Whole-Hearted Living Retreat

In just over one week, we’ll arrive in the beautiful mountains of Big Sky, Montana, swag bags in hand, ready to welcome 10 retreaters to a weekend of whole-hearted living. Will you be one of them?

When we think of a courageous, heart-centered human who is up for a Fearless Self-Loving life, we think of YOU! You who are reading this blog, you who are ready to live a flourishing life you love:)

We, Andrea Catherine & Sara Hughes-Zabawa, would love to invite to our upcoming Fearless-Self Love: A Retreat for Wholehearted Living in Big Sky, Montana this November!  A weekend full of yoga, meditation, meaningful workshops, art and creative works, an opportunity for soul searching, hand-prepared, locally harvested food, and even better company!


Where: Nestled in the heart of the mountains of Big Sky Montana our retreat will be held at Moonlight Magic – Sara’s family cabin. For a glimpse of the cabin and it’s breathtaking views, look here. We have additional rooms for participants in the adjacent cabin.

For those planning to fly, Bozeman Montana is the nearest airport location (only a hour away from the cabin). For your convenience, drive share options will be available for those attending the retreat, therefore a rental car won’t be necessary for attendance.  

When: Thursday evening at 5pm on November 2nd through Sunday afternoon, ending before 2pm, November 5th 2017. Departure flexibility has been extended to the afternoon of November 6th for those needing extra travel time.

What: A three day weekend retreat dedicated to exploring how to embrace self-care fearlessly and cultivate wholehearted living (see detailed schedule below). Retreaters will have the opportunity to participate in a Brené Brown’s certified two day experiential learning workshop covering the 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living including:


  • Cultivating Authenticity: Letting go of what people think
  • Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  • Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle

Each Guidepost includes creative, artistic, and reflective activities to enrich your learning experience.

In addition, daily yoga and meditation will be accompanied with wholefoods (including Ayurvedic cooking demonstrations) and wonderful company.  Meaningful wellness workshops dedicated to digging deep to identify and challenge the barriers we face in taking good care of ourselves will be offered, while education and resources will be provided to support you cultivating the quality of life you desire.


Andrea Catherine: Rooted in her personal and professional experience, Andrea builds communities of fearless self-love. Highly responsible women prioritize self-care, trust their intuition, and live energized lives they love. Andrea is a 500 Hour Professional Level Kripalu Yoga Teacher and Yoga Health Coach.

Toni Hughes, LCSW, CDWF: Dedicating almost 40 years to the mental health profession, Toni is passionate about assisting others in their healing process and believes in the power of courage, compassion, and connection. Toni has run a successful private therapy practice for over 17 years and specializes in women’s issues, sexual abuse and trauma. She is certified as a Daring Way™ facilitator. Her greatest joy comes from her family, especially her 2-year-old Grandson Noah.

Sara Hughes-Zabawa, LMSW, RYT:  There are few things as liberating and terrifying as choosing to show up and love yourself, exactly as you are. Sara believes that stepping into a relationship oneself and one’s body is where we learn to cultivate true belonging and balance. Sara is a Masters level licensed clinical social worker, a women’s studies scholar, and a 200-hour certified yoga instructor. She is dedicated to helping others cultivate holistic wellness that honors the mind-body-spirit connection.

You: Many of you will have either completed Andrea’s @ home in your body course, or are current participants, others are Yoga students, dear friends, or colleagues of either Andrea or Sara.


If we truly want to experience love and belonging, we must we believe we are worth love and belonging.”

– Brené Brown


Investing in your quality of life through gaining additional skills, strengthening nurturing behavior, and gaining the support of a like-minded community will enhance your ability to love yourself and love those you choose worthy of your time and energy.

And ultimately, because we believe that prioritizing self-love is the most selfless thing you can do!

Investment: For $599 participant’s lodging, food, yoga and meditation instruction, wellness workshops, and Brené Brown’s Wholehearted Living Workshop (normally $200) will be included.

Current @ home in your body community members receive a $200 discount (if you would like to join the January 2018 @ home in your body cohort, you can also receive a discount!)

A sliding scale fee, payment plans, and scholarships are available. Please let us know if looking into payment options would be supportive to you. A 6 month payment plan allows you to pay $105 over the course of six months.

We are eager to share this incredible experience with you. Feel free to reach out to Andrea (734.834.0172 or andrea@groundedhere.com) and/or Sara (sara.hughes.zabawa@gmail.com) with any questions or concerns.


Andrea, Toni, and Sara


Retreat schedule:

Thursday November 2, 2017 

4 – 6 pm Guests arrive and get settled

6 – 8 pm Mingle & Meal / Welcome & Grounding Activity

8 – 9 pm Evening Movement & Meditation


Friday November 3, 2017

8 – 8:30 Breakfast

8:45 – 10:15 Gentle Movement & Meditation

10:15 – 11 Intention Setting – Why are we here?

