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Anahata Yoga offers social distancing-friendly weekend retreat at Rancho del Rio

Just as life in Eagle County is starting to feel more normal again, Chelsea Winters, longtime yoga instructor and owner of Anahata Yoga in Minturn, is hosting a weekend retreat. Against the backdrop of Rancho del Rio, yogis who attend will participate in a social distancing-friendly girls’ weekend meant to foster connection with nature and their inner selves. The retreat is from Sunday, Aug. 30 to Tuesday, Sept. 1, and space is available for sign-ups.

Winters’ retreats usually have options to share a room with other participant(s), but with social distancing, that’s not currently possible. As a workaround, this retreat is about camping by the riverside – BYO gear, and have the space to yourself.

“Everything is totally yours, there’s nothing to clean, and you’re outside,” she said.

Camping was a great solution for Winters because it also allows her to offer the retreat at a lower price point. A January 2020 weekend retreat held in Manitou Springs at a bed & breakfast cost $575. The Rancho retreat costs $295 per person, and includes four yoga practices and four gourmet vegetarian meals from Tracy Miller of Colorful Cooking.

Camping instead of bunking in a cabin or bed & breakfast has allowed Winters to create a retreat that’s both social distancing and wallet-friendly.
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Anahata Yoga opened just about a year ago, and Winters said it was a crazy year. The studio was shut down for exactly ten weeks during quarantine: Friday, March 13 to Friday, May 29. In order to space mats 6 feet apart in the studio, she’s only able to fit 8 yogis in a class, but all her classes have been consistently filling up, and advance registration is required. At the studio, all must sign a COVID-19 waiver, wear masks when entering and exiting, and bring all equipment – no borrowing blocks, bolsters or mats. The studio is cleaned before and after each class.

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“We’ve been adding one class a week,” she said.

There are plenty of activities and options to enjoy and explore during downtime at the retreat. Yogis have the option to reserve a massage with Eileen Lindbulcher, whose massage studio Healing Roots Bodywork operates jointly out of the Anahata studio space. Rancho del Rio has options to rent paddleboards, duckies and take floating trips. Cabin upgrades are also available. For those looking to eliminate additional expenses, there’s a 4-mile hiking loop which can be accessed right from the campsite.

The four all-levels yoga classes – two energizing solar flows in the morning, and two afternoon practices focusing on breath, meditation and introspection, with discussions led by the Vail Relationship Institute’s Jessica Waclawski – will be held outside on Rancho del Rio’s wedding deck, which is large and can easily accommodate enough space for social distancing.

“Practices will mostly be based around nature, unplugging, the river and the water element,” Winters said.

Floating and raft rentals are available at an extra cost to enjoy during downtime at the retreat.
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There will also be hand-washing stations on-site, and at mealtimes, to prevent food contamination, Miller will serve guests their food from catering-style trays. If guests feel comfortable receiving a massage from Lindbulcher, they will have control over their experience, both with what benefits they’d like to reap from the massage, and how they’ll stay safe from potential germ transmission.

“It’s self-directed. If you’re not comfortable, you don’t have to get a massage,” she said.

Winters pays close attention to moon cycles, and enjoys planning her practices around moments of astrological significance. This retreat falls just before the full moon in Pisces on Sept. 2.

“We’re adapting,” she said. “We all need it right now for our mental health. The physical is important, but I think it’s definitely secondary to the mental right now. We need the mental moving of energy. That’s what we’re going to focus on in the retreat: moving energy, full moon energy, female connection, water. The poses will be very much secondary, but it’s still yoga.”


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