Shoshoni Yoga Retreat

»An ashram experience with a touch of spa«


Shoshoni is a spiritual community that welcomes guests to share in the quiet, peaceful life they have created in this isolated and beautiful corner of Colorado. Although more ashram than yoga vacation, Shoshoni delicately blends the two approaches. Here, guests are able to participate in a truly yogic lifestyle without committing to any length of stay or any particular activity unless the mood strikes them.

  • What we love
  • Spectacular natural setting
  • Serious yoga without a serious attitude
  • Truly delicious food
  • Strong community feeling
  • What to know
  • Open year-round
  • Limited to non-existent cell-phone coverage and Internet access
  • More ashram than spa – simple living
  • Some guests observe silence, please do not disturb
  • Why go
  • The devotion of residents to a yogic lifestyle
  • Outstanding classes in classical Hatha
  • Accredited Teacher Training Courses

With no minimum stay and certainly no maximum, Shoshoni Yoga Retreat is an easy-going taste of the simple life in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. While this is definitely an ashram-like center, there are touches of spa-style comfort: The accommodations are simply decorated but the thread-count of the sheets is high. The food is pure vegetarian, but delicious not bland. The activities are very much in keeping with a typical day on an Indian ashram but unlike an Indian ashram, participation is optional. This last point is important when easing the transition from a western mind-set to that of an ashram. For instance, although attending temple is an important part of life for the residents here, compulsory attendance would perhaps feel like indoctrination. The free choice makes observing a temple worship-session feel like cultural education – a pleasure – rather than an encroachment on personal liberty.

Being true to the self is core to the philosophy of Shoshoni, and is reflected not only in the optional attendance of activities. Guests are encouraged to 'switch off' from the distractions of daily life, and so cell-phone coverage is almost non-existent thanks to the deliberately remote location of the center. Internet access is unreliable at best, so staying here with the intention of keeping in touch with the outside world is folly. So too is the intention of arriving hoping to have a raucous social experience. Some guests wear badges indicating that they are observing silence, and etiquette dictates that a good-morning smile should be the extent of interaction with these dedicated folk.

This doesn't mean that Shoshoni is full of people who have never lived a mainstream life. Far from it. While most of the permanent residents here are students of yogic principles and have that gentle hippyish air that accompanies such a life, many of them have lived high-pressure lifestyles among the power-suits, power-lunches, and triple-bypass operations of corporate America. Now they, like you, are simply looking for a way to slow down in all ways possible. Calming the mind, slowing the breath, and bringing awareness back to the present with a toolkit full of yogic methods.

A typical day begins at 5.30am with the Guru Gita, a chanting session. The effects of chanting are simultaneously hypnotizing and energizing – reputedly owing to the vibration of sound through the abdominal cavity that acts as an internal massage. Focusing on creating the sound has a meditative effect that alters the pattern of brain waves, inducing a feeling of calm and clarity. For those of us who are barely able to stumble to the coffee machine by 7am, this is a completely new way to start the day.

After a good breakfast – and really, the quality of the food made from ingredients grown on-site cannot be overstated – the rest of the morning is filled with classes and free time. Specifically, Shambhava yoga classes. Shambava is a hatha style distinguished by meditative focus and use of breath that incorporates creative classes in flow and holding poses. Woven into the day is free time for hiking, sleeping, reading or whatever other activity appeals most at the time. After lunch, more free time and another Hatha session are followed by dinner and Satsang, the chanting farewell to the day. By 8pm the day is usually over, and while early nights are a natural extension of such an early start, there is plenty of time left for a soak in the outdoor hot-tub that overlooks the spectacular Rockies.

Daytime activities can either be of the spartan variety like meditation or silent study, or the spa variety – think rejuvenating sugar scrubs and ayurvedic facials. These treatments can be paid for as a stand-alone session or as part of a package. The packages range from the 'taster' kind, with one private yoga class plus two ayurvedic treatments (Abhyanga and Nasya, for those in the know) to a full package which includes a selection of almost everything available. These packages do not include accommodation, which varies in price depending on the level of privacy. A camp-site is the cheapest option, with other choices ranging up through dorm rooms to completely private cabins or rooms, which are recommended for anyone who is observing silence. Those who wish to be secluded as well as silent can have their meals delivered to their room or cabin for an additional nightly cost.

All accommodation fees, whether a single night or much longer, include morning and evening meditation/chanting, three meals a day and two yoga classes. The yoga classes are group sessions, led by fully qualified teachers, with plenty of individual attention regardless of the skill level. Private yoga sessions are available as an optional extra. Day retreats, for those who prefer not to stay overnight, are in package options or at a drop-in rate for a single yoga class. The isolation and inviting atmosphere of the retreat generally means that most guests opt to stay the night.

The Teacher Training Courses are all in the Hatha style. Accredited with the Yoga Alliance, these are offered in the basic 200-hour length or the more advanced 500-hour option. From time to time there are also qualifications taught in specialty areas. The timing and content of these are variable, so Shoshoni's website is the best place to find the latest information.

Shoshoni Yoga Retreat is an ashram at heart. Although the luxury extras are a lovely way to ease away the cares of a stressful everyday life, don't expect a heady whirl of social activities. Deep detox from modern life is the focus here, sending guests back to the world with a lungful of clean air, a body full of clean energy, and a mind emptied of extraneous chatter.

About the area: Rollinsville

Rollinsville, Colorado, has a total population of less than 200 souls. This is truly one of those American small-towns where time seems to get lazy, slipping gently from one season into the next with no hasty attempts to pull itself into the 21st century. The most notable attraction of the area is the Roosevelt National Forest, more than 800,000 acres of unspoilt wilderness. Fresh lakes, deep gullies, and soaring peaks enfold the more determined hikers, some of whom return every year. The climate in and around Rollinsville is very pleasant, with a July high of 29 degrees C (85F) and a snowy January-night low of -10 degrees C (14F).

Image credit: Shoshoni Yoga Retreat

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