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

This event is for you if…

  • You’re a daring woman (or an aspiring one) who wants to visit Amber’s favorite place on earth (the Blue Ridge mountains) and try new things from river swimming and jumping off rocks to hikes, hammocks, and country-life relaxation
  • You want to be around like-hearted people who will accept you without judgment
  • You want to practice yoga, but haven’t found a teacher that knows how to accommodate your unique body or you’re intimidated to step into a yoga studio
  • You want an entire weekend packed with radical body positive conversation, joyful movement, and laughter
  • You want to learn to make friends with your body, defeat self-doubt, and transform limiting thoughts
  • 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

What To Expect…

You’ll join Amber and a group of 20 other women in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The retreat center is a one-of-a-kind setting with gorgeous views, handmade details and art, delicious food, and a beautiful yoga room set in the second floor of a renovated 100-year old dairy barn.

This summer camp themed retreat is balanced as we juggle days of adventure with country-farm-chillaxing. Expect workshops on self-acceptance and sustainable self-care, delicious home-cooked meals, plus plenty of time to swim in the Maury river, hike in the gorgeous scenery, or just enjoy a book in a hammock. For the more adventurous among us, there will be chances to jump off rocks into the river or hike a hill to a 360-degree view of the mountains. Or you can take a luxurious nap and get a massage. 

Morning and evening yoga sessions keep you grounded while you have a chance to escape the grind and find gratitude in a laid-back slice of country mountain paradise.

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. Rose

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! Megan

Retreat participant

Our schedule

Schedules will vary slightly and final itineraries will go out about a month prior to departure. The schedule below gives you an overall picture of what your yoga retreat week will look like. 

Day One

  • Arrive at Heartstone Lodge & Retreat Center
  • Meet Amber, check-in, find your room or cabin, and unwind
  • Group welcome dinner, meet your new friends
  • Gentle yoga to relax after traveling

Day Two

  • Morning meditation
  • Intention setting and mindfulness exercise
  • Breakfast
  • Workshop: Making peace with your body (with Amber)
  • Lunch
  • Free time
    • Relax on-site in your room or in the beautiful outdoor seating areas
    • Get a massage
    • Explore off-site: Maury river swimming, local wineries, shop in historic Lexington
    • See some of the quirky local tourist spots: Dinosaur Kingsdom, Safari Animal Park, and more
    • Office hours with Amber: get 1-on-1 coaching or ask her anything
  • Afternoon yoga workshop: Personalizing your yoga practice to suit your body
  • Dinner
  • Fire pit hangout or early to bed

Day Three

  • Your choice: Early morning yoga wake-up with Amber or do an outdoor heart-pumping workout with Anne-Marie
  • Breakfast
  • Workshop: Making peace with your body part 2 with Amber
  • Lunch
  • Free time
    • Relax on-site in your room or in the beautiful outdoor seating areas
    • Get a massage
    • Explore off-site: Maury river swimming, local wineries, shop in historic Lexington
    • See some of the quirky local tourist spots: Dinosaur Kingsdom, Safari Animal Park, and more
    • Office hours with Amber: get 1-on-1 coaching or ask her anything
  • Afternoon yoga workshop: Fixing your aches & pains clinic with Lisa
  • Dinner
  • Live concert with Heather Mae

Day Four

  • Early morning meditation with Lisa
  • Breakfast
  • Workshop: Making peace with your body part 3 with Amber
  • Lunch
  • Your choice: Free time on your own (as previously) or Goshen Pass trip with Amber
    • Short drive and then swim, float, and lounge in a breathtaking part of the Maury river, surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery
    • Slide down a natural waterslide
    • Walk across a swinging bridge
    • Jump off rocks into the river 
    • or just chill and enjoy the sound of the water rushing by
  • Gentle afternoon yoga with Amber
  • Dinner
  • Fire pit hangout or early to bed

Day Five

  • Early morning meditation with Amber
  • Breakfast
  • Closing circle & goodbyes
  • Must check out no later than noon

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.”

“I didn’t think my second retreat could be better than my first. I have grown so much using my experience from my first retreat to the this second one. I maintained friendships, made new ones, deepened my connection with myself, others, and with my practice. It has taught me how to use what I feel on my mat and share it with the world. Most of all it has given me a place to calm my mind, feel confident, and be more authentic with myself. Loved every minute!”

I’ve never felt so safe, accepted, and cared for by a group of perfect strangers. The yoga workshops were perfectly accessible, even if it’s been a long time since you last practiced, and I learned more than I dreamed I would. Can’t wait for the next one!”

ABOUT THE LOCATION

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.

Lodging

Lodging is booked separately with South River Highlands and is in addition to the retreat tuition. Prices vary from $45 for a bed in our loft shared space to $185/night for a cabin with multiple bedrooms (you can share with friends or other retreat participants if you wish).

Click to see full details on these accommodations. An overview is below. Applicable taxes and fees are in addition to prices shown.

