This November retreat sold out to a wonderful group! See Solstice, Madeline, and Memoir for upcoming options

Mystery of Yin: Empowering the Creative Feminine through Writing, Yoga & Art

At beautiful cedar cliff on lake superior near lutsen

Dates: November 21-24 2013 Thursday - Sunday 

Register Early: This lovely retreat is limited to twelve women


What Others Are Saying About Elephant Rock Retreats

"GO!!! You will find it life changing! I will be using all of the exercises I learned to stretch as a writer. I particularly liked the exercise of choosing words at random and then creating a poem/ piece using those words; I thought the “I am….” exercise was marvelous because the environmental elements that we chose to use (i.e. space between the green etc.) reflected our uniqueness as writers. Yoga was an excellent ingredient that opened us up to the sensory experiences that were so enriching. Wonderful synergy! I found that I was able to focus on the moment and the work at hand and not worry about the 'product' which is usually the way in which I work.  I felt no pressure to be 'perfect' or even close. Jeannine was an excellent facilitator--open, sensitive, warm, and sharing of her expert knowledge. She was able to treat each one of us as a unique individual and create a bond with us on that individual basis. This I found truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for this wonderful, life changing experience!"--Patricia Wylie, drama teacher and theatre director of Sierra Madre Playhouse, Sierra Madre, California

Mystery of Yin

In terms of Chinese Medicine,  we are seeing a deep imbalance between yin and yang. Even though women are relatively more yin than men, this core imbalance affects all of us and is perhaps taking a bigger toll on women's health. We all need to start thinking of nourishing ourselves in every way so that our yin is strengthened. This will harbor the life-giving, life-preserving and creative qualities of the feminine energy, and create more balance in each of us and all around.  –Sandra Arbelaez, Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner 



Deep Restoration

Nourish your feminine yin energy during this extraordinarily restorative retreat held in the depth of autumn, on the cusp of winter’s dark, still energy. Magical creative writing exercises and voyages beyond the “edge of doubt” will gently unlock deep mysteries and connect you to your clear, true voice. Read more about the creative writing approach here and here. Daily practice of  yoga, including yin yoga and meditation, and artistic exercises will balance and restore you inside and out, bringing you ever closer to your truest self.

Empowering the Creative Feminine

In Chinese medicine and Taoist philosophy, yin and yang are opposing energies that exist only in relation to each other. Yin is seen as the more feminine aspect, with qualities that are moist, cool, dark, and heavy. Yin tends to contract and be still. Yang is seen as the more masculine aspect, with qualities that are dry, warm, light, and airy. Yang tends to expand and move. If we think of the continuous cycle of day and night—day being yang and night yin—we can see the constant waning and waxing of these two energies. Yin and yang are not only opposites, but interdependent (there cannot be darkness without light), mutually consuming (light consumes darkness as it grows stronger and vice versa), and inter-transforming (day and night continuously transform into each other).

Everything around us contains aspects of both yin and yang. However, in Western culture, yang energy tends to strongly dominate, while yin energy becomes overpowered and depleted. Yin is all about nourishment at every level, physical, mental, and spiritual.

It's believed that many of the conditions that are prevalent among modern women (and men) can directly result from damaged yin: insomnia, anxiety, depression, menstrual problems, infertility, severe menopausal symptoms, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes, to name just a few. 

Developing and nourishing your yin energy is a gift to yourself: physically, mentally, spiritually, and creatively.

Yin Yoga for your body, mind, and soul

night & day.jpg

Yin yoga is often described as the other half of a yoga practice. In relation to yoga, a yang practice is a faster practice, affecting muscles, making them longer and stronger. At this retreat, we'll energize ourselves in the morning with more active yoga, and In the evening, we'll explore the  yin yoga practice, which is slower, deeper, and more restorative.

Yin yoga benefits the physical body by freeing up the tight connective tissue capsules that form around the muscles and joints. When people say yoga keeps you young, they are referring in part to the suppleness of the joints and whole body due to the moisture stimulating stretches of a practice. Yin yoga aims to work on this directly.

 Yin postures becomes a time of inner reflection, meditation, and peace. The nervous system is calmed, the mind stilled, and in this state the body returns to its natural healthy rhythm.

