“Turn me loose, set me free, somewhere in the middle of Montana” by Vyda Bielkus

I am in all ways, shapes, and style a city girl. I don’t mind that I share this little space of our planet with millions of others who are carving out their lives in the concrete jungle. But every now and then, when I bump up to my own contraction of spirit, I love to blare Merle Haggard’s “Big City.” I let my mind wonder to the open space, the majestic mountains, the peaceful lake, and the people of Feathered Pipe Ranch.

As Merle’s gritty voice drifts through my ears “I’m tired of this dirty old city. Entirely too much work and never enough play. And I’m tired of these dirty old sidewalks. Think I’ll walk off my steady job today. Turn me loose, set me free, somewhere in the middle of Montana,” I find myself easily brought to that place in the middle of Montana that has welcomed me over and over again. Instantly I am there, standing in the expansion, feeling my feet (firm, rooted to mother earth), my heart (expanded to the fullest reach beyond the mountain tops) and my spirit (loose and free, completely without constraint). Very few places illicit these deep psycho-somatic connected memories in me like Feathered Pipe.

Feathered Pipe Ranch is by definition down to earth. It is why when I look to bring groups on our B1 Community Yoga Health retreats it is always at the top of my list, and why I can’t wait to lead a retreat there in September. A yoga retreat needs a backdrop as powerful as the program to contain the deep shifts that happen for folks who are taking time out of their lives for growth. Many a day I have spent on my mat in the log cabin lodge, looking out at the mountain peaks that surround the Ranch. The mountains really become part of the experience of the retreat, a dear witness to one’s own reach toward the heavens.

On most self development programs, insight for learning doesn’t just come from the experience in the classroom it occurs through the interactions you have throughout the week, with each other, the teachers, the staff, and the quiet moments. On one of my visits to the Ranch, little did I know that I would grapple with one of our biggest obstacles we face as humans, fear. And I surely didn’t expect it to happen along a quiet path in the middle of the woods. But there I was, enjoying the sun as it played on the golden leaves of the recently turned trees, minding my own business, when there it was: The Beast. This moment is burned into my memory bank forever. The antlers alone must have been my height. The Beast was so close that I could here his gums flap as he chomped on his lunch of prime vegetation. My body literally came to a screeching halt, completely frozen in fear, unable to move. My only real experience with wildlife up to this point had been at the zoo, where there was a wall of comfort between me and the animals. So I stood there frozen, deciding what to do. I could yell. I could run. I could wait; all unviable options. As I stood there examining my options, I could tell one thing for certain, he did not mind me one bit. In this moment of observation, I realized I had power over my fear. And as soon as I reconnected to MY power, I was able to look the Beast, who now started looking a little bit more like Bambi, in the eye and walk right on by.

A great treat to partake in, that we will experience on the B1 Yoga Health Retreat, is the potent power of a sweat lodge. My first sweat was a gift, I have never forgotten. Pat, the Native Elder, brought us into his sacred world and healing happened on levels unknown. India, the owner of Feathered Pipe Ranch, gives a little prep talk before the sweat lodge as most people’s closest experience to a sweat lodge is the sauna at their gym. “If you have too many questions,” she says, “you aren’t ready for the sweat lodge.” Honestly it is an experience that is hard to describe and a bonding of spirits that seems to heal generations past, present, and future. The people who visit the Ranch are lucky to have this deep experience available to them, with authentic and traditional healers.

Making the experience complete at the Ranch are the people that make it come to life. By sharing a tea with India Supera you get inspired by her tales as a pioneer of the yoga world we all enjoy today. Her staff, some of them her children, brings warmth and love to the food they prepare and the service they do everyday. Guests feel fully cared for from the time they arrive to when they part with a hug and an “until next time.”

I am a fortunate soul who has found her way to Feathered Pipe Ranch and invite you to join us for a Self-Enrichment week of yoga, health seminars, amazing hikes and more, September 3-10th, which will leave you moved beyond your imagination, email info@b1community.com for more information. See you on the path!

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