A Serene Spot to Write at Naniboujou Resort and Lodge 

A Serene Spot to Write at Naniboujou Resort and Lodge 

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

april 12 - april 15, 2018

A private retreat (off-season exclusive!) for women only at the beautiful Naniboujou Resort on the North Shore of Lake Superior

All levels and genres. Elephant Rock does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of age, color of skin, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender expression and identity, sexual orientation, or anything else. We expect the same from our all of our participants.

Register Early! This retreat sells out. 

What Others Say 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 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 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 ... 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  

Nourish your creative yin energy during this private, deep-in-nature retreat held in in the depth of autumn, as our energy naturally turns inward. Unconventional writing exercises and voyages beyond the “edge of doubt” will bring out surprises on the page. Read more about the creative writing approach here and here. Daily practice of  yoga and meditation will balance and restore you inside and out, bringing you closer to the heart of your writing. And yourself.

jeannine ouellette

Jeannine will lead writing workshops. She is an award-winning writer of creative nonfiction as well as narrative journalism. She holds an MFA in fiction at Vermont College of Fine Arts and has been writing, editing, and teaching for more than twenty years. She recently completed her first novel, and  is the founder and artistic director of Elephant Rock. Read her full bio here




allison coffelt

Allison will lead yoga and meditation.  She lives, writes, and teaches in Columbia Missouri, and has completed RYT 200 yoga teacher training.  As a yoga practitioner for over a decade, Allison loves working with Elephant Rock because it fosters a space that connects creative work with physical awareness.  She believes yoga is for every body and that a contemplative practice is essential to fostering imagination.  Her own writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Oxford Public Health MagazineHippocampus, and elsewhere.  Her first book, Maps Are Lines We Draw: A Road Trip Through Haiti will be released in March 2018.


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 wet, 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 (no 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 dominate, while yin energy becomes overpowered and depleted. Yin is all about nourishment at every level, physical, mental, and spiritual. Many conditions prevalent among modern women (and men) may 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.


yin yoga for your body, mind, and soul

Yin yoga is the "other half" of a yoga practice. Yang practice is faster and more energetic,  affecting muscles, making them longer and stronger. Yin yoga frees up the tight connective tissue 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.

At this retreat, we'll explore a variety of yoga styles, including yin, and the instruction will be accessible to all levels, including complete beginners. We promise.

 Historic Naniboujou Lodge on Lake Superior

Historic Naniboujou Lodge on Lake Superior

Art as a Portal to the Deep Unconscious

Art deepens and widens 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. 


Sink into this secluded, natural setting on the shores of one of the most healing lakes in the world. The retreat provides ample time  to roam the shore and drink in the wonders of spring and the stark natural beauty of Lake Superior.  Or, just sit on the rocks and let the sound of the lake and the smell of the woods work their magic. 

retreat details

Fee $1090 single occupancy room, $990 double ($550 non-refundable deposit by check or PayPal to hold your spot, balance due by March 1)

Schedule We start around 4 PM on Thursday  (exact time for welcome circle TBD based on participants travel schedules, but dinner will be served on Thursday evening at about 7 PM). Closing circle and farewell is after breakfast on Sunday.

Getting There Naniboujou is 15 miles east of Grand Marais, 124 miles northeast of Duluth on Hwy 61 (about 2.5 hours past Duluth, give or take), and about 4.5 to 5 hours from Minneapolis via Duluth.  Minneapolis and Duluth airports are good options. For those interested in carpooling, we try to connect you to others wanting to share a ride.

Email for registration forms or call 612-801-2566 with questions! We would love to write with you.


  • 3 nights lodging at beautiful Naniboujou (private room or, on request, a limited number of double occupancy rooms are available at $100 discount)
  • All meals (vegetarian menu) and all day coffee and tea are available (Dinner on Thursday; Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on Friday and Saturday; Breakfast Sunday)
  • Daily writing workshops, readings, and yoga
  • Artistic projects and all supplies
  • Full and exclusive use of grounds and gorgeous shore


Perched on the edge of the North Shore of Lake Superior, Nanibojou is an extraordinary 1920s wonder that makes for an unforgettable retreat space. With Judge C. Magney State Park and its 3,000 acres behind the lodge, this is a hiker's paradise.  Naniboujou is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lodge boasts Minnesota's largest native rock fireplace, a 200 ton work of art which stands in the 30 x 80 foot Great Hall (now the dining room). The highlight, of course, is Lake Superior. 

 Dining at Naniboujous

Dining at Naniboujous

delicious meals served family style

The vegetarian meals on this retreat will be prepared lovingly for you by the renowned cooks at Naniboujou, served buffet style in Naniboujou's extraordinary dining room with ritual and joy. We will do our best to accommodate allergies but note that this is a remote location and options are limited. 

please join us

Please join us for this quiet adventure if you are able. We look forward to this beautiful weekend of writing, yoga, art, and deep discovery of self and other at Naniboujou on Lake Superior's stunning North Shore! Your deposit of $550 holds your spot.  Email today to register.