These Vail Valley locals are hosting English and Spanish-speaking wellness retreat in Leadville
UPDATE at 4:59 p.m.: Retreat coordinator Molly Palmer said in a text message that the retreat has been cancelled for this weekend and will be rescheduled for a weekend in May.
The Vail Valley is a multicultural place, and two locals are working to merge two main groups together through a bilingual retreat.
Licensed massage therapist Molly Palmer and Alejandra Aldunate, also an LMT who performs sound meditation sessions for patients at Shaw Cancer Center, are hosting a bilingual wellness retreat in Leadville on Saturday, Feb. 8. At the Guerreras Divinas Bilingual Empowerment Retreat, Vail and Leadville locals will experience sound meditation, yoga, astrology and yomassage. Through these wellness activities and strategies, the retreat hopes to foster a sense of community and self-empowerment in an English- and Spanish-speaking setting.
“We’re trying to create a very inclusive and conducive environment for people to grow with the language,” said Palmer.
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There are two options for the retreat, which will be held at Ray of Light yoga studio in Leadville. Guests can opt for a day pass costing $100 for Saturday. There is also a weekend pass, extending the experience from Friday, Feb. 7 in the evening to Sunday, Feb. 9 in the morning. But the bulk of the activities and learning experiences will be on Saturday.
Accommodations are available and included in the retreat price; and if it’s blizzarding when people are looking to drive home on Saturday night, they won’t be forced to drive in dangerous conditions and can stay overnight. Lunch, coffee, tea and snacks are also included.
“A normal yomassage class is $55 for 90 minutes,” Palmer said, citing the going rate for the restorative-yoga-meets-massage workshops she does at Anahata Yoga & Wellness with owner Chelsea Winters. “People work hard for their money here, and I want to value that and I want to bring more value to their lives.”
In addition to meeting people where they’re at financially and linguistically, the retreat hopes to offer an accessible way into the world of wellness, especially for Spanish-speaking communities. Palmer said that she’s not aware of any Spanish-speaking wellness offerings in the Vail Valley, and wants to use her love of the language and the culture as well as wellness to offer something much needed.
She also recognizes that it’s unfamiliar territory for many: she said that she’s seen some struggle to connect with things like yoga because of perceived conflict with existing belief systems, namely Catholicism, which is a strong force in many Hispanic communities.
While many modern yogis practice for the exercise, yoga was first developed as a sect of Hinduism. The purpose of the physical practice, as defined thousands of years ago, is to clear the mind for meditation and connecting with God. Many ancient Hindu texts reference yoga in a spiritual rather than a physical context.
Today, some yoga studios will have statues or pictures of deities like Ganesha and Krishna, which could make it difficult for practicing Catholics to follow one of the 10 commandments: thou shalt not worship false deities.
“I’ve had a friend who is Hispanic say, ‘oh Molly, I love the idea of stretching and yoga, but I love Jesus,’” Palmer said. “My belief is that yoga should be an ‘in addition to’ thing. It shouldn’t be ‘in substitute of.’ I’m trying to figure out how we can redefine yoga in a way that doesn’t conflict.”
That’s why the retreat will offer strategies and chances to learn. Guests – men and women are welcome – will receive personalized astrology charts and will have opportunities to discuss self-care strategies that fit in with their schedules and personalities. It’s about finding an inner softness without judgement or fear.
“I feel like the main factor for people is getting past the discomfort of not knowing the language,” Palmer said. “It doesn’t matter if you understand, it’s just breaking through that feeling of vulnerability of not knowing. It’s okay to not know.”
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