Known as sanctuaries of tranquility, retreat centers offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Found in idyllic locations like mountains, lush forests, and alongside bodies of water, retreats create a calming ambiance that promotes peace and introspection.


These centers provide an assortment of accommodation options, from modest yet comfortable rooms to more luxurious lodgings complete with top-notch amenities. These varied accommodations ensure a restful stay so that guests can focus on their journey of self-exploration and renewal.


A key element of the retreat experience is their wholesome culinary offerings. Prepared with organic, locally sourced ingredients, meals are mostly vegetarian or vegan-friendly and are as nourishing as they are tasty.


At the heart of these centers are the retreats themselves. They host an array of activities, including yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices, nature walks, creative arts, bodywork therapies, and dedicated wellness workshops. There are both personal and structured group retreats tailored to meet diverse needs. Personal retreats offer the freedom to explore self-paced healing and transformation while structured retreats delve into specific areas of interest. Regardless of the type and theme, each retreat aims to empower participants, facilitate holistic development, and encourage self-discovery and renewal.


Esalen Institute, California

Nestled amidst the wilderness of Big Sur’s mountains, the Esalen Institute is a place where people can explore, transform, and heal. An educational retreat focused on innovative practices, its interest lies in plant medicine, Gestalt, spirituality, and body work. Additionally, the institute explores complex topics such as citizen diplomacy and superhumanism, which makes it a great destination for those in search of knowledge and transformation.



With views of the Pacific coastline and Santa Lucia Mountains, Esalen Institute offers a variety of accommodations, from rustic to luxurious, to suit every guest’s needs and budget.


Among the offerings, the Sleeping Bag Spaces stand out as a great choice for those who are mindful of their budget. Here, guests find themselves closer to the earth, literally sleeping on the floor, and are encouraged to bring along essentials like pillows, pads, blankets, and sleeping bags. 


Moving up in comfort, the bunk bed rooms offer guests a slightly more conventional stay. All rooms feature private bathrooms and come with amenities like bed linens, soap, and towels.


The top choice in accommodations is the Price House which comes equipped with a luxurious queen bed and an array of premium features. Guests enjoy tastefully upgraded interiors, modernized bathrooms, a functional kitchenette, and exclusive access to an outdoor space ideal for relaxation. 




Found at core of Esalen, the Lodge serves as a hub for tasty meals and engaging dialogues with fellow guests. All meals are nutrient-rich and carefully prepared using produce from the onsite garden and farm and local suppliers. Guests are offered a selection of gluten-free, meat-inclusive, and vegan options so that every meal can be tailored to their dietary needs. 

Retreats and Workshops


The institute’s dynamic class schedule offers a wealth of self-guided exploration opportunities. Changing weakly, it allows guests to delve into mindfulness and meditation, body movements, and nature connections. 


The event experience begins with a welcoming opening circle, led by visiting faculty or Esalen staff. Then throughout their time at the Institute, guests find themselves drawn to a variety of activities, such as exploring the principles of Gestalt, practicing Moja yoga, or awakening energy through Pranotthan yoga. The stay concludes with a reflective closing circle which offers a space for introspection and the sharing of insights. 


In addition to self-guided exploration, Esalen offers an array of workshops aimed at fostering personal growth and transformation. One such workshop focuses on transpersonal breathwork and invites attendees to explore the practice of qigong and other breathing exercises. Beyond skill acquisition, the workshop features activities such as penning down poetry, mandala drawing, and engaging in integrative Gestalt practice so that guests gain deeper insights into their experiences.


Ancestral plant medicine also features prominently in center’s workshop offerings. Participants engage with the sacred cacao plant medicine in a specially designed ceremonial setting. The purpose of the workshop is to facilitate healing and emotional release, and the cacao serves as a supportive guide throughout the process.


Lastly, the Tibetan sound healing workshop offers participants an immersive introduction to meditative practices using vocalized sounds and breath. This blend of breathwork and vocal resonance promotes relaxation, balance, and a deeper understanding of the self.

Kalani, Pāhoa, HI

On 120 acres of Hawaii’s Big Island, Kalani is positioned between the Pacific Ocean and the lush tropical rainforest. Known as one of the area’s most significant yoga retreats, Kalani operates as a center for wellness services, educational programs, shared living, and sustainable gardening. Its vibrant community of visiting educators and residents offers an array of daily activities ranging from dance classes, art, and yoga to special events, workshops, and transformative retreats. 



Accommodation at the retreat center is characterized by an assortment of living arrangements that cater to the varied preferences of its guests. For visitors yearning for solitude amidst nature, the property’s scattered private cottages serve as the ideal choice among other options. These independent buildings, each with its unique artistic design, feature spacious bedrooms with either a king and twin bed or a single king bed. The open-plan cottages also come with full ensuite bathrooms and offer captivating views of either the retreat center’s lush gardens or the ocean.


Another unique housing option is the half lodge, locally referred to as ‘hale’. In this two-story building, individual rooms are private but the lodge itself features shared common spaces such as the open studio space, communal bathrooms, and a lounge and kitchen area. The lodge is conveniently positioned on the retreat center’s main lawn, embraced with gardens with fruit trees and flowers that enhance the ambience of the surroundings.



Each of the retreat’s private cottages is equipped with a mini fridge for guests’ convenience. Visitors staying at the hale lodge have the benefit of a communal kitchen area for cooking simple dishes. In addition, guests can treat themselves to a variety of local offerings, ice cream, coffee, and snacks available for purchase at the onsite Hale Aloha shop. 


For those interested in a broader range of culinary options, there is a plethora of grocery stores, eateries, and farmers’ markets at the town of Pāhoa, located a mere 20-minute drive away.


Manifest Your Destiny Retreat


In a nurturing environment of self-care and introspection, the Manifest Your Destiny Retreat encourages participants to let go of burdens, explore their deepest aspirations, and uncover life’s true purpose. 


The retreat is built on a blend of breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga, along with personal moments for reflection, art, and journaling. Participants are guided through the 7 steps of manifestation, 7 chakras, and 5 elements so that they can gain a better understanding of their personal ‘dharma,’ or life path.


The program also incorporates authentic movement, shamanic journeys, and personalized yoga therapy, which add texture to the experience and enhance the journey of self-discovery. Additionally, the retreat makes room for guided cultural appreciation excursions which bring a sense of connectedness with the broader community and nature. 


Practical Yoga and Meditation Retreat


With positive vibes and a refreshing spirit, the Practical Yoga and Meditation retreat unfolds in a stunning environment. Set against the backdrop of lush greenery, the ocean, and lava formations, the retreat offers participants the opportunity to join daily sessions of yoga and meditation. 


Supplementing the daily routine are activities and ceremonies designed to facilitate a deeper personal transformation. Among the highlights is the ‘Writing from the Core’ class where participants master the art of therapeutic journaling to expand self-awareness and foster personal growth. 


The retreat also offers plenty of leisure time for participants to take part in Kalani’s culture programs or relax amidst the beauty of nature. The locale’s unique offerings, from visiting turtle nesting habitats and encounters with dolphins to hot springs and black sand beaches, add an extra dimension to the retreat and enrich the overall experience. 

