I am known as a plant-based and raw food coach working privately with clients and teaching health and wellness courses for two decades. My passion for the raw food lifestyle started in 1994 after my 3-year-old son’s healing from asthma and chronic ear infections—and my own healing from 25 years of cystic acne and irritable bowel syndrome—through juicing greens and a simple raw vegan diet. With my love for health and wellness, I then wrote three books focused on whole food, plant-based and raw food nutrition.
An Idea Bursts Forth to Lead Wellness Retreats
One of my private health coaching clients recommended in 2010 that I start hosting live group classes for adults to facilitate an easier transitioning process from mainstream animal-based eating to whole food, plant-based eating, emphasizing fresh raw fruits and vegetables. I decided to follow that suggestion, and my live group plant-based courses have been running every season since 2011. I have seen, over the years, how beneficial these live group support programs have been for so many people experiencing health challenges, wanting to reach their ideal weight, gain energy and get fit.
I had then thought about how wonderful it would be to host these live programs in other locations, beautiful places in nature, where we could experience healthful eating in a pristine environment, even if just for a weekend or full week. Bringing this desire into my consciousness seemed to lead to the power of the universe to attract my first well retreat for me.
Getting Started in Learning How to Host a Wellness Retreat
When I was a featured speaker at one of the Raw Spirit Festivals in Arizona, the new owners of a beautiful wellness retreat center in Costa Rica approached me about hosting an event at their location near the Pacific coast of this tropical paradise. It took a few years more for me to realize that I could definitely market and host a fabulous wellness retreat there. In 2016, I brought 17 guests to Finca de Vida, the Farm of Life, in Costa Rica, for my first Love Raw Food and Yoga Retreat. The guest testimonials that followed were raving about their life-transforming experiences at the one-week raw food and yoga wellness retreat.
We created the perfect vacation scenario: ideal tropical weather of sun and blue skies daily in February, when many people are looking to get away to a beautiful place. This vacation scenario also encompassed visits to gorgeous waterfalls, with natural pools for swimming; private scenic beaches; local farmers’ markets; trips to permaculture farms, where we eat the best local ripe tropical fruit and green leaves; and daily group health coaching, focused on the presentation of health and wellness information but also on group interaction. At Finca de Vida, we have two raw food chefs on staff who prepare divine-tasting and healthy gourmet low-fat raw vegan cuisine. We practice yoga, qi gong, meditation, chakra healing, sound bowls and ecstatic dance. These are the essentials for a truly successful wellness retreat.
At Wellness Retreats, Guests May Experience Transformations
The awakening to one’s true nature and the healing that can happen at such a wellness retreat will make the occasion even more special. One woman at the February 2019 wellness retreat came with chronic pain and asthma and had been on medication for years. By the end of the week, she was feeling so pain-free and wonderfully alive.
I can take as many as 19 people to the Love Raw Food and Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica. We have welcomed guests ranging in age from their older teens all the way up to their 70s.
Camaraderie is what people are looking for as well when they look for a wellness retreat vacation. The camaraderie should be warm and nurturing from the start, with support and guidance from the leader and staff.
Connections May Inspire the Creation of Additional Wellness Retreats
Wellness retreat opportunities can come right from people you already know through friends or work. A student taking my 5-Week Plant-Based and Raw Food Health Coaching and Recipe Course encouraged me to come visit an inn she owns in quaint Rhinebeck, New York. She had thought it would be an ideal location for a women’s health retreat.
When I finally made the time to go with Maria for a visit to her five-star luxury Inn, I saw that this would be the perfect getaway for a three-day women’s weekend in the middle of stunning forest scenery. The plant-based Women’s Health Retreat is held at the charming Hideaway Suites twice a year, in April and November. Women have come to transition to healthier eating, to eat delicious plant-based and raw food cuisine, practice yoga and meditation, and engage in art and nature activities while enjoying a community of like-minded women.
I can host up to 10 women for the Women’s Health Retreat, scheduled once in the early spring and once in the fall. Women have attended this wellness retreat, held Friday through Sunday), from as far as the United Kingdom, California and Florida and as close as New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
How to Organize and Market Wellness Retreats
At the Love Raw Food and Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica, we have a full staff of raw food chefs, yoga, qi gong and meditation teachers. I am the health coach and also spend my days taking my guests on magnificent adventures. At the Women’s Health Retreat, I organize the entire wellness retreat myself and prepare all the food. Some of the food I prepare on my own prior to the wellness retreat, and some involves getting my guests in the kitchen with me. This is so much fun for everyone!
How do I get the word out about my wellness retreats to those who are looking for these fantastic events? I design my newsletter for each of these wellness retreats, sending it out locally to subscribers from my home-base area of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and then nationally and internationally through a different section of my subscriber list. I have grown my list of followers through my YouTube channel, speaking engagements and my 2017 online interview series, titled The Power of Raw Foods Summit.
I also have a Meetup group, and it’s easy for anyone to start one. In this Meetup group, I post events at the New Jersey Raw Food Support Network. It’s free to become a member of any Meetup group. I send out notices about frequent events that I host, including information about my wellness retreats.
I’m a featured speaker at many events, spreading the benefits of a simple raw food lifestyle. I use the stage of these events to give valuable information and follow it by announcing my classes, raw vegan coaching certification course and wellness retreats.
Finally, I use the excellent feedback and testimonials from my wellness retreat guests to continue to promote these events in my newsletter, Meetup group and speaking engagements. Happy attendees have been excellent referral sources for my wellness retreats to happen from year to year.
I hope this article has given you some feedback on how to host a wellness retreat as well as how to create and market these events.
If you would like to reach me to find out about the next Love Raw Food and Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica, the dates are February 9 through 16, 2020. If you are interested in the next Women’s Health Retreat, the dates are November 1 through 3, 2019. If you are interested in my private individual or family health coaching, online Feel Fabulous with Food group coaching or to become a certified raw vegan coach by taking my 100-hour course, you can contact me by email or Facebook.