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Senior-level Iyengar Yoga instructor Marla Apt welcomes you for a week-long immersion into experiencing the true gift of yoga. In today's world of unending distractions, learning this vital skill is not only for those inclined towards spiritual development, but as well an invaluable tool for those simply wishing to keep equipoise and stability in everyday life.
You will stay at Feathered Pipe Ranch. The lodging options offer the finest in rustic comfort. Indoor and outdoor choices include a variety of private or shared accommodations ranging from chalet-style rooms and cabins to tents, tipis, and yurts nestled in the forest.
The main lodge has the character of a western luxury of the last century with a huge, wood-beamed main hall and library with four adjoining spacious bedrooms.
Each room sleeps three or four and has its own bathroom. Staying in the main lodge has the advantages of immediate, 24-hour access to the main hall for personal early morning practice and close proximity to the Feathered Pipe kitchen and dining hall where the staff works culinary magic.
The most requested lodging at the Feathered Pipe Ranch may be the yurt accommodations and for good reason. With large, glass domes located at the center of the lattice-supported, canvas ceiling, brilliant, warm sunlight pours in during the day and offers a breathtaking view of the starry, starry sky at night. Nothing compares! Our yurts can sleep two and feature raised wood flooring and an interior sealed from the external elements.
Sai Condo is nestled still farther back in the tall pines with a large floor to ceiling wall of windows and room for three. Both the Honeymoon Cabin and Sai Condo have heat, but Sai Condo lodgers will need to toddle off on a short walk to the beautiful bathhouse for restroom and shower facilities. Both cabins comfortably straddle the two worlds between nature living and the creature comforts of home.
Feathered Pipe's tipi dwellers love falling asleep on elevated cots inside toasty sleeping bags while gazing at the myriad sparkling stars spread across the crystal clear night sky and waking to a cathedral of bird songs welcoming in the new day. True, intimate connection with nature can be experienced in tipi living. It is clear why the plains Indian tribes developed this perfect nomadic dwelling. The tipis offer you an open “eye to the sky” with canvas walls that shift color, light, and shadow during daylight.
Tent accommodations as well are hidden amidst the trees for those who truly want solitude to “rough it” the comfortable Feathered Pipe way. “Roughing it” includes full access to the nearby bathhouse with its fragrant cedarwood, the warmth of the sauna, and soothing bliss inside the sparkling hot tub.
Surrounded by the perfectly serene nature of the Feathered Pipe Ranch, Marla will skillfully guide every student from relative beginner, new to Iyengar Yoga, to the most advanced practitioner on a path of discovery and self-reflection in asana and pranayama. Through proper alignment, mindful breath, and effective practice sequencing, Iyengar Yoga facilitates ‘meditation in movement’ that can actually transform consciousness and reveal new levels of clarity and self-comprehension.
Starting with the underlying foundational principles of asana and pranayama practice, your understanding will build from the gross to the subtle, and progress to a deeper practice that addresses individual needs, balancing each student’s strengths and weaknesses. At the center of our retreat will be extended daily asana classes, allowing plenty of time to build understanding and physical readiness. There will also be daily practice of pranayama, restorative asanas and discussion of the philosophical context of the yoga practice.
Between daily classes with Marla, plenty of leisure time remains for you to savor the afterglow of your practice in an unspoiled Rocky Mountain setting that features soft mountain breezes, a sparkling lake, the healing scent of pines, and star-studded night skies. Lovingly prepared vegetarian cuisine throughout the week nourishes your body -and thrills your taste buds!- while an optional traditional Native American sweatlodge ceremony will be available for those wishing to experience this gentle and healing form of prayerful meditation.
Los Angeles based Marla Apt is a senior intermediate level Iyengar yoga teacher who has been involved with medical research studies at UCLA on yoga for depression, anxiety, and IBS. She was honored in 2013 by the Iyengar Yoga Association of Southern California with the Manouso Manos Leadership award. She is pursuing her interest in making the healing benefits of yoga available to communities in need as a member of the non-profit organization, Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics. She leads workshops and teacher trainings throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Located outside of Helena, Montana, the Feathered Pipe Ranch is nestled in the pristine Northern Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 5,000 feet. They are surrounded by the Helena National Forest, almost a million acres of mountainous wilderness. The ranch provides a spacious but still intimate setting for wandering, bird watching, aspen-tree gazing, swimming, and canoeing on the pretty spring-fed lake, and seeing all manner of wildlife.