Omega Institute, NY

Nestled in the picturesque town of Rhinebeck, the Omega Institute presents a transformative learning experience in a natural retreat setting. With an array of diverse workshops, including Tai Chi, yoga, and meditation, the center invites self-exploration and growth. There are plenty of recreational activities as well, like swimming and boating, strolling along scenic trails, and delighting films and concerts during the evening hours.



Omega Institute offers a variety of accommodations to ensure that every guest finds a comfortable space that aligns with their preferences. Double and single room cabins are available for those seeking privacy and comfort. Complete with a private bath, these rooms come with either a queen bed for pairs or two full-size beds for single occupants. They are equipped with modern amenities such as heating, air conditioning, a ceiling fan, and complimentary Wi-Fi for a connected and comfortable stay.


For a more rustic retreat experience, guests can choose from the double or single tent cabins with a nearby bathhouse for their convenience and comfort. Each of these abodes features a canvas roof, screened windows, wooden walls, and two twin beds. 


And for the adventurous spirit, the camping option provides a pre-assigned campsite close to a bathhouse. Guests are invited to bring their own tent and camping gear and immerse themselves in the authentic outdoor atmosphere of the retreat. 




As part of the all-inclusive experience, retreat-goers enjoy three wholesome and scrumptious meals a day. In the comfort of the air-conditioned dining hall, guests are treated to a diverse buffet, primarily composed of vegetarian meals. Gluten-free and vegan options are also included in the spread for specific dietary needs. 


Mornings at Omega bring an array of breakfast items such as home fries, tofu scramble, and fresh eggs. Fresh fruit complements the selection while the daily specials bring variety, including options such as frittata, bagels, burritos, and pancakes. 


As the day progresses, lunch and dinner menus feature a bountiful salad bar filled with raw vegetables, seeds, and nuts. The offerings are enhanced by homemade non-dairy and dairy dressings. Soup is served to warm the palate, along with a variety of cooked grains and vegetables. The main entrées focus on vegetarian fare such as bean-based proteins, supplemented by egg or cheese options.



Omega’s Rest & Rejuvenation Retreats offer a well-rounded experience designed to inspire self-discovery while catering to diverse interests. Central to these retreats are the daily open classes which blend the calming effects of meditation and yoga with the mindful movements of tai chi. 


The journey of self-discovery does not stop at the meditation mat, however. It takes guests to a world of wisdom and spiritual exploration at the Ram Dass Library. Here, visitors are encouraged to delve deep into a repository of over 7,000 volumes encompassing holistic living, spirituality, wellness, and more. Meanwhile, the library’s gallery space allows retreat-goers to enjoy the creative expressions of local artists whose works add an extra layer of depth and inspiration to the contemplative atmosphere.


However, it is not just within the quiet corners of the library where guests can find tranquility. Nestled on a hill amidst a grove of trees, the Sanctuary and Yearning Pond allow visitors to reflect, meditate, and experience profound peace.


When guests are ready to move from stillness to motion, the waters of the 80-acre Long Pond Lake await. Participants can indulge in kayaking or canoeing to explore nature up close. Alternatively, they can enjoy a good book in the shade of a leafy tree or join in the communal spirit with playful lawn games. 


Omega also recognizes the importance of physical wellness as an integral part of overall wellbeing. This awareness comes to life on the basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts where participants can exercise their bodies, engage in friendly competition, and connect with fellow retreat-goers.


As dusk adorns the sky, the retreat’s rhythm transforms to offer guests more relaxed, yet equally enriching experiences. From Samplers, short workshops presented by Omega’s teachers to the allure of live music, there is a wealth of activities to enjoy. Guests may also cozy up for a movie night, engage in stimulating conversations in the living room, or gather around the bonfire for connection and storytelling.


Each evening event, with its unique flavor, fosters connection, learning, and joy and propels participants further along their path to self-discovery. 

Drala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Set in the lofty Colorado Rocky Mountains, the Drala Mountain Center occupies 600 acres of vast alleys, peaceful meadows, and untouched woods in Northern Colorado. Here, a typical day could include calming yoga, body and mind wellness sessions, strolls to the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, and communal meals with fellow retreat-goers. 


To enhance visitors’ stay at this tranquil retreat, the center offers a diverse range of accommodation options. These are designed to cater to various budgets and preferences for social interaction, which adds another layer to the retreat’s appeal.




While the Drala Mountain Center is not your average luxury destination, it offers a unique appeal centered around unpretentious comfort, close-knit community vibes, and connection with nature. 


Accommodation options are diverse and thoughtfully designed, from nature-immersed tents to communal dormitories and private lodge rooms equipped with personal bathrooms. The center’s goal is to meet visitors’ essential needs in an environment that radiates cleanliness, safety, and a sense of solace.



Catering to a spectrum of dietary needs, the Drala Mountain Center offers a trio of menu categories: wheat-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Each meal is designed to have a suitable option for every taste, with certain meals featuring meat selections. To supplement the main courses, a salad bar remains ever ready and filled with non-vegan and vegan protein sources and fresh vegetables. For visitors who wish to grab a snack or a refreshing beverage at any time, the dining area provides a range of offerings such as toast, fruit, coffee, and tea. 



The Drala Mountain Center offers an array of retreats designed to cater to a range of interests. These retreats include Mindfulness Meditation & Qi Gong, Lojong Mind-Training, and silent meditation, all aimed at nurturing mindfulness, tranquility, and personal growth. 


An exemplary retreat, “Quiet Mind, Open Heart”, captures the center’s commitment to holistic well-being. This particular retreat follows a routine that is designed to nurture the mind and body in harmony with nature’s cadence. 


The day starts with a heartening breakfast, followed by a blend of yoga, contemplation, and meditation to awaken the senses and kindle inner peace. As midday approaches, participants regroup for a nutritious lunch and prepare for an array of afternoon pursuits. Post-lunch activities include restorative bodywork sessions, hikes in the nearby woods, guided tours of the Stupa, and an opportunity for self-reflection and rest. Following an evening meal, the day winds down with Yoga Nidra and restorative yoga for a deeply relaxing end to the day. This blend of structured activities and personal exploration allows retreat participants to immerse themselves in their experience, foster deeper self-connection, and sync with nature, all at their own pace. 

Yogaville, Buckingham, Virginia

Located amidst 750 verdant acres, the Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville in Virginia is more than just a retreat center. With elements like monastic living quarters, an organic agriculture project, an educational academy, and tranquil spaces for prayer and reflection, the center provides a diverse environment for visitors. Here, you can bring your yoga essentials and enroll in one of the many seasonally-themed retreats or opt for personal or silent retreats. The daily agenda comprises hatha yoga sessions, collective meditations, vegetarian cuisine, exploration of nature trails, and an array of evening activities. 



Immersing yourself in the Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville retreat doesn’t mean you will be sacrificing comfort. There is a range of accommodation options to suit everyone’s needs. You can opt for the Lotus Guest House which offers different room configurations. The six-unit section includes rooms furnished with a refrigerator, private bathroom, and a queen-size bed. The nine-unit area features rooms with a private bathroom and queen-size bed but sans the refrigerator. 