11 – 12 Wholehearted Living Intro

Lesson 1: Wholehearted Living

Lesson 2: Courage, Compassion, and Connection

12- 1 Lunch / Free-Time

1 – 3 Wholehearted Living Workshop Part. 1

Lesson 3: Guidepost 1 – Cultivating Authenticity – Letting go of what people think

Lesson 4: Guidepost 2 – Cultivating Self-Compassion – Letting go of perfectionism

3 – 3:20 Break

3: 20 – 5:30 Wholehearted Living Workshop Part. 2

Lesson 5: Guidepost 3 Cultivate a Resilient Spirit – Letting go of numbing and powerlessness

Lesson 6: Guidepost 4 Cultivating Gratitude & Joy – Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark

5:30 – 6:30 Meal

6:30 – Free Time (PLAY!)

9:00 – Evening Meditation (Optional)


Saturday November 4, 2017

8 – 8:30 Breakfast

8:45 – 10:15 Gentle Movement & Meditation

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 12:30 Wholehearted Living Workshop Part. 3

Lesson 7: Guidepost 5 Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith – Letting Go of the Need for Certainty

Lesson 8: Guidepost 6 Cultivating Creativity – Letting Go of Comparison

Lesson 9: Guidepost 7 Cultivating Play and Rest – Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self Worth

12:30 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 – 4:00 Free Time

4:00 – 6:00  Wholehearted Living Workshop Part. 4

Lesson 10: Guidepost 8 Cultivating Calm and Stillness – Letting Go of    Anxiety as a Lifestyle

Lesson 11: Guidepost 9 Cultivating Meaningful Work – Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”

Lesson 12: Guidepost 10 Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance – Letting Go of being cool and “always in control”

6:00 – 6:45 Dinner Meal

7:00 – 9:00 Group Abhyanga Pair & Restorative Yoga


Sunday November 5, 2017 

Sunrise Gratitude Practice (optional)

8 – 8:30 Breakfast

8:45 – 10:15 Gentle Movement & Meditation

10:30 -12 Letter to Oneself

12:00 – 12:30 Lunch

12:30 – 1:30 Closing Activity


For the First Time in My Life

I feel free. What I mean by that is: for my entire life, every step of the way, I have either had a goal I am working toward with a very specific outcome, stressing, working, running, crying to accomplish it. Or I have worried myself sick with anxiety about the uncertainty of what’s next. Just this week I caught myself telling a friend that though there are a few next steps in place, I am not sure where they will lead, and I have this sense that I still don’t know the outcome. (Really, we never do!) The second friend I told, a college pal, said “Really, you don’t sound like the Andrea I remember!” She was thrilled for me, and it was a comfort that she could affirm this change in me.

In his book, Start Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie mentions how all fear is rooted in the unknown, and also that everything in life is an unknown, isn’t it? Even when we think we have control, we do not. It’s an illusion we have created to feel secure. Unless we want to be afraid of everything, we can begin to recognize these mind tricks we are playing on ourselves and let go for a second, maybe a minute or even a day or the intense compulsion to grasp our lives so tightly we leave little room for surprises or inspiration. If we can let go long enough, we might be able to hear our voice within, or the still small voice of the Divine reminding us that the future will blow us away if we can relinquish our desire to control it.

Spending 10-15 hours each week encouraging others to do just this, has had an impact on me! I desire to live feel of the burden of micro-managing the chaos of life, and that desire, teaching yoga, as well as my personal yoga & meditation practice has allowed me to cultivate an inward sense of freedom.

So, today, I feel free! I don’t feel this need to control tomorrow or the outcome of my 500 Hour Ayurvedic Yoga Teaching Training at Kripalu. Yes, of course I have goals, responsibilities, desires. But for the first time, ever, I don’t feel tied to them. I feel open to the possibility that everything I intend may change, everything I dream now may be overcome by a bigger vision, or a pathway that better suits who I am. I just do not know yet what is to come. And I am excited. So excited in fact, I had to share it with you!

Try this for a minute (yes, 60 seconds): Read the following, then begin:

Set your timer. Close your eyes and notice your breath. After 5 deep full breaths, acknowledge that one nagging thought that is keeping you from fully being present to your breath (perhaps a small task you want to accomplish, a big deadline, your phone blinking with a message). Avoid talking to that thought, avoid even telling it to go away. Simply acknowledge its presence. Then keep breathing. Move your attention to your breath, maybe 10 or 20 breaths now, and anytime you go back to that thought, or another, do your best to refocus on simply inhaling and exhaling.

At the end of a minute, observe any changes in what felt like absolute necessity to attend to that nagging thought. Still nagging? Reset your timer for 2 minutes and focus your attention to the tip of your nose as you breathe.

How did it go? Would you rather focus on your breathing longer now than attend to that task? Whether or not you now prefer this breathing exercise to accomplishing your to-do-list, now you can attend to it with the calming of your own breath, the power of your own commitment and the realization that relinquishing control for even a moment can truly heal the tension within our minds and hearts.

