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Are you ready to experience peace, contentment, and wonder? Immerse yourself in the vast beauty that is Montana and refreshes mind, body, and spirit with daily yoga practices, meditation, nature excursions, delicious meals, and opportunities for relaxation. Let this retreat reawaken your appreciation for your life, or inspire you to make the changes you seek!
The question that continuously echoes through my mind, and has inspired the Walk Lightly retreat, is this: If the intention of our yoga practice is to establish wakefulness in mind, body, and breath, how can we reflect this awakened state in our daily life?
During this retreat, you will be accommodated at the beautiful Walking Lightly Ranch, which borders more than 300 acres of protected pine forest and contains extensive and gentle hiking trails, multiple lakes, magical encounters with wildlife, and is near the breathtaking Glacier National Park.
Walking Lightly Ranch is a sanctuary nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in northwest Montana. It is home to a small community of humans, a large community of wildlife, and a touchstone for a global community of kindred spirits that value mindfulness, self-awareness, radiant health, and openhearted happiness.
Their mission is to cultivate these qualities in themselves and, with this meaningful work, contribute to the sustainability of the land, the planet, and each other.
At Walking Lightly Ranch, the family has created a sanctuary which sets aside hundreds of acres of wildlife habitat. When you are there, you see it day by day on the three lakes and the miles of trails.
You can experience Canada geese gathering and flocking, black bear foraging, whitetail deer rutting, elk bugling, and share habitat with Sandhill cranes, eagles, hawks, heron, as well as the resident beaver whose hard work keeps the lake clean for swimming.
Both the guest barn and the lodge are comfortable and quiet. Most of the rooms in the barn have a private bath, while most of the rooms in the lodge share one bathroom per two rooms.
To simplify the organization of the retreat, Walking Lightly Ranch now offers first-come, first-serve room or private bathroom requests. All rooms have queen beds, except one room in the lodge. There is also a suite available in the barn, which contains a bedroom, bathroom, sitting area, and kitchen.
The main lodge is the heart space of Walking Lightly. It is where you come together by the fire, enjoy meals, and celebrate your time there with music, conversation, or simple stillness. The lodge offers incredible views of the land, garden, and lake.
It is a warm and cozy environment suitable for just about any occasion, from large gatherings and meals to a quiet afternoon napping on a day bed. It is made up of three floors, yet from the first glance, it looks quite humble for all that it holds.
The guest barn was once the original horse foaling barn at Walking Lightly Ranch but inside you would never guess. It was lovingly converted by local craftsmen in 2009 to hold seven spacious and private bed and bathrooms with serene color schemes reflected from the landscape.
The yoga studio is nestled just a stone's throw away from the lodge and overlooks a quiet pond and mountain vistas. It has been described as “a glass pavilion in the woods.” Coming up the steps and onto the deck, you walk through the front door and immediately feel the stillness and intention this building holds.
It is both grounding and open, with large floor-to-overhead sliding glass doors and windows and calming wood floors. It is a fully functional yoga studio, which can also accommodate other group needs.
Retreats are different than vacations, as you do not have to plan meals, excursions, and schedules. Your basic needs are met and a flexible schedule that honors the natural rhythm of the day provides balance, nourishment, and rest.
Yoga retreats also offer an opportunity to explore the deeper and often unfamiliar aspects of yoga and meditation, allowing you to reach a greater level of self-understanding and respect. Sharing these practices and experiences with a group increases your awareness and empathy, as you interact with others, and often leads to lifelong friendships. Retreats are also a powerful reminder of how important it is to remain consistent in your practices, whatever form those may take. We believe 90% of yoga exists beyond the yoga mat.
Yoga means “to yoke” or “to unify”; it is a mindset that we generate through practice on the mat and reflect through the choices we make in everyday life. Yoga is existing in a continuous state of attentiveness, openness, discernment, and compassion; it is minimizing our destructive impact on the earth (i.e., to walk lightly) and strengthening our relationships to Self and others. Some of the best yogis we know do not practice yoga on the mat; they live mindfully. Therefore, this retreat is an opportunity to practice and reflect upon these ideas and the choices we make, whether for the first time or the millionth time, both on and off the mat.
