By Amanda Eggert EBS Staff Writer
BIG SKY – Santosha Wellness Center owner Callie Stolz and Los Angeles-based healer and yoga teacher Kishan Shah are teaming up for a six-day Wellness and Whitewater adventure retreat this summer.
Boundary Expeditions, a rafting company specializing in custom Middle Fork trips for smaller groups, will handle the river navigation and camping logistics on the June 27 – July 2 retreat.
Stolz and Shah will focus on the restorative and transformative elements of yoga.
The pair plans to lead sunrise meditations, ritualistic practices and yoga classes along with hikes and campfire discussions. They hope clients will integrate new practices and rituals from the river trip into their post-retreat lives.
“This is different from a regular rafting trip. It’s an adventure retreat,” Shah said. “We’re going to utilize the river as a catalyst for inner work and transformation.”
The Middle Fork is located in the heart of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, part of the largest roadless area in the lower 48. “We’ll go through this amazing wilderness corridor [where] there are hot springs all along the sides of the river. I think that will add a lot of magic to the trip,” Stolz said.
Boundary Expeditions co-owner Justin Howells said the retreat is slated for a special time on the Middle Fork.
“Late June trips have great water, beautifully green landscapes and blooming flowers,” Howells said. “Pairing a trip during this time with meditation and yoga will truly be a unique Middle Fork adventure.”
The seed for this retreat was planted at another one – the Esalen Institute, a workshop and retreat center in Big Sur, Calif. Visiting last fall, Stolz piqued Shah’s interest during a discussion about her passion for weeklong whitewater trips.
Stolz brought Shah to Big Sky from Feb. 19-21 to lead a weekend of workshops centered on yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. Several workshop attendees expressed interest in the Middle Fork adventure.
Both Stolz and Shah have backgrounds in healing and Ayurveda. Tomás Reyes – a chef to celebrities in Los Angeles who specializes in sustainable, health- and energy- supporting nutrition – will prepare organic meals for the retreat’s 19 clients. Stolz will discuss the “why, when and how” of eating an Ayurvedic diet throughout the week.
Howells said 84 Class II-Class IV rapids cover the 104-mile stretch of water clients will run. Shah is looking forward to the potential for transformation offered by adrenaline-inducing rapids. “When you put yourself in intense situations you get to look at what’s really going on deep inside you,” he said.
Stolz said she’s looking forward to immersion in the natural world and the opportunity to leave behind technology. “The intention is to allow people to take home a lot more than a good time on a river,” she said.
Those interested in signing up for the retreat can visit boundaryexpeditions.com/wellness-retreat or call 1-888-948-4347.