Note: when you view the lodging here, it will appear as if all rooms are sold out. That’s because Body Positive Yoga is reserving the whole retreat center! You’ll need to call for availability and to book your room.

Rooms & Suites

communal Loft Space

$45/night. Tucked away on the 3rd floor of the barn (where we’ll practice yoga and eat meals) is a loft space with 7 single beds. Each bed is surrounded by 3 walls of wood, has a reading light/electric outlet, quality bedding, towels, and, spa robes. Each cubicle has a couple of clothes hooks and a dresser drawer is available for each guest. Shared bathrooms & showers are located one flight down on the 2nd floor.

Country Tweed Suite

$115/night. This 2nd floor queen bed suite for 2 is very comfortable. You will find top quality bedding to pamper you, a tasteful mixture of traditional & country antiques, lots of natural daylight & original art. The en-suite bathroom with large shower is well supplied with quality family style toiletries, plush towels, spa robes & a basket of extras. This suite is located inside the main building (the “Yoga barn”) where we will have our workshops, classes, and meals.

Country garden suite

$130/night. This large 2nd floor king bedroom for 2 has high quality linens & 4 sleeping pillows to spoil you, a mixture of antique & country furniture, original art, lots of space & natural light. En-suite you will find a very nice bathroom with large shower, quality family style toiletries, plush towels, spa robes & a basket of extras. This suite is located inside the main building (the “Yoga barn”) where we will have our workshops, classes, and meals.

poplar studio

$125/night. Poplar Studio is a large private room steps from the main building (the “Yoga barn”) where we will have our workshops, classes, and meals, and adjacent to the owners’ farm home. It has a separated entrance with a private deck and two Adirondack chairs. Custom made sliding barn doors over double prairie style doors invite you inside. A very comfortable queen bed, linens, 4 sleeping pillows and an extra blanket; 3 cushioned sofa, a single sofa-chair pullout; a circular eating table for 4 with dishes, silverware, glasses, mini-refrigerator, microwave; full bathroom with large shower, family style toiletries, plush towels, hair dryer; full closet. Coffee pot/’starter’ coffee, teas. The hardwood floor is locally sourced hickory. An abundance of natural light fills this studio. Original art. No internet. Good cell reception.

Cabins

Our hand-hewn log cabins are situated on 250 acres of rolling Shenandoah farmland and nature preserve. Each cabin was discovered in various parts of Virginia & West Virginia, dismantled, then reassembled on the farm with loving care and attention over a period of 30 years. The cabins, dating from c1775 to early 1900’s, are unique with a variety of add-ons: sitting porches, back decks, upstairs loft bedrooms, heating/AC and perhaps a screened-in porch.

These cabins are a short (less than 1 mile) drive from our main “Yoga barn” building. 

Important Note: If you love the smell of woodsmoke, a cozy cabin, privacy, peace and quiet, and a dark country night where you can see all the stars, away from city lights, you’ll love these cabins and find them quite charming! However, if being alone in a cabin on a dark night sounds a little scary, and you’d rather be around more people and ambient light, we recommend booking one of the dorm beds or suites. 

Homesteaders Cabin

$160/night. Homesteader’s Cabin sits at the top of the main entry road, several hundred yards from another cabin. Three small cabins are creatively combined to make one terrific cabin.

The center cabin was actually found on the ‘back forty’ and brought to this current location. For 14 years this cabin was home to a Washington & Lee University professor who was/is a well known and respected nature writer.

It has 2 queen bedrooms (one on the main floor, one in the loft), 1 bathroom, the most modern and largest kitchen of all the cabins, a wood stove, front sitting porch and back deck with gas grill. And, of course, Adirondack chairs and a picnic table with umbrella.

You may share this cabin with a friend, or we can pair you up with another retreat participant as roommates. Inquire when you book!

See complete details & more pictures here.

DeHart Cabin

$175/night. DeHart c.1860 is situated at the end of an internal farm road and backs onto woods on two sides. An acre of mown meadow is in front and a hayfield to its side. All is very quiet here. The closest cabin is approximately 250 yards ahead of this cabin.

The private deck off the back main bedroom offers complete privacy… a lovely place to relax, read, grill dinner or nap.

DeHart has 2.5 bedrooms with 3 beds – a queen, double and single, 1 newly remodeled bathroom with antique clawfoot tub, a kitchenette and a wood burning fireplace.

You may share this cabin with a friend, or we can pair you up with another retreat participant as roommates. Inquire when you book!

See complete details & more pictures here.

Highlands Cabin

$150/night. Highlands Cabin was the first cabin brought onto the farm over 40 years ago. This cabin sits off its own private entry road. So, if it’s quiet & tranquility you desire, you have found it here!

Woods surround this cabin perched atop a knoll. Dating from 1775, it has had quite a few features added to it: large loft queen bedroom, large 1st floor bathroom with antique pedestal tub, kitchenette, front sitting porch with bent twig furniture and a screened-in back porch.

