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Envisioning The New Year || asana, meditation and vision for 2019 || Monday, 12/31 from 2-4 pm || Coolidge Yoga South End, Boston, Massachusetts www.coolidgeyoga.com

Yoga, meditation, and envisioning become even more powerful and pertinent tools for manifestation as the new year approaches.

This workshop will include an inspiring yoga practice designed to connect us to what's at our core. We will follow this up by creating our own vision boards to distill what matters most so that we may generate and grow the life we most deeply desire. Meditation will seal everything in and strengthen our intentions.

A vision board is a collection of photographs, clippings, and other images that serve to focus our intentions and request universal influence in living the life most in line with what we want. Corkboards, pins, magazines, and scissors will be provided. If there are any personally meaningful images or items that you would like to add to your board, feel free to bring them.

$35 (All materials are included). Registration in advance strongly encouraged at www.coolidgeyoga.com

SOLD OUT! Building Ojas, a Half-Day Yoga and Ayurveda Staycation Retreat || with Laura Ahrens Yoga & Lauren Massalas Ayurveda || at The Moon Lodge at Hawthorn Farm, Medfield, MA || Saturday, January 5th, 2019, 8am-1pm || hawthornfarmretreat.com

Ojas is the essence within us that preserves our vitality.  Start the new year off right by building within you that which contributes to your immunity, vigor, and endurance. As we build towards the light on the other side of the Winter Solstice and in the freshness of the new year, we’ll come together in community, without the distractions of urban life and regular responsibilities, to immerse ourselves in Yoga and Ayurveda to nurture our aliveness and increase our capacity.

This retreat is ideal for those who want something closer by, less expensive, in a shorter time span. We’ll start our day with a nourishing and hearty welcome drink, a morning  90-minute LA signature yoga practice  intended to deepen your practice, both physical and spiritual, and invite homecoming of body and spirit. The practice is adaptive and can accommodate all abilities. Afterwards, a lecture will nourish your mind and an Ayurvedic vegetarian or vegan lunch will nourish your belly and senses. We’ll finish our day with pranayama and send you on the road with a warm drink and tasty treat and a gift from us.

Investment: $95 per person. Includes: Pre-practice drink, yoga practice, lecture, lunch, a snack for the road, and a little gift from us to you. For more information on Laura, www.ahrens.yoga.com. For more information on Lauren, www.laurenmassalas.com. Does not include: Transportation to and from the center, though we can help you arrange that with each other. Please feel free to bring your own hot beverage containers to minimize waste for your snacks on the go!

Turning Inward, a Winter Yoga and Meditation Retreat || at Spirit Fire Retreat Center || Leyden, MA ||Saturday, January 19th to Monday, January 21st (MLK Day) www.spiritfireretreatcenter.com

Winter invites us to turn inwards to experience the magic and majesty of our own inner landscape. The ground frozen and barren, the days short and dark, our practice is to tend to our inner light, to stoke the fire within. This retreat is one of coming together in community, and also of being alone with yourself. Without the distractions of urban life and regular responsibilities, there’s more space for mindfulness, contemplation, and reflection that you can then translate to your life, work, relationships, and activism. We will unwind the nervous system to glimpse the benefits of repatterning and releasing habitual ways of being so we can approach life with more intention and choice.

Morning 90-minute yoga practice will be the usual LA signature intended to deepen your practice, both physical and spiritual, and invite homecoming to and uniting of body and spirit. The practice is adaptive and can accommodate all abilities. The evening 60- minute practice will include meditation, restorative, chanting, and Reiki.

Between practices, we will enjoy the grounds through hiking and, weather permitting, snowshoeing, sipping tea together or alone in the sitting areas throughout the center, and yoga and mindfulness education talks on the retreat theme through the lens of yogic philosophy. The practices and talks will be intentionally woven together and built upon each other from day to day that will reinforce our learnings together.

Spirit Fire Retreat Center is a place to find peace and reconnect with nature and your true nature. Several sitting areas invite quietude and self-reflection, time to chat and catch up, or have a cup of tea. At Spirit Fire Retreat Center, there are 95 sacred acres of forest, meadow, and ridge-surrounded valley. A trail system winds through the woods, over three small streams, beside a secluded meadow, and back to their center and its lawns and gardens. Though it won’t be the same sleeveless-romp-under-the-sun as summer, winter’s quiet makes for perfect contemplative walking and hiking. If there is snowfall, snowshoes will be provided for all participants.

