Body & Soul:
The Yelapa Women's Sacred Circle Retreat
with Linda Wolf
& Susi Costello, leading yoga practice
April 20 - April 28, 2011
Click here to watch the Youtube movie about yelapa
and women's sacred circles, led by Linda Wolf
"The work Linda Wolf is doing could change the world" Jean Houston
"Being part of circle saved my life" Talina
- Eight Nights Eco Lodging & all meals at Casa Isabel
- Daily Sacred Circles facilitated by Linda Wolf (except adventure days)
- Yoga, meditation & healing movement with Susi Costello, at El Jardin
- Healing Acupressure treatments with Beverly Taylor
- Delicious whole foods meals prepared by our on-site chef, Eric Kuhner
- Presentation on the Huichol indigenous people of Mexico with Anna Fornishon
- Presentation on local medicinal plants & herbs with Alicia (optional)
- Brunch at La Bahia in Yelapa (optional)
- Pie from the famous pie lady! (for sure!)
- Day trip to the Marietta Islands (uninhabited wildlife refuge and swimming beach, home of the Blue-Footed Boobie.
- Fresh ceviche lunch prepared by our boatman Severino
- Day trip to Pizota and the secret waterfall. Tucked into a little-visited jungle ravine, this beautiful waterfall forms an ideal swimming hole--wide, deep, cool, and clean.
- Lunch in Pizota, Including freshly caught fish, coconuts, homemade guacamole & salsa, and handmade corn tortillas in the fishing village of Pizota.
- Baggage transfer from the water taxi in Yelapa to your room and back to the taxi upon departure.
- All tips for guides, porters, and housekeeper.
- Optional: Massage, Accupressure, Reiki, Watsu, tandem paragliding, Spanish language class, photography experience with Linda if time permits), sweat lodge, Huichol Shamanic Healing (if Shamans are around), Elite Day-Spa Services at Verona, if desired.
Empowered women empower the world.
Nourish your body, soul and spirit.
Let your originality shine.
It's the people & relationships that make our women's reteat so special
- Linda Wolf: Artist, author, ED of Teen Talking Circles - a pioneer in the modern talking circle format.
- Beverly Taylor: Accupressure & Massage Therapist - one of the great healers of our time.
- Susi Costello: Yoga & Meditation - dedicated to leading us in loving our bodies and souls.
- Anna Fornishon: Autodidactic historian on the Huichol Indigenous People & Customs
- Eric Kuhner: Our very own awesome whole foods chef.
- Isabel Jordon's Casa Isabel: Her 38 years nurtured tropical paradise.
- The people of Yelapa: Who lives without cars, streets, and DSL -- a village of people who welcome us into their thriving culture, adundant nature (biodiversity 2nd to the Amazon Rainforest) and vital community
Here's the What...
Retreat: All the great hero/heroine myths are about taking a journey - leaving the known for the unknown, finding oneself, and returning home to share what we've learned. By leaving our "normal" lives, with all our patterns, habits, and comforts --many that keep us stuck-- we allow ourselves the opportunity to grow and change. Whenever something new is added to a system, the system changes. We set in motion new patterns and everyone in our life benefits by our having taken the journey. There is no better way that in sacred circle, and no better place than Yelapa and Casa Isabel that we've found to make this kind of retreat.
Women's Circle: Our circles are powerful mutual support systems - rare, and precious experiences --a secret treasure that you are blessed to find. In our circle, together we co-create the kind of safety and intimacy that is necessary for each of us to be fully present to ourselves and each other. We hone a space of connection from which we can experience deep insights. We connect to our own intuition and a felt resonant space where we know what is true. Circle brings us closer to the questions and the answers that we are seeking to resolve. By each woman lovingly taking responsibility for everything she perceives; everything she sees, hears, thinks, and feels, we are free to speak and listen from our hearts and be ourselves. Out of this practice, our unique destiny paths become clear.
Compassionate Listening™ Compassionate Listening is the most important skill you will learn during Circle. It is a life-long spiritual practice that will improve all your relationships and use for the rest of your life. It's that powerful. Compassionate Listening helps us to create a spaceousness which allows us to listen to and accept others' perspectives, regardless if we agree or disagree with them. It lifts our vibration and heals us. It shows us how every conflict and every person in our lives can be held as a gift to help us grow.
Yoga & Meditation: Yoga means union. It is a union of the mind, body and breath, so all aspects of your life are impacted by your practice. It improves your balance, reduces pain, increases your level of energy, helps promote relaxation, reduces stress, releases stuck emotions, and gives us a sense of oneness, peace a
nd tranquility. Doing yoga and meditation during our retreat will also help move the energy created through the work we do in circle as well as anchor the realizations and changes we come to. Our yoga and meditation leader, Susi Costello, brings with her a rich yoga tradition of yoga practice, as well as a focus of using yoga to address healing self-generated wounds from our relationships to food and body image.
