The Heart of Harvest - A Yoga & Meditation Retreat

Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

Melissa Berry Appleton
  • Facebook verified
8 reviews
Sep 17 - 22, 2021
Group size: 1 - 25
The Heart of Harvest - A Yoga & Meditation Retreat
Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

Melissa Berry Appleton
  • Facebook verified
8 reviews

Sep 17 - 22, 2021
Group size: 1 - 25

About this trip

The Heart of Harvest - A Yoga Retreat

5 nights 6 days

September 17 - 22nd, 2021

Stowel Lake Farm

Retreat to beautiful Stowel Lake Farm on Salt Spring Island right in the heart of the Harvest.  Each day will offer simple morning and evening meditation, morning yoga practice and Buddhist Philosophy, soundwork, breath, and somatic restorative practices to prepare for sleep.  The afternoons are for free time, resting, reading, and exploring Salt Spring Island.

The last year and a half has been like no other.  Some of the new habits we've adapted are wonderful and some we may want to leave behind and start fresh.  Retreat provides steady practices and space to take a backward step, to sit down and reflect on our lives with the support of good hearted humble people.   What has ripened and matured for us over the past year?  Let's take this time to really gather in, harvest what is really good in our lives, so that we can fully receive the benefit and step forward to serve our families, community and world.

One of the many incredible things about Stowel Lake is the farm to table food. Retreat attendees always remark how fantastic they feel after a week of eating plant based food from the well tended soil at this farm.  On this retreat we welcome Shauna Gardiner from the Vibrant Veggie as our special guest.  Each day just before dinner, Shauna will share her wisdom and many inspiring stories of people who have changed their health and lives completely around from learning and adapting into a plant based lifestyle.  We will also join Shauna in the kitchen to learn how to make one of her amazing dinners.

*Melissa offers movement practices informed by yoga, somatic movement, functional range conditioning, pilates, feldenkrais and trauma informed care.  Meditation practices are offered with a wide range of sitting postures, instruction on alignment, subtle movement, simple techniques, a wide variety of props and trauma informed care.  



3-5 pm  ||  arrival

5 pm  ||  orientation

6 pm  ||  fireside dinner

7:45  pm  ||  Stretch - Nervous Systems - Meditation Instruction 

8:30 pm  ||  meditation

9 pm  ||  closing chant (silent into the evening)

Saturday - Tuesday

7:15 am  ||  meditation (silent morning)

8 am ||  breakfast (bell rings to end silence 8:15 am)
9:45 - 11:45 am ||  Yoga Practice & Buddhist Philosophy

12:30 pm ||  lunch  

1:30 pm ||  work practice (day 2/3/4) - feeling the reciprocity of farm life.

2:30 pm ||  free time

5:00 pm  ||  Plant-based learning and stories

6:00 pm  ||  Fireside Dinner

7:45 pm  ||  Nervous System Exploration - Somative Movement

8:30 pm ||  Meditation

9 pm ||  Closing Evening Chant (silent into the evening)


7:15 am  ||  meditation

8 am ||  breakfast 

9 am ||  open time

10 am  ||  closing circle (silence ends)

12 pm  ||  lunch


Working Towards Health & Safety Together

Stowel Lake Farm and Melissa have taken great measures to work towards our greatest possible health and safety.  Here are a few simple simple guidelines.- We are not able to accommodate any sickness on retreat.  In the event that anyone becomes sick, they will need to return to home.- Daily sanitation practices are thorough.- Personal hand sanitation is available on all sites.

Refund Policy

A full refund will be provided in the following circumstances.

-  A Province wide call for a third period of physical distancing.

-  If you become sick and provide a formal doctors note.

Otherwise all registrations are final 30 days prior to retreat start date.   No refunds will be provided 30 days prior to retreat.  If you find someone to take your place you are welcome to arrange.

Stowel Lake Farm and Travel

Stowel Lake Farm on Salt Spring Island is just beautiful.  Check it out here ~

You are probably travelling by ferry my friends.  If in the event you leave your car behind, we can pick you up and drop you off at the ferry (fulford harbour only).  We will arrange pick up times one month prior to retreat.

What to Bring

- Bring layered clothes for varying temperatures inside and outside.

- Flashlight

- Journal and pen.

- Loose, comfortable and modest clothing.

- Outdoor wear for helping on the farm.

-slip on shoes for ease.

Shauna Gardiner

Shauna Gardiner is a passionate advocate of a plant-based lifestyle. She has been Whole Food Plant-based for 5 years, and was vegetarian for 8 years prior to that.  In 2016 she received a “Plant-based Nutrition Certificate” and a “Nutrition and Healthy Living Certificate” from E-Cornell University.  She writes has a website called where she offers free recipes and plant-based guidance. 

Her interest in nutrition and healthy living started in her twenties when she lost her father to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, her grandmother to stomach cancer and her grandfather to dementia.  Wanting to raise two healthy daughters, she searched for an alternative to the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is known to be one of the main causes of disease.  In 2008, she read the book, “The China Study” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell.  It clearly demonstrates how a plant-based diet aids in disease prevention and adds years to life. That was a pivotal moment in her journey. 

Shauna enjoys spending time with her family, leading a non-for profit vegetable garden, yoga, travel and attending Plant-Based Nutrition conventions. 

