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News from the Retreat

From Connection to Friendship

Yoga Retreat Guests

Carole and Cheryl in the Dining Hall

At a recent retreat, I had the pleasure of meeting two lovely women from Houston. Carole and Cheryl took a chance and a step outside of their comfort zones, and got to know each other while carpooling to the retreat. They were destined to be friends.

Cheryl, a teacher and a divorced mother of 3 daughters, knew she had to take care of herself if she was going to continue to give so much on a daily basis. She came to the retreat on a journey to renew and rediscover herself.

Carole, having been through her own set of challenges, was coming to the retreat with her cousins for a get away to reset and connect with family.

Since Cheryl didn’t want to make the drive from the Houston area by herself, she reached out to me fo find someone to carpool with her. Carole immediately responded, finding it a coincidence that Cheryl had the same first and last name as her sister.

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Let Go and Find Your Freedom

Yoga Retreat

Allow Yourself the Freedom to Let Go

We hear the word freedom quite a bit at this time of year. We celebrate our country’s independence on July Fourth, but what about celebrating freedom in our personal lives?

You’ll often hear yoga instructors expressing this idea in class: clear your mind, let go. And in letting go, we can find freedom. This might seem like a very broad concept, so it’s helpful to hone in on what exactly you’re looking to let go of: self-doubt, negative self-talk, attachment to the past, attachment to any ideas of what the future “should” look like, and so on.

For me personally, the journey of letting go is something I must be intentional about. It’s easy to get off track. Here are ideas on how to do just that:

Let go of self-doubt. As women, we play many different roles in our lives: friend, employee, boss, mother, sister, wife; the list goes on. With all the hats we wear, it can be easy to doubt how we are “performing” in any given role. We might wonder if we’re good enough, or if we’re doing enough. The reality is that we are doing the best we can—and that is always enough.

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Wild Rice Salad with Fresh Herbs

This cool and healthy salad is the perfect way to keep your cool this summer. Enjoy it as a side dish, or add protein such as chicken or salmon, for an easy and delicious main dish.

In the heat of Summer, the best way to stay cool is to eat cooling foods, avoiding hot food (in flavor and temperature). Cooling foods such as melons, cucumbers, cherries and zucchini will definitely help you keep your cool as the temperature creeps up. Here’s a list on what fruits and vegetables to enjoy and what to avoid.

Wild rice is packed with protein (more than quinoa), low in fat and gluten free. The slightly nutty flavor and texture is a great base for any salad or just sprinkled on greens.

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5 Steps to a Digital Detox

Digital Detox

Connect with People Around You

When I began my own digital detox, over a year ago, there was an immediate sense of relief. I started by turning off the notifications on my phone. With that first step, I realized, I’m in charge again! Not my phone! I recently deleted social media apps that were distracting me. At first there was a sense of what do I do now? Then I realized I had much more time in my day to engage with those around me. My dining table has always been a screen-free zone and I have memories of great meals and conversations with loved ones and friends over the years.

Many women come to Retreat in the Pines seeking a way to “unplug” from their daily lives. Often just getting away to a place where the focus is relaxation and the only thing you really have to do is breathe, is enough to get grounded, settle into a clear headspace and calm emotional state.  If you’re in need of a get-away, book a retreat with us.

Relaxation is easy to achieve while away at a retreat. But what about unplugging while in the midst of daily life? Modern society is hyperconnected, and the tools that were designed to make our lives easier can, in some ways, make our lives more complicated. The apps on our phones often distract us from being fully present in the moment. While it’s almost impossible to completely unplug, there is a new trend in managing the overwhelming and nearly constant stream of information at our fingertips: a digital detox.

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Fresh Rosemary & Blueberry Scones

Fresh Blueberries

Fresh Blueberries from East Texas

It’s almost time to pick Blueberries in East Texas! Those fresh blueberries combined with a little bit of Rosemary from our garden creates a little bit of heaven for our Sunday Brunch. I tried year after year to grow one of those Rosemary Christmas trees with no luck. Now we have huge rosemary bushes and we have more rosemary than we know what to do with!

We stuff our chickens (sourced from a local farm) with fresh rosemary before roasting. We add rosemary to our famous Breakfast Potatoes and stir a little in to our Chicken and Veggie Soup. Rosemary adds a unique flavor, plus it’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and can reduce stress.

Our guests usually can’t get enough of these scones. I’m certainly not a baker, but this recipe is simple and the result is delicious!

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How a Yoga Practice can Benefit You

Yoga Final Relaxation

Theresa & Zoe in Savasana

I love being a woman, but there are definitely challenging seasons. I have survived challenges in my life by consistently taking time for myself on my yoga mat.  My favorite pose Savasana, final rest, is even sweeter with Zoe. Our retreats are for ALL women – no yoga experience is needed. Discover the power of yoga, when you join us for a retreat.

As women, there are many ways to approach living a healthier lifestyle. Developing a consistent yoga practice is one of them. For those of us who have already begun our yoga journey, we rolled out our mats for the first time for various, and often very personal, reasons. For some women, the practice begins as physical: we need to add movement and activity to our lives or have a tangible, physiological goal in mind. For others, we’d been advised that yoga can help alleviate stress, promote better sleep, or reduce anxiety.

