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4 Days Yosemite Wild Awareness Meditation and Yoga Retreat California

  • Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

California Yoga Retreat and Backpacking

Celebrate the light through back country yoga practice, outdoor adventure and deep relaxation over the longest days of the year. The summer solstice is a perfect time for transition and renewal, and what better place to experience this than the Sierra Nevadas Range of Light. Yoga retreat in Yosemite National Park takes some of the most amazing outdoor yoga studios in the world. Backpacking, outdoor yoga, community and ecology are weaved into a journey of body, mind and spirit. As we move towards the end of our time together, there will be a special emphasis on the development of a home practice, bringing our experience out of the High Sierra mountains and into our home and daily life.


  • Daily yoga sessions
  • Morning meditation sessions
  • Spontaneous dips in the river or alpine lake
  • Hiking in Yosemites unparalleled wilderness
  • Fresh vegetarian and organic meals
  • 3 nights lodging in tents
  • 4 days with instruction
  • English
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You will meet at the trailhead at 9 a.m. on your first morning. It will be time for introductions and trip orientation. Next you will have thorough instruction on what and how to pack your packs and then be on your merry way. It may take the entirety of the day to arrive at camp. The group will stop for breaks and to enjoy the scenery. You will enjoy a delicious dinner after yoga as the Range of Light, bathed in alpenglow, lives up to its reputation. Evenings may include fireside stories, music, or gazing at the Milky Way from the cozy comfort of your sleeping bags.

Friday and Saturday

The next days allows you to adapt to the natural rhythms of the planet and flow with the specific needs and desires of the group. After a morning yoga session and breakfast, the group will pack and journey out on a day hike through some of Yosemite’s finest scenery, or move camp to a new location. You may now feel a settling in to your new home among granite domes and peaceful lake waters. In addition to the adventure of backpacking, each day provides opportunities for swimming in alpine lakes, day-hikes to sweeping views of the High Sierra, and perhaps relaxing in our backcountry “hammock lounge”. Evenings are set aside for dharma talks, wilderness education, creative journaling, music-making, or quiet contemplation around the campfire.


On the last morning, you will enjoy a final yoga class and meditation before sharing the final breakfast together in the field. Then you will pack your backpacks and begin hiking to the exit trailhead. After putting closure on the journey together, you will aim to conclude by 2 p.m.

This schedule is an outline. It is subject to change depending on the needs of the group and allowing for spontaneous inspiration. Almost all of the activities offered are optional. This program operates rain or shine.

  • 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.

Tuolumne Meadows Campground is located in breathtaking Yosemite National Park in Central California's rugged Sierra Nevada Mountain Range at an elevation of 8,600 feet. The site is situated along the scenic Tioga Road just five miles from the Tioga Pass Entrance Station. Within Yosemite, visitors can gaze upon waterfalls, sheer granite cliffs, deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, vast wilderness areas, and so much more.


  • 37.87111 Latitude, - 119.36 Longitude
  • 3752'16" North, 11921'36" West

Fresh meals provided include local and organic ingredients.

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley, an awe-inspiring landscape containing many of the famous features for which Yosemite National Park is known, is 55 miles and two hours from Tuolumne Meadows. Hiking trails and bike paths are abundant in the valley. Rafting the Merced River is a fun way to cool down on a summer day when water levels are sufficient. Yosemite Valley also offers numerous guided bus tours, educational programs, museums, ranger-led activities, and an art center with workshops.

Glacier Point

Glacier Point is an hour from Yosemite Valley, with sweeping views of both, Yosemite and Little Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Vernal and Nevada Falls, and Clouds Rest, among other notable landmarks. A visit to Wawona and the Pioneer Yosemite History Center is like stepping back in time. The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is a must-see. A guided bus tour (tickets must be purchased) and a network of hiking trails leads to stately trees with names like Grizzly Giant, Faithful Couple, and California Tunnel Tree.

