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A photo of a group of women at a wellness retreat.
Black Butterfly Journeys
Health

Sun, Sand, Sisterhood, Sanctuary

Check out these healing retreats for Black women in the States and abroad

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2019. It was reposted in 2020. As with any trips, please check with retreat providers about offering status and availability.  

Combine wellness with wanderlust and your vacation souvenir can be healthier habits or a sculpted physique. As the $4.2 trillion global wellness industry churns out an endless variety of products, treatments, apps and experiences, a growing number of retreats devoted to health and spiritual growth are being tailored to the needs of sisters. It’s about time. Striving to be a superwoman in a society that wasn’t built for women of color can take a toll, and our need to shed toxicity in a safe space is real. And considering that Black women confront high rates of depression, high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments, the benefits of self-care derived from a healthy holiday are many. Here is a calendar of energizing escapes customized for you and your girls, featuring everything from meditation to weight management to spirit circles.

Get in shape by the Cape
Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat, 21 Pounds in 21 Days - Weekend Retreats. Thursday - Sunday from May 9 to September 29, 2019. Drronideluz.com
Created by best-selling author Roni Deluz, a registered nurse and naturopathic doctor, the retreat provides a supportive environment for detoxification, holistic education and the use of natural remedies for health and vitality. Traditional naturopathic doctors, detox coaches and body therapists skillfully guide attendees, women from their 20s to 60-plus, through a program that targets weight loss and personal growth. Says “Dr. Roni,” who launched the retreat as a bed-and-breakfast in 2006, “Rather than just focus on the weight management benefits, [we] examine more closely the longer-term benefits on health from adapting a detoxified lifestyle.”

Master the mountain pose
Yoga Retreat for Women of Color: Be Real, Be Fresh, Be Free, July 12-14, 2019. Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Stockbridge, Mass. Kripalu.org
Exhale. When you enter Maya Breuer’s retreat in the Berkshire mountains, you’ll hear the welcoming sounds of jazz, soul or world music and know that you’ve embarked on a healing journey. For 20 years, Breuer has been creating a sacred, multigenerational space, teaching traditional Hatha postures, sound healing and meditation. “Through and on the breath, we explore ancient concepts of consciousness, self-love and how to go within to find out what we really need to know about ourselves,” Breuer says. “Did I say we dance? We dance!”

Globetrot with the culture club
The Whole Experience Retreat, July 13-20, Tuscany, Italy Thewholeexperience.org
There are countless retreats that are all about burning calories and cutting carbs — this is not one of them. You’ll encounter women from their 20s to 60-plus sharing daily meditation, journaling, physical movement (boot camp or yoga), tribe talks and workshops on personal growth and building sisterhood with women of all ages. Guests enjoy cultural experiences specific to each location — salsa dancing in Colombia, Muay Thai kickboxing classes in Thailand or bike riding through the rice fields of Bali. This [retreat] is about finding a true sense of joy in your wellness journey and loving the process,” say the uber-chill founders, who simply go by Whitney Gee and Tameika G.

Spread your wings
Black Butterfly Journeys: It’s Your Time to Shine, Cartagena, Colombia, October 24-30, 2019, plus other domestic and international destinations. Blackbutterflyjourneys.com
Focused on spirituality, sisterhood and empowerment, Black Butterfly Journeys offers retreats several times a year, including this upcoming sojourn. Guests will indulge in Afro-Colombian food and seductive salsa music while on a journey of education and transformation. Attendees, many of them in transition — empty nesters, midlifers, post-divorce or death or changing careers — will discover how to use compassion to uncover obstacles and find renewed clarity and courage while connecting with like-minded sisters. The goal of the retreat is “for the women to walk away with practical tools to help them create more joy and balance in their lives,” says founder Regine Monestime, whose retreats have been transforming lives for the past four years. Black Butterfly also offers retreats to Bali, Costa Rica and the historic Gullah Islands.

De-stress for success
Beyond the Business Suit Retreat, March 2020, kaileicarr.com Domestic city destination TBD Kaileicarr.com
This retreat offers professional Black women, many in industries like tech, financial services and entertainment, an opportunity for transformative personal and professional growth. Activities range from indulgent massages to immersive coaching sessions on personal branding, to workshops on connecting with your purpose while advancing your career. Organizer Kailei Carr notes that she works with women of color “who experience an ‘emotional tax’ which is causing a lot of stress, impacting their well-being and preventing them from thriving. My goal is to offer a safe space to connect and grow from the inside out.”

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