Two hours West of Boston and four hours north of New York City, Spirit Fire is secluded enough to be out of range of good cellular service and the light pollution of urban living. The night skies there reveal magnificent stars, and we will have a fire circle under them to connect with the elements and with each other.

Meals at Spirit Fire are local and organic. All meals will be provided during your stay, starting with lunch on Saturday and ending with lunch on Monday. Spirit Fire serves as much seasonal, organic produce as possible. If they don't grow it in their own gardens, they gather it from local farms and cooperatives. This retreat will be completely vegan.

Spirit Fire also has a wonderful little bookstore with not only books, but items from local artists or imported from around the world.  They also have sundries and toiletries should you have forgotten yours. Worried about the spotty cell service? They provide free access to their landlines if you need to make calls. Wifi is also available if you’re uncomfortable being disconnected.

Investment: $550 for 3 days 2 nights lodging, all meals, all yoga classes, meditation, lectures, hiking, snowshoeing, and a fire circle. Not included: Transportation to and from the retreat center, items from the bookstore. Rooming options: Spirit fire has 5 double occupancy, two triple occupancy, and one quad. There are 6 bathrooms. Arrival: 11am on Saturday Departure: 2:30 pm on Monday (MLK day, many have off!)

Laura@ahrens.yoga for questions or to register. $200 deposit secures your spot. All deposits sent to Laura Ahrens, venmo or PO Box 1266, Brookline, MA 02446.

Bhagavad Gita Book Club: Living A Life of Yoga || Coolidge Yoga Brookline || Fridays March 1, April 5, May 3 6:30-9:30pm || www.coolidgeyoga.com

The Bhagavad Gita is a sacred yogic text, often called a Dharma shastra, since it deals primarily with our purpose. Unlike some acetic texts, which outline the process of receding from society, withdrawing from interaction to be reclusive in practice, the Bhagavad Gita is a text about action, duty, and being in the world.

As a householder’s text, the Bhagavad Gita is relatable to those who have responsibilities, occupations, relationships, and children, and can’t (or don’t want to!) retreat to a cave to do their practice, but still want to have a meaningful connection to the way their yoga walks through the world with them.

In this group you will:

-Practice physical postural yoga each meeting || Gain understanding about the underlying concepts and themes of the Bhagavad Gita, some allegorical or metaphorical and incredibly applicable to life || Discuss assigned readings from the Bhagavad Gita as a community, with an opportunity to explore the richness of the material with like-minded others || Discover how this text can help you to live your yoga off the mat || Deepen your understand of/connecting to the philosophy of yoga || Learn practical applications of off-the-mat yoga skills

Laura will also assign optional exploration for between sessions to help you develop a relationship to the content in the month between meetings. Investment: $145 for 3 yoga classes, 6 hours of lecture and discussion, and weekly assignments/ discussion board contact between participants and leader in between sessions. www.coolidgeyoga.com

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The Power of Pranayama: Breathwork Techniques to Concentrate Your Energy and Take Charge of Your Mind with Laura Ahrens and Tatyana Souza || Saturday, March 1, 2019, 1pm-3pm || Coolidge Yoga, 1297 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA www.coolidgeyoga.com

Designed equally for beginners and seasoned practitioners, in this class you will learn about the power of intentional breathing and refine your connection to your breath. A classical part of the yoga tradition, pranayama offers the opportunity to become more intimate with your own life force energy.

The breath is inextricably linked to the central nervous system, and even just once cycle of breath can signal either uneasiness or calm to the body and brain, which sends a surge of hormones to change your biochemistry. Beyond the massive effects breath has on our entire being, pranayama can also be practiced to prepare for concentration and meditation, which can actually rewire the brain over time.

In the course of this workshop, which will be mostly comprised of asana practice, pranayama practice, and lecture, you’ll learn a variety of different kinds of yogic breathwork and understand their purpose. You will leave with an understanding of techniques both for continuous practice and when you need them in a pinch.

