Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock is a Yosemite-based non-profit organization offering backpacking journeys, camping yoga retreats, hikes, workshops, and lodge-based programs.

Instructors 6

Heather Sullivan

Heather is both a yoga instructor and an accomplished backcountry guide with Yosemite destinations, as well as trips in the Himalayas, under her belt. She is a 200-hour ERYT and 200-hour CRYT certified with Yoga Alliance. Her latest joy and success is creating a kid’s yoga and mindfulness program for grades K-6 in the El Portal School System. Heather is also a CMT in Shiatsu and Lomi Lomi massage, an Ayurvedic body-worker and a certified birth doula. Her yoga classes blend Ashtanga flow, Iyengar alignment, and a strong connection to the rhythms and patterns of the natural world.

Jon-Paul Salonen

Jon-Paul has been a resident of Catheys Valley since childhood. In adolescence, he realized that healing and spirituality were his calling. Jon-Paul graduated from the California College of Ayurveda (CCA), in 2002, and established Blue Oak Ayurveda shortly thereafter. He is also a certified massage therapist, trained in myofascial release, trigger points and Ayurvedic Abyanga, Shirodhara, and Swedana relaxation and cleansing treatments. His yoga instruction is a creative blend of Vinyasa flow practice infused with his deep knowledge of health and wellness practice.

Breezy Jackson

Deeply familiar with Sierra Nevada ecology, Breezy just completed her doctorate in Ecosystem Ecology. Breezy began practicing yoga in 2003 to enhance her balance, core strength, and mental acuity as a collegiate rower. Later she studied Iyengar Yoga for five years with Jeri Stewart at the Moscow Yoga Center in Idaho. During this time, she also received a Masters of Science in Leadership in Physical Education and Recreation, worked as a graduate assistant in the Wellness Program at the University of Idaho, and designed and tested an evaluation and assessment tool for group fitness instructors.

Chelsea Griffie

Chelsea Griffie is a yogini for over 12 years. She has practiced regularly with Rusty Wells and Bryan Kest, studied Acro yoga, and has completed 100 hours of yoga teacher training with Rusty Wells. Photos of Chelsea periodically crop up in Patagonia catalogs, Essence Magazine, and Sports Illustrated Women. She is also proud to be included in Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places, Dudley Edmonson’s book about Afro American outdoors enthusiasts. Chelsea also helped to create the Balanced Rock’s women of color backpack program which she has guided since its inception in 2004.

Miho Aida

Miho Aida is an environmental media artist, educator, and outdoor adventurer. She is recognized for her project of “If She Can Do It, You Can Too: Empowering Women Through Outdoor Role Models”. The project is dedicated to promoting media representation of diverse women who pursue outdoor adventures and who develop powerful social, environmental, and human rights movements within the backdrop of nature. Miho hopes for all girls to have outdoor and environmental role models who look, sound, and live like them so that they know what careers, adventures, and leadership opportunities are possible.

Janaki Patel

Janaki Patel is one of the instructors in this retreat.

Testimonials 2

Arlene Trevathan United States

Balanced Rock Facebook page

Just had the most amazing yoga session last Saturday with this amazing group of Yosemite yoga teachers! Their beautiful energies are so powerful and infectious. So grateful to have found such an authentic group close to home. I can't wait for more yoga togetherness very soon. Namaste.

Maddie Patton United States

Balanced Rock Facebook page

I had the honor and pleasure of participating in the wild awareness yoga backpacking journey last weekend. This adventure included off trail travel to a beautiful backcountry setting at Nelson Lake. Our guide, Paula Wild, set the tone for an immersive weekend - complete with fresh, healthy meals, two restorative yoga sessions a day, and lots of room for personal growth against a spectacular Yosemite backdrop!

A personal highlight for me was a solo journey up to the top of a pass, where I got 360 views from below to the lake we set up camp to the towering granite peaks that surrounded us. Whether it's your first time hitting the trail or a seasoned backpacker, this course has something to offer everyone!

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