For those who appreciate the shared community experience, the dormitory accommodation might be the ideal choice. The two centrally heated and air-conditioned dormitories, Ramalinga Nilayam and Vivekananda Vihar, offer a shared living and bathing arrangement. 


And if you’re the adventurous type or just prefer to be closer to nature, you can choose the tenting and camping option. Located in a serene, wooded area near the Lotus Guest Houses, there are twelve campsites available. Essential amenities such as laundry, shower, and bathroom facilities are conveniently located within reach in the nearby Vivekananda Vihar dormitory. Each campsite comes equipped with a sturdy, elevated platform, specifically designed to enhance your outdoor living experience.




At Yogaville, guests are treated to an array of vegetarian dishes during three daily buffet-style meals served in the morning, noon, and evening. Alongside the warm entrees, a fresh salad bar with a selection of vegetables is always present, many of which are sourced directly from the center’s own farm.



Personal retreats offer guests a unique opportunity to experience a variety of activities aimed at self-reflection and spiritual growth. Visitors come from near and far with diverse intentions: some look for a sanctuary of calm and rejuvenation, others aspire to live a yogic way of life, and still others are drawn to delve deep into the philosophy and wisdom of integral yoga. 


In addition to catering to these diverse needs, the flexibility of the retreat allows guests to choose a stay that suits them best, whether it’s an extended stay, an overnight visit, or a single day. This provides ample time to dive into the vibrant schedule the ashram offers. 


A typical day begins with early morning meditation and moves into Integral Yoga Hatha to harmonize the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of retreat-goers. Post-session, guests gather for a nutritious breakfast, followed by another round of meditation or an enlightening talk on relevant topics such as the integration of yoga into everyday life. After the midday meal, guests may choose between restorative yoga, a second round of hatha yoga, or a quiet meditation session. On certain days, the schedule also includes scripture study, allowing individuals to delve deeper into the spiritual texts and teachings. 


Enhancing the personal retreat experience, the Integral Yoga Sadhana Weekends and Retreats offer additional activities like Kirtan, a form of music and chanting that invigorates the spirit. Participants also have the chance to learn from Swami Satchidananda through Q&A video sessions or allocate their free time to activities such as journaling, hiking, karma yoga, or a well-deserved rest.


There are also silent retreats for a unique and deeply introspective experience. As an integral part of these retreats, hatha yoga practices focus on body purification and revitalization. Tranquil meditation sessions complement these practices and guide attendees towards internal peace and mindfulness. Furthermore, workshops led by experienced instructors deepen visitors’ understanding of yogic lifestyle and philosophy. Opportunities for karma yoga are abundant as well, with guests participating in selfless service at the grounds, farm, and Yogaville kitchen. The retreat experience is further enriched by guided explorations of Virginia’s foothills which deepen the connection with nature and offer a sense of tranquility and serenity. 

Mount Madonna Center, Watsonville, California

Nestled within the Santa Cruz mountains, Mount Madonna Center presents a charming blend of open grasslands and redwoods across 380 acres overlooking the Monterey Bay. It offers a gentle invitation to pause the rush, step off the world’s stage, and tune into your inner self amidst the rhythms of nature. Not surprisingly, the center is a sought-after destination for a broad range of activities including corporate, meditation, and yoga retreats, personal practice, and programs designed to foster holistic development, encompassing both the personal and spiritual dimensions. 



At Mount Madonna Center, a range of distinctive accommodations awaits guests, from the comfort of guest rooms and the allure of rustic cabins to the homeliness of ram cottages. 


Located in the heart of the Conference Center, the guest rooms at Mount Madonna echo the elegance of a boutique hotel. Guests staying here can enjoy modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, with several rooms boasting the added luxury of ensuite bathrooms. Additionally, the area is adorned with charming courtyards that serve as the ideal place to unwind or immerse in a good read. An always-open tea bar, situated in the conference wing, serves an array of aromatic teas.


For those seeking a closer connection with nature, the rustic cabins offer a simple and more secluded experience. Set in the Oaks Campground and a short stroll away from the main area, the cabins feature basic amenities such as electricity and heat. Indoor plumbing and Wi-Fi are absent but a nearby shower house caters to guests’ needs with toilets, dressing rooms, and private showers.


Lastly, guests can opt for the charm of the ram cottages, conveniently located near the Wellness Center and a network of hiking trails. Each cottage offers a different setup which caters to varying needs. Ram 1 is a cozy dwelling equipped with a bathroom, compact kitchen, two bedrooms, and a communal living area that opens out onto an outdoor deck. In contrast, Ram 2 provides more sleeping space and comfortably accommodates up to six people across three rooms, complete with a bathroom and kitchenette for convenience.



With dedication to mindful eating, Mount Madonna Center takes great pride in serving wholesome vegetarian meals, along with gluten-free alternatives available at each mealtime. Prioritizing the use of organic, locally sourced ingredients, every dish is prepared with health and taste in mind.


The center also ensures continuous access to an assortment of teas, reverse osmosis filtered water, and an array of spreads, rice cakes, homemade bread, and fresh fruit. 


As a culinary highlight, the center’s dinner features diverse offerings, ranging from tofu scrambles and hearty lasagnas to vegetable curries. Gluten-free pastas add a familiar comfort food touch for those with dietary restrictions while fresh green salads and a variety of grains contribute to a balanced, nutritious meal. Cheese lovers can usually find cheese served separately, which adds a touch of indulgence to lunch meals.



At Mount Madonna Center, retreat experiences are diverse, from personalized getaways for self-exploration to structured, group-focused retreats which offer shared exploration of specific themes. In the personal retreats, guests are welcomed into a holistic environment where they can engage in a variety of offerings at their own pace, including meditation and yoga classes. The retreat also houses a Wellness Center which offers a multitude of therapeutic services, including traditional massages, integrative bodywork, acupressure, biodynamic cranial-sacral therapy, and more. The retreat’s locale, with its vast expanse of meadows and redwood forests, presents ample opportunities for self-reflection and walks or jogs along its picturesque trails.


Alongside personal retreats, the center extends its offerings to encompass specialized group retreats for collective growth. Notably, the Embodying the Goddess retreat is a program that caters to women looking to explore the divine feminine. During the 3-night, 4-day immersion, participants delve into the narratives and spiritual rituals linked to goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kali, and Durga who symbolize distinct psychological energies and inspire personal growth.


A typical day in this retreat might start with yoga asana and pranayama and continue with a schedule filled with activities such as chakra meditation, discussions on Shakta powers and kundalini energy, and teachings on Goddess Durga and her sacred mantras. 


The afternoon presents a combination of free time to explore the surrounding nature or indulge in a massage therapy and experiential learning through earthing exercises and chakra embodiment. Participants are also introduced to the mythology of the Warrior Goddess Kali to enhance their understanding of her transformative power. 


The day winds down with an Arti Ceremony and ‘Letting Go’ exercises using Kali‘s breath. The experience is further deepened by a sacred fire ritual that guides participants towards setting intentions and shedding burdens, which makes for a spiritually profound conclusion to the day. 

Wrapping Up

Retreat centers serve as perfect spaces to pause, reflect, and rejuvenate amidst serene surroundings. They promise not just a physical journey into scenic landscapes but a deeper, introspective voyage within.


