Fall Yoga & Writing Retreat

October 26-28, 2018

at the Stanford House in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Everyone has creative energy inside them. That energy gets minimized and boxed away in most of us as we age and experience situations and people in life that have forced us to distance ourselves from the creative essence within. Finding the way back to that essential creative self is quite similar to reacquainting ourselves with the body when starting to practice yoga. The practice is one of uncovering a true self hidden away and then building a strong foundation on that essential hidden self instead of on the shaky damaged one that used to cover it.

Through yoga practice, meditation, play, exploration, mindfulness, and discipline we can help that fledgling artist inside all of us grow and thrive so that our daily life is richer and more in balance. Together we can release the creative energy within us to enhance the lives of those we love and those we reach through our artistic and compassionate endeavors. All the tools we need to access our inner artist are inside us.

Are you ready to unlock your creative potential both on and off your yoga mat? If so, I am honored to invite you for a weekend of yoga, delicious food, community, writing, and creative expression in a truly beautiful place, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Bring your yoga mat and journal, hiking shoes, an open mind and heart and come away with a sense of possibility to incorporate more creativity into your daily life, permission to re-engage with your creative self, and lots of new tools to help you start and maintain the process. The weekend will include time for yoga practice, workshops that help you tap into your creative and get you writing, time to get outdoors and connect with nature, and plenty of time for nurturing and self-reflection,

You will be guided along the process by these yogis:

Leading the Writing Workshops, Emily Levin has a B.A. from Vassar College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the NEOMFA program with her mentor, David Giffels. She writes personal essays and poetry; her work has appeared in Rubbertop Review, and American Book Review. She has worked as a copy editor at The University of Akron Press. Her essay collection, Gratefully Acknowledged, explores themes familiar to the sandwich generation: aging and dying parents, kids off to college, and childhood memories that assume new meaning in context. As her yoga and writing journeys coincided she discovered that together, yoga and writing enhance self reflection and discovery. Her online essay business, After the Prompt, assists students writing college admissions essays. She loves to cook and lives with her family and two cats in Akron, Ohio.



Leading the Yoga and Meditation sessions, Maria Santoferraro, joy spreader, E-RYT 500 yoga teacher, storyteller, and always a practicing yoga student lives near the beautiful shores of Lake Erie, Ohio. After spending over 25 years as a stressed-out corporate executive she needed a detox from an unhealthy Blackberry addiction, lack of sleep, and an aching back caused by scoliosis. She sought out a healthier lifestyle and is grateful to have found her physical and spiritual release through the practice of yoga. Today she is living a balanced and blissful life, teaching beach yoga, leading international yoga retreats and yoga teacher training, providing inspiration on her blog the Daily Downward Dog, creating meditation videos for Hang 10 Meditation, and contributing her writing to Elephant Journal, Daily Cup of Yoga, and MindBodyGreen.

Cynthia Mathis RYT will be presenting a Yoga TuneUp SessionA fun, physical self-exploration yoga session using Yoga TuneUp® Therapy Balls. You’ll learn how they can give you information about your body, revealing “blind spots” where you may be unknowingly tense, weak or stuck. And you’ll explore how to use these fantastic tools for self-massage anytime you need them; they can be both incredibly relaxing and therapeutic. Each participant will receive their own set of Yoga TuneUp® Therapy Balls. Cynthia teaches alignment focused Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga with an emphasis on building strength for lifelong vitality. She has been practicing since 1997 and teaching since 2016.

Cynthia is an RYT200, registered with Yoga Alliance. She is heavily influenced by teachers in the Anusara and Iyengar traditions. Cynthia is still delighted by new insights that arrive on the mat and is driven to help others find strength, self-awareness, and peace through their Yoga practice.

Ross Dilly of Hollyhock Hill Catering is back to keep your tummy full and happy for the whole weekend with a healthy and delicious menu that can accommodate your special dietary needs (gluten free, vegan, etc.). Ross brings over 20 years of culinary and special event management experience to Hollyhock Hill.  His previous experience includes catering and personal chef services with Mustard Seed Market and administrative duties for Universal Concerts and House of Blues at Blossom Music Center, plus work with The Cleveland Orchestra and Public Radio.

Ross has a B.F.A. in Business Communications from The University of Akron with Post-Bac work in Accounting.  Ross enjoys working in any kitchen and is known for his love of baking and the pleasure all of his cooking brings to those who enjoy his endeavors. He is excited to bring his passion for food and special events knowledge to this retreat!

Historic Stanford House Built in 1843, the Stanford House sleeps up to 30 people in nine private rooms in the beautiful setting of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There is plenty of area around the house to enjoy the outdoors.