  • 2 optional yoga classes each day
  • First - aid supplies
  • Fresh meals include local and organic ingredients
  • Group gear for camping
  • Hiking and gentle peak climbs in Yosemites unparalleled wilderness
  • Morning meditation instruction and practice
  • Professional instruction and guiding, campground and permit fees
  • Spontaneous river or alpine lake dips
  • Transportation to and from your hometown to Yosemite, park entrance fees, and personal items.

Driving directions

Take Highway 41 north from Fresno

Take Highway 140 east from Merced

Take Highway 120 east from Manteca or west from Lee Vining (State Route 395) into Yosemite National Park

Tuolumne Meadows Campground is located 5 miles from the Tioga Pass Entrance station (Highway 120 from the east), and is 55 miles (2 hours) from Yosemite Valley.

Arrival by airplane

Nearby commercially served airports include:

Fresno / Yosemite International Airport (FAT): 1 hour to Southern entrance via Highway CA 41. 2 hours to the heart of Yosemite Valley. 3 hours to Tuolumne Meadows. There is no public transportation from Fresno to Yosemite.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO): 2 hours to Big Oak Flat entrance via Highway CA 120, 3 hours to heart of Yosemite Valley. 4-5 hours to Tuolumne Meadows. Public transportation available to Yosemite.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): 6 hours to Yosemite Valley via I-5 to Highway CA 99 to Highway CA 41. Add another hour for travel to Tuolumne Meadows.

Oakland (OAK): 2 hours to Big Oak Flat entrance via Highway CA 120, 3 hours to heart of Yosemite Valley. 4-5 hours to Tuolumne Meadows. Public transportation available to Yosemite.

Sacramento (SMF): 2 hours to Big Oak Flat entrance via Highway CA 120, 3 hours to heart of Yosemite Valley, and 4-5 hours to Tuolumne Meadows. Public transportation available to Yosemite.

Arrival by bus

  • Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) offers individual and group fares for motorcoach service into Yosemite from numerous gateway communities.
  • Greyhound has no direct bus service to Yosemite, but can be combined with YARTS service from Merced, CA.

Arrival by train

Amtrak trains serve San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento to and from Merced / Riverbank and connect with via bus lines for direct luxury motorcoach into Yosemite Valley. Fares include the bus travel and the park entrance fee.

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 30 days before the arrival date.


  • Review by Arlene Trevathan from United States
    10 out of 10

    "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."

    Balanced Rock Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Maddie Patton from United States
    10 out of 10

    "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!"

    Balanced Rock Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Ashley Schmid from United States
    10 out of 10

    "Reflecting back on my WildYoga teacher training this past year, I am feeling eager to share yoga with folks in the wilderness and to continue learning on this great journey! I owe this inspiration to Balanced Rock and it's incredible teachers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

    Balanced Rock Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Alicia W from Pennsylvania, USA
    10 out of 10

    "Just got back from the Nature and Nurture four-day back country backpacking trip. Amazing! Let me set up me and my background coming into this trip: 30 year old female, single traveler, East Coast (yes it's totally doable!), been to the Yosemite Valley once and fell in love, no backpacking experience but a lover of the outdoors and yoga, an occasional jogger. This trip was three guides and I believe 12 people (one other single traveler) but it was like a family right away. Before the trip, I would send random questions via email to Balanced Rock and they always got back to me quickly and with wonderful personality and personal experiences. They prepare you with your gear list, then you meet at the trail head to cover what you've packed (I always over pack) and brief you on what's to come. We lucked out with beautiful weather. But everything else was planned to perfection by the BR team. Planned meals and snacks (I was never hungry even across miles of awesome hiking) which were almost too good to be true. And they keep you safe and want to know if you are ever having a difficult time with anything so it can be figured out. Yoga in the morning and the evening was not only beautiful, but I realized after our long hiking days, I was never ever sore, every backpacker should add yoga. Ultimately, I learned how physically and mentally tough I am, and how welcoming new people can be, and that I can totally hack it with backpacking and camping. I will be looking at BR 2016 schedule to do this again. You get to see a Yosemite that is a bit more hidden to the mainstream and with people who are all in it for the same reasons you are. Thank you to Dr. Breezy, Anna, and JP for being awesomesauce guides, and to Balanced Rock for offering the most one of a kind experience offered up to anyone."