Whether you’re in the early stages of your yoga journey or have been practicing daily for 10 years, the practice has the power to positively impact your health and well-being in many ways.

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Easy Chocolate Truffles

My recent Cooking Class at Central Market was focused on all of the wonderful things you can do with chocolate. While I didn’t care for the Chocolate Marinara Sauce, it even sounds bad, I loved the Chocolate Chunk & Cherry Biscotti, the Chocolate Bark with Cranberries and Almonds, but my favorite was the Chocolate Truffles. So decadent!

Chocolate Truffle Ingredients

Chocolate Truffle Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 Bags of Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • OR
  • Fresh mint
  • Almond extract
  • 1 cup of Red Wine (cooked down)
  • Any of these ingredients can be used in place of the cinnamon and vanilla.

 

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A Celebration of Women – Who We Are and Where We’re Going

Women's Yoga Retreat

Chantel on the left with her friend Julie and two new friends, Kathleen and Lauren

Chantel Carlson, recently attended the January Detox & Yoga Retreat, as well as a Yoga Nurture Retreat in June. I had the pleasure of visiting with her on both occasions. This is her story.

In May 2016 I made a difficult decision about my health.  I was 43-years-old, and I had spent almost 30 years of my life suffering from the debilitating effects of endometriosis.  After the latest round of hormone therapy failed me (yet again), I made an appointment to see my gynecologist.  When she walked into the exam room, she sat down in front of me and said, “It’s time.” And even though I knew the time for a hysterectomy had come, it was still an emotional journey.  I had accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to have any children of my own long before I met my husband, but knowing I was having my uterus, cervix, and one ovary removed was still difficult to imagine – it’s so much of who we are as women.  What defines us.  But I also knew what defined me was living a meaningful life without pain, and to me, that outweighed the negatives.

It took a full year to get used to my new body, and to be honest, the healing process was not as easy as I had hoped.  My friends who had taken this journey told me to be patient and also said that one day I would wake up and forget my surgery had happened.

A year later that time came, and I began to think about my body in a different way.  With the “diseased” parts removed, I wanted to honor and celebrate this new beginning, but I wasn’t sure how.  I thought about a retreat, so I began doing random Google searches, not really knowing exactly what I was looking for.  All I knew is I wanted a place focused on women – not just moms, not just single women, not just divorcees.

I wanted a retreat where women would gather in support of one another…gather in celebration of who we are.  In celebration of where we are in our lives no matter what that looked like.

That’s when I clicked on “Retreat in the Pines.”

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From Struggle to Living the Dream

Yoga Retreats

Celebrated Ten Years of Yoga Retreats in 2014

My passion in life has always been to make a difference in the world, specifically with women. I’d dreamed for years of creating a life of empowerment for myself and all women. When my dream became a reality in 2004, I was thrilled. But I had no idea what I was getting into!

When I opened the doors, there were very few retreat centers in the state of Texas. As the yoga industry boomed, so did the retreat business. While I have seen many retreat businesses come and go, I’m proud to say Retreat in the Pines (formerly Yoga in the Pines) is still growing strong. And while Yoga and Meditation are certainly an important part of our retreats, the sharing of stories, laughter and tears while gathered around our community table is the real essence of our retreats.

I was inspired to begin hosting yoga retreats when I was invited to teach at a fitness retreat in 2004. While I was disappointed at the “un-retreat” like weekend – non-existent free time, very little sleep, and highly restrictive meals – I was also inspired. I wanted to create a more “retreat like” experience, inviting women to indulge in some of my (and hopefully their!) favorite things – wine, coffee, chocolate and delicious meals cooked from scratch – all as a complement to yoga. More importantly, I imagined a getaway that would be accessible to women of all sizes, ages, levels of yoga experience and budgets. Focused on that idea, my first retreat was priced ridiculously low at $199! In order to continue to reach more women and cover the costs of doing business, I’ve gradually had to raise the retreat prices. Prices now range from $429 to $529 for two night retreats and $649 (Love Yourself Retreat – a four day life changing retreat). The Retreat Assistance Program allows ALL women to attend a retreat.

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Be Good to Yourself

Theresa in Tree Pose

I don’t believe in making New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ve felt the stress and disappointment when I failed to keep my resolutions too many times. It’s like a diet – knowing I can’t eat something makes me want it even more! I allow myself to eat what I want and my intention each and every year is to treat myself with the love, respect and compassion I deserve. Life is too short to start the New Year any other way.

By intentionally vowing to be good to myself, I’ve found acceptance for who I am in this moment and where I am in my life. By finding acceptance,  I’ve discovered peace, contentment and joy.

My practice of being good to myself  has allowed the life I’ve envisioned for myself to fall into place.

It’s as if once I believe I’m worthy of living my dream, my dream comes true.

Begin this year with a vow to be good to yourself. Start by joining us for a retreat.

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