July 31- August 4, 2019

Buena vista, Virginia

You’re invited to a 5-day, 4-night retreat packed with yoga, joyful exploration of nature, my favorite swimming holes, camaraderie, relaxation, rejuvenation, laughter, body-positive discussion, and self-care in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Body Positive Yoga Summer Camp

Buena Vista, Virginia
July 31- August 4, 2019

Summer Camp

This event is for you if…

  • You want to feel wonderful and free in your unique, imperfect, powerful body for a whole weekend
  • You want to be around likeminded, body positive folks who will accept you without judgment
  • You want to practice yoga, but can’t find a teacher that knows how to accommodate your unique body
  • You’ve tried yoga before but were frustrated or had a bad experience
  • You want to stretch or strengthen your yoga practice with a teacher who knows non-conforming bodies and can help you find your own unique way to practice
  • You want an entire weekend packed with body positive conversation, joyful movement,and laughter
  • You want to have time away from the distractions and stress of everyday life – either alone or with your friends to rest, relax, and rejuvenate
  • You want the ultimate summer camp experience
  • You want to meet your new BFFs in the Virginia mountains this summer

I’d recommend this retreat to a friend because it was such a nourishing experience – I felt my body and soul get stronger, I felt my intentions take a more meaningful shape, I felt refueled. Plus, all the lovely people there are so supportive and made me feel like I had found a new community.


Retreat participant

I felt like my world opened up and I was not limited by my body. I learned to make my body work for me and it was liberating. I also made lasting friendships and shared a lot of laughs!


Retreat participant

A typical day’s schedule

8:00 AM
Beginner-friendly yoga

9:30 AM


1:00 PM

2:00 PM
Swimming, hikes,
massages & relaxation

6:00 PM
Evening yoga

7:00 PM

8:00 PM
Fire pit & relaxation

What they’re saying…

“I was pretty skeptical about what to expect, despite having signed up on a last minute whim. I deal with social anxiety and struggle to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to meeting new people. This was a great opportunity to challenge my own insecurities and do so in a supportive environment with other women who face the same internal conflicts.”

“Being in a community of intelligent, authentic and like minded, yet diverse women is exceptionally empowering. To know there are others out there that you can identify with, learn from, and share community with is so impactful and can be carried with you in everyday life wherever you go.”

ABOUT The Retreat Center

The South River Highlands retreat and nature preserve is located above the confluence of the Maury and South Rivers on 250 acres of forests, meadows and hayfields. From our hilltops you will have a 360 degree, seven county view of the Alleghenies, the Blue Ridge and the interesting cone shaped mountains of Buena Vista. The view stretches on forever.

We will eat our meals and practice yoga together in a renovated 100-year old dairy barn. Chill time will happen under a peaceful pergola with a fire pit and the sounds of a fountain nearby. Many secluded outdoor nooks exist from walkable meditation gardens to benches and hammocks in the sunshine.

Deer, wild turkey, over 100 species of birds and much other wildlife inhabits this nature preserve. The natural world is just outside your window. Hike on the network of internal trails or stroll along the Maury River’s Chessie Trail on the old canal path to Lexington, history, art, restaurants and shopping.

Our mission is to encourage you to experience a slower, quieter, more connected time with nature, away from the hectic pace of the modern day world.

Photo Gallery

Swipe through this photo gallery to view photos of the cabins, rooms, retreat center, and surrounding areas.

Meet Amber

Hey, I’m Amber Karnes, the founder of Body Positive Yoga.

Yoga has been an integral part of my decade-long journey toward self-acceptance and body positivity – making peace with my body and helping others to do the same. I believe that through joyful movement and self-care, we can learn radical self-acceptance and positively experience our bodies, no matter our shape, size, age, or ability.

In my yoga teaching, I emphasize safe alignment and mindful transitions, and help you give yourself permission to honor the body you bring to the mat today, while also being empowered to learn about the body’s intelligence and power. I infuse my classes, workshops, and retreats with the foundational principles of inclusivity, agency, consent, body positivity, and self-acceptance.

I’ve been leading sold out, body-positive retreats all over the country and have been amazed and so grateful to see the transformations that take place when folks feel empowered in their bodies and confident in their minds and hearts. Are you ready to take the first step toward body peace AND have a fabulous, rejuvenating weekend in the mountains? Join me!


Space is limited and this retreat sells out every year!

Tuition is $795 for the 5-day retreat and includes food and all activities. I’ll reserve your spot with a non-refundable deposit of $350.

You’ll book a room separately with South River Highlands. Prices vary from $45/night for a bed in the shared loft space to $185 a night for a cabin with multiple bedrooms (you can share with friends or other retreat participants if you wish). Click to see accommodations.

Please carefully read the cancellation policy below before registering.