Cost: $40 /$35 by October 20

All workshops at Coolidge Yoga are non-refundable. 

Viva La Vida! || Retreat to Playa Viva, Playa Icacos, Juluchuca Mexico|| March 23-30, 2019 || www.playaviva.com || (5 spots remain)

Playa Viva is a sustainable boutique hotel with an emphasis on positive social and environmental impact for the local ecosystem. Located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, just 35 minutes south of Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa International Airport, Playa Viva is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains near the village of Juluchuca, situated on a mile of pristine and private beach. The property’s nearly 200 acres includes an estuary, an Aztec archaeological site, turtle sanctuary, and a coastal forest and mangrove ecosystem which supports an array of stunning wildlife. Miles of trails bring you up close and personal with the natural beauty of the land.

The Playa Viva Turtle Sanctuary is on site at the retreat center, and was founded to protect turtles from predators and poachers alike. The Turtle Sanctuary at Playa Viva is staffed by an all-volunteer team comprised of members from the local community of Juluchuca. The turtle sanctuary, "La Tortuga Viva", which translates to "The Living Turtle", and its team of volunteers receive training and minimal support from SEMARNAT, the Mexican Department of Environmental Protection. They release turtles almost daily, and you may be able to participate in their release and watch them make their journey to the sea.

Twice daily yoga will fine tune your body, mind, and spirit.  Registration will close at 12 maximum participants ensuring that the group size is intimate. We grow and learn in relationship, and the group will learn just as much from each other as they will from the teacher and the topics explored. Room types are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Retreating can be the space needed for introspection, reflection, and reconnection in order to come back to our daily lives with more attention and intention. da Vinci would step away from his canvas in order to see it with fresh eyes and new perspective. This retreat will be a deep dive into living the practice of yoga, for returning to our lives with more mindfulness, openness, and freedom. Through the lens of yogic philosophy, Buddhist meditation, and somatic psychology, this retreat will encourage participants to hone the tool of standing strongly in themselves in order to come back to the helm of their own lives. In yoga, we won’t mess around-- the 2- hour morning practice will be the usual LA signature intended to deepen your practice, both physical and spiritual, and invite homecoming to and uniting of body and spirit. The practice is adaptive and can accommodate all abilities. The evening 75- minute practice, depending on the night, will include meditation, restorative, chanting, reiki, and continuing education topics in the realm of yogic philosophy that will be intentionally woven together and built upon each other from night to night and from day to night that will reinforce our learnings together. We will unwind the nervous system to glimpse the benefits of repatterning and releasing habitual ways of being so we can approach life with more intention and choice.

Participants will be served three meals daily, supplied by the property’s on-site organic farm and garden. Snacks are also provided as needed. While not in practice, enjoy relaxing on the property’s 200 acres of protected land, at the on-site pool, on the mile-long private beach, or enjoy an excursion to some of the wonders nearby (listed on Playa Viva’s website). Optional is a Temescal, a traditional sweat lodge ceremony.

Included: airport ground transfer to and from, all meals and snacks, all non-alcoholic, non-blended beverages, twice daily yoga, meditation, reiki, all taxes and tips, donation to the turtle sanctuary. Not included: Flights, blended drinks, organic coconuts, excursions. Investment: $1,790 per person for 8 days, 7 nights. $500 non-refundable deposit secures your spot. To register or inquire: laura@ahrens.yoga

Everything You Wanted To Know About Chatturanga (but were afraid to ask!) || Saturday, April 13th, 1-3pm || Coolidge Yoga Brookline, MA || www.coolidgeyoga.com

Widely practiced but often misunderstood, learn to unlock the power that’s held within this pose. Align with strong anatomical principles to create muscular connection and a sound skeletal architecture. Dive deeper than the body to understand how this pose provides an opportunity for us to explore ourselves and our relationships to others and the world around us. It’s a lot for just one pose. But it’s all in there.

You’ll learn: How to build (and/or teach) chatturanga from the ground up || Modifications for accommodating injuries/limitations || Exercises and postures to build required strength || How chatturanga and its preparatory poses can be applied to more advanced asana || How to approach the practice in a way that illuminates and changes the way we live and love.

$25 per person. www.coolidgeyoga.com to register.