The Gift of Conscious Healing Touch: One of the great treasures of Casa Isabel is Beverly Taylor. Beverly is a miracle worker. Not content with the metaphors of Chinese Medicine, Beverly researched the “how and why” for long enough to come up with a coherent anatomical translation of the brilliant map of Five Element Acupressure and took this into her gift.
Beverly, and her husband, Chris have made their home at Casa Isabel and since Isabel's passing are the caretakers. You won't find a more mind-blowing, heart opening, body healing experience anywhere. Beverly has a cliff-side table overlooking the waterfall on one side, the jungle ravine below and the ocean on the other side - like the most amazing panarama view and sounds you can imagine. Each retreat participant will recieve the gift of an initial hour treatment with Bev. (Bring extra dollars, you will want another)
Yelapa, the fishing village 45 minutes away from Puerto Vallarta by boat, was recently named the number one place that you’ve got to see by Sunset magazine, and has long been a favorite destination for artists, musicians, hippies, backpackers, beatniks, and other counter-culture folks who were drawn by the "back to nature" reality of no electricity, no cars, no streets, no roads, and the easy-going attitude towards all things free. Now Yelapa has electricity (most of the time!), but there is still the same free-flowing feeling and no cars, no streets, no roads, plus an indigenous Mexican culture where you can still find indoor adobe tortilla stoves, and a natural environment with the greatest bio-diversity, second only to the Amazon Rainforest.
Casa Isabel is located around the point, away from the village and tourists. Accommodations are open-air, rustic, and close to nature. At night you hear the waves, a rare treat in any Mexican village.Each house has a kitchen with stove and refrigerator, composting toilet, comfy beds with mosquito nets, and most of the amenities that you’d expect at any retreat center. Towels, linens, drinking water are provided. However, there are no phones, computers, radios or TVs in the rooms. (There is a phone in the main house for emergency use and most cell phones work on the property).In our experience, the water quality at the beach at Casa Isabel and in the Bay of Banderas has been good. The water is tested regularly throughout the year. During the rainy season there are occasionally issues with runoff causing poorer water quality. Yelapa Created and nurtured by the late Isabel Jordan, Casa Isabel is a garden paradise guesthouse & retreat center, which sits at the edge of a tropical jungle on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Banderas. Dolphins, whales, manta rays, butterflies, birds, iguanas grace us with their presence. Here, we have a view of nature that is unparalled in Yelapa. Because of its unique natural setting, open, flowing, and warm ambiance, secluded beach, and opportunity for privacy and comfort, Casa Isabel is the perfect location to do the inner work of Compassionate Listening and Sacred Circle and get in touch with our bodies, souls and spirits. To view lodging at Casa Isabel, click on this link: http://yelapacasaisabel.com/_/The_Houses.html. Our circles are held in Casa Deanna.
Extra Special Adventures: The Marietta Islands and Pizota.
On days we’re not in circle, we’ll have planned 2 special adventures. We'll visit the neighboring village of Pizota, which is an even smaller fishing village (only 26 families) just around the southern point of Yelapa, 10 minutes by boat. There we’ll be treated to a delicious lunch and possibly to a lesson in preparing corn tortillas from scratch and cooking them on an adobe stove. Conditions permitting, we will take you on a guided hike to "the secret waterfall," where the water is truly clean and we are totally secluded! Meaning forget the bathing suits if you want to! Mateo, our guide, often brings us delicious etibles and beverages to enhance our day, plus a knowledge of the uses of specific jungle plants and trees.
We also plan to travel with our boatman and guide, Sev, to the beaches of the uninhabited Marietta Islands, one of the last two nesting grounds of the Blue-Footed Booby. (Bring your waterproof cameras!). Snorkeling there provides one with endless delights, and swimming there is quite a thrill for those who love the water. This is a highlight of our time together. If we're lucky enough to have the beach to ourselves, we can even skinny dip! (We have always been able to make these trips, but occasionally conditions may call for an alternate adventure.)