The variety of accommodations, from the simple to the more luxurious, ensures a comfortable stay that complements this personal journey. Food is given equal attention, with delicious and nourishing meals prepared from organic, local produce. 


Retreats form the core of these centers and are a dynamic mix of activities. Yoga and meditation sessions, creativity-inducing arts, wellness therapies, nature walks, and focused workshops come together to create a transformative experience. Personal or group-oriented, these retreats cater to a variety of needs, empower guests on their path to self-discovery, and offer a roadmap to a more fulfilled self.

An array of retreats dots the landscapes near and within Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland, adding to the charm of Knoxville and its surrounding regions. These retreats house a range of accommodations, from deluxe suites to rustic cabins, each offering a unique perspective of the valley’s stunning views. Alongside comfortable living spaces, retreats offer distinct dining experiences and dishes inspired by worldwide culinary traditions. Far more than just meals, these dining experiences create opportunities for community-building and mindful eating.


At the core of these retreats are carefully designed programs aimed at enhancing overall wellness. The variety of activities on offer is extensive and includes traditional yoga and meditation, therapeutic wraps and mud baths, and immersive sound healing sessions. Other highlights are rebirthing breathwork sessions, restorative Nada Yoga, and instructional cooking classes. For those inclined towards exploration, guided hikes to stunning vistas and waterfalls offer an opportunity to connect with nature. From wellness programs and yoga immersion to personal development and nature exploration, these retreats provide a space for introspection, rejuvenation, and inner peace.


Isha Institute of Inner-sciences

Hidden away in the beautiful landscape of Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland, the Isha Inner-Sciences Center is a mountain getaway designed to promote overall wellness. This center focuses on pure yogic science through one-on-one wellness retreats, group trips, and traditional meditation and yoga programs. Visitors from worldwide corners travel to this unique spot to unwind, retrospect, and find solace in its blend of solitude and tranquility.




The institute features an array of accommodation choices, from luxurious suites and practical studios to charming cabins. Nestled on a wooded hillside with beautiful views of the scenic valley, the deluxe suites boast plenty of space which makes them ideal for families with older children and couples. Some suites even offer additional comforts like balconies and cozy fireplaces and all come with private bathrooms. The studios, which feel like single-room flats, also feature their own bathrooms and are a good fit for families and couples alike. Lastly, the cabins offer a private and serene lodging option with stunning valley views and are complete with a twin bed and an attached bathroom. 




Drawing inspiration from worldwide culinary traditions, the center serves up two wholesome vegetarian meals. These meals are intentionally designed to align with the rhythm of those who are committed to the practices of classical yoga and meditation. Such routines often call for a simplified meal schedule that includes a substantial mid-morning brunch and a hearty dinner, complemented by an assortment of fruits and juice in the afternoon. Those seeking something outside the standard meal times will find the Welcome Center lobby open round-the-clock. It features a refrigerated vending machine filled with a variety of healthy snacks such as raw nuts, fruit juice, and kashi bars and even comforting options like organic chocolate milk and chai tea. 


Retreats and Programs 


The center offers a rich variety of programs, each thoughtfully designed to foster a holistic sense of wellbeing. Notably, the individual wellness retreats and the free yoga days reflect its approach of combining physical and mental practices to promote overall health and harmony.



Known as Isha Rejuvenation programs, the individual wellness retreats blend the timeless wisdom of Ayurvedic and Indian Siddha traditions with a host of restorative practices. They provide a variety of healing methods, including therapeutic wraps and mud baths, massages, and yogic exercises, as well as restorative herbal tonics. These programs integrate the principles of alternative therapies and allopathic medicine with the knowledge from diverse Indian healing traditions. This fusion forms an unique approach and invites participants to begin a journey towards holistic wellness.



The free yoga days at the center offer a full immersion into the world of yoga and meditation. They begin with a gentle round of Upa Yoga, followed by a session of Isha Kriya, a meditation practice aimed at experiencing inner peace and wellbeing.



Next, the agenda introduces the concept of inner engineering and offers participants a chance to interact with an Isha teacher. Following this, the Living Isha Presentation sheds light on how to thrive within the supportive environment of the center itself. It emphasizes the various choices visitors have, from studios and apartments to individual homes, which enable them to shape a lifestyle in this unique environment.



The day also includes a Nada Yoga session, a form of meditative practice that helps enhance mental and physical health, as well as a healthy cooking class that shares how to prepare a highly-pranic vegetarian dish. The day wraps up with another round of Isha Kriya and Upa Yoga, leaving participants feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and filled with a renewed sense of wellbeing. In addition to these sessions, there are daily guided hikes to scenic vistas and waterfalls which allow everyone to connect with nature’s tranquility and beauty.


Elohee Retreat Center, GA

Encompassing three sites for retreat and discovery, Elohee comprises the forest-shrouded Thanksgiving House, the Bald Mountain Center, and the scenic Landsong trails. With extensive trails to explore, a canyon waterfall, and expansive mountain vistas, Elohee offers a wealth of transformative experiences. These include empowerment and yoga retreats, restful weekend getaways, and women’s wellness programs, among others.



With its cottages and tent camping facilities, Elohee caters to a range of preferences and comfort levels. The charming cottage village is situated along a gravel path at the foot of the mountain and is interconnected by sections of the red trail. The cottages host groups of up to 50 people and come with three types of rooms: king bed and twin beds with a private bath and single twin with a shared bath.



To ensure the comfort of guests, all cottages are fitted with amenities such as adjustable blinds, ceiling fans, and a heating and cooling system. The decor of the rooms is a result of the founders’ personal touches and their families’ artistic contributions. The beds are covered in soft, white comforters to complement the understated decoration while the bamboo flooring amplifies the contemporary, retreat-like atmosphere.



In contrast, Elohee’s tent camping is tailor-made for those who seek a more outdoorsy experience. It consists of two basic campsites and two raised platforms, along with a facility for showering and bathing conveniently situated near the camping area. 




Elohee’s culinary philosophy is centered around the belief that wholesome, flavorful meals are key to a fulfilling retreat experience. The focus is on preparing meals using local produce and organically grown ingredients so that guests can enjoy meals that are fresh, nutritious, and aligned with their commitment to mindful eating. The dining experience at Elohee is more than just about nourishment, however, it is also about fostering community and connections over shared meals.



Situated in the Mandala Hall, the communal dining space can accommodate up to forty people, with an adjoining outdoor patio for nature-inspired meal experiences. This flexibility of dining setting extends to the menu itself, ensuring that every guest, whether pescatarian, omnivore, vegan, or vegetarian, can enjoy a nourishing meal experience.



At Elohee, the retreat offerings span a broad spectrum, including nature immersion, heath and wellness, breathwork, personal development, women’s retreats, restful weekends, and yoga, among others. Each retreat is designed to cater to a specific need or interest while ensuring a transformative experience for participants.



One such retreat is the Sacred Breathwork, Instinctual Yoga & Sound Healing program. This particular retreat is curated to help guests establish new, positive patterns through integrative yoga sessions. This process is further supported by rebirthing breathwork sessions where each breath drawn is accompanied by the calming vibrations of sound healing using flutes, singing bowls, and other instruments. A shared sound journey is also part of the experience to nurture unity and harmony within the group. As part of the retreat’s climax, participants gather for a mountaintop fire ceremony evening to celebrate the collective journey they have undertaken. 