Walking Lightly Ranch is the perfect place to do this! We hope that you feel nourished upon returning to your everyday life: more connected, mindful, inspired, and balanced. One of the signature aspects of Shivatree retreats is the structure of their days, as always, your days will coordinate with the rhythms of nature by sharing invigorating yoga practices in the morning and calming practices in the evening, eating locally sourced and organic meals with your largest meal in the middle of the day, immersing yourselves in nature and providing plenty of time for true rest and reconnection to oneself and one another.
If yoga is not your thing, in addition to perhaps trying new things like yoga, there will be plenty of other ways to participate and receive a well-rounded retreat experience. Do not stress; your yoga o’hana is down-to-earth, kind, and mindful; we are not judging the quality of your downward dog or your ability to sit in meditation. Even if you may be judging yourself; we all know how it feels to begin yoga and the challenges that arise as you continue yoga, it is called practice for a reason!
During this retreat, there will be one day trip to Glacier National Park, where you will drive the “Going to the Sun" Road, hike, and perhaps take the ranger-guided classic bus ride. You will enjoy Trail of Cedars, Avalanche Lake, or another hike, and may take a boat ride on Lake McDonald. You are responsible for purchasing your own lunch at Glacier.
Amanda Webster is currently the owner of Shivatree Yoga School. Amanda is also a certified Ayurveda counselor, through the American Institute of Vedic Studies and often incorporates the ancient holistic practices of Ayurveda into her teaching. Her specialty is breaking down asana and Vinyasa into manageable steps to suit each individual. She believes that the genuine practice of yoga intensifies when you leave your mat and looks forward to helping you establish this awareness, too, for a healthier lifestyle and more content outlook on life.
Walking Lightly Ranch is located in Whitefish, Montana and is situated on 400 acres, surrounded by thousands of acres of state and national forest reserves. The property hosts a lodge, guest barn and yoga studio along with hiking trails, gardens, and a swimming pond. The barn is an independent structure and solely contains guest rooms, whereas the lodge is quiet but more trafficked as it contains guest rooms, library, fireplace, kitchen and dining room.
Unless you have signed up to share a room with a loved one, you will be given a private room in your preferred choice of lodging, space permitting (requests honored in the order in which they are received). Temperatures tend to range between 40 and 65 degrees at this time of year, so please pack accordingly. You are able to extend your stay on the ranch prior to or following the retreat for an extra fee, but you will need to arrange those reservations directly with the ranch.
During this retreat, you will be served organic, locally grown food prepared with love by the on-site staff. A sample meal would include homemade sourdough bread, fresh green salad with local apple balsamic vinaigrette, and minestrone soup with homemade ice cream for dessert.
Fruit, premium coffee, and teas are available all day long. You are welcome to bring your own snacks, but no one has ever gone hungry on a retreat at Walking Lightly.
The vibrant organic garden and orchard is the first-choice food source at Walking Lightly. You can enjoy abundant crops of kale, green vegetables, and whatever else they can wrangle into the short Montana growing season.
Walking Lightly continues to build the soil each year with compost made on-site, taking the growing cycle from soil to plate and then back to the soil. Being grown with organic and natural materials, food gives the fuel to being healthy and vibrant as well.
In 2007, Walking Lightly added a greenhouse onto the south facing side of the main lodge and now they continue to grow food all year round. It is a wonderful thing in the middle of a long Montana winter to enjoy fresh produce. From micro-greens to hand pollinated peppers, Walking Lightly always has something growing and on the way to the table.
Glacier Park International Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Glacier Park International Airport (FCA). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Shivatree Yoga School will pick you up from the airport.
The shuttle from Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) to the retreat center departs at 12:30 p.m and 2:30pm.
On the day of departure, please schedule Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) flights at 12:30 p.m. or later.
You are welcome to provide your own transportation.
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