Online Yoga & Travel Retreat: Cope and Connect in Uncertain Times

Melissa Renzi
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48 reviews
Apr 30 - May 3, 2020
Group size: 6 - 25
Online Yoga & Travel Retreat: Cope and Connect in Uncertain Times

Melissa Renzi
  • Email address verified
  • Facebook verified
48 reviews

Apr 30 - May 3, 2020
Group size: 6 - 25

About this trip

 Access deep calm, meaningful connection, and inner courage in uncertain times

(and interactive travel experiences with our guides!)

I want to invite you to a truly special experience we’ve developed for you. 

Not only have we designed our first retreat accessible from your home, but we also have two truly amazing guests that will offer you a chance to connect and explore new corners of the world.

I’ll share more about the retreat and our special guests in a moment. 

First, I want to tell you about why we’re doing this.

You and I both know this is a wild time of many unknowns. 

Your emotions may be shifting as fast as Midwestern spring weather. Anxiety. Gratitude. Anger. Sadness. Numbness. Hope. 

If you’re highly sensitive, you’re likely experiencing feelings that carry far beyond your own as you absorb the collective feelings and trauma that surround you.

Perhaps you’re flooded by the news media and overwhelming amounts of competing information.  

Or maybe you even experience bursts of optimistic hope for the future. 

I’m feeling these oscillating emotions too and the heavy uncertainty resonates deep into my bones.

So, how do we get through this?

Well, I want to be clear that I don’t believe in quick fixes that bypass emotions or banish worries with a band-aid of positivity. Yet, there are some actions we can take to support ourselves and others.

As I’ve reflected on how to cope in these times, there are three key features that come to mind:

  • Calming practices at home and in nature to access the peaceful observer within and thereby support self-regulation and resilience
  • Connection and co-regulation with individuals, communities, and nature that allows us to offer and receive supportive presence and compassion
  • Creative contribution as a means for tapping into individual and collective empowerment to take beneficial action for others and the planet

We’ve designed a retreat with these elements woven throughout in a way that balances guided and interactive activities with reflective free time. personal favorite aspect of this retreat is collaborating with two of my international retreat partners who will be offering workshops from Guatemala and Peru.

As I’ve held many retreats in both of these countries, these places hold a special place in my heart, as do the people I work with. 

You may know that I cancelled two retreats to Peru this spring. While the pandemic continues to take a toll on my livelihood, this is literally a drop in the bucket compared to what my partners are facing with zero tourism in their countries...possibly for many months to come.

When I began contemplating a virtual retreat, I thought to myself how cool it would be to involve some of my partners both to support their businesses in a tough time and to support you. 

That is, I’ve heard from many of you who have told me that traveling with us will never be an option due to a health issue, disability, finances, or a number of other factors. Yet, I know you may very well love an opportunity to connect to those places and people from afar. 

This is your chance for an accessible, affordable glimpse into the cultures of these places in an interactive way.

I’ve learned so much from these two over the years and have applied many key takeaways to live a more meaningful life of contribution. I know you’ll love them too, so I’ll introduce you to:

Anita Cortez Chac: Anita is the founder of Mayan Kitchen Cooking at Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. Having grown up in the small village of San Pedro La Laguna where her school is, Anita provides much more than a cooking class. She offers a place for people to connect and strengthen community, interactive experiential learning, cultural understanding of the people in her village, and a truly remarkable story behind how her journey began. During this retreat, you’ll hear about the significance of maize (corn) in the Mayan tradition and learn to make Guatemalan tortillas. You’ll also hear Anita’s story and the key ingredients she sees as essential to life in difficult times.  

Valentin Baca Baños: Valentin is the founder of Valentin’s Pachamama Journeys in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Valentin grew up on a farm in the Sacred Valley and began working as a porter on the Inca Trail as a teenager. He then went on to study tourism and has been guiding experiences in the region for the last decade. Valentin goes above and beyond in sharing his knowledge of the history of the Incas, agricultural and cultural wisdom and practices, and stories from his youth that led him to his commitment to education in his community. In this retreat, he’ll share his knowledge and lead the group through a Peruvian ritual of gratitude for mother earth. You’ll also have a chance to hear his personal story and how he perceives the current challenge and how we can cope. 