In addition to collective healing sessions, there is time set aside for self-reflection, journaling, and group circle discussions to foster a sense of community and shared experience. The program further includes walks through Elohee’s picturesque landscape, including lush fern corridors, trails offering mountain vistas, paths meandering alongside streams, and walks to a venerable 400-year-old Hemlock tree.


Blackberry Farm

Spanning across 4,200 acres of serene landscapes in the Great Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm has served as a peaceful retreat for over eighty years, welcoming guests, friends, and families in search of tranquility. From its humble beginnings as a mountain sanctuary, Blackberry Farm has transformed into an acclaimed resort known for inviting leisure activities, gourmet cuisine, and alluring scenery. A serene escape from the fast pace of life, the retreat invites guests to experience the charm and tranquility that is quintessentially “Blackberry”.


From the original historic rooms to the luxurious cottage suites, Blackberry Farm provides a wealth of lodging choices to suit different preferences and needs.


Preserving the rich heritage of Blackberry Farm, the historic rooms provide an intimate encounter with the past. They are uniquely decorated with antique items and radiate the charm of a rustic country house. Guests can choose their preferred bedding arrangement, from twin-sized to queen or king beds.


Situated in the Guest House, the estate rooms are an ideal choice for those seeking a truly indulgent retreat. These nine rooms are available with either a twin-sized or a king bed and come complete with an outdoor space and spacious bathrooms. The Guest House itself is a welcoming communal space furnished with dual fireplaces, plush sofas, and a veranda affording splendid mountain vistas.


For guests seeking privacy and opulence, the cottage suites offer an unrivaled experience. These suites feature a king-sized bed, a wood-burning fireplace, and a porch adorned with rocking chairs. With spacious bathrooms boasting whirlpool tubs and double vanities and stocked pantries of alcohol-free drinks and complimentary bites, these are some of Blackberry’s most coveted accommodations.


Lastly, the farmstead cottage stands as an elegant dwelling for an upscale retreat experience. The living area is decked with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, valuable antiques, and bespoke furnishings, all promising comfort and sophistication. The cottage hosts a living porch encased in glass and equipped with a fireplace where guests can bask in the peaceful ambience of the surroundings. Luxury extends into the dressing suite and spacious bathroom which boasts twin vanities and a whirlpool tub. The farmstead cottage experience is further enriched with the inclusion of a personal golf cart for guests to navigate the expansive grounds at their own pace.



Crafted by a team of culinary professionals, from chefs and cheesemakers to bakers and sommeliers, the dining experience at Blackberry Farm showcases dedication to locally sourced ingredients drawn from their own farm and the surrounding region. 


Honoring this commitment, lunch spotlights fresh, local ingredients. Dishes like honey-cumin grilled quail, crispy saison-brined fried chicken, and pan-roasted king salmon make up a menu that is as inviting and flavor-forward as it is nourishing. 


Consistently, the dinner selection maintains focus on local ingredients and is no less spectacular. With dishes such as honey-rosemary roasted chicken, chili-roasted gulf shrimp, and brown butter-basted salmon, the menu reflects the center’s Smoky Mountain heritage while maintaining a modern approach to cuisine.




Blackberry Farm offers a wide range of activities to cater to various interests, from outdoor pursuits such as paddle sports and cycling to immersive experiences like farmstead tours and culinary demonstrations. For those looking for a holistic experience, the center’s yoga and meditation programs stand out. 


Within the yoga program, there are several group classes tailored to different skill levels and preferences. The introductory course, “Yoga Basics” is designed with beginners in mind and targets key aspects of yoga such as mindfulness, proper posture alignment, self-awareness, and breath control. It also presents a welcoming environment for those nursing injuries and veterans of yoga who wish to enhance their mastery. 


The flow yoga class marks the next step in the journey as it is intended for those already familiar with basic yoga principles. The essence of this class lies in blending fluid movement, breath, and individual poses to dissipate stress and foster a stronger bond with one’s inner self.


Also aimed at relieving stress and achieving inner balance, the restorative yoga class combines soothing poses and meditation. This class particularly focuses on easing tension, replenishing depleted energy, and establishing equilibrium within the nervous system.


Alongside these yoga classes, the center provides guided meditation sessions aimed at cultivating mindfulness and proper breathing techniques. These sessions are designed to empower participants to navigate the complexities of life with greater awareness and acceptance. 


Seven Springs Retreat Center in Maryville

Spanning 126 acres of privately owned land, the Seven Springs Retreat Center finds its home in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Here, seven natural springs are nestled within a temperate rainforest which houses a remarkable diversity of 17,000 plant and animal species.


From its roots as a thriving agricultural hub and greenhouse business, this verdant land has nourished cattle, chickens, and expansive vegetable gardens while also contributing thousands of plants to the local community. Today, Seven Springs has evolved to serve a deeper purpose – to inspire, cultivate consciousness and awareness, and encourage personal growth amidst natural beauty. Here, guests can find a peaceful refuge as they explore transformative retreats and events designed to enhance their spiritual and emotional wellbeing.




At Seven Springs, guests can immerse themselves in a blend of nature and culture through the choice of accommodation. Two different options await visitors, the globally inspired yurts and more rustic, bring-your-own tent camping sites. 


In the yurts, guests are welcomed by a blend of artwork and traditional textiles which tell stories from the countries that the host family visited. The Mexico Yurt, for instance, captures attention with its rich cultural detailing. Adorned with a hand-loomed Oaxacan blanket and a rug created by artisans from Teotitlán del Valle, it merges comfort with the essence of Mexican heritage. In a different corner, the expansive Peru Yurt offers a journey into the heart of the Amazon. Displaying Shipibo tapestries, its design elements hint at deep indigenous roots. Four single beds accentuate the interior, each adorned with traditional fabrics weaved in the Sacred Valley.


The Guatemala Yurt, a 15-foot structure, showcases dynamic hues and patterns characteristic of Maya Guatemala. The walls display tapestries from communities that border Lake Atitlan while the queen bed features nature-inspired textiles. 



At the heart of Seven Springs’ dining experience is a chef with a passion for sustainable, organic, and plant-based cuisine. Originally from Alabama, she spent years communing with nature, which led her to earn degrees in environmental science and technology and plant sciences. Now, she brings her expertise and dedication to Seven Springs, where her love for cooking meets her commitment to health and the environment. Having lived a vegan lifestyle for over twenty years, she uses plant-based ingredients to create wholesome meals and a culinary experience that champions health-conscious choices. 



At the Seven Springs Retreat Center, guests can select from an array of wellness services designed to complement the retreat experience. Each retreat package includes a stay in a private yurt along with the wellness service of the guest’s choice.


Guests may opt for a custom yoga experience designed to suit their interests. A Vinyasa flow class is also available for those without specific requests, accommodating all levels of experience with the provision of necessary props and blocks.


Another wellness offering is a private sound bath, a restorative session that combines the healing powers of sound and nature. With an assortment of instruments like drums, chimes, gongs, and bells, guests are guided into a state of meditation that promotes holistic healing. 


