Seeking Higher Ground:
Hiking & Yoga Retreat
in the Dolomites (The BEST of the Italian Alps)
with Christina Sell
July 18 - 25, 2018
“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.” --Rene Daumal
There is no accident that seekers from all traditions have gone to the mountains for inspiration, insight and revelation. Glimpses of natural grandeur and pristine, expansive vistas serve as immediate reminders of our spiritual essence and our connection to nature, while providing an experience of both expansion and humility. This retreat is designed for anyone who is interested in immersing themselves in natural beauty as a means for renewal, introspection and self-care.
Set within the magical UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Dolomites, we’ll reside in the heart of the Dolomites, in a lovely family-run hotel in the beautiful town of Cortina d’Ampezzo.
We will take daily excursions into the uniquely splendid landscapes of the most extraordinary parts of the Dolomites, arguably the most stunning and distinct mountains in the world.
Each day will have 2 hiking options to choose from. Enjoy a casual approach, or take the more challenging hike (up to 7-9 miles with great climbs) through the most breathtaking landscapes. In the Dolomites, it is possible to savor the astonishing views without all the work, via cable cars, ski lifts and shuttle rides. The diverse and dramatic topography of the Dolomites offers vistas galore for everyone!
Christina Sell will lead a daily all-levels yoga class focusing on chest-opening to assist deep breathing at high elevation, leg stretching to counter-act long days hiking, as well as other techniques designed to assist and support recovery. Christina will make every effort to provide a progressive approach to the postures with modifications and substitutions to address various needs.
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This retreat sold out in ONE week last year!
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UNESCO describes the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as “being among the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world. Their intrinsic beauty derives from a variety of spectacular vertical forms, such as pinnacles, spires and towers, with contrasting horizontal surfaces including ledges, crags and plateaux, all of which rise abruptly above extensive talus deposits and more gentle foothills. A great diversity of colours is provided by the contrasts between the bare pale-coloured rock surfaces and the forests, lakes, and meadows below. The mountains rise as peaks with intervening ravines, in some places standing isolated but in others forming sweeping panoramas. Some of the rock cliffs here rise more than 1,500 m and are among the highest limestone walls found anywhere in the world… The quantity and concentration of extremely varied limestone formations is extraordinary in a global context, including peaks, towers, pinnacles and some of the highest vertical rock walls in the world.” Read more.
We’ll stay in a beautiful, comfortable, highly hospitable family-owned and -managed hotel just outside the downtown area of Cortina d’Ampezzo. It has all the amenities you’ll need and then some for a pleasurable stay. Each room is spacious by European standards and includes its own ensuite modern bathroom. On the outside you’ll find barrels bursting and pots overflowing with vivid and radiant flowers all over the place, and a tranquil, spacious, green private park. Trees sprinkle the park providing softly shaded areas, while simultaneously allowing sunshine to beam through. Lounge chairs are scattered throughout for your relaxation and enjoyment in the quiet and peaceful surrounding environment with the Alps floating above. There is also an illuminated pedestrian walkway that leads to the downtown area of Cortina. The interior boasts several delightful pleasures, including: a wellness center with sauna, Jacuzzi, Turkish baths and treatment rooms; cozy social spaces, reading room, tavern with fireplace and wine cellar that houses 160 labels from Italy and abroad; and an elegant dining room. Furnishings are a mix of elegance and coziness, and combine elements of Cortina’s traditional style with modern and practical features, like WiFi.
The charming Cortina d’Ampezzo, located in a gorgeous valley in the heart of the Dolomites, is Italy’s most esteemed alpine town. It’s dazzling, elegant and classic. Its pedestrian-only streets are lined with novelty, sports, luxury and glamour shops, little boutiques, restaurants, cafes, pasticcerias and pizzerias. Cobblestone streets, enjoyable piazzas and church spires fill its center, and the hovering and alluring Italian Alps frame it. You may recognize it when you see it, as it’s been featured in a number of films, most recognizably Cliffhanger, For Your Eyes Only, and The Pink Panther.
A large European breakfast will be served each morning in the tasteful dining room and will include fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli, cereal, eggs and bacon, ham and cheese, an assortment of bread, toast and pastries, and juice, coffee and tea. The delicious 4-course dinners range from local to international cuisine. They begin with the fresh salad bar. The first and second courses present choices of pasta, soup, vegetables and meat or fish dishes. Choices could range from native homemade pasta or asparagus in crepes, to veal shanks or filet mignon. Each night is different. Dessert introduces tempting cakes, pastry, gelato and fresh fruit. All is served by the friendly staff who seem to cater to each individual. Lunch will be a special treat at the rifugios.