Of course, there is a wood burning fireplace, gas grill & picnic table. You won’t want to leave.

There is a queen bedroom in the loft, and a queen sofa bed on the first floor. You may share this cabin with a friend, or we can pair you up with another retreat participant as roommates. Inquire when you book!

See complete details & more pictures here.

Writer’s Retreat Cabin

$140/night. Writer’s Retreat is the sweetest cabin, more spacious that it would seem.

The feeling you will experience is that of a comfortable nest or cozy hideaway. This is the place to ‘recluse’ from the fast pace of your life. It is simple and charming with everything you need.

One queen bedroom upstairs, nice kitchen, modernized bathroom with antique clawfoot tub on 1st floor, living room with leather furniture, washer/dryer, front sitting porch & side deck with gas grill.

Add the Adirondack chairs, picnic table with umbrella and you are set for a few days or an extended stay. 

See complete details & more pictures here.

Stonecutters Cabin

$198/night. Stonecutter’s Cabin was remodeled as the owner’s personal retreat place.

This cabin is totally unlike the others in size and amenities. The cabin sits in its own private glen and the quiet here is palpable.

The great room addition is surrounded by glass with french doors opening to a private side deck, high wood ceiling, 2 stone fireplaces, a grand piano, modern kitchen, 1 queen bedroom upstairs, 1 large bathroom on 1st floor and dining area with antique farm table.

There are 2 verandas with Adirondack chairs, a gas grill & firewood.

See complete details & more pictures here.

What they’re saying…

“How powerful community can be. It was so wonderful being around women who were committed (even at different levels) to achieving body peace. I love looking at our bodies together and witnessing the power that we hold to heal ourselves and each other. I think what Amber does is so important in holding space for us to find one another and lead us through example, wisdom, kindness, and humor.”

Amber is a very effective teacher. She’s incredibly bright in a non threatening kind of way. I like the way she asks follow up questions. I like that she isn’t afraid to politicize the body or take a public stand against white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and other systems of oppression.”

Loved all the tips about attending yoga classes. Loved all the modifications. Loved the poses. Loved the jokes. I think you’re rad!”

I learned so much and reaffirmed a lot of what I had already learned and was feeling weak on. It was great to be able to learn from Amber and so many other knowledgeable women. The session on body image/opting out of diet culture was a great primer and overview of everything. It was great to talk about how all of these systems of oppression work together and to realize how radical body positivity really is.”

MEET AMBER

Hey, I’m Amber Karnes, creator 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.

If you want to feel wonderful and free in your unique, powerful, (imperfect) human body for a whole week, this retreat is for you. You’ll join a group of likeminded, body positive folks who will accept you without judgment. Together, we’ll create a safe container to explore our feelings around yoga, body image, and radical self-acceptance.

I will lead you through low-pressure, judgment-free, beginner-friendly yoga classes. My body positive yoga style is a gentle, slow flow with plenty of strength-building opportunities as well as time for self-study.

Morning yoga and meditation classes will get you going and prepare you for the day, and in the afternoon we’ll have workshop-style classes where we learn to personalize our yoga practice to work with the body we have today. We’ll have a 3-part workshop on making peace with our bodies using mindfulness, cognitive psychology, feminism, and the tools of yoga.

We’ll also have plenty of adventures, good food, fun in the sun, and time to relax and have some laughs. Treat yourself to a massage to round out your time away!

Come meet your new BFFs in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains and celebrate the body you have today!

If you want to learn more about me, go here.

REGISTER NOW!

Space is limited and this retreat sells out every year!

Tuition is $895 for the 5-day retreat and includes all workshops, classes, food and other 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, room sharing options are available. See lodging options here.

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 July 1, 2019.
  • Through June 1, 2019, if you must cancel, we will refund any amount paid minus your $350 non-refundable deposit.
  • After June 1, 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 July 1, 2019, no refunds or transfers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?
  • Step 1: 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! If you wish to check on availability of rooms before you make your deposit, you may do so.
  • Step 3: Fill out a registration form for the retreat to let us know all about you including your dietary preferences, concerns you may have, and book a massage.
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 a single bed in our shared dorm space to a luxurious sharable cabin with multiple bedrooms), 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 July 1, 2019. Flexible payment plans are available. The earlier you sign up, the more flexibility you can have in paying the balance.
  • Through June 1, 2019, if you must cancel, we will refund any amount paid minus your $350 non-refundable deposit.
  • After June 1, 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 July 1, 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 because Body Positive Yoga has reserved the whole retreat center for this weekend! You’ll need to call Lesley at 540-463-2593 to check availability. 

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

The cabins are within a short drive and a car is necessary. The Poplar Suite is 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 (and other gender minorities). 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!”

“I feel like I have made friends for a lifetime at the retreat. As women we all have similar issues and to hear you are not alone and that we have shared experiences is a beautiful thing.”

“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.”