Melissa Berry Appleton Seikai

I am a Buddhist Chaplain trained at Upaya Zen Centre, student of Roshi Joan Halifax and lay-ordained in the Soto Zen Prajna Mountain Order.  Chaplaincy guides me to consider how I might come along side the ways people suffer, while supporting the restoration of goodness in their body, heart/mind, and world.  I have 20 years of Yoga training as a teacher.  My classical training in Iyengar and Ashtanga has morphed like a jazz musician through time into a creative practice to meet our 21st century bodies.  I gather the resources of my life, the generosity of my teachers and 2500 years of wisdom through lineage to consider what might serve.  

My current work explores The Domestic Monastery, community life, ritual/ceremony, cultural anxiety, trauma, addiction, consumption of information technology, time, and the greater impact on the future of our world.  How does self-care and spiritual formation serve as a collective 'we care' ultimately unfolding our greatest aspirations for parenting, partnership, intimacy, ecological connection, social justice, meaningful work, and influence on generations moving forward.

I teach a weekly class and bi-annual meditation practice periods at MODO Kelowna and specialize in workshops and retreats in Canada and Internationally.  I am a Chaplain in Residence with Third Space Charity and Counselling to support University graduate Interns from the Masters of Social Work, Psychology and Clinical Counselling Programs.  I am also a graduate student in the Masters of Clinical Counselling and Social Justice Program.  

As you might have guessed, I love the art of collaboration and have the honour of working with amazing community leaders, Buddhist Practitioners, Clinical Counsellors, Yoga & Movement Specialists, and Wilderness Guides.

I am married, have three teens (two off to University), a big black lab and a home tucked into the woods with chores that are never complete.  I used to work as a Music & Recreation Therapist, Addiction Counsellor, and Director of a charity,  but then everything changed.  Everything is still shifting and moving today.

What’s included

  • Full Accomodation
  • All farm to table meals
  • Yoga & Meditation
  • Plant-based education
  • Ferry pick up drop off

Available Packages

Private Room
only 1 left

Private room

Shared bathroom 

Delux Shared Double Occupancy
only 2 left

Shared Room

Two double beds

Private bathroom in room

Private Yurt
Sold Out

Private Yurt

two single beds

Beautiful Shared bathhouse

Shared Yurt
Sold Out

Two twin beds.

Beautiful Shared Bathhouse.

Shared Double
only 2 left

Two single beds.

Shared bathroom.

only 2 left

Bring your own tent and camp out on the farm.

Beautiful bathhouse for your use.


Your Organizer

Melissa Berry Appleton
8 reviews
I am a Meditation, Yoga, Trauma Informed Mindfulness Teacher, and Buddhist Chaplain trained in the Soto Zen lineage by Joan Halifax. I work with healthcare professionals, parents, university students, women in addiction recovery, retirees, not-for-profit leaders, innovators, artists and activists. I am also a mother of three teens and deeply connected to my home community. My specialty is leading transformative retreats! Come to my website and read a little more. ​​


We had a fabulous retreat at Stowel Lake farm. Melissa was nothing short of incredible! The food, accommodations and the entire facility was first class. Highly recommend this
By Michele C for The Heart of Harvest - A Yoga & Meditation Retreat on 01 Oct, 2021
What a wonderful trip we had to Stowel Lake Farm! The retreat was a lovely balance of meditation, yoga, quiet time and socializing. There was a superb presentation on Plant Based Eating and time to be involved in the therapy of farm work. The food at Stowel Lake Farm was healthy and delicious with the majority of it grown right there. Refreshing dips in the ocean, a moonlight fire pit, time to visit the Ganges market, and the connection of warm and friendly people helped to make this trip unforgettable!
By Deana H for The Heart of Harvest - A Yoga & Meditation Retreat on 25 Sep, 2021
This was a wonderful retreat in a beautiful place. The accommodations and food at Stowel Lake are always superb. I treasure both Melissa and Sofia as skillful and wise teachers and leaders.
By Naomi M for Spirit of Zen - Meditation & Yoga Retreat on 08 Jul, 2021
I have been very fortunate to attend 3 retreats with Melissa. Each of them have been an incredible source of wisdom, an opportunity to dive deep within myself and to pause from a busy life to find stillness. Her teaching and guidance of meditation (walking, sitting, standing) and movement practices (yoga, somatic work, sometimes dancing!) weave effortlessly and skillfully in a way that make me hungry for more in my own practice each time we close a retreat. The community that gathers together on these adventures is remarkable and it is such a joy to leave making new dharma friends. The location of the retreats are always breathtaking and healing with terrific food (Stowel Lake Farm, Costa Rica). She really knows how to pick em!
By Jaclyn G for Spirit of Zen - Meditation & Yoga Retreat on 08 Jul, 2021
This was an extraordinary experience at an exquisite location. The meditation schedule was ideal for both first-time retreaters as well as seasoned practitioners looking for a gentle reset. Both instructors brought a different flavour to the teachings and balanced each other well as we worked with our own minds and bodies in movement and in stillness. The food was perfect- local, fresh, organic and vegetarian and the rooms at the farm were simple and charming. I highly recommend this retreat and these teachers to anyone looking to make contact with movement and meditation in an accessible way- but also push themselves to try something just a bit outside their comfort zone. I loved it and will surely return.
By Jill B for Spirit of Zen - Meditation & Yoga Retreat on 02 Jul, 2021
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I’m so grateful to Melissa for the thoughtful and powerful way she leads retreats, meditation, and movement practice. I particularly appreciate her trauma-informed approach to yoga. I’ve learned so much from her and I look forward to what the future will bring. I treasure Melissa as a wonderful and highly skilled teacher, chaplain, and leader.
By Naomi M on 08 Jul, 2021