Retreating into womanhood

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could get all the restorative benefits of a week-long holiday in 48 hours, without even boarding a plane? Next weekend, 60 women will experience exactly that when they converge at an ecological farm for a three-day retreat designed to help participants rediscover their inner child.

Open exclusively to women, “The Red Tent Retreat” takes place under the stars at Moshav Nir Tzvi from Thursday, May 3 to Saturday, May 5. Sharing the land with horses, ducks and bunnies, women will have the chance to immerse in unusual activities, including yoga nidra and a sharing circle.

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“It’s a time for women to retreat from life and get back into nature,” says yoga teacher and one quarter of the Red Tent production team Ashley Szlachta, 30.

The event begins gently with grounding yoga.

“We start off soft and slowly build to the deeper workshops,” says Ashley. “By Friday evening we’ll be looking at women’s sexuality; dancing and doing breath work. Then we have the cacau ceremony, which is really the peak of the weekend.”

Drinking cacau, according to Szlachta, “is like drinking really strong coffee but without the jitters. It opens you up and brings you to a place where your heart is open. We drink the cacau, we dance, move and meditate. It’s all guided by trained facilitators in a safe space. It starts intimate and deep and evolves into a huge celebration of womanhood.”

For those still in need of release, the Saturday morning program includes a sweat lodge; a native American ceremony designed to detoxify the body and mind.

“You sit inside a low, dark structure, it’s like going back into the womb,” says Ashley. “We have a fire outside and hot stones inside – everything is carefully placed by trained fire-keepers. We sit inside and talk – it’s all guided – we heat up, then we open the door and the cool air comes rushing in, providing a huge release. You come out revitalized. It’s like a self-cleaning oven, I love it!”

This year’s Red Tent Retreat is the third Szlachta and her team have organized and the biggest so far.

“We’ve come a long way since the first Women’s Circle we held in Charles Clore Park, Tel Aviv, in 2015,” says Ashley. “Eight women attended, four of us became dear friends and co-producers of Red Tent. We’re really excited about hosting 60 amazing women this year.”

Solo travelers and first-time campers are extremely welcome.

“It’s understandable that people will be nervous about coming alone,” says Ashley. “But the retreat offers so many interactive experiences, it’s like speed friending. You’ll feel who you’re connected to right away. Plus, if you need a break, you can wander off into the forest or do some painting – there are plenty of opportunities to chill out.”

Ashley is adamant that age nor marital status should be an obstacle to attending.

“New mothers can bring babes in arms,” says Ashley. “We’re doing a special ceremony on grandmother energy, so grandmothers are especially welcome too – this is not another hipster, millennial thing. This is about breaking out of our routines and working out what we enjoy in life. And that’s a lesson for people of all ages.”

Tickets to the Red Tent Retreat cost NIS 880, including all meals and activities, except the sweat lodge, which is an additional NIS 50. Attendees must provide their own tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag and pillow. For more information, visit www.redtenttribe/retreat-line-up or https://www.facebook/theredtenttribe.