Wild Spirit Mountain Retreat: Uncompahgre National Forest

Altaer spiritual retreat

Wild Spirit Mountain Retreat: Uncompahgre National Forest

 Altaer spiritual retreat

Altaer spiritual retreat

Editor’s note: The action is not only in my backyard. Yoga is big everywhere in the U.S. According to a study released by Yoga Journal in December 2012, the number of Americans practicing yoga jumped 29 percent, to 20.4 million — or 8.7 percent of American adults — since the previous study in 2008, when 15.8 million practiced. The Telluride Yoga Fest just completed a robust 6th season. I met Katie Clancy at Yoga Fest two years ago in Mark Whitwell’s class, where she stood out from the crowd for several reasons: she asked great questions and she had a glow that set off her natural beauty and grace. We reconnected this year (Katie missed last year because she was touring Chile, teaching and dancing) and she told me about a spiritual retreat she is co-teaching. Want more of those good vibrations? Read on….

What does it mean to be “indigenous” to the places we live?  How does it feel to unplug our eyes  from the stressful Technicolor screen of our modern lives and reboot our minds and bodies back into Nature’s Higher Intelligence? What does embodied activism look like? Those are a few of the questions we ask ourselves before heading out into the Uncompahgre National Forrest for Altaer Education’s Wild Spirit Mountain Retreat on Thursday August 15-Sunday, August 18.

The word “Altaer” is a mashup of two words:  Altar (a holy shrine) and Alternative. In other words, we believe  our work as artists, students, and teachers is both sacred and transformational. Altaer Education holds wilderness retreats, workshops, and classes for artists and non-artists. We teach body-based therapies such as Qigong, Yoga, Dance, Meditation, and Voice as vehicles to journey back into the wild nature of our bodies and Mother Earth.

Retreats in wilderness, where we have time and space to be in silence, solitude, and spontaneous creativity, teach us how to perceive ourselves outside the script written by our consumer culture. In this new light, our practices become a living altar. From the devotional process of our work together, we should gain both creative and practical solutions to integrate into our lives when we return to the world we knew pre-retreat.

This year is our third annual pilgrimage into the Uncompahgre National Forrest. Thanks to Cow Creek Outfitters, we have the blessing to spend four days in the remote valley of Cow Creek—without sacrificing the luxurious comforts.  The basecamp is fully equipped with a kitchen tent, sauna tent, sleeping tents and meditation tents. All our meals will be organic and local, prepared by local chefs from Durango.

The weekend will be a time for self-reflection, connection, and empowerment. We will offer group yoga, meditation, authentic movement, and song circles. For anyone interested in permaculture design, there will be an ongoing altar-building project on the premises. We will also hike, swim, and provide time for solitude and rest.


Katie Clancy (Yoga & Butoh Dance)  

Katie has been practicing yoga for 14 years, following the lineages of Iyengar, Ashtanga, Sivananda, and Anusara. She recently completed Peter Sterios’s “Gravity and Grace” 200p- hour teacher training. After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she began teaching Pilates after apprenticing under Master Kathy Grant. She traveled to India in 2008 to study intensely under the Sivananda (Hatha) masters. Since then, she has taught all over the Americas, providing an energizing yet therapeutic fusion of Pilates, Yoga, with influences of Body Mind Centering, Release/Klein technique, and contemporary dance conditioning.

Emily Moore (Nature Dance, Taoist Meditation)

Emily Moore is a Dance Artist, Somatic Educator, and Rainbow Technician. Her home lies in the intersection between the cultural wilderness of New York City and pristine wild lands and waters of the globe. Emily roams between wild places and our wild inheritance on the stages of New York City, in the mountains of Colorado, in dance studios and private sessions where she instructs Gyrotonic®, Gyrokinesis® and MELT Method (the Art of Self-Care), among other modalities and physical and metaphysical traditions. Emily has also had the gift of studying and practicing the sacred lineage of ALTAER_3668Thai Massage and the Universal Tao, which in turn instruct her daily. Emily is a co-founder of Altaer Education and facilitates day and week-long workshops that blend healing practice and dance as shared, sacred space. She holds a BFA in Dance from Tisch School of the Arts NYU.

Lauren Larken (Songbird, Invisible Theatre)

Larken holds an MFA in Performance and interactive Media Arts, which means that she loves collaboration and is an eternal optimist. She believes that the bicycle is the finest invention known to woman and that we have the power to change our lives everyday. She is currently working on an original folk a cappella musical based on the graphic novel Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge (published by Abrams Spring 2013).

All levels welcome; must be in good physical condition and have access to backpacking gear.

Price:(includes meals, lodging, luggage transport from trailhead to base camp, & 3-4 daily practices), $400.

Visit katie@altaer.org, go to http://altaer.org/ or call 970-759-5167.

  • carol Johnson
    Posted at 12:50h, 23 July

    sure looks great! hope to make it Aug.16th

  • Margaret Andre
    Posted at 22:28h, 24 July

    Indeed. The wilderness is the best place to find solitude and focus upon self. It is the best place to meditate and listen to nature’s sounds. I’ve never tried doing yoga there but it seems to be a very promising idea.