You don’t have to be totally isolated during this time. We’re here for you and want to create a space in which our true interconnectedness can be felt and honored. 

Join us for a 4-day unique, virtual experience of calm, connection, and courage. 

This 4-day retreat includes:

  • Pachamama Ceremony: A Peruvian Ritual (interactive workshop with Valentin)
  • Significance of Maíz & Tortilla-Making in the Mayan Tradition (interactive workshop with Anita)
  • Stories of Courage, Creativity & Contribution (interactive session with Anita and Valentin)
  • Gentle yoga classes (5 in total) with HSPs in mind to cope with heavy emotions, relax your mind, and strengthen gentle courage (guided live and recorded)
  • Daily morning nature meditation sessions to awaken curiosity and connection (guided live)
  • Yoga nidra (yogic sleep) audio to support healing and restful sleep (guided recording)
  • Self-massage session for self-care and self-love (guided live)
  • Reflection circles for highly sensitive people to share in a supportive space (facilitated or small groups depending on number of people)
  • Experiential tools and practices to become aware of suffering and heal deep-seated anxiety

Full Schedule

 The following schedule is in Central Standard Time (CST) and does its best to take into account varying time zones in the western hemisphere. Optional contemplations and reflective activities will be provided for your personal time.

Thursday Evening
6:00-6:15    Welcome & Overview
6:15-7:00    Calming Yoga: A gentle practice to unwind tension and encourage calm
7:00-7:05    Break
7:05-7:30    Intros & Intentions
7:30-7:50    Group Agreements
7:50-8:00    Prep for Friday

8:00-8:15    Tea/Coffee & Presencing (outside)
8:15-8:30    Break (set up inside)
8:30-9:30    Enlivening Yoga: A gentle practice to awaken gratitude and curiosity
9:30-9:45    Yoga Debrief
1:00-2:30    Pachamama Ceremony: A Peruvian Ritual with Valentin
5:00-6:00    Calming Yoga: A gentle practice to honor the spectrum of experience
6:00-7:00    Yoga Debrief & Reflection Circle

8:00-8:15    Tea/Coffee & Presencing (outside)
8:15-8:30    Break (set up inside)
8:30-9:30    Enlivening Yoga: A gentle practice to unveil obstacles and cultivate equanimity
9:30-9:45    Yoga Debrief
1:00-2:30    The Significance of Maize and Tortilla-Making in the Mayan Tradition with Anita
5:00-6:00    Calming Yoga: A gentle practice as an offering of love
6:00-7:00    Yoga Debrief & Reflection Circle

8:00-8:15    Tea/Coffee & Presencing (outside)
8:15-8:30    Break (set up inside)
8:30-9:30    Enlivening Yoga: A gentle practice to connect to dharma
9:30-9:45    Yoga Debrief
2:00-3:00    Closing Words from Valentin & Anita: Stories of Courage, Creativity, and Contribution
3:00-3:30    Guided Self-Massage or Gentle Movement Self-Practice
3:30-4:30    Closing Circle with reflections and takeaways


 How does participation in this retreat work?

This online retreat is will take place via Zoom. You will need a device such a smartphone, tablet, or computer to participate, as well as internet access. Once you register, you will receive a link and password, which will be used throughout our retreat time together. You will also receive a list of tips for how to prepare your space and any items that you may want to have accessible.

Will this mean I'll be sitting in front of a screen for hours?

Being glued to a computer screen is not our idea of a retreat. So, while you will need to connect for some of our interactive offerings, we've included plenty of movement practice, sensory activities in nature, and personal free time.

Is this retreat experience live or recorded?

All sessions in this retreat will be offered live this time. Sessions that will be recorded include all five yoga classes and one yoga nidra recording.

What if I can't make all the sessions?

