yoga and Ayuverda. Spend a weekend basking in good energy when you join Tiffenny for her next retreat.