EXPLORE YOUR TRUE NATURE: Forest Bathing and Yoga in St. Lucia, Caribbean

About us



MARCH 3-10, 2018

with Deb Denome, Forest Therapy Guide & 

Joan Ruffels, St. Lucia Guide, Yoga Teacher & Integrative Wellness Professional

 MARVEL in the exquisite magic where lush rainforest meets azure blue sea

BASK in serene, spacious inner calm

FLOURISH with vibrant energy and fresh inspiration for your life

SURRENDER your stress to our island oasis and let Nature remind you who you really are....

Come join us as we immerse in the infinite support of our tropical paradise....the warmth of the sun...deep, cool rainforests....invigorating waterfalls....calm, crystalline sea....vivid coral reefs....refreshing Tradewinds....luminous moon and stars....delicious garden-fresh meals....succulent tropical fruit, bush teas....

Boundaries between self and nature will soften into the fluid spaciousness of awe, wonder, vision and mystery. Here we can easily commune with the wisdom of Nature and absorb her profound resilience and boundless creativity into the fulness of our own lives.


Enchanting, private, historic, eco-retreat

Deep nature connection through forest bathing

Gentle daily yoga practice

Immerse in local wonders: waterfalls, rainforest, coral reefs, crystalline beaches

Small,  intimate friendly group

Warm, passionate professional guides

Spacious free tie to unwind an BE

Delectable, garden-fresh meals

Authentic local community and service project options

F O R E S T    B A T H I N G

Reawaken ancient senses that all four ancestors knew to connect with the Medicine of the forest and our natural world. Forest Bathing is a fast-growing practice based on humanity's evolution as part of nature, not separate from it. Forest Bathing (aka Forest Therapy or Shinrin-yoku) is a pleasurable, effective, natural antidote to stress, anxiety and depression and is a cornerstone of the Japanese healthcare system. Now over 30% of the population in Japan heads to the forest each week to boost immunity, intuition, creativity, cognition, decision making, and feelings of wellness and peace. Forest Bathing leaves us healthier, happier and smarter. Basking in the essence of the forest and in our natural environments, we will weave Forest Bathing into every aspect of our precious time together and you will depart with the skills to practice at home. 

"The healing that happened for me was deep and blessedly uncomplicated." -Sue M., Forest Bathing Retreat participant

O U R     Y O G A    P R A C T I C E

Transform into your most radiant self through combining Forest Bathing with our yoga practice of easeful Being that embraces an approach of soft, intuitive, natural movement. We will enjoy gentle flowing and restorative postures to unleash blockages from body, mind and soul. An integrated yoga practice offers you an opportunity to feel into the place within where boundaries begin to blur, spaciousness expands and a feeling place of where "air meets water" starts to emerge. Awaken alignment with the Oneness of All that is. Harmony, connection to our inner and outer abundances of wisdom, fully present to inner and outer paradise in the tropics--this is Joan's intention for guiding our yoga practice together in St. Lucia.

"There is no waiting and no delayed gratification because yoga is both the means and the result and the seed of all that is possible is present at the very beginning." -D. Farhi

O U R    C A R I B B E A N    O A S I S

St. Lucia, West Indies....the Caribbean island you dream about! Beaches,mountains, sunshine, warmth and a slowed down pace of life is waiting for you. Our tropical home for the week is Balenbouche Estate, nestled in the Southwest coast of St. Lucia. 

Enchantment takes over as you are welcomed to this very special 75 acre restored West Indian sugar plantation and organic farm. Amerindian, African, European and East Indian history is intricately interwoven in this 18th century sugar mill, historic plantation house and grounds. Together we will earn about the history as we honor the past and present stewards of this fertile land. Today, lush with ancient banyan trees, gardens of flowers, vegetables, coconuts, bananas, mango and papaya, lily ponds and nature trails, the property is flanked by black sand beaches and sparkling Caribbean Sea. 

Friendly fishing villages, the Piton mountains, rainforests, waterfalls, petroglyphs, and coral reefs are all nearby.

This eco-chic resort has been owned, lovingly restored and managed by the Lawaetz family for 3 generations lodging is intimate with 5 historic cottages, ventilated by nature, equipped with mosquito netting and fans, and beautiful artistic touches. Each cottage has its own unique layout and you can choose your lodging to include more privacy or more social connection; early registrants having greatest choice. 

Y O U R    G U I D E S

Deborah Denome is a Social Entrepreneur, Educator, Herbalist and Certified Forest Therapy Guide.  She is passionate about the expansion of human consciousness as it informs our Interdependence with All Things.  Deb's greatest joy is in helping individuals to deepen their own relationship with the Earth, each other, and our own true nature and she has been leading retreats for over 20 years.  She is the owner of Finger Lakes Forest Therapy and finds Forest Bathing to be a profound yet simple and accessible path to expanding our relationships with All That Is.