While we encourage you to attend as much as you can live, we understand this may not be possible for everyone. All yoga sessions and workshops with Valentin and Anita will be recorded, but will not be ready until after the retreat has ended. Sessions such as reflection circles and morning meditations will not be recorded. We will provide some alternative practices should you not be able to attend meditation, yoga, or reflection circles.

What will the yoga be like?

All yoga will include gentle, accessible movement and poses designed to release tension and access inner calm and resilience. Evening practices will be calming and morning practices will slightly energizing.  Classes may include several of the following: dynamic movement, still holds of āsana (poses), prāṇāyāma (breath regulation), dhyāna (meditation) and guided relaxation (śavāsana). You do not need to own a yoga mat or props, but you will need to have a space to move, chair, blanket, and some throw pillows. More info will be provided.

At the forefront of Melissa’s teaching is creating a supportive environment that fosters personal agency, accessibility, and inclusion while honoring the roots of yoga. Melissa's aim is to teach in a way that reflects to the purpose of yoga–to discover the innermost, whole Self. Thus, she invites students to explore slow, self-paced movement and varying shape options in order to discern what feels beneficial to their individual bodies and nervous systems. She believes that by teaching non-harming, helpful action on the mat, students will be more inspired to engage with the surrounding world in way that is non-harming (ahimsa) and upholds that which is beneficial and purposeful (dharma).

Can I share this retreat with a friend?

You can definitely share, but please ensure your friend registers as a participant and please do not share links or materials will those who have not registered.

Are scholarships available?

This retreat is being offered at a heavily discounted price already, so we do encourage those who have the means to pay full price. If you are currently experiencing financial struggle, please email to discuss options with us.

Available Packages

Online Retreat Package
Available until April 29, 2020

Your Organizer

Melissa Renzi
48 reviews
Melissa is a trauma-informed yoga teacher, social worker, and highly sensitive person. She's passionate about helping others heal anxiety and trauma while cultivating authentic self-love. Melissa's philosophy is that the root cause of many of our personal and societal problems is a disconnection from our true selves. She sees yoga and connection to the natural world as two of the most powerful means we have to heal ourselves and communities. When she's not yoga-ing, you can find her hiking, salsa dancing, scuba diving, crosswording, reading, and cooking creative concoctions in her kitchen.


Melissa always makes the best experience possible for her retreat guests. I had a wonderful time and look forward to the next one.
By Jennifer M for Tennessee Yoga Retreat for Introverts & HSPs on 23 Sep, 2021
I had an extremely uplifting time during this retreat with other wonderful people. I learned a lot about myself and it was exactly what I needed. Melissa was very attentive and considerate when it came to making sure everyone had what they wanted/needed during the stay, more than willing to accommodate the varying needs of a slightly larger group. Attention to detail, passion for what she does and an overall caring heart is what I'll remember the most. I will definitely strongly consider doing future retreats with Melissa.
By Jorge P for Tennessee Yoga Retreat for Introverts & HSPs on 23 Sep, 2021
When you travel with Melissa Renzi ,whether it be to another continent or two hours from home, you will enter a new world . It is a world of caring, sharing and learning. The Retreat Center , located in a large country farm was ideal for relaxing and contemplation. The Yoga was restorative and unlike what most of us are accustomed to . It provided an ideal antidote to pandemic stress. Melissa delivers fully on the promise of her trip description. She is conscientious and thoughtful with each participant.
By marc h for Tennessee Yoga Retreat for Introverts & HSPs on 22 Sep, 2021
Tennessee was a most beautiful place made even better by staying close to nature with other people who are sensitive souls. Melissa makes sure that everyone feels included and nurtured through the entire experience. What a wonderful and relaxing experience to make new friends with other people who appreciate life as you do. The trip was full of time for reflection and time for interaction. Just the thing that my soul needed.
By Denise L for Tennessee Yoga Retreat for Introverts & HSPs on 22 Sep, 2021
No words can fully describe how beneficial Melissa’s retreats are for me. I leave with a nourished body and spirit, and beautiful memories.
By Esther M for Tennessee Yoga Retreat for Introverts & HSPs on 22 Sep, 2021
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