Kushi Institute Logo 4
Women's Retreat April 8 - 14
            It's time to nurture YOURSELF!


Your week includes:

Cooking Classes 

Health Discussions
Natural Beauty Care
Unique exercise & movement routines 
Delicious rejuvenating meals prepared from fresh organic whole foods (gluten free option, low-salt, etc.) 


Free time options  

 · Active fitness sessions

 ·Socialize or just relax

 · Explore the Berkshires   

  ·Treat yourself to private

  sessions (extra fees):  

       · Relax  with restorative


     · Explore other exceptional            bodywork modalities

    · Release old patterns that  

     are keeping you from  

     making the changes you  

     desire in your life with

     energy healing 

   · Optimize your health with  

     macrobiotic consultation

     or menu planning 


For complete descriptions of private session options click HERE



Join in with other women in the beautiful Berkshire mountains for an extraordinary week of renewal.  

Gain new insights as you discover and explore  

your greater depths and potential, and release old  

patterns and stress.  


We have an array of exciting participatory classes

and workshops for you, designed just for women.  


The retreat is facilitated by five workshop leaders,  

whose experience and talent span a large range of  

health, healing, and transformation modalities.


Topics and events include 

  • Hands-on cooking for pleasure, family & wellness    
  • Women's health and relationships    
  • Macrobiotics for family & friends  
  • Facials: herbal, massage, and rejuvenation    
  • Movement, yoga, and kick-boxing  
  • Dream interpretation 
  • Working with crystals   
  • Wild foods stroll    
  • Drumming and dance     
  • and more   

Retreat Facilitators 

Diane Avoli

Diane Avoli

Retreat Topics 

  Cooking for Balance  

  & Vitality

  Festive Cooking

  Macrobiotics for Family

  & Friends 

  Sex, Relationships,   

  Menopause: Wisdom

Kushi Institute Senior Macrobiotic Teacher and Counselor
Diane Avoli has 40 years of experience in the field. She studied
with leading macrobiotic pioneers including Michio and Aveline

Kushi, Cornelia Aihara, and Lima Ohsawa.  

Diane has a degree in education, and has taught macrobiotic  

classes in the US, Europe, and Australia.  


Writer of numerous articles, she is the author of the cookbook
A Chef for All Seasons.


Diane has raised eight macrobiotic children. She is a wonderful

example of how women can have life-long  passion, health, and 




Private Sessions Offered: Macrobiotic Counseling, Macrobiotic
Menu Planning

Mirea Ellis
Mirea Ellis

Retreat Topics 

   Food & Emotions

   Herbal Facial & Massage 

   Wild Food Stroll 


   Women's Health Forum



Kushi Institute Assistant Director Mirea Ellis has over 35 years  

of experience in the fields of macrobiotics  and other natural health and healing modalities. She is frequently quoted in magazines and newspapers, has been interviewed on TV and radio, and has authored published 
articles in national and regional publications.   


Teaching on the harmful effects of toxins in body care and cosmetics 

is important to Mirea. To support availability of healthy options she founded Rejuva Organics, an herbal body care company.


An expert in wild foods and their beneficial qualities, she has led numerous wild foods walks.  


Mirea is an energy healing practitioner with over 25 years in the field, and has trained with over 20 native healers including shamans and North American medicine men and women.


Private Session Offered: Transformational Energy Healing 

Bettina Zumdick
Bettina Zumdick

Retreat Topics 

  Tao Yin Exercises

  Cooking for Women

  Macrobiotic Desserts 

   Dreams Workshop 

   Crystal Workshop

   Women's Health Forum



Kushi Institute Senior Macrobiotic Teacher and Counselor Bettina Zumdick has been involved with macrobiotics for over 25 years.  

A native of the Baltic Sea area in Germany, she studied food science at the University of Muenster. 


She has taught macrobiotics and other body-mind-spirit related topics such as meditation, chanting, and Tao Yin  energy exercises throughout Europe and the United States.  


Realizing that humanity is standing at a crossroads, it is her desire to participate in co-creating a world that is filled with connection, compassion, and a foundation for lives that support humanity's dreams coming true.


Private Sessions Offered: Macrobiotic Counseling, Macrobiotic Menu Planning 

Misha Forrester
Misha Forrester

Retreat Topics 

  Feldenkrais  Awareness

  Through Movement®

  The Pleasure of Origami 

Licensed Massage Therapist, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Method
and Bones for Life® practitioner, Misha Forrester shares her time between the Kushi Institute and a private practice in restorative massage, Feldenkrais Functional Integration®, and teaching Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement®. Her clients include those with cancer, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia; with movement impairments such as MS, Parkinson's, stroke recovery, and hip replacements; as well as yoga teachers and dancers who wish to increase performance.