Deer freely roam the ranch, with beaver, muskrat, mallard ducks, and trout populating the lake. Moose and bear occasionally visit, though largely keeping their distance and wishing to be simply let alone. Large herds of elk roam the high alpine grasslands with rare sightings of wolves and mountain lions in the surrounding wilderness areas. At night, owls and whip-poor-wills softly usher you to sleep. In the morning, a chorus of birds makes the forest a cathedral urging the sun to rise welcoming in the new day.
If the spirit of the ranch is captured anywhere, it’s most definitely in the kitchen that’s attached to the main lodge. Feathered Pipe's specialty is wholesome, natural food using recipes from all over the globe. The team strives to use whole, organic ingredients prepared with a commitment to health and well-being. Whenever possible, they use locally grown and raised organic food sources to support a sustainable, healthy community.
Feathered Pipe Ranch massage and bodywork specialists are internationally recognized and have rightfully earned their place as some of the most compassionate and skilled healers practicing today. The practitioners offer a broad range of modalities that support the guests as they dive into deep states of relaxation, stress relief, and healing to enrich their overall Feathered Pipe experience. The massage and bodywork staff will greet and introduce themselves at orientation, right after dinner on arrival night. You may sign up for appointments then as their schedules for the week typically fill up quickly. After that, you can saunter off to the sauna or the hot tub to relax and snuggle into your lodging for the night knowing you have begun one of the most beautiful weeks possible.
The ranch’s surrounding forest has numerous, well-marked trails for your exploration of hidden, highland wildflower meadows, mountain tops where Montana’s “Big Sky” can be appreciated in full grandeur, as well as scenic views of the ranch from high above. For those more adventurous and adept in backwoods hiking, the trails branch out endlessly into the national forest that surrounds. Hikers stumble on long-forgotten mining trails, remnants of abandoned homesteads, and gurgling mountain brooks emptying into unknown lakes. There are several trail routes such as:
Right smack dab in the heart of the ranch is a beautiful spring-fed lake. Between classes on lazy afternoons, hop into the canoe and paddle around, absorbing the healing, hushed sounds of busy western meadowlarks, wood ducks, and sparrows dashing through the aspens, pines, and grasses that encircle the clean water. Hop right on in and go for an invigorating mountain swim, pausing at least once to float on your back under the big blue sky. With healing earth and water all around you, you may hear, even more clearly, the guidance offered by the wise Rocky Mountains that surround you. Grab a lawn chair or sprawl your relaxed and restored self on the big green lawn for a well-earned nap.
When you find yourself with a free afternoon and a hankering for a change of scenery, Feathered Pipe Foundation will work with you to arrange an excursion into Helena. Montana’s capital city features 19th century architecture and offers a perfect setting to stroll around some of the favorite spots that the repeater guests have come to love visiting during a free afternoon. The spots are: The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Real Food Market & Deli, and The Gothic-style Cathedral of St. Helena.
Helena Regional Airport
Transfer available for additional US$65 per person
Please book your flight to arrive at Helena Regional Airport (HLN). Direct flights into Helena currently originate in Salt Lake City, Utah (Delta Airlines), Denver, Colorado (United Airlines), and Great Falls, Montana (Alaska Airlines).
Airlines fly in from all parts of the country on a regular basis, with Delta serving those flying from the east coast, midwest, mountain, and west coast via their Minneapolis and Salt Lake City hub, United Airlines serving passengers from all over via the Denver hub, and Alaskan Airlines serving west coast flyers via their Seattle hub.
Missoula International Airport (MSO) and Bozeman International Airport (BZN) are also feasible points of arrival but will require a two-hour commute via bus or auto that you will need to arrange yourself. For those interested in art and cultural events, Missoula might be the place to spend a few extra days. If you are planning to go to Glacier National Park consider Great Falls International Airport (GTF), and Bozeman International Airport (BZN) if you wish to spend some extra time in Yellowstone National Park.
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