More about the Leaders:
Since 2005, Linda Wolf, her daughter, Genevieve, her husband, Eric (all three long-time facilitators of Talking Circles) have offered Women’s Sacred Circle Retreats at Casa Isabel, to rave reviews! This very special retreat is usually offered only once a year to a limited group of 8-10 women. Linda is best known for her extraordinary photography of people. She has photographed on nearly every continent, and her work is highly praised and collected in museums, galleries and institutions around the world. She is also the founder and executive director of Teen Talking Circles, (www.teentalkingcircles.org), a non-profit organization which provides after school programs to teens, and trains adults to offer teen talking circles in their communities. Their motto is "a safe space to tell the truth." She is the co-author of the books, Daughers of the Moon, Sisters of the Sun; and Global Uprising, and producer of a number of short documentary videos. (Linda's bio, click here). Linda and TTC are recepients of the Athena Award in Mentoring.
Susi Costello: We are grateful to have Susi Costello leading us in the sacred art of yoga practice. Susi is a certified yoga and meditation teacher, a psych nurse, Reiki practitioner, wife, and mom. She took her first yoga class at nine years old and has studied off and on since that time, although ballet was her priority throughout her childhood and teen years. Yoga helped her slowly recover from a debilitating eating disorder and she now works with "Sprout Yoga", a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring trauma sensitive yoga to people with eating disorders. She teaches power, vinyasa, and yin yoga in addition to mindfulness meditation and guided relaxation.
Eric Kuhner: Eric Kuhner has led teen guys’ groups and mixed gender groups with Teen Talking Circles and assists with facilitator trainings. Eric has completed advanced training in Compassionate Listening and presents Compassionate Listening principles in his work with teens and adults. In addition to participating in a local men’s group, he recently led his first retreat for men and works to bring the principles of compassion and authentic communication to a wider male audience. Eric has a Masters Degree in Urban Studies and has mastered the art of shifting roles from group leader and facilitator to computer guru, writer, and cook for retreats and trainings.
Meals: Eric uses as many organic, local and whole foods as possible in his preparations. Vegan, vegetarian, pescaterian, flexitarian options, just let him know what you want! Imagine homemade black beans and rice, fresh corn tortillas (whenever possible locally made by hand), salsa, guacamole, chili rellenos, salads, steamed vegetables, and an array of delicious choices of natural fruits, nuts, coconuts, juices, teas, and local desserts, all made with care, love, skill, and patience. Let us know your particular dietary constraints, and we'll take care of you to the best of our ability.
Fitness Requirements: Both Yelapa and Casa Isabel, as well as our day-trip adventures, require you have good to excellent health and stamina, including the capacity to walk up and down as many as 200 steps per day, sometimes more than once or twice and climb in and out of boats. Howver, we've had participants from 18 - 80 years old in our circles -- even one woman with two artificial knees! If you've been wanting more exercise, you'll surely get it! However, if you're feeling sore or even if you're not, you can avail yourself of one of the many talented local bodywork practicioners whose prices are far better than we're used to in most North American cities.
Living Conditions to Consider: Living close to nature brings us more deeply in touch with our own wild nature and the wilderness in our own spirits. It provides enormous pleasure, awe and can also cause us to have to confront our fears as well as pay attention to possible hazzards. The presence of scorpions, jellyfish, ticks (non-lyme), stingrays, intense sun, uneven footing on rocky trails requires mindfullness and care. We have never had injuries, scorpion stings or other health issues among our participants, but these hazzards are ever present and need to be recognized.
More about Yelapa: Yelapa also offers us tremendous opportunities outside our scheduled times -- through resting, reading, hiking, swimming, dancing, paragliding, and simply being, we revitalize. There are kayaks availble for our use and a beach right at our doorstep. Depending upon the year, there may be an Internet Cafe, but this may be a time to be offline! Cell phones do work in some places in Yelapa! If you're someone who enjoys speaking Spanish, the locals love conversation and even make an effort to understand our worst efforts!
At night, in Yelapa, there is much to do to shake out our bodies and rattle our souls! The Saturday night and Wednesday night "Disco" means dancing your heart out! So bring dancing clothes! At certain times of the year we can go for a midnight swim under the stars, in the phosphorescence. Then, sleep to the sounds of the crickets and tropical forest creatures and the music flowing across the Bay. In the morning you'll wake to the sounds of dozens of birds, the hooves of horses on the stone paths, the calls of the fishermen, and the children playing or on their way to the school "upriver," where an hour hike will bring you to Christina's Vegan Restaurant --- itself quite a novelty locate on the river, with a bathroom & toilet up in a funky treehouse! And further on is the waterfall in Yelapa.