Cancellation Policy

  • Deposit of $350 is due upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable. 
  • The remaining balance is due in full on June 30, 2019.
  • Through May 30, 2019, if you must cancel, we will refund any amount paid minus your $350 non-refundable deposit.
  • After May 30, 2019, there are no refunds, but you may transfer your paid spot to another person, sending a friend or family member to the retreat in your place for a $50 admin fee (to be paid by original attendee).
  • After June 30, 2019, no refunds or transfers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?
  • Step 1: When registration opens, you’ll  reserve your spot with a non-refundable deposit of $350.
  • Step 2: Call Lesley at South River Highlands at 540-463-2593 to reserve your room or cabin. Reservations are first come first served, so don’t delay!
  • Step 3: Fill out a registration form for the retreat.
What's included in my ticket price?
Your ticket covers your entrance to the retreat, all yoga classes, workshops,  activities, and meals for the 5-day, 4-night retreat. You’ll book your accommodations separately with South River Highlands.
What's not included in my ticket?
Lodging (you’ll book separately with South River Highlands and options range from $45 per night for our shared dorm space to a luxurious sharable cabin at $180 per night), transportation to and from the retreat, alcohol if you wish to consume, optional massage service at the retreat.
How do payments & Cancellation work?
  • Deposit of $350 is due upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable. 
  • The remaining balance is due in full on June 30, 2019. Flexible payment plans are available. The earlier you sign up, the more flexibility you can have in paying the balance.
  • Through May 30, 2019, if you must cancel, we will refund any amount paid minus your $350 non-refundable deposit.
  • After May 30, 2019, there are no refunds, but you may transfer your paid spot to another person, sending a friend or family member to the retreat in your place for a $50 admin fee (to be paid by original attendee).
  • After June 30, 2019, no refunds or transfers.
I went to the retreat center's website to book a room but it says no vacancy.

The website will say no vacancy becas

How far are the cabins and rooms from the yoga & dining space?

The cabins are within a short drive (or long walk). The detached private suites are within steps of the retreat space, and the private rooms and shared loft dorm space are in the same building as our yoga and dining space.

I've never been to a retreat and I'm worried I won't fit in. Help!
If you’ve never been to a retreat, it might seem intimidating, but we’re working extra hard to make sure this retreat is a safe, judgment-free, fun space for everyone! All bodies will be celebrated and accommodated, and you’ll be sharing space with other likeminded folks who are interested in self-acceptance, self care, yoga, nature, creative thought, and body positivity. Folks who have attended my previous retreats have told me they made friendships that have lasted for years!
Do I have to share a bed with anyone?
Not unless you want to! There are cabins with multiple bedrooms that are easily sharable with friends (so bring a friend and save money!) but you can also reserve a whole cabin or room to yourself.

If you’d like to share a room or cabin, but aren’t bringing a friend, let us know when you register, and we’ll try to find you a roommate who’s also looking!

I'm new to yoga. Will I be able to keep up in the yoga classes?
Yes! Amber specializes in adaptive, inclusive yoga practice for diverse body types. This is low-pressure, judgment-free yoga led by a woman who isn’t a “typical” yoga teacher. I welcome you into this practice!
What if I have a mobility aid, use a CPAP, or I need special help?
That’s fine! Let us know when you register and we’ll do our darndest to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.
You will need to be able to get up and down one flight of stairs to get to the yoga space.
When you reserve your room with South River Highlands, Lesley will be able to tell you more about the cabins and rooms and how accessible they are. Each one varies.
How do I get to the retreat center?
 View a map of the location.  Most folks opt to drive to the retreat center or fly to a nearby airport and rent a car. The most popular routes are:
  • Fly into Washington DC/Dulles International Airport, which is 2 hours and 30 minutes drive from the retreat center.
  • Fly into the Richmond International Airport, which is 2 hours and 20 minutes drive from Heartstone Lodge.
  • Fly into the Albemarle Regional Airport in Charlottesville, Va., which is 1 hour and 20 minutes drive from Heartstone Lodge.
  • Fly into the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, which is a 45 minute drive from the retreat (and you could opt for a cab instead of renting a car).
What do I need to bring?
 We’ll send you a complete packing list before the retreat, but you don’t need any complicated or fancy items. We’ll be bringing comfortable, casual clothing, a yoga mat, a bathing suit, and stuff we need for the outdoors (like sunscreen and bug repellant). We provide props for the yoga practice and all the supplies you’ll need for our workshops and activities.
Is this retreat only for women?
Yes, this retreat is for women. If you identify as a woman, you are welcome. This means cisgender women, transgender women, femmes of all genders, and non-binary folks are all welcome to attend.

What they’re saying…

I felt more open and free than I’ve ever felt in my life. Never have I felt more comfortable with myself and my surroundings than I did that weekend. I’ve taken this sense of self-acceptance and love with me and have reflected on my experience daily. I’m trying to keep those good vibes alive!”

“Thank you so much, Amber, for organizing such an amazing weekend. The stars aligned and brought so many beautiful souls together in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I am so thankful for the chance to meet you and all of the other campers – what a wonderful network we’ve created!”

“I enjoyed this retreat immensely. The friendships I made, the yoga I learned, and the experience will stay with me a lifetime. My practice feels more my own now and I feel comfortable continuing what I learned and incorporating it into my current and future practice. Amber is a phenomenal teacher and makes yoga feel like a natural part of life. Your feedback and your guidance made me feel good about yoga and my body. Anne-Marie and Lisa were exceptional and I hope they come back next year. There help and their corrections were key in helping me learn and grow as a yogi!”

I felt extremely safe and the modifications that were given were very helpful to my overall practice. Also, the physical adjustments were key to helping me understand what a pose should truly feel like and I feel that I can now get myself to the correct pose(s) more successfully.”