Yin yoga postures have a positive effect on the “life force” or chi flowing through the meridian systems of the entire body. These meridian pathways run through the connective tissues of the body, so when we stimulate the deep connective tissues through yin yoga, we positively affect this vital life force—another reason why the practice has such healing benefits.

Art as a Portal to the Deep Unconscious

 You will be surprised by the deep meditative satisfaction gained through the art projects on this retreat. This fun and rewarding work will deepen and widen the opportunity for insight and connection. Don’t worry! You need not be an “artist.” This artistic work is designed for everyone to surprise herself with beauty and success. 

Pamper Yourself

 Participants can lavish themselves with loving care through clay masks, acupressure facials, deep hair conditioning, hand and foot soaks, etc. For extra indulgent pampering, you might choose to visit the world-class Waves of Superior at the Surfside Resort near the Temperance River before or after the retreat.




The retreat will include ample time for you to roam the beautiful property and shore, to stroll down these stairs  and take in the wonders of autumn and the stark natural beauty of Lake Superior. The walk from Cedar Cliff to the original Lutsen resort is an easy mile along the shore. Or, just sit on the rocks and let the sound of the lake and the smell of the woods work their deep yin magic.

retreat details

Fee $900 

Deposit $450 holds your spot, balance due by November 1

Method Pay by check or PayPal (see registration forms for payment address)

Email for registration forms or download them here or call 612-801-2566

retreat includes

  • 3 nights lodging at beautiful Cedar Cliff Retreat (double occupancy)
  • All meals 
  • Daily writing workshops
  • Daily yoga
  • Daily artistic projects
  • Full use of grounds and gorgeous shore
  • Evening bonfires as weather permits (otherwise we have the gorgeous Carlton Peak fireplace in the great room!)

cedar cliff


Perched on the rocky, wooded North Shore of Lake Superior, Cedar Cliff is a charming 1920s craftsman six-bedroom “cottage” that makes for a perfect retreat. Located a mile and a half from Lutsen on the edge of the Superior National Forest, the magic of this beautiful lodge awaits you. The North Shore of Lake Superior is not only a geographical wonder, but an incredible wilderness right in the backyard of the Twin Cities. Cedar Cliff is ideally located in an oasis within that wilderness: right on the big lake, at the end of a dead-end road …  and yet only a very short drive or pleasant long walk from shops and restaurants. The highlight, of course, is Lake Superior. Nothing parallels the experience of gazing out into that vast expanse of water.

a unique escape

This beautiful private historic home features an amazing Carlton Peak fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, organic coffee, tea and cocoa, wonderful bedding and quilts plus lots of character and lots of privacy. The Great Room is perfect for our group activities including yoga, and the bedrooms are set to the back of the house for more peaceful quiet time. The two large screened porches give even more space for relaxing and lake watching, and you can even sleep out there on an air bed if the weather is warm enough. Cedar Cliff is a “green” facility and uses recycled and environmentally friendly products and high quality natural fibers in its linens, towels, and rugs. This lovely retreat space is imbued with love and care.

delicious meals served family style

The vegetarian meals on this retreat will be prepared lovingly for you, with fresh, organic ingredients and served at the enormous old-fashioned dining table with ritual and joy. Dietary restrictions will of course be happily and creatively accommodated. (Registration material will include survey questions on dietary needs and preferences.) The menu will be fully developed closer to the retreat—and pay some special attention to foods thought to nourish and balance yin energy—but you can expect a wonderful variety of meals composed of dishes such as:

Breakfast … Continental breakfasts of organic yogurt, fruit, granola, bread/toast, cereal, hard-boiled eggs, tea, etc. 

Lunch … warm soup, vegetable stew, pasta with organic veggies, sandwiches, quinoa with veggies, cheeses, broiled tofu, pita, hummus, tabouli, fresh organic salads. 

Dinner …. Hearty spinach lasagna, baked macaroni and cheese, sautéed or baked vegetables, warm zucchini pasta pesto, wild mushroom risotto, spicy lentil tacos, bread, fresh organic green salads.

please join us

Please join us for this quiet adventure if you are able. We are so very much looking forward to this beautiful weekend of writing, yoga, art, and deep discovery of self and other at Cedar Cliff Retreat on Lake Superior's stunning North Shore!