More about the Huichol Shamans and Artists: The Huichol or Wixáritari (or "peyote people," as they are often called) are an indigenous ethnic group of western central Mexico, living in the Sierra Madre mountain range in the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Durango. Over the past 40 years, the late Isabel Jordan, founder of Casa Isabel, befriended and supported many Huichol shamans and artists by purchasing their artwork and jewelry, as well as participating in their religious and spiritual rituals at sacred sites in the Sierra Madre Mountains. I, Linda, was privileged to attend a sacred ceremony in the San Andreas Mountains with Isabel one year, and given the right to photograph it. You can see some of these images on the slideshow listed below. Today, Casa Isabel has a virtual museum of Huichol art and a small collection of art & jewelry for sale. If shamans are visiting Yelapa, you might be able to purchase a treatment. During the retreat, if she is available, Anna Fornishon will give us a presentation on the culture of the Huichol and share her art collection, some of which is for sale.
Traveling in Jalisco, Mexico is safe and easy. The violence in Mexico is mostly happening in the North and almost all of it is aimed towards drug dealers, not tourists. We have visited Jalisco Mexico for the past 8 years and have never had any incidents of violence anywhere near us, except hearing about a Mexican drug dealer who was killed. The worst we've heard of in Yelapa are robberies. Casa Isabel has safes in each room for our valuables. Most locals are friendly and warm and either speak English or make a great attempt to understand poor Spanish. The peso is 12-13 to the dollar (tipping with US or Canadian dollars is a kindness to the locals). Airlines are offering great deals, and there are many direct flights to Puerto Vallarta. As departure and arrival plans vary, we will work with you to arrange baggage assistance and water taxi transportation, as needed. We'll give you all the information and assistance you need to get from the airport to Yelapa and back! Please use the contact link above if you have specific questions or concerns.
We hope you will join us for another unforgetable experience in Circle in Yelapa. If you need to speak with a real person or two about this, don't hesitate to call us at 206-842-3000. You can also email Genevieve, who will be glad to help you figure out the details - email@example.com.
Here's what we don't pay for!: Your airfare; ground taxi / ground travel; alcoholic beverages; additional massages / bodywork; Huichol healing treatments; optional activities.
Travel Arrangements: Please sign up as soon as you are sure you want to attend the retreat. The sooner the better. However, please do not pay for your airfare until we have informed you that a minimum number of participants have signed up, and the retreat is a go. We will let you know this at least 2 months prior to the retreat. No matter what, we recommend purchasing travel insurance once the trip is a go. If we cancel the trip, due to any unforeseen circumstances, we reserve the right to retain $200. All other payments will be refunded to the participant. If you cancel after February 25th, there are no refunds. Therefore, purchasing Travelers Insurance is a must if you want to be safe.
Our Refund Policy if you cancel:
If you must cancel your trip, the following cancellation fees apply:
- 90 days in advance or more: $400 will be retained;
- 60 – 90 days: 75% of the trip cost will be retained, unless you find someone to take your place.
- After February 25th, 2011: We’re sorry, but we cannot provide any refund in this case, due to the nonrefundable reservations we are locked into at this stage of the journey.
Travelers Insurance: We encourage participants to purchase travel insurance, which generally includes: trip cancellation, baggage, medical and/or emergency evacuation insurance. No one ever intends to cancel their trip; however, unforeseen circumstances can change travel plans. Baggage may be lost or damaged, and some medical insurance (including Medicare) will not provide coverage outside the U.S. For a modest price, protection can be provided for these and other concerns. Please check with a travel agent of your choice or there are many reputable companies on-line.
Here are some companies you can contact:
Shortcut to: https://www.mondial-assistance.us/usa/en/get-a-quote
Shortcut to: https://www.travelinsured.com/USAASite/Default.aspx
Shortcut to: http://www.travelinsured.com/Travel-Insurance/Default.aspx
Shortcut to: http://www.worldnomads.com/index.aspx
The Amazing Yelapa Experience: Many women have written us to thank us for offering them such a treasured experience. Here are a few more testimonials. Feel free to contact us if you'd like to speak personally with someone who has been to one of our retreats.
"I enjoyed the women's circle in Yelapa so much, I'm going again this year! The retreat is a good way for me as a busy city woman to reconnect with myself in a healthy, beautiful setting. Sharing the retreat with a great group of women makes it more meaningful. We all need to slow down sometimes, to take time to reflect, eat healthy food, laugh, dance, and share a little of our lives with friends. Just arriving in Yelapa, after a boat trip down the coast, makes me feel that I'm moving towards more balance in my life." Gillian Corless, Vancouver BC
"I can’t thank you enough for your caring and your skilled facilitation in Yelapa which helped me in so many ways. I came home with a deeper understanding of some of the issues I was facing in my life, a sense of peace, and a renewed energy." Phyllis, Indianola WA.
Click here to watch the Youtube movie about yelapa
and women's sacred circles, led by Linda Wolf