For those inclined towards the outdoors, the retreat offers a guided nature hike around the estate. Led by a local ecologist, the hike offers insights into the diverse plant and animal life native to the area. Far from being laborious, the stroll makes for an engaging journey through various trails and is tailored to the guests’ preferences. 


Guests can also explore the retreat’s medicinal herbal gardens to delve into the world of therapeutic plants. This educational stroll equips them with know-how to recognize a multitude of herbs, whether found in their garden, the confines of their yard, or the wilderness. Discussion about each herb’s healing properties and the ways to utilize them adds a holistic dimension to the experience.


Lastly, the retreat offers comprehensive health consultations where guests are supported in exploring multiple dimensions of a healthy lifestyle. With insights drawn from language empowerment, Ayurveda, and yoga, these personalized sessions aim to enhance guests’ relationships with their diet, physical activity, surroundings, and their inner self.


Blackberry Mountain, Walland 

Located in Walland, Tennessee, Blackberry Mountain stretches across 5,200 acres within the scenic Great Smoky Mountains. Nearly half of its expanse, sizeable 2,800 acres, is devoted to conservation to ensure the pristine landscape of the mountains remains undisturbed. Grounded in preservation and the provision of unique experiences, the retreat’s philosophy invites guests to engage with the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. With a strong focus on ensuring comfort and readiness to facilitate outdoor adventures, Blackberry Mountain crafts an elevated retreat experience




Accommodation at Blackberry Mountain is varied and curated to ensure an immersive experience with nature. The offerings include stone cottages, treehouses, and mountain homes, each with its own unique charm and comforts.


Designed to blend with the mountainside, the stone cottages offer expansive views of The Great Smoky Mountains. These cottages feature local materials and artisanal craftsmanship in elements like iron windows, stone archways, and oak flooring. Their highlight is an outdoor patio fitted with a fireplace, an ideal spot for guests to unwind in the mountain evenings.


For those in search of a more secluded experience, the treehouses provide an excellent choice. These intimate accommodations are designed to provide privacy while remaining within a short golf cart ride from the Hub and Lodge. Featuring open-plan bathrooms, these treehouse lodgings offer a romantic setting for couples. 


Similarly, the mountain homes offer a private experience amidst natural landscapes with sweeping views. Each home comes with spacious bedrooms that include king-sized beds, individual bathrooms, and separate spaces for relaxation. They are also equipped with dining areas and large-scale kitchens that can comfortably serve 10 to 12 guests, which makes them ideal for group gatherings. A stone fireplace in the living room adds a cozy element to the space. The year-round enclosed porch, complete with a grill and an additional fireplace, provides an extra space for relaxation.



At Blackberry Mountain, the dining experience is all about creativity, healthy ingredients, and diverse flavors and cooking styles from all corners of the globe. The meals included in the stay start with dinner on the first day and wrap up with a farewell breakfast on the last day. If guests wish to have lunch on their first or last day, it is available for an extra charge. A dynamic four-course menu is also on offer, spotlighting fresh, locally sourced produce and foraged ingredients. Diners can look forward to dishes like lemon and herb-seared salmon, a hearty roasted turkey club, and grilled chicken brined in buttermilk.



A wealth of activities caters to the diverse interests of guests, including sessions in an art studio, body therapies, skincare treatments, forest bathing, fitness workouts, and crystal reiki, among others. 


For those seeking to harmonize their mind and body, the center provides a variety of yoga classes. Welcoming practitioners of all levels, ‘Yoga Basics’ concentrates on the cornerstones of yoga – breath, alignment, and asanas. The restorative yoga session offers postures that promote a peaceful mind while the Sunrise Vinyasa class features dynamic movements that energize the body and stimulate digestion. The power yoga class is more challenging and encourages practitioners to push their limits and enhance their endurance and strength. Finally, ‘Beyond Asana’ presents a combination of different yoga aspects, including Dhyana, Pratyahara, Pranayama, and Asana to create a holistic experience. 


In addition to yoga, the center places a strong emphasis on meditation as part of its wellness offerings. Suspended sound bathing meditation invites guests to relax in a silk hammock while experiencing the restorative impact of sound and vibration. Guided crystal meditation offers a therapeutic journey with the help of crystals, all while in the state of savasana. The last meditative practice, ‘Chakra Balancing Meditation’ offers an exploration of the body’s chakras and their influence on physical health, emotional stability, clarity of mind, and spiritual connectedness.


Wrapping Up

Scattered across the landscapes near Knoxville, a variety of retreats offer unique designs, ambience, and accommodations. These places to stay range from the rustic charm of tent camping to the comfort of stone cottages and upscale mountain homes. 


Enjoying meals here turns into an exploration of global cuisines that promotes mindful eating and fellowship. It is not just about dining but embracing a culture of gratitude, conscious living, and community spirit.


Activities at these retreats are not monotonous but cater to a wide range of personal preferences. These include offerings such as yoga and meditation, sound healing sessions, fire ceremony evenings, and group circle discussions. Beyond introspective pursuits, there are also opportunities for outdoor adventures, immersive culinary lessons, and nature hikes. From the introspective to the adventurous, each retreat offers a mix of opportunities to engage, learn, and rejuvenate.

DISCLAIMER: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new routines, programs, or nutrition plans to ensure you receive the best medical advice and strategy for your specific individual needs.

Yoga is in vogue today and there are plenty of reasons why. In today’s busy and hectic world that we live in, people have time for everything, from work commitments to household responsibilities but not for themselves. It is becoming harder and harder to find time to get some exercise, relax, and focus on self-care. And here, precisely, lies the purpose of yoga practice, teaching us to be more mindful and present and more connected to ourselves, at least for a while.


The enthusiasm for a balanced and healthy lifestyle and meeting one’s personal needs are high and practicing yoga offers a way into achieving those goals. The practice is so popular, and accessible (a wide variety of YouTube videos, DVDs, books, studio classes, podcasts, and apps are available), that people have ample opportunity to give yoga a go.


Yet, with so much information out there, there is always a risk it could be misinterpreted. Some people associate yoga with challenging poses and contortions while others think of it in terms of fitness and weight loss. Still, others associate yoga with religion, sages and hermits, and new-age mysticism.


So, what is yoga really about, how did it originate and change through the centuries, and what are the different styles you might experience today? Here are the answers to get you started with a mind-body practice that can support your emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and physical health.


What Is Yoga


Yoga is a Hindu mind-body practice, which combines a variety of activities, including meditation, breathing techniques, and physical postures. Postures or asanas are performed to strengthen and stretch the body’s muscles, ligaments, and joints. The regular practice aims to improve balance, strength, flexibility, range of motion, and mobility.


While yoga poses range from simple backbends and stretch to more complex balancing postures, they are always performed in sync with breath control. Deep, conscious, controlled breathing which matches the rhythm of exercise is at the heart of yoga practice. Deep breathing calms the body, soothes the nervous system, improves blood circulation and blood flow, and supports the function of vital organs.


Focusing on each aspect of breathing also enables yogis to stay present, at the moment, and aware of the here and now. As such, conscious breathing is a form of meditation. And at the core of meditation is present moment awareness – stillness in thought that heightens our connection to sensations, sounds, and sights, enabling us to observe here and now.