A deep honoring from my heart to yours (Namaste),

Premier Yoga Retreat


I made the trek from Ann Arbor to Elk Rapids on a Thursday evening at the beginning of May. When I arrived, the town and lakes were quiet and the air was calm and cool. I slept soundly, though in eager anticipation of hosting my first yoga retreat. My Friday morning began with a Vinyasa class at Yen Yoga in Traverse City, after which I completed my grocery list, including freshly made tofu (really the best I have ever had), at Oryana Food Cooperative. The rest of the afternoon I spent setting up the cabin to suit the retreat and preparing snacks for when my participants arrived.

IMG_1839Between five & 9:00 pm, arriving participants enjoyed homemade hummus, raw carrots and beets, Michigan maple syrup & sea-salted pecans, peanuts and pumpkin seeds and Lake Michigan Sand Cookies (a sugar cookie adaptation). At 9 o’clock I shared the healing benefits of pranayama breathing, and we welcomed the setting sun with moon salutations and a restorative flow that ended in candle light. I began this first session by asking a few questions that helped me to frame the remaining classes for the weekend, which meant I was up late planning the morning class after everyone else was snuggled into their beds. For the future I will chat with folks ahead of time and create general outline for my classes to allow for a little more precious zzzzz’s of my own!


Early Saturday I began whipping up Quinoa-Beet-Pancake Mix, Lavender-Lemon Yogurt, fresh Kale, fruit & veggie juices and hot coffee while I waited for the crew to awake. We looked over the lake and practiced focusing on our breathing and greeted the day with Suryanamascar A and the intention to joyfully play in our practice on our mats. Brunch was delightful, our first full meal together after class in the sunny yoga room that doubled as a dining space. It sure was a balancing act playing yoga teacher and chef! I would love to have an assistant next time:)

 After eating some rested and walked, another ran along Lake Michigan, another caught up on work that could not be left behind. I prepared the Black-Eyed Pea & Kale soup and a Spring Salad from Mother Earth Living along with fresh Baguettes with olive oil, black pepper, sage & rosemary for dipping.

Our afternoon class was more invigorating. We work-shopped Adho Muka Svanasana (downward facing dog) and spent an optional 10-20  minutes in meditation to close. I began introducing meditative concepts in the first class and we built our time in seated silence throughout the weekend. After dinner, while I prepared ginger-sea salt chocolates & homemade chai, the puzzle of a marina and sailboats became the evening entertainment.



Sunday morning, with refreshed minds and bodies anew, the class gathered for one final collective practice  at the lake.  Partner stretches to open shoulders, side-bodies, and hamstrings, followed by a deepening of the suryanamascar asanas (positions/postures) and a final unguided meditation sent us all into one final meal together:  Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Quinoa, Rosemary and Tumeric Scrambled Tofu, Cherry-Ginger-Lemon Scones, Fresh Juice, Coffee and Tea.  One participant commented: “Scones are the bomb! Also loved the quinoa salad. The quinoa pancakes were awesome as were the juices. Loved it all,” so it seems the food was a home-run!

After cleaning, my mom insisted on a few yoga photos poses of me. So here they are. I know, my feet are out of alignment in Urdhva Dhanurasana (full wheel)! It was a beautiful place to teach, practice, share food, conversation and rest!

IMG_1872      IMG_1871

I returned to Yen Yoga to take restorative class for myself and rounded out the weekend with a latte for the sunny ride home!


All in all, this was a marvelous experience. Participants described it as relaxing, peaceful, calming and delicious…what more could I ask for?! Below are some more of their comments:

“Your yoga retreat was super, and I think back to the lovely time we all had. Many of your little tips have made a big difference in my daily work out. I hear you say “look out [in front of you],” and as I look at the bookshelves I think ‘it was much better looking out onto that glorious lake.'”

“My goal was to connect more with my body and experience immersion in yoga. Also to enjoy the beauty of Northern Michigan. The trip has exceeded expectations on all fronts.”

“I learned more about yoga poses that I could incorporate into home workouts. The emphasis on importance of breathing techniques was a key take-away.”

“My goal was to rest and de-stress my body and the retreat definitely exceeded my expectations. The balance of practice and meals and free time was great.”

I learned so much from my first 4 yogini retreaters and really do look forward to the opportunity to do this again! My parents opened their home for me to host my first retreat, but I am also eager to hosting them elsewhere. Please contact me at andrea@groundedhere.com if you are interested in a retreat at your place! One of my retreat participants commented: 

“I would like to have an opportunity to experience this more often! Are you planning any local, one day retreats?,” asked one participant. So I imagine you are, too!

Retreat Resources:

Good to the Grain

Mother Earth Living magazine

Yoga Journal Magazine

Partner Yoga

Jivamukti Yoga

Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health

Pranayama: Beyond the Fundamentals

Genuine Happiness: Meditation as the Path to Fulfillment