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Spring Lambing Retreat || Metta Earth Institute|| Lincoln, VT || April 19-21, 2019 www.mettaearth.org

The Metta Earth Institute is a beautiful mecca of sustainability and heart-centered living-off-the-land in Lincoln, Vermont. Considered a spiritual center of the state, Lincoln, Vermont, is a high-vibrational host to this beautiful site. Built on 158 acres of mountains, fields, rivers, and trees, The Metta Earth Institute is a haven of permaculture, ecopsychology, environmentalism, and living lightly in the midst of its natural habitat. The opportunity at the Metta Earth Institute is to be at the forefront of the sustainability movement and to bring stewardship of the earth to the surface for examination and participation. There is a felt sense of oneness with all things, a centering into oneself, and a depth of connection that is humanizing and freeing against the backdrop of natural beauty and among other caring souls that is more available in this place through their vibrant mission and intentionality of action.

I’m personally so excited to head to Metta Earth during this carefully selected time-- the baby lambs will just have been born! Or may be being born during the retreat, if nature decides so. The sheep are so friendly and loving; they wag their tails while being pet, nuzzle and nudge, and are so excited about attention from visitors to Metta Earth. We’ll have the opportunity during this retreat to connect with newborn lambs and their beautiful mamas. We’ll celebrate new life and get lots of love from the sheep. Because it will be chilly, there will be plenty of extra blankets in all the rooms, and the yurts have fireplaces inside of them that help keep the spaces toasty warm.

Their organic farm and flower garden is a sight to see, and is mostly what feeds and supports retreat participants for the entire weekend save a few supplemental foods from neighboring farms. Since this retreat will bring in just the first few signs of spring, so much of what we eat will have been preserved from the previous abundant harvest, a process we took part in at the September 2018 retreat. Daily meals, mostly grown from the organic farm on the property, are served community-style, where coming together to dine is an opportunity to experience express gratitude for the fruits of the earth, our togetherness, and the opportunity to practice.

Metta Earth Institute describes their mission in the following way: “We support living lightly and compassionately on the planet. Regenerative principles include: interdependence and a cooperative work ethic, conservation efforts for the protection of wild lands and native species, innovations in human-scale farming and gardening, contemplative practices including mindfulness, yoga, and meditation, culturally enhancing arts and healing practices, permaculture design, appropriate technologies, renewable energy, and green building.”

The main house “maximize(s) green building techniques and materials in every detail, such as the minimizing of waste through careful reuse and recycling, the use of nontoxic and eco friendly paints and building products, and energy efficient house systems...and serves as a common space for guests and staff with kitchen, bathing, library, laundry, dining, living and teaching spaces.” The Yoga Studio, also located in the main house, is floored with sustainably harvested bamboo and has light pouring in through large windows on both sides, facing the mountains and the gardens. Yurts on the premises offer another way to enjoy the land through your stay, as you have the opportunity to sleep in the midst of the forest in a sacred circular space. Camping is also offered for those who wish to bring their own tents to set up on the land.

The retreat includes three of the usual LA signature classes intended to deepen your practice, both physical and spiritual, complete with core connection and sermons of intention, to invite homecoming to and uniting of body and spirit. The practice is adaptive and can accommodate all abilities and one restorative practice with sound healing and reiki. Meditation, both active and seated, is interspersed throughout. Gillian and Russell, owners and directors of The Metta Earth Institute, co-create the retreat and share the mission and values of the Metta Earth experientially throughout the time together. Gillian and Russell share the mission of Metta Earth through their teachings and presence in daily ways that are woven into mundane interactions, making the ordinary extraordinary. Russell is at the helm in the kitchen, and helps us to remember where our nourishment comes from. Through his gentle presence, he teaches us the power of service and awareness.

Includes: all accommodations, all yoga, reiki, sound healing and meditation, a daily morning smoothie/juice offering before practice, three daily local organic meals, tea making and ceremony, farm tour. Does not include: transportation to and from the institute, purchases in the Metta Earth store. Items available for purchase may include cookbooks, fresh eggs, homemade kombucha, dried garlic and chilis, tinctures, maple syrup tapped from Metta Earth maples, homemade salves, and more.