Since 1997 Deb has served as Director of Shimmering Light Farm & Renewal Center, a non-profit educational organization that explores, models and inspires more conscious and restorative ways of life.   Her previous corporate career was in international training and publishing and she was the 2008 Canandaigua Athena Award recipient for her work promoting women in leadership. Deb is blessed to live and play at Shimmering Light Farm in South Bristol, NY.  Here, overlooking Canandaigua Lake, she raised three fascinating young adults, tends abundant herb gardens, and dances as often as possible.

"Deb has a beautiful ability to hold sacred, still space for us to enter into Presence." - Lynne W. retreat participant

Joan Ruffels is an Integrative Wellness Professional who blends degrees in anthropology, sociology and occupational therapy with teachings from global masters, shaman and wisdom keepers in a way that provides opportunities to reclaim wholeness and vitality.  She is a yoga teacher who began her training over 20 years ago with Muktunda Tom Stiles, and extended stays at various ashrams have deepened her practice. She has recently come full circle with her  yoga training through completion of Yoga Alliance 200 hour teacher training.

Joan has adventured with her family as worldschoolers. She and her family love to  slow travel, where they can experience authentic connection with local customs and cultures through extended stays in various communities, living in villages or neighborhoods that are off-the-beaten tourist track.  Joan loves guiding transformational travel where beneficial relationships occur among travelers and local people.  She has lived in St.Lucia either full or part time for over 20 years and is delighted to share her island home with our group. Joan provides opportunities for a  glimpse of real-life St. Lucia that one rarely sees behind the gates of all-inclusive resorts.  Through alliances with local friends near Balenbouche, Joan has worked with communities to uncover meaningful service opportunities.

"This was not a siteseeing adventure. This was a “down to your soul” transformative week. This journey, orchestrated with love and care by Joan, was indeed a life event for me.  The trip changed my perspective in a lasting, positive way.  I could not recommend a better person to trust with your travels."- D.P., Previous retreat guest

Deb and Joan have savored the intimacy of a women’s circle together for the last 16 years.  They have shared the joys and challenges of homeschooling their children, co-creating a community farm, delving deep into self and relationships, and celebrating the seasons of nature and life.  They are both recognized for their authenticity, gentleness and ability to hold beautiful, blessed space, allowing you to enter a place of healing that feels right for you.

Marvel             Bask           Flourish


We share meals that are served family-style on the verandah of the main plantation. Our creative chef utilizes produce grown in the plantation gardens and from local sources (as much as possible on an island) and lovingly prepares meals that dazzle the senses.  Meals are delicious and typically include:

Early morning snack: local herbal "bush" teas, coffee, fresh coconut water, fresh tropical fruit

Brunch: Eggs, hot porridge or granola, fresh mixed salad and additional savory dishes, hot rolls with butter, jam and cheese 

Afternoon snack: Fresh baked goods, fruit or fruit smoothie, green drink 

Dinner:  Mixed green salad, delicious green vegetables, local root vegetables, rice, couscous and scrumptious desserts, optional fresh fish or chicken

L O D G I N G,    P R I C E    &    R E G I S T R A T I O N


Almond Cottage with private bed and private bath is perfect for those who require a little more space and want to ensure that they have enough alone time to process their inner journey.


Calabash Cottage, Frangipani Cottage, or Waterlily  Cottage with private bed in shared bedroom OR

Banyan Cottage with private bedroom and shared bath. These rooms are  perfect for those who like a little social time, enjoy connecting with others but still want to have some solo space.


Banyan Cottage with shared bedroom and shared bathroom is for those who are used to having a busy house and prefer it that way.

***There is bountiful outdoor space around the property for private reflection and most people prefer to be outdoors except to sleep, so be assured that you can find whatever amount of solo space you might need at any given time.***

A deposit of $500 is required to reserve your space in our intimate group of 12 retreatants.  

We expect this retreat to fill fast!  


The full balance of your payment is due December 1st, 2017. 

W H A T' S    I N C L U D E D

Transportation to and from Hewanorrah Airport (UVF) 

7 nights lodging

All on-site meals from Saturday evening to Saturday morning

Daily yoga and forest bathing 

Excursions to local attractions that may include:

Tet Paul Nature Trail walk between the famous Pitons

Soufriere Volcano

Moule-a-Chique Lighthouse

Snorkeling at Sugar Beach coral reefs

W H A T' S    N O T    I N C L U D E D

Airfare to and from St. Lucia

Off-site meals, drinks, snacks, etc. that are not part of Balenbouche meal plan


Optional activities expenses (e.g. guided Piton climb, horseback riding, etc.)

Optional Massages and Spa services

Travel insurance


If you have more questions, please connect with Joan at www.solshinewell.com or Deb at www.flforesttherapy.com.

Tags: caribbean forest bathing forest therapy healthy retreats shinrin-yoku st lucia wellbeing wellness yoga

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