Each day will include a hatha yoga class led by Christina Sell in a peaceful and picturesque private park with alpine peaks towering overhead. Classes will focus on chest-opening to assist deep breathing at high elevation, leg stretching to counter-act long days hiking, as well as other techniques designed to assist and support recovery. Christina will make every effort to provide a progressive approach to the postures with modifications and substitutions to address various needs. Christina has been practicing yoga since 1991 and teaching since 1998. She is the author of Yoga From the Inside Out: Making Peace with Your Body Through Yoga and My Body is a Temple: Yoga as a Path to Wholeness. Known for her down-to-earth teaching style, Christina's classes are fun, inspiring and full of tips, techniques and teachings to help students of all levels make progress in their practice. Steeped in alignment-oriented methods of asana, Christina sees postural practice as a way to deepen awareness, develop focus and cultivate compassion, not simply as an exercise regime or an anatomical endeavor. Christina lives in Buena Vista, CO with her husband, her dog, her two cats and her aging parents. When she is not practicing yoga, you will find her roaming in the mountains.
Prepare to be completely enchanted by the exhilarating landscapes you will see each day. The vast and diverse Dolomites (see above) offer magnificence everywhere you turn. Even from the road, they bless the viewer with captivating panoramas. Our excursions will be structured so that you will be immersed into the most dramatic and impressive scenes of the Dolomites whether you're a light hiker or a serious one. We will have access to the cable cars and ski lifts which can transport us to the soaring peaks and reduce the workload. At the top of the lifts, you’ll be entranced by striking 360 views that are so stupendous, you’ll feel as if you’ve been boosted up to heaven. You may choose to take a leisurely walk from there and drink in even more of the breathtaking vistas, and/or enjoy lunch at the rifugios (see below). If you love to hike, these colossal jagged peaks and pinnacles, soaring cliff walls, lunar landscapes, otherworldly green meadows, stunning alpine lakes and unexpected wild flowers are happy to indulge you even beyond your wildest dreams. We’ve scouted it all out and chosen the best trails for you to witness this mysterious and glorious land! We’ll all visit the most thrilling peaks, structures, valleys and meadows and spend an afternoon at a jaw-dropping, luminous lake and take a swim, walk its perimeter, or hike its peaks. You’ll have options to hike a little or a lot. Many of the more challenging hikes recommended are about 6-9 miles long with elevation gains between 1200- 4000 feet, and there are short options for those who would like something more leisurely.
During the day, we’ll also stop off at the rifugios (mountain huts) to savor their majestic setting. These mountain refuges are a part of the rich history of the Dolomites and they’re special gems of the area. They are each located in an exquisite alpine setting, and some are perched atop mountain peaks, seemingly at the edge of the world, while others sit at a lake’s shore, or smack-dab in the middle of a pristine meadow. The sauna pictured on the left sits in the clouds at 9000 feet and belongs to a very famous rifugio. You’ll be able take a cable car or hike up to it and enjoy lunch, a sauna and the heavenly views. All of the rifugios have sweeping panoramas. They allow us to commune with nature while experiencing the comforts of a hot cooked meal, cup of tea, glass of wine or beer or slice of cake. These unique rest stops serve as great venues to gather and meet interesting nature lovers from all over the world.
On the days you might prefer to "chill", there are many things to do in town. But you may prefer to relax with a book in the private hotel park, or luxuriate in the hotel’s wellness center. In the revitalizing wellness center, you may enjoy the sauna, soak in the Jacuzzi or Turkish Bath, or savor one of their treatments or massages.
Triple Room Share: $2595.
Double Room Share: $2895.
Single Room: $3495 (very limited number)
All prices are per person. You do not need to find your own roommate.
We can pair you up with someone if you are coming solo.
We cannot guarantee a triple room price until all there are enough other
participants who also want a triple. We can guarantee double room share price.
7 nights accommodations at a lovely 3-star hotel in Cortina d'Ampezzo (see above for hotel description.)
7 breakfasts. The large European breakfasts will include fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli, cereal, eggs and bacon, ham and cheese, an assortment of bread, toast and pastries, and juice, coffee and tea.
3 delicious 4-course dinners at the hotel, plus 1 special dinner out. Hotel dinners range from local to international cuisine. They begin with the fresh salad bar. The first and second courses present choices of pasta, soup, vegetables and meat, fish or vegetarian dishes. Choices could range from native homemade pasta or asparagus in crepes, to veal shanks or filet mignon. Each night is different. Dessert introduces tempting cakes, pastry, gelato and fresh fruit.
Daily hatha yoga classes led by Christina Sell, and yoga space rental.
Daily hiking or touring excursions. There will two hiking choices each day: one for more serious hikers and one more leisurely hike. Both will see the dramatic landscapes.
Ground transportation for scheduled excursions.
Lift tickets for scheduled excursions.
Free Wi-fi at the hotel
Does not include:
Lunches or 3 dinners.
Massages or Sauna use.
Any extra activities, lifts or ground transportation not included in the itinerary.
Deposit due to hold your space and payment schedule:
Triple Share: $2595 Triple Rooms.
Deposit to hold your space: $1300
Balance due February 1: $1295
Double Share: $2895
Deposit to hold your space: $1400
Balance due February 1: $1495
Single Room: $3495
Deposit to hold your space: $1800
Balance due February 1: $1695