Investment per person: Room in Main House: $560/Yurts on Premises: $520/Camping: $470


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Vermont Summer Sweetness Retreat, Metta Earth Institute, Lincoln, VT, July 5-8, 2019 || www.mettaearth.org || (5 spots remain)

The Metta Earth Institute is a beautiful mecca of sustainability and heart-centered living-off-the-land in Lincoln, Vermont. Considered a spiritual center of the state, Lincoln, Vermont, is a high-vibrational host to this beautiful site. Built on 158 acres of mountains, fields, rivers, and trees, The Metta Earth Institute is a haven of permaculture, ecopsychology, environmentalism, and living lightly in the midst of its natural habitat. The opportunity at the Metta Earth Institute is to be at the forefront of the sustainability movement and to bring stewardship of the earth to the surface for examination and participation. There is a felt sense of oneness with all things, a centering into oneself, and a depth of connection that is humanizing and freeing against the backdrop of natural beauty and among other caring souls that is more available in this place through their vibrant mission and intentionality of action.

Their organic farm and flower garden is a sight to see, and is mostly what feeds and supports retreat participants for the entire weekend save a few supplemental foods from neighboring farms. The garden invites butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, and is lovingly planted on land that was blessed specifically by a Lama. It continues inside, and super special houseplants line the rooms of the main house, including a robust and mysterious Night Blooming Cereus. Daily meals, mostly grown from the organic farm on the property, are served community-style, where coming together to dine is an opportunity to experience express gratitude for the fruits of the earth, our togetherness, and the opportunity to practice.

Metta Earth Institute describes their mission in the following way: “We support living lightly and compassionately on the planet. Regenerative principles include: interdependence and a cooperative work ethic, conservation efforts for the protection of wild lands and native species, innovations in human-scale farming and gardening, contemplative practices including mindfulness, yoga, and meditation, culturally enhancing arts and healing practices, permaculture design, appropriate technologies, renewable energy, and green building.”

The main house “maximize(s) green building techniques and materials in every detail, such as the minimizing of waste through careful reuse and recycling, the use of nontoxic and eco friendly paints and building products, and energy efficient house systems...and serves as a common space for guests and staff with kitchen, bathing, library, laundry, dining, living and teaching spaces.” The Yoga Studio, also located in the main house, is floored with sustainably harvested bamboo and has light pouring in through large windows on both sides, facing the mountains and the gardens. Yurts on the premises offer another way to enjoy the land through your stay, as you have the opportunity to sleep in the midst of the forest in a sacred circular space. Camping is also offered for those who wish to bring their own tents to set up on the land.

The retreat includes three of the usual LA signature classes intended to deepen your practice, both physical and spiritual, complete with core connection and sermons of intention, to invite homecoming to and uniting of body and spirit. The practice is adaptive and can accommodate all abilities and one restorative practice with sound healing and reiki. Meditation, both active and seated, is interspersed throughout. Gillian and Russell, owners and directors of The Metta Earth Institute, co-create the retreat and share the mission and values of the Metta Earth experientially throughout the time together. Gillian offers a tea making/ceremony in which we learn to connect more deeply to plants and the earth and join in the art and meditation of sipping and sharing space, which includes a walking meditation to the river to help us connect and attune to the water and the land, both vital elements of the tea to be made. Gillian and Russell share the mission of Metta Earth through their teachings and presence in daily ways that are woven into mundane interactions, making the ordinary extraordinary. Weather permitting, a bonfire helps us connect to the natural elements, allowing that energy to burn what no longer serves us and to kindle that which we wish to foster. Russell is at the helm in the kitchen, and helps us to remember where our nourishment comes from. Through his gentle presence, he teaches us the power of service and awareness.

Includes: all accommodations, all yoga, reiki, sound healing and meditation, a daily morning smoothie/juice offering before practice, three daily local organic meals, tea making and ceremony, farm tour. Does not include: transportation to and from the institute, purchases in the Metta Earth store. Items available for purchase may include cookbooks, fresh eggs, homemade kombucha, dried garlic and chilis, tinctures, maple syrup tapped from Metta Earth maples, homemade salves, and more.

Investment per person: Room in Main House: $615/Yurts on Premises: $570/Camping: $525 for 4 days and 3 nights.