Combining physical postures, conscious breathing, and meditation, yoga brings physical wellness and mental clarity. The body responds favorably and with regularity, the practice results in muscle toning, lower blood sugar, balanced insulin levels, improved spinal health, increased blood flow, lubricated joints, increased lung capacity, and regulated blood pressure.


The bonus of conscious breathing and meditation leaves the mind feeling peaceful, deeply relaxed, and more centered in the present moment, letting go of the future and past.


The Remarkable History of Yoga



Before moving on to explore the different types of yoga, here is how it evolved to be what it is today, from the early oral tradition to the diverse styles of yoga that we now have.


The history of yoga dates back to 2,500 BC and its origins can be traced to Northern India and the Indus Valley civilization. The first mentions of the word yoga are found in the Vedic scriptures – religious texts with rituals, mantras, and songs used by the Brahman priests.


While the original practice involved diverse and often contradictory techniques and beliefs, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written by Sage Patanjali around 400 CE, outlined the key elements of yoga philosophy and practice, systematizing them into sutras or aphorisms.


It was only in the late 1800s that yoga teachers began to travel to America and Europe to share their teachings. Yoga and meditation exploded in popularity in the U.S. in the 1960s and since then it has become a way of life for millions of people.


Today, there are many different types of yoga, from more relaxed and gentle to fast-paced and more physically demanding.


Types of Yoga: How to Choose the One for Yourself


If you’ve been considering starting your yoga journey you must be wondering which style of yoga to choose. Here’s a little breakdown of each of the most popular styles.


Hatha Yoga


Hatha yoga focuses on practicing asanas or physical postures and syncing them up with breath control. The focus is on proper alignment and doing each pose correctly, holding asanas for at least one minute. In comparison to slow-paced Hatha, yoga styles like Ashtanga are more dynamic, and poses are held just briefly.


Ashtanga Yoga



Ashtanga is more rigorous, structured, and routine based than Hatha and Vinyasa which are more flexible and freestyle. The same poses are performed in the same order each time, with mantra chanting at the beginning and end of a yoga practice. Combining inverted postures, core strengthening, and deep stretches, Ashtanga is also more physically demanding and requires a level of endurance, flexibility, and physical strength.


Vinyasa Yoga



Vinyasa is also more strict, fast-paced, and physically challenging than Hatha, with poses flowing from one to the other. Breath and transitions, which are essentially postures themselves, connect one pose to the next.


While Vinyasa is less structured than Ashtanga, the Sun Salutation sequence is at the core of the practice, moving from Downward Facing Dog to Plank to Four-Limbed Staff Pose to Upward Facing Dog. Yoga beginners may find the Sun Salutation physically demanding at first, but Sun Salutation has its place in the practice as it warms up the muscles and prepare them for more challenging postures.


Kundalini Yoga


Kundalini yoga involves a combination of postures, breathing exercises, singing, and chanting. Unlike Hatha yoga where the main focus is on asanas or physical postures, meditation, mantras, and breathing are at the heart of the Kundalini practice. Yoga students practice different types of breathing such as Dog Breath, alternate nostril breathing, and Breath of Fire.


Kundalini yoga also incorporates a number of mantras to set the energetic vibration for the practice. In essence, while other styles of yoga are more physical, Kundalini places a strong emphasis on mudras /symbolic gestures/, kryas /breath control techniques/, bandhas /energy flow locks/, meditation, and mantras.


Iyengar Yoga



One of the newest styles of yoga – Iyengar was developed by yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar yoga about 75 years ago. Here the main focus is on sequencing, alignment, precision, and the use of props like pillow-like bolsters, blocks, and belts. It is also common to see chairs, straps, and blankets in yoga studios, helping practitioners to get into poses with the best possible alignment.


Anusara yoga, which is a version of Iyengar, also emphasizes correct alignment but is more fluid and integrates spiritual techniques into every practice. Classes start with the Anusara invocation to enable practitioners to connect physical postures with feelings of devotion, grace, love, and self-honor.


Aerial Yoga


Also called suspension and anti-gravity yoga, this style combines Pilates, asanas, and the use of a swing or hammock. Students practice some of the yoga postures found in Hatha, Iyengar, and Vinyasa yoga while floating above the ground.


As asanas are performed in a hammock, this allows practitioners to do yoga poses without adding pressure on their spine, shoulders, and neck. While it might look a bit technical at a first glance, Aerial yoga is suitable for everyone who is fit and has good core muscles.


Wrapping Up


Yoga is a body of knowledge, mind and body practice, and a process of self-discovery through meditation, observation, and exploration. Owing to its thousands of years of history, it has evolved as a practice with a variety of techniques and styles.


From more traditional like Hatha and Ashtanga to newer ones like Iyengar and Aerial yoga, some practices are gentle and restorative while others are more demanding and physically challenging. For beginning practitioners, some of the vital questions when it comes to yoga are whether the newfound style matches their goals, personality, and fitness level. And most importantly, whether it feels right.


Choose the one style that best serves your goals, and practice with care and mindfulness.

DISCLAIMER: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new routines, programs, or nutrition plans to ensure you receive the best medical advice and strategy for your specific individual needs.


DISCLAIMER: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new routines, programs, or nutrition plans to ensure you receive the best medical advice and strategy for your specific individual needs.

Today we answer the question: “Is there a such thing as weight loss retreats for women over 40?”. Let’s dive right in.  


Once you hit 40, shedding off pounds can feel like an uphill battle. Reduced metabolism, fluctuations in hormones, and lifestyle-related factors like unhealthy diet, stress, and changes in sleep patterns can make weight loss for women after 40 a little more challenging.


Yet, although difficult, losing weight is not impossible when you turn 40. As long as you embrace some simple lifestyle changes like regular exercise, balanced eating, and healthy coping strategies for stress, you will be able to lose weight and keep fit.


One effective way to achieve all that is a complete environmental overhaul. While small changes can help you trim down, you will be able to achieve even better results when you are away from your familiar environment and the factors that can complicate your weight-loss efforts.


Even better, joining a weight loss retreat program will help you cultivate healthy lifestyle habits, improve your health and fitness level, and stay consistent once at home. 


Why Weight Loss for Women Over 40 Is Often Challenging?



There are a number of reasons why losing weight takes longer after 40, from menopause and hormonal changes to a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, work-related stress, and lack of enough rest and sleep.


Today more than ever, life is fast-paced and full of stress, strain, and worries, and many find it challenging to find room and time for self-care. Not only are we in a rush and turn to ready-to-eat food to save time but stress can cause emotional overeating and loss-of-control eating.


While it helps us fill emotional needs, comfort eating often results in difficulties with weight loss and maintenance. 


“Replacement Therapy” 



Emotional eaters tend to overeat in response to negative feelings and conditions like loneliness, stress, anger, anxiety, and depression. Many turn to food to combat difficult feelings, fill a void, or when they have no other forms of pleasure.


The problem is that in doing so, we stop learning healthy ways to cope with difficult feelings. Not only this but the feel-good foods we consume are packed with sugar and carbohydrates and low in nutrition, resulting in weight gain and malnutrition. 


