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4 Days Women of Color Wilderness Empowerment Backpack & Yoga Retreat in Yosemite National Park, USA

Yosemite National Park Wilderness

Empowering Yoga Retreat USA

Join an incredible community of inspired women on this backpacking yoga trip of a lifetime in Yosemite National Park, USA! With this retreat, you will explore identity, community, and transcend both internal and external limitations during the empowering experience. This trip is beginner friendly. Anyone who self-identifies as a woman, including queer and trans women and as non-white such as Black, Hispanic or Latinas, Asians, Native Americans, Indigenous people, and mixed-race people are welcome and encouraged to join! Balanced Rock found that women, specifically women of color, are highly under-represented in the backcountry. In this retreat, Balanced Rock hopes to share the love for the Yosemite wilderness by introducing women of color to the beauty of its backcountry in a supportive environment. The amazing, experienced instructors will create a safe space for learning while inspiring you to go beyond your comfort zones for an empowering and rewarding experience.

Meet the instructors

Miho & Grace
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Highlights

  • Yoga and meditation classes
  • Journal writing and personal reflection
  • Backpacking, hiking, and camp-craft skills
  • Immersion in Yosemite National Park’s wilderness
  • Adventures with other women of color
  • 3 nights accommodation in a tent
  • Fresh, local, and organic meals

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Yoga styles


4 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 15
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
09:00
Check-out Time:
16:00

During this retreat, you will be staying in a tent in Yosemite National Park Wilderness. You should bring your own sleeping bag rated to zero degrees Fahrenheit. A pad to insulate you from the ground will help you sleep warm and comfortably. Group gears which include stoves, pots, pans, or cooking utensils, first aid kits, bear-proof canisters, water treatment systems (please speak with Balanced Rock if you plan to bring your own), maps and emergency radios, tarps will be provided.

Program

Balanced Rock’s annual women of color (WOC) backpacking retreat began in 2004 and to their knowledge, was the first of its kind for women of color in the country. Balanced Rock is excited and encouraged to know that there are other WOC backpacking programs becoming available. Balanced Rock's core curriculum of yoga and reflection is incorporated on this trip as much as weather and time allow. Outdoor yoga classes on glacially polished granite expanses allow you to unwind after a day of hiking. Balanced Rock values time set aside for journal-writing and sharing in order to reflect on personal growth and achievements during the trip. There will be plenty of time to savor and enjoy the mountain landscape of the High Sierra.

Tentative itinerary

Day 1 (Thursday)

You will meet at the trailhead at 09:00 on your first morning. You will take time for introductions and trip orientation. Next, you will have thorough instruction on what and how to pack your packs and then be on your merry way. The hike to your new home will take you the entirety of the day. You will stop for breaks and enjoy the scenery. You will enjoy a delicious dinner after arriving and yoga as the Range of Light, bathed in alpenglow, lives up to its reputation. Evenings may include fireside stories, music, or gazing at the Milky Way from the cozy comfort of your sleeping bags.

Day 2 (Friday)

The next day allows you to adapt to the natural rhythms of the planet and flow with the specific needs and desires of the group. You may move your camp or go for a day hike and exploration of the surrounding landscapes. You may now feel a settling into your new home among granite domes and peaceful lake waters. In addition, to the adventure of backpacking, each day provides opportunities for swimming in alpine lakes, day hikes to sweeping views of the High Sierra, or perhaps relaxing creek-side. Evenings are set aside for intentional discussion, wilderness education, creative journaling, music-making, or quiet contemplation around the campfire.

Day 3 (Saturday)

You might enjoy a long summer day with a lovely hike, yoga session and / or meditation session. You may choose to summit a nearby alpine peak and enjoy a lovely evening under the stars. You will continue to cover topics such as instruction in backcountry travel skills, Leave No Trace, hiking and camp-craft, and instructor area of specialty.

Day 4 (Sunday)

In the last morning, you will enjoy a final yoga class and meditation before sharing your final breakfast together in the field. Then, you will pack your backpacks and begin your hike back to the exit trailhead. After putting closure on your journey together, you will aim to conclude by 14:00.