An effective method for reclaiming childlike flexibility and ease of
movement, Misha's Feldenkrais® private sessions and
public classes are transformative, resulting in greater movement reorganization and alignment that makes long-term connections between brain and muscle.

Her background in art and as an art teacher, combined with her experience in natural healing modalities, is evident in her
therapeutic art workshops which often compliment other mindfulness trainings. 

Private Sessions Offered: Restorative Massage, Feldenkrais Functional Integration®       


Shirley Barnes

Shirley Barnes

Retreat Topics 

   Yoga for Every Level    

   Yamuna® Facial  



Yoga Instructor Shirley Barnes personalized yoga style nurtures the whole individual, body, mind and spirit.  Her 15 year yoga practice led her to becoming a certified  Hatha Yoga teacher, Kripalu yoga instructor, and member of the Yoga Alliance (RYT).  


Shirley is a Yamuna® Body Rolling practitioner, an approach to body and facial rejuvenation steadily gaining in popularity,  especially because dramatic visual results  can be seen in one session, along with increased feelings of  body ease and well-being.  


Private Sessions Offered: Yoga, Asana on the Ball, Yamuna® Facial Rejuvenation


Program Descriptions  

Retreat Highlights


Hands-on Cooking Classes


Cooking for Women's Health - with Bettina Zumdick

Many women today are struggling with various problems, such as painful menstruation, menopause, fibroids, breast problems, emotional difficulties and many more.
Bettina will demonstrate how to prepare dishes that will address overall health and improve many specific health issues, as well as discuss physical and emotional dynamics to improve the quality of our lives so we may enjoy vibrant health.


Cooking for Balance and Vitality - with Diane Avoli 

Do you sometimes feel off-kilter? Find out how adjusting your cooking can help you regain feelings of balance and well-being. The special needs of women of different ages, activity levels, as well as the climate you are living in will be discussed in this hands-on class where you will be guided in preparing dishes designed to strengthen vitality and please the palate. 


Festive Cooking - with Diane Avoli     

In this workshop you'll create dishes for parties and seasonal holidays so delicious you'll want to make them again and again to share with family and friends. You'll also see how these delights can leave you feeling satisfied and healthy. 


Joy of Cooking Dessert Favorites- with Bettina Zumdick

A delightful sweet treat every now and again is something to look forward to, no matter whether you are healthy or on a healing path. Good quality macrobiotic desserts can increase the joy and quality of our lives. In this class you'll be able to learn and create desserts that are refreshing, satisfying and rich with luscious taste. Share in the joy!   




Food and Emotions - with Mirea Ellis   

Do you sometimes feel you are eating more from your emotions than your intellect? Most people do! Explore the underlying factors of emotional eating, the reasons some foods seem "addictive", and how emotional eating can be turned around and lead to positive changes and a more rewarding and fulfilling life.   


Macrobiotics with Family and Friends - with Diane Avoli   

Can your family and friends enjoy healthy eating? This discussion delves into introducing macrobiotic ideas to friends and family in ways they can understand and relate to, how to make crowd pleasing, delicious, healthy dishes and snacks, and more.


Sex, Relationships, & Menopause: Wisdom and Tips - with Diane Avoli   

Whether you are in a marriage, with a significant other, or single, what a treat it is to have a "safe space" with other women to discuss relationships and female health. Topics include how to improve your sex life, changing hormones, preparing your body through diet, exercise, and overall care for menopause and the challenges this powerful and positive phase invites.


Women's Health Panel - with Mirea Ellis, Bettina Zumdick    

What do YOU want to know about women's health? Come with your questions on any area! Kushi Institute faculty members Mirea and Bettina have many decades of experience and training and will share their personal insights on your questions.


Other Workshops on Natural Beauty, Fitness, Energy, and more


Rejuvenating Herbal Facial and Massage - with Mirea Ellis   

Healthy skin is beautiful skin! Experience and enjoy a luxurious spa-type facial using certified organic or wild herbs, plants, and clay. Specially chosen for their remarkable skin benefits, these ingredients tone, smooth, soothe, and deeply nourish on a cellular level. The workshop starts with a clay therapy mask with bentonite clay mixed with luscious strawberry, orange peel, rosehip, and other organic plants. You'll then relax with a warm facial towel infused with an herbal skin elixir, after which you'll pair up with another participant and exchange a guided facial massage using super-rejuvenating, anti-aging rosehip seed oil.


Tao Yin Gentle Exercises - with Bettina Zumdick  

Tao Yin is an ancient Oriental system to energize, bring strength and flexibility, as well as vibrancy to your body. Developing our physical, emotional and spiritual aspects through activating energy flow in our bodies enriches of life's experiences. This set of exercises integrates internal and external awareness and discernment. Guided imagery is incorporated with emphasis on relaxation.