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More Metta, an Autumn retreat to Metta Earth Institute, Lincoln, VT, September 13-15, 2019, www.mettaearth.org

The Metta Earth Institute is a beautiful mecca of sustainability and heart-centered living-off-the-land in Lincoln, Vermont. Considered a spiritual center of the state, Lincoln, Vermont, is a high-vibrational host to this beautiful site. Built on 158 acres of mountains, fields, rivers, and trees, The Metta Earth Institute is a haven of permaculture, ecopsychology, environmentalism, and living lightly in the midst of its natural habitat. The opportunity at the Metta Earth Institute is to be at the forefront of the sustainability movement and to bring stewardship of the earth to the surface for examination and participation. There is a felt sense of oneness with all things, a centering into oneself, and a depth of connection that is humanizing and freeing against the backdrop of natural beauty and among other caring souls that is more available in this place through their vibrant mission and intentionality of action.

Their organic farm and flower garden is a sight to see, and is mostly what feeds and supports retreat participants for the entire weekend save a few supplemental foods from neighboring farms. The garden invites butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, and is lovingly planted on land that was blessed specifically by a Lama. It continues inside, and super special houseplants line the rooms of the main house, including a robust and mysterious Night Blooming Cereus. Daily meals, mostly grown from the organic farm on the property, are served community-style, where coming together to dine is an opportunity to experience express gratitude for the fruits of the earth, our togetherness, and the opportunity to practice.

Metta Earth Institute describes their mission in the following way: “We support living lightly and compassionately on the planet. Regenerative principles include: interdependence and a cooperative work ethic, conservation efforts for the protection of wild lands and native species, innovations in human-scale farming and gardening, contemplative practices including mindfulness, yoga, and meditation, culturally enhancing arts and healing practices, permaculture design, appropriate technologies, renewable energy, and green building.”

The main house “maximize(s) green building techniques and materials in every detail, such as the minimizing of waste through careful reuse and recycling, the use of nontoxic and eco friendly paints and building products, and energy efficient house systems...and serves as a common space for guests and staff with kitchen, bathing, library, laundry, dining, living and teaching spaces.” The Yoga Studio, also located in the main house, is floored with sustainably harvested bamboo and has light pouring in through large windows on both sides, facing the mountains and the gardens. Yurts on the premises offer another way to enjoy the land through your stay, as you have the opportunity to sleep in the midst of the forest in a sacred circular space. Camping is also offered for those who wish to bring their own tents to set up on the land.

The retreat includes three of the usual LA signature classes intended to deepen your practice, both physical and spiritual, complete with core connection and sermons of intention, to invite homecoming to and uniting of body and spirit. The practice is adaptive and can accommodate all abilities and one restorative practice with sound healing and reiki. Meditation, both active and seated, is interspersed throughout. Gillian and Russell, owners and directors of The Metta Earth Institute, co-create the retreat and share the mission and values of the Metta Earth experientially throughout the time together. Gillian will offer a tea making/ceremony in which we learn to connect more deeply to the powerful plant Tulsi and to the earth and join in the art and meditation of sipping and sharing space. We’ll also spend some time in the garden, then bring our harvest to the kitchen for pickling, pesto, and salsa making.

Gillian and Russell share the mission of Metta Earth through their teachings and presence in daily ways that are woven into mundane interactions, making the ordinary extraordinary. The cows, chickens, and sheep will become your new best friends. Weather permitting, a bonfire helps us connect to the natural elements, allowing that energy to burn what no longer serves us and to kindle that which we wish to foster. Russell is at the helm in the kitchen, and helps us to remember where our nourishment comes from. Through his gentle presence, he teaches us the power of service and awareness.

Includes: all accommodations, all yoga, reiki, sound healing and meditation, a daily morning smoothie/juice offering before practice, three daily local organic meals, tea making and ceremony, farm tour. Does not include: transportation to and from the institute, purchases in the Metta Earth store. Items available for purchase may include cookbooks, fresh eggs, homemade kombucha, dried garlic and chilis, tinctures, maple syrup tapped from Metta Earth maples, homemade salves, and more.

Investment per person: Room in Main House: $560/Yurts on Premises: $520/Camping: $470