Note on the itinerary

This schedule is an outline. It is subject to change depending on the needs of the group and allowing for spontaneous inspiration. Almost all of the activities offered are optional. This program operates rain or shine.

You will receive a detailed list of the things you need to bring when you book this retreat.

Instructors

Miho Aida

Grace Anderson

Retreat location

This retreat will take place in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

Food

Fresh, delicious, and high quality meals which include local and organic ingredients will be served for you during the retreat.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Pescatarian
  • Lactose Free
  • Whole food
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley, an awe-inspiring landscape containing many of the famous features for which Yosemite National Park is known, is 55 miles and two hours from Tuolumne Meadows. Hiking trails and bike paths are abundant in the valley. Rafting the Merced River is a fun way to cool down on a summer day when water levels are sufficient. Yosemite Valley also offers numerous guided bus tours, educational programs, museums, ranger-led activities, and an art center with workshops.

Glacier Point

Glacier Point is an hour from Yosemite Valley, with sweeping views of both, Yosemite and Little Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Vernal and Nevada Falls, and Clouds Rest, among other notable landmarks. A visit to Wawona and the Pioneer Yosemite History Center is like stepping back in time. The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is a must-see. A guided bus tour (tickets must be purchased) and a network of hiking trails lead to stately trees with names like Grizzly Giant, Faithful Couple, and California Tunnel Tree.

What's included

  • Yoga and meditation classes
  • Journal writing and personal reflection
  • Backpacking, hiking, and camp-craft skills
  • Immersion in granite peaks and forests of Yosemite National Park’s wilderness
  • Professional instruction and guiding
  • First-aid supplies
  • Group gear for backpacking and camping
  • Cooking gear and water purification supplies
  • Fresh meals
  • 3 nights accommodation in a tent
  • Campground and permit fees

What's not included

  • Park entrance fees
  • Personal items
  • Transportation to and from your hometown to Yosemite.
  • You should bring your own sleeping bag rated to zero degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A pad to insulate you from the ground will help you sleep warm and comfortably.

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving directions

  • Take Highway 41 north from Fresno
  • Take Highway 140 east from Merced
  • Take Highway 120 east from Manteca or west from Lee Vining (State Route 395) into Yosemite National Park
  • Tuolumne Meadows Campground is located 5 miles from the Tioga Pass Entrance station (Highway 120 from the east), and is 55 miles (2 hours) from Yosemite Valley.

Arrival by airplane

Nearby commercially served airports include:

  • Fresno / Yosemite International Airport (FAT): 1 hour to Southern entrance via Highway CA 41. 2 hours to the heart of Yosemite Valley. 3 hours to Tuolumne Meadows. There is no public transportation from Fresno to Yosemite.
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO): 2 hours to Big Oak Flat entrance via Highway CA 120, 3 hours to heart of Yosemite Valley. 4-5 hours to Tuolumne Meadows. Public transportation available to Yosemite.
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): 6 hours to Yosemite Valley via I-5 to Highway CA 99 to Highway CA 41. Add another hour for travel to Tuolumne Meadows.
  • Oakland (OAK): 2 hours to Big Oak Flat entrance via Highway CA 120, 3 hours to heart of Yosemite Valley. 4-5 hours to Tuolumne Meadows. Public transportation available to Yosemite.
  • Sacramento (SMF): 2 hours to Big Oak Flat entrance via Highway CA 120, 3 hours to heart of Yosemite Valley, and 4-5 hours to Tuolumne Meadows. Public transportation available to Yosemite.

Arrival by bus

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) offers individual and group fares for motorcoach service into Yosemite from numerous gateway communities. Greyhound has no direct bus service to Yosemite, but can be combined with YARTS service from Merced, CA.

Arrival by train

Amtrak trains serve San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento to and from Merced / Riverbank and connect with via bus lines for direct luxury motorcoach into Yosemite Valley. Fares include the bus travel and the park entrance fee.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 30 days before the arrival date.
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