My Dream of a Yoga Retreat
The life changing power of passion + persistence.
This Mother’s Day, and really every day, I am immensely grateful for my mom, and this incredible place that she has brought to life.
For over 17 years, Retreat in the Pines has brought women together for something so much more than a weekend retreat. Yes, the views are dreamy, the yoga is lovely, the food is yummy, and the cabins are cozy. And even more than that, the connections, the love, the laughter, the healing – the magic – that happens here is what our retreats are really about.
If you’re new here, or if I’m new to you, I’d love for you to get to know our story and hear where we’re headed.
In 2003 I discovered yoga as a path to personal healing after the heartbreaking loss of my mom and a job I loved – all within a matter of months. The next year, I taught at a fitness retreat that would change my life—but not in the way that I thought it would. I expected a fun weekend of fitness and connection – I was wrong. Instead, I experienced a weekend of torture – no sugar, no caffeine, no carbs and no fun. The only connection was a mutual hope that we’d all survive.
Returning home, I had an idea. I envisioned a retreat with all of my favorite things: yoga, chocolate, coffee, wine, and delicious food. We had a cabin in the Piney Woods of East Texas, the perfect place for a relaxing getaway.
Within a matter of months, I was hosting my first retreat – two guests showed up! I taught yoga in the living room, cooked all the meals for the weekend, cleaned the cabin top to bottom, and after it was done, even while completely exhausted, I realized I found the meaningful work I’d been searching for.
I continued to pour my heart and soul into Retreat in the Pines, and in 2010 after my divorce, I realized I needed to step up my game. The work was non-stop and the profits were few and far between, but the fulfillment was everything.
In 2010 I had just obtained my Entrepreneurship degree – something that I chose after seeing my mom start her own business. I had just moved to Austin with ambitious dreams to start my own business, but like most things in life go, things didn’t go to “plan.” A couple of years later I ended up back in DFW needing a part-time job.
Every Wednesday I’d show up at mom’s apartment, my desktop computer in tow (in a very large box!), to set up shop and help with anything she needed for the business. I focused on marketing, but sticking to one thing has never really been my – or her – thing so I also stepped in cooking. At that point, Theresa was still doing everything from being the retreat leader to the bookkeeper.
Finally, I got through to her and helped her realize doing everything herself wasn’t working. She needed to let go of control and hire other women to be part of the small business. She gives me credit for numerous new ideas that allowed Retreat in the Pines to grow to where it is today, but she’s still the one who put in all the work.
Once I relinquished control, the business began to grow. I was happy to admit Nina was right – something she loves to hear – even if I had been skeptical in the beginning!
The two and a half years we worked together flew by, and when I left at the end of 2015 – originally to live on a meat farm in Virginia, a fun story for another time – I continued to help as much as I could. I loved brainstorming new ideas when we were on vacation, helping navigate employee and customer challenges as they arose, and doing freelance marketing when my schedule allowed.
Experiencing my first job in “Corporate America,” my priorities had shifted. Mom started to ask me to come back, but I kept telling her she couldn’t “afford” me anymore. She continued to ask me to come back, but my need to be independent prevailed—at least for a little while. A lot like my mom, I’m pretty stubborn.
In the summer of 2021, I got honest with myself – I was shrinking to fit a place I’d outgrown. I quit my job to start my own freelance marketing business, and of course, Retreat in the Pines was my first client.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I was not a boss-babe or hustle-culture entrepreneur, I didn’t actually enjoy doing freelance client work, and – most importantly – I was resisting an opportunity of a lifetime: to do really meaningful work with one of my favorite people.
We’re both guilty of resisting things that are good for us – we both prefer to come to conclusions on our own terms, but it seems we end up listening to one another eventually. I think it’s one of our biggest assets.
I am so grateful to have Nina by my side this year! Mostly because we talk at least once a day (sometimes multiple times per day - my dream come true!) and we laugh (a lot!) at ourselves and at each other.
My son Landry tells me we are the same person. I don’t know about that, but I do know we are both Aquarius (both with a stellium in Aquarius), so we are fiercely independent with a clear idea of a right way and a wrong way to do things. Being from different generations, those things don’t always line up, but we’ve found that it makes us a really strong team.
We are grateful and excited to be leading Retreat in the Pines into the future with a team of outstanding Retreat Leaders who bring their heart and soul to each retreat they lead.
There’s a lot happening in the world right now. These past two years have been one thing after another, and it feels like there is no end in sight. It’s heartbreaking, it’s heavy, and it’s hard. But one thing we know from experience, is that struggle leads to strength. Mom and I believe these things have only increased the need for connection, especially for women.
Growth is on our minds, it has been for awhile now, and we feel the necessity to expand the reach of our mission—to hold a safe space for ALL women to be their authentic selves and find respect, encouragement and support. Because all women deserve the opportunity to enjoy a retreat. Stay tuned.
The life changing power of passion + persistence.