The Stanford House is in close proximity to numerous visitor amenities, including the Towpath Trail, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Boston Mill Station, Boston Store Visitor Center, Trail Mix Boston and Trail Mix Peninsula, ski areas, and the small-town charm of historic downtown Peninsula. You’ll have plenty to do if you want to step outside the retreat and explore!

Retreat Pricing

$395 for Room with two Bunk Beds – only 1 left

$350 for Room with Four Bunk Beds

$420 for Twin Bed – only 1 left

All rooms have shared occupancy and shared bathrooms.

Included in the price of the retreat:

  • 2 nights accommodation at Stanford House
  • 5 Meals (dinner Friday and Saturday night, Breakfast Saturday and Sunday, lunch Saturday)
  • 4 yoga and meditation sessions with Maria
  • Creative Writing Workshops with Emily Levin
  • Yoga Tune-up Session with Cynthia Mathis
  • Saturday afternoon special group activity and bonfire (weather permitting)

SATURDAY ONLY OPTION (Includes all yoga, workshops, meals, and activities on Saturday): $185 – this option is limited


What’s Not Included:

  • Transportation to Stanford House
  • Optional Massages (a masseuse will be on property on Saturday to provide massages)

A $100 deposit is required to reserve your space. Final payments are due October 1, 2018. If making a reservation after October 1, the full payment is due at the time of your reservation.

Don’t Delay! Space is Limited. Click the “Book Now” button to make your reservation with either credit card or through your checking account.

The retreat begins at 6 pm on Friday (check-in at 3 pm) and ends on Sunday at noon.

Retreat Agenda

Friday Evening – Oct 26

6:00 PM Opening Yoga Practice

7:30 PM Dinner

8:30 PM Opening Circle

Saturday – Oct 27

7:30 AM Morning Pages

8:00-9:30 AM Yoga & Meditation with Maria

9:30 AM Breakfast

After Breakfast, the after is free for Hiking, Writing, Napping, Massages or to attend the workshops noted below…

10:30 AM – 12:00 Writing And Creativity Workshop with Emily (writing and painting materials provided)

1:00 – 2:30 PM Lunch

2:00 – 3:00 PM Emily available for writing coaching and consultation

3:30 – 4:30 PM Yoga Tune Up Session with Cyn Mathis

5:00 – 6:30 PM Yin/Restorative Yoga Practice, Meditation and Chanting with Maria

6:30 – 7:30 PM Dinner

7:30 PM Group activity and Bonfire (weather permitting)

Sunday – Oct 28

7:30 AM Morning Pages

8:00 – 9:15 AM Morning Yoga & Meditation with Maria/Closing Circle

9:15 – 10:15 AM Breakfast

11:00 Checkout

Friday Dinner:
Curried Butternut Squash Soup – Gluten Free/Vegan.
Macaroni & Cheese (Gluten Free available).
Mixed Green Salad with Green Beans, Beets, Pear & Walnuts in an Apple Cider Vinaigrette.
Baked Apples with Cinnamon Pecan Filling – Gluten Free/Vegan.
Ice Cream.
Saturday Breakfast:
Coffee, Tea, Muffins, and Fruit will be available prior to yoga practice.
Assorted Muffins – Original & Gluten Free/Vegan.
Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal – Gluten Free/Vegan.
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes.
Turkey Sausage.
Cold Cereal.
Fruit Salad.
Saturday Lunch:
Spicy Red Lentil Stew with Coconut Milk & Spinach – Gluten Free/Vegan.
Asian Style Three Bean Salad –  Green Beans, Edamame & Black Beans meet in a Ginger/Apricot Dressing served over shredded Napa cabbage – Gluten Free/Vegan.
Classic Tuna Salad in Tomato Halves.
Assorted Cookies – Original & Gluten Free/Vegan.
Saturday Dinner:
Antipasto – Italian Meats, Cheese, Olives, Vegetables – Pickled & Raw.
Tuscan White Bean & Roasted Garlic Dip,  Assorted Breads & Crackers – Original & Gluten Free.
Wild Mushroom Lasagna – a wild mushroom and tomato ragu layered in Gluten Free polenta sheets, spinach, and ricotta cheese.  Vegan option available.
Mixed Greens with Carrot, Radish and Apple in a Lemon Vinaigrette.
Pumpkin Pie Squares – Original & Gluten Free/Vegan.
Sunday Breakfast:
Coffee, Tea, Muffins, and Fruit will be available prior to yoga practice.
Southwestern Potato Hash.
Broccoli & Cheddar Frittata – Gluten Free Available.
Applewood Smoked Bacon.
Apple Streusel Coffee Cake.
Assorted Cold Cereal.
Fruit Salad.