Widening Circles

Deep healing through movement, meditation and community

Annual Fall Women's Retreat

Monday Oct 22nd - Thursday Oct 25th 2018

Shanti Yoga Retreat on Wolfe Island


To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given.

-David Whyte


Stress and depletion can lead us into increasingly drastic self-care measures but often these expensive and time-consuming efforts pile up on our to-do list and end up contributing to our overwhelm. When we finally stop and attune to our breathing body, to nature and to one another we gain insight into the wakeful place that lies within and yearns to connect with the world around us. Our culture of product worship and never-good-enough makes it hard to believe that we have access to a sense of basic well-being within us. We’re taught otherwise everyday.


I’d like to push back.

I’d like to suggest there’s an antidote to the complicated solutions that we’re being sold to “manage” our stress and suffering.


  • What if we questioned our stress instead of managing it?
  • What if we acknowledged that everything we're trying to do really IS too much?
  • What if we accepted that suffering is unavoidable and learned time-proven techniques to work with it?
  • What if we gathered in sacred circle to grieve the way life hurts and to listen deeply to each other'? 
  • What if we laughed til we cried, then cried for real and then laughed some more?
  • What if this retreat was affordable and inclusive for ALL women?
  • What if we had fun? 


Who is this retreat for?

At my retreats (and always) I strive to cultivate a welcoming space to all people who identify as women. This includes people who are gay, bisexual, non-binary, gender fluid, genderqueer and trans. If you aren't sure this retreat is a good fit for you I encourage you to reach out so we can talk. I'm deeply committed to facilitating a retreat that welcomes a broad range of diversity. If you're considering this retreat and some of these words and ideas are new for you here is a great resource.

Why an Island?

I used to live on an island in the Pacific Northwest. One of my favourite memories is the sense of peace and solitude I would feel as I crossed the water to get home. The island state of mind is a valuable resource as we take time for ourselves to rest and replenish. 

Shanti Yoga Retreat is special because, while it's an easy drive from Ottawa, Montreal or Toronto, you feel like you've stepped away and taken space from everyday life. Shanti is a beloved and well-established retreat center with gorgeous rooms and amazing food in a beautiful setting while still being reasonably priced.

Why mid-week?

There's no perfect time for everyone but many people have confirmed that a mid-week getaway is easier for their schedule. With months ahead to book the time off work you'll have your weekend to spend as usual and then you can duck out for a couple of days for yourself.

What to expect?

This retreat is an all-levels offering that doesn't require previous yoga or meditation experience or any particular level of fitness.

Our focus will be enjoyable movement and contemplative practices that awaken, soothe and deeply nourish our bodies, hearts and minds. The daily rhythm includes regular guided sessions as well as plenty of downtime for walking, reading, napping or whatever you choose. Our activities will range from quiet, contemplative practice, to group sharing and rituals. Sometimes our meals will be silent and other times celebratory but they will always be delicious and nourishing.

I'm sensitive to the fact that group programs like this can sometimes be intimidating or even a bit overwhelming. Your need for quiet space and optional participation will be respected!

Read more about my approach to yoga & meditation here.


What's included?

  • 8 delicious vegetarian meals
  • Comfortable private or shared accommodations
  • Access to an infrared sauna
  • Private use of the beautiful grounds and the labyrinth
  • Yoga mats and props
  • Multiple guided yoga, therapeutic movement & meditation sessions daily
  • Personal development workshops and talking circles


My retreats and workshops are offered in the spirit of Dana practice, a Buddhist term meaning generosity. This allows a broader range of people to access these programs if they want to attend. 


How does this work?

The registration deposit covers all costs for attending the retreat. By paying this fee you reserve your space and cover your lodging, meals and any material expenses. (Scroll to the bottom to see pricing & registration info).

Additionally, I will ALWAYS have spaces available at below-cost level. If you want to come on this retreat, I want you to be there. Please contact me at info@anniebray.com to organize the details.

On the last morning of the retreat there will be an opportunity to offer dana based on what you can afford at this time. This will go directly to me for my teaching work and will be recieved anonymously (unless you choose otherwise) and with much gratitude.


Tentative Schedule (subject to change based on weather and whimsy):


2-3PM Arrive by magical ferry ride

Settling in, walking the land and meeting each other.

4PM Orientation and Introductions

430PM Moving into stillness: Slow flow yoga & meditation.

630PM Evening meal

830PM Gathering by the hearth/ Opening our circle/ Intentions for the retreat

930PM Guided relaxation. Entering silence until after breakfast.

10PM: Rest time

Tuesday & Wednesday

7AM Morning meditation/ walk in silence

8AM  Breakfast in silence

9AM Writing practice

930 Breaking silence-Circle & Contemplative practices

1030 Movement and Meditation session

12PM Free time for a walk, reading, reflection

1230 Lunch

130-330 Free time (nap, walk, sauna, visit… Your choice!)

330 Group session: Movement & Meditation

630PM Evening meal

8PM: Outdoor bonfire (weather permitting) and circle practice

930: Guided relaxation. Entering silence until following morning 830 practice session

10PM: Rest time


7AM Morning Meditation/walk in silence

8AM Tea and Fruit available

830 Movement and meditation session/ silence ends

10AM Closing circle

11AM Brunch & Goodbyes

12PM Check out of rooms

Departure anytime until 2PM


Price: The deposit covers all costs for the retreat except for teaching fees. At the end of the retreat you will have the opportunity to provide dana, a teaching gift that is offered and received in a spirit of generosity and gratitude. It can be offered directly or anonymously and is meant to reflect your honest ability to give. Suggested average donation for waged earners is $200 but it's understood that some people will offer less and others more based on their financial situation.

More guidelines for Dana pratice will be provided upon registration.

from 450.00
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About Annie

I’m a registered massage therapist, yoga & meditation teacher, anatomy geek, mother of two, wife, semi-recovered save-the-world type, keeper of a messy kitchen and a tiny, beautiful yoga studio just south of Ottawa. I've been a student and teacher of yoga for over 16 years and my students tell me I'm funny, caring and easy to connect with. 

I'm a long-term student of the late teacher Michael Stone who has mentored me in meditation, yoga and the interface between inner transformation and social awakening since 2008. I'm also a facilitator of The Work That Reconnects, as taught by Joanna Macy and I weave these depth practices into my classes and retreats. 

Sometimes life can be really hard, for all of us. I believe that magic happens when we join forces and learn new ways to care for ourselves and each other. Creating space for this kind of connection is what I do.