Yoga Every Level and Fitness - with Shirley Barnes  

These classes are designed to free the body of restrictions, eliminate stress and tension, and create a calm and balanced you. 


Yamuna® Facial Rejuvenation - with Shirley Barnes

Like any other area of the body, the face muscles need exercise to keep a youthful appearance. Learn toning and therapeutic techniques to improve your facial appearance with Yamuna® Face Balls. As one participant at last year's Women's' Retreat remarked, "If Hollywood gets wind of it, plastic surgeons would lose millions on cancelled procedures." After Shirley's class, you'll likely see a great difference in how you look and feel. For more information on Yamuna® Body Rolling click HERE 


Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® - with Misha Forrester  

Rediscover childlike flexibility with the Feldenkrais Method ®, an internationally acclaimed system of health and pain relief that increases proprioception (the sensory modality in your brain that gives you awareness of your body's internal responses and self- regulates posture and movement). Misha guides you in slow, gentle movements designed to communicate between muscle, bone, and brain. You'll find yourself developing a new awareness of your movements with more options: greater coordination, and ease and grace; better posture; and if you have been experiencing pain or stiffness, you will probably feel some relief, and renewed pleasure in your movements. Each Feldenkrais® session during the week will focus on different areas of the body. After the evening classes you may get the best sleep you've had in years! To read about the Feldenkrais Method® click HERE 


Kick-boxing - with Mirea Ellis

Think kick boxing is not for you? It's easier than you think and in this fun class all the moves are adjusted for every fitness level. Rev up your metabolism with a low impact cardio workout, tone muscles, build strength, and develop better balance. You'll follow the beat of some great music and go through simple, repetitive routines you can continue to do at home.    


Crystal Workshop - with Bettina Zumdick 

Explore the beauty and mystic qualities of crystals, as Bettina guides you in learning how crystals can assist the healing process, enhance day to day experiences, increase mental focus or relaxation), deepen meditations, harmonize emotional and mental bodies and more. Crystal topics covered in this workshop include: choosing, tuning, charging and programming crystals, and healing with crystals.  


Discover Wild Foods Stroll - with Mirea Ellis

Our country roads and fields abound with wild greens, roots and flowers that are super nutritious, fresh, delicious, and free! In this session, as we leisurely stroll along, Mirea will point out edible plants and you'll learn their common names, health benefits, and how they can be used in salads and cooked dishes. A wonderful way to spend time in nature learning more about the world around us! An informative handout will be provided with more information on regional plants and health benefits.


Dreams As A Doorway - with Bettina Zumdick 

Dreams will often point to dynamics we might overlook in our waking life, so that we can make the necessary course corrections. Dreams can serve many purposes such as providing precognition of future events, telepathically connecting to loved ones, obtaining instruction, receiving healing, and much more. In this class we will explore various aspects of dreams, including how to program your dreams, lucid dreaming and interpreting your own dreams.  


The Pleasure of Origami - with Misha Forrester

Start with an ornately patterned Japanese papers and a sequence of easy step-by-step folds. Within the hour, create several origami peace cranes or boxes.  A wonderful pastime that acts as a brain teaser and mindful meditation ("when paper folds the mind unfolds"), builds on fine motor abilities, and is an inherently relaxing activity.



Dancing, outdoor walks, and more!  Optional private sessions (at extra fees) offered during the week include: Restorative Massage, Energy Healing, Macrobiotic Consultations, Yamuna® Body Rolling or Facial Rejuvenation, Feldenkrais Functional Integration®.     










Registration Office and Main House   

Kushi Institute
198 Leland Road
Becket, Massachusetts 01223





Kushi Institute is a federally approved 501-C-3 non-profit educational organization. Discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability unrelated to course requirements is contrary to the principles and policies of Kushi Institute.



  • Program fee: Only $675  
    includes the full program and all meals
     (orientation begins 5pm April 8; program ends after breakfast April 14)
  • Housing options start at only $100    Below prices are NOT per night - they includes all 6 nights!    
    • $100 - Small single room in the Dormitory with shared dormitory style bathrooms.
    • $250 per person - Shared double room in the Main House with shared bathrooms along the hallway.
    • $500 - Single room in the Main House with shared bathrooms along the hallway.
    • $860 - Private Bath. These rooms have either 2 or 3 single beds, so can be used as single rooms or for friends or family wishing to share the room. 

  • Economical airport shuttle - only $50
    Each way between Bradley International Airport and Kushi Institute, inquire when registering   

  • Private session fees and information click here      

For More Information or to Register


Int'l 413-623-6457