The 2017 Yoga Retreat Guide – #justbookit

It’s early spring in Montana! Jolts of bright green grass, horses shedding like mad, and a hint of warmth in the air (even if the next day it snows). That time of year when our retreats start filling up…and everyone calls and emails with lots of questions. While I love people that do their hOMework, I thought it would be fun to whip up a retreat guide – to help you understand the many cool things that we offer, and which trip is the best fit for you. So read on for a taste of what’s ahead this year in Montana, California, and Italy, see what speaks to you, and then: #justbookit.

A note about our yoga: we often get asked what kind of yoga, how many times a day, what if I haven’t practiced in awhile – all valid questions. You will be fine. We offer straight up vinyasa flow, with a twist of restorative. We accommodate all levels of yoginis, but highly recommend some pre-retreat yoga experience, even if you start a practice with the retreat in mind. There is one yoga class on arrival and departure days, and typically two classes on the full days of the retreat.

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LUXE Cowgirl Yoga, June 8-11 & September 21-24
Only two spots left on our June signature retreat, and one spot left on the September retreat. This was where it all started, the original Cowgirl Yoga.

If you want: the unique combination of yoga + horses; laid back luxury (which abounds at the Double T River Ranch); yoga in a restored barn loft; the most comfortable beds ever.

Riding level: beginners welcome! and we always have something up our chinks for more experienced riders too. This retreat emphasizes the horse-human connection and the connection between our time with horses and our time on the yoga mat, so it’s a lot more than riding: groundwork, meditation and mindfulness, hands-on horse time (as in horse massage!).

Fun facts: CNN filmed a “Passion to Portfolio” segment with me on this retreat; Lisa teaches her famous before bed restorative yoga on this one – come in your pj’s, and bring wine.

Why you should #justbookit: we do a happy hour fjord wagon ride around the ranch on Saturday night! And LUXE CY was just featured by SELF Magazine in 11 Yoga Retreats that are Totally Worth It!

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B-LUXE Cowgirl Yoga, July 13-16 & July 27-30.
B Bar Ranch
is so peaceful, you can hear your breath. It’s a true retreat into the wilds of Montana, with all the creature comforts. And the creatures.

If you want: the unique combination of yoga + horses; to be smack dab in the middle of Yellowstone wilderness – B Bar is a 9,000-acre ranch and an extension of the Yellowstone National Park ecosystem; to see stars like you have never seen stars before; to watch grizzlies at dawn (through binocs!).

Riding level: beginners welcome! and we always have something up our chinks for more experienced riders too. This retreat emphasizes the horse-human connection and the connection between our time with horses and our time on the yoga mat, so it’s a lot more than riding: groundwork, meditation and mindfulness, hands-on horse time (as in horse massage!).

Fun facts: Caitlin teaches a mala making workshop, and your Cowgirl Yoga mala is the perfect retreat souvenir.

Why you should #justbookit: to experience Chef Aaron’s cowboy poetry. For the mind-blowing experience of seeing the Milky Way when you look up at night.

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Yoga & Advanced Hiking in Big Sky, August 3-6
Everyone thinks because of our name that all our retreats are in Big Sky. This is actually the only one. The ski town becomes a hiking mecca in the summer.

If you want: to experience the best lunch you’ve ever had (after approximately 1200 feet altitude gain, food tastes so. good.); the feeling of accomplishment that comes from hiking 18 miles in 2 days; to say you did mountain pose in the mountains.

Activity level: challenging. Hiking at altitude requires good cardio fitness, and preparation. So get your workout on, and then come get that hiker’s high on a choice few of Montana’s best trails.

Fun facts: we almost always see moose, and if we’re really lucky we’ll see a mama and baby; one of our hikes Beehive Basin was included in Austin-Lehman’s World’s 10 Greatest Hikes (of course we agree).

Why you should #justbookit: we send you training tips to get in tip-top, mountain climbing shape.

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Yoga & Yellowstone, September 15-18
Did you know that our Yoga & Yellowstone retreat is also a hiking trip? Yep.

If you want: moose, grizzly, and elk galore; Yellowstone Park in all its autumn glory; to explore YNP with our own charming private guide.

Activity level: moderate. We have options for shorter or longer hikes depending on your mood, and our hikes in the Park are interspersed with wildlife scoping, geyser gazing, and Boiling River soaking.

Fun facts: wine selections at dinner include the apropos Yellowstone Cellars, and Elk Cove.

Why you should #justbookit: Fall is one of the best times to be in Yellowstone; it’s the elk rut (mating season), and hearing those big boys bugle is like nothing else. Also, the summer crowds are gone.

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Cowgirl Yogatography, September 29-October 1
Look at horses differently. See more. Expand your vision. All this and more in a retreat that combines yoga, horses and photography. I call it a new travel genre: an active and creative vacation.

If you want: to let your creativity run wild and free in Montana; to get to know your camera and what it can do; to explore how yoga and meditation can awaken your artistic streak; to see what happens creatively when you spend some time nurturing yourself and soaking up nature.

Special touches: after you have a few days behind the camera, our Yogatography guru Larry will turn his lens on you and send you home with some snaps with your fave horse. Maybe in a yoga pose (you, not the horse). A Saturday night slideshow that showcases your new talent.

Fun Facts: our gorgeous equine models are members of the Cowgirl Yoga herd, plus some Fjords, Clydesdales, and a donkey named Walter.

Why you should #justbookit: if this slideshow from our 2016 retreat doesn’t convince you, not sure what will.

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Yoga & Vineyard California, October 6-9
A feast for the senses! Plenty of time on the mat, sipping and savoring the boutique wines of Anderson Valley, and finding the balance between good health and good food and drink.

If you want: to feel like you are in Bon Appétit magazine, to do a silent walking meditation in the giant redwoods, to help punch grapes at Balo Vineyards, to practice yoga amongst the vines and in rose gardens.

Special touches: a workshop on the mindfulness of eating and drinking. Farm-to-table dining. A tour of Balo’s winemaking facilities and vineyards, to learn about all aspects of the wine process firsthand from Balo’s own winemakers.

Fun facts: we do yoga at a goat farm. At Pennyroyal, each and every goat has a postcard with its picture and bio.

Why you should #justbookit: for the “Alchemy of Taste” workshop with the amazingly talented food educator and taste bud wrangler Dory. Food and wine will never be the same. Because you can stay in a room called “Estate Guest Quarters IV” at The Madrones. Wine tasting in your yoga pants, and a restaurant called “The Bewildered Pig”.

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Yoga & Vineyard Tuscany, October 22-28
Fall in Tuscany. What else is there to say? Just add yoga.
Only 2 spots left on our inaugural retreat.

If you want: yoga under the tuscan sun; to stay in a villa in the Florentine Chianti; to learn how to make gnocchi (because how can you go through life without knowing how to make gnocchi??); to learn the ins and outs of olives during a hands-on picking and pressing experience; plenty of Italian food and wine, plus the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for a full week!

Special touches: we send you a JADE Travel mat to pack for your Italian yoga adventure, and a copy of Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes for pre-Italy reading.

Fun facts: Villa Fabbroni is part of the Agriturismo movement, translated literally as “farm stays”. The best Italian food is not in a swanky Rome restaurant – it’s in the countryside.  Also, we were informed there is wifi – but not in the apartments, since “medieval walls are too thick”.

Why you should #justbookit: Um, because Italy. And yoga in a medieval castle.

Hope that you’ve enjoyed this lighthearted tour of our 2017 yoga and more retreats, and that I’ve convinced you to join us on one (or more!). Yeehaw and Namaste.