Inactive Lifestyle 


A sedentary lifestyle is hurting health in many ways, from reduced metabolism and chronic inflammation to a higher risk for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and depression. A sedentary lifestyle and low levels of physical activity are also associated with being overweight and obese.


In fact, one study shows that middle-aged women with obesity and more severe menopause symptoms are more likely to live a sedentary lifestyle. 

Lack of Rest


Work overload and lack of rest are associated with multiple health problems, including type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and stroke.


Research has also found that middle-aged women with a heavy double burden (work and family responsibilities) are more prone to have a high average BMI.


One explanation is that demands from caregiving and work can lead to chronic stress which is linked to the release of cortisol into the bloodstream. Cortisol has been shown to stimulate the body’s carb and fat metabolism, thus increasing appetite and contributing to eating foods that are high in fat and sugar. 



Many women report gaining weight around menopause, and the main reason is changing hormonal levels. The levels of estradiol, which regulates fat distribution and metabolism, decrease, increasing the risk for weight gain.


Also, lower estrogen levels result in an elevated waist circumference due to visceral fat increase in the midsection. Unlike subcutaneous fat which is found under the skin and places like the buttocks and thighs, visceral fat deposits deep inside the abdomen, surrounding vital organs like the intestines and liver.


The increase in visceral fat is associated with a higher risk for inflammatory diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and insulin resistance (Obesity Action Coalition).




Metabolism and nutritional needs change when the body starts transitioning to menopause. Estrogen levels decrease and slow down metabolism, which is the rate at which your body’s cells convert calories into energy. When metabolism gets slower, you need fewer calories per day to maintain your usual weight.


In addition, thyroid levels decrease, insulin levels rise, and estrogen drops, all of which make you feel hungrier. As your metabolic rate is now slower, you may end up consuming more calories than you burn, resulting in weight gain.



Like other women in their 40s, your life likely revolves around your children and other members of your household. This can make it difficult to focus on dieting. And if you have young children, you’re likely spending your after-work time preparing food. On weekends, you think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mac and cheese, fluffy banana pancakes, rich potato dauphinoise, French bread pizza.


Yet, when you hit 40, you can’t eat like this and expect to stay slim. Likewise, telling yourself you just need to cut down on carbs will not help. You need to change your mindset if you want to stay thin. 




If you are like most women in their 40s, you have enough on your plate. You have children to look after, your job is stressful, and you are feeling the financial strain at times. All these stressors and competing demands can cause your levels of cortisol to increase, resulting in a drop in blood sugar and cravings for high-sugar foods. 





According to a study in Scientific Reports, people between 40 and 50 years get the least amount of sleep. On the wrong side of 40, you have plenty of responsibilities to shoulder both at the workplace and at home.


Besides juggling work commitments, children, and household chores, this is the time when many starts taking care of older members of their families. As well as physical changes that influence sleep, stress is a common reason why people in their 40s get less sleep.


As the body releases cortisol during times of stress and blood sugar drops, this can make us crave sugary foods. Because sugar is absorbed quickly, which makes it a quick source of energy, it’s often the first thing you grab whenever you are feeling stressed. 


Tips on Improving Women’s Health



Perimenopause or the menopausal transition is the best time to begin your weight loss journey. When your period stops permanently and estrogen levels drop, it will be more difficult to lose weight and get and stay slim.


So, if you are approaching menopause and weight gain is a concern, this is a good time to make some lifestyle changes that will help you get fit. From forming healthy eating habits and learning how to manage stress to joining fitness and yoga retreats to get back in shape, there are plenty of ways to revive your abandoned New Year’s resolution and reclaim your healthy self.

Fitness Retreats to Regain Control over Your Health



Fitness retreats offer a multitude of benefits, ranging from expert behavioral coaching and motivation and support to nutrition advice, stimulating activities, and getting started with self-care. Joining a fitness retreat is an opportunity to narrow your focus and work on yourself. It can be difficult to stick to your weight loss goals while juggling between housework, family, work commitments, and social events.


Working with a behavioral health team can help you take control of your weight and well-being. They will help you identify the causes of unintentional weight gain, gain control of emotional eating, and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. As unhealthy eating is one of the main culprits of weight gain, you will get expert advice from nutritionists and medical professionals to help you change your relationship with food and enjoy a super-tasty, improved diet.


Lastly, many fitness retreats incorporate games, low-impact exercises, dancing, and fun activities that boost metabolism, burn fat, and prevent weight gain. 


Get a Personalized Exercise Plan for Weight Loss 



Following a personalized exercise plan can be a great way to shape up and maintain a healthy weight. To begin with, a customized plan is tailored to you, your fitness level, and your goals. Everyone is at different levels and it is important to start where you are, expanding your comfort zone without discomfort and getting too far.


In addition to exercising at your own pace to gradually move into a growth zone, an effective fitness plan is one that is tailored to your goals. Whether you are looking to trim down, get in shape, build endurance, or get a bikini body, your plan should align with your goals while keeping you focused and motivated. 


Form New Eating Habits


Improving your eating habits is key to meeting your weight loss goals. That said, women in their 40s should follow some specific recommendations to account for metabolism slowdown.

Perimenopausal women need to adopt healthy habits such as control over emotional eating, limited portion size, and small, frequent, and well-balanced meals. Eating a diverse, balanced diet with plenty of nuts and seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean meat not only helps maintain a healthy weight but can reduce symptoms of menopause. 


Get Rid of Accumulated Stress



As stress is one of the main culprits for emotional eating and weight gain, good stress management is essential to weight loss success. Depending on what feels like it will work best for you, you can try yoga or mindfulness practice, keep a journal, find a new hobby, go on vacation, etc.


In essence, practicing self-care is key to taming stress, whether it is getting a massage, reading a book, or taking a long bath. 


Recharge with Energy from Nature



Spending time in nature is good for women’s health in a number of ways, from improved sleep and better breathing to reduced irritability and stress. Spending just 20 minutes in nature can help reduce cortisol levels according to a study at Frontiers in Psychology. Flushing cortisol out of your body not only makes you calm down but reduces stress-reduced cravings for high-sugar foods. 

Wrapping Up




Weight loss for women after 40 can seem like a challenge due to hormonal changes, metabolism slowing down, and a multitude of responsibilities and competing priorities. In middle age, many are sandwiched between children and elderly parents who need help with care.


Juggling your role as a worker, partner, parent, and caregiver can leave little time for self-care, leading to an inactive lifestyle, unhealthy eating, lack of sleep, and chronic stress. Dealing with the busiest time in your life shifts the focus away from your needs and what is best for you, making it challenging to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle.


While being in your 40s can feel like a pile-on, the perimenopausal transition is just the right time to start taking more responsibility for your health. Transitioning to menopause can be an opportunity for new beginnings and luckily, there are many good ways to get back in shape and improve your health. From forming new eating habits and taming stress to getting a personalized fitness or yoga plan and joining a fitness retreat, there are plenty of opportunities to kickstart your journey to a healthier, happier you. 

DISCLAIMER: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new routines, programs, or nutrition plans to ensure you receive the best medical advice and strategy for your specific individual needs.