    Yelp website, edited

  • Review by Julia Shafer from United States
    10 out of 10

    "I participated in the summer solstice 2015 Balanced Rock backpacking and yoga trip to Ten Lakes in Yosemite National Park. I loved the multi-generational and inspirational experience. The guides, Paula, Jean-Paul, and Anna, helped build a cohesive team, and we had an amazing experience. The pristine vistas, lakes, the yoga, hiking, and mediation experiences and our guides excellence in leadership fostered back country community building and an experience of a life time for my daughter and I. I highly recommend Balanced Rock journeys to anyone seeking a soul satisfying trip that creates space for celebration of the beauty in nature, within ourselves and our connections with one another. And the food was healthy, satisfying, and excellent. Thank you, Balanced Rock."

    Balanced Rock Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Andre Carlomagno from United States
    10 out of 10

    "Balanced Rock is a wonderful community ran yoga group that does everything possible to accommodate the needs of their students. They go above and beyond to make sure students have a positive and loving experience. I took the teacher 200-hour training with them and I am truly impressed with how invested they are in the success of their students. I did an immersion program that included camping and backpacking, and I just don't know how they did it so well! They taught pranayama, asana, yoga history, and more while making sure everybody's basic needs were met in the front country and back country. Yosemite is the best yoga studio and we are lucky we are able to enjoy it. If you want an authentic and spiritual journey, signup for a Balanced Rock program!"

    Balanced Rock Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Lisa Hamilton from United States
    10 out of 10

    "I participated in the women of color hike to Yosemite in 2013 and it was both phenomenal and life-affirming. It is the only program of its kind, I believe. And even if it's not, I felt like I was doing something important and life changing just by taking part. The leaders, Chelsea Griffie and Elizabeth Sy, were amazing and knowledgeable. Chelsea is the real deal; she's been profiled by Sports Illustrated and was the first African-American woman to climb El Capitan. Elizabeth is great too, she was the head chef and frankly, the care that she took with addressing everyone's dietary needs (paleo, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan) was nothing short of amazing. Her Paleo granola is out of this world! At the time that I went, I'd just moved out west from New York City, so this was a great welcome to the beauty of the West and the natural world. Our group consisted of women of all ages, sizes, and aptitudes. You didn't have to be experienced (as I wasn't), you just needed to want to go. And Balanced Rock provided a generous scholarship so that I could go-otherwise, being a single parent, I probably wouldn't have been able to take part. So kudos to Balanced Rock! Anyway, we trekked over several days with very heavy backpacks. The sense of comraderie that I gained with these ladies was so special. The nights sharing by the fireside were amazing. And sleeping under the stars brought everything into perspective. The leaders had us write ourselves a letter that they mailed to us one year later. It's so great to read what I thought at the time, and how clear my thinking was after several days in the wild. In short, I can't recommend this trip enough. It will change your life. Just do it!"

    Balanced Rock Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Erica Espitia from United States
    10 out of 10

    "I had the privilege of meeting the wonderful staff of Balanced Rock at the 2014 Ayurveda retreat in TMeadows. It was my first visit to TMeadows and the sights on our hike were amazing. Jon Paul and Ruth were knowledgeable and aided the group with all our inquiries. The mornings were cold but meditation and reflection was worth it. Being a yoga instructor, I used every bit of specific Diana yoga we learned from Jon. Paula and Heather made me feel safe in my surroundings. The group of people was so honest and humble I couldn't help but know I was where I was meant to be that very weekend. We had all organic meals and learned recipes to balance our doshas. I'd love to attend another retreat in the near future!"

    Balanced Rock Facebook page, edited