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Women's Retreat Aprl 2013
                Retreat Highlights, Schedule, and Presenters
                           It's time to nurture YOURSELF!


Your Week Includes: 


A great program with:

Cooking classes 

Women's health discussions
Natural beauty care
and much more
Delicious rejuvenating meals prepared from fresh organic whole foods, with gluten-free and low-salt options, etc.


Free-time options: 

 ·  Movement sessions

 ·  Socialize or just relax

 ·  Explore the Berkshires   

 ·  Treat yourself to private 

     sessions (extra fees):   

   - Restorative Massage 

   - Feldenkrais Functional
   - Energy healing 

   - Macrobiotic consultation

   - Macrobiotic menu planning  


 For complete descriptions of private session options click here  



 Start Quotation Mark

"I really appreciated the opportunities for personal growth and emotional transformation.  I feel like I was able to grow and was well supported in this growth  ... seeing the dramatic change in participants over the course of the week was very empowering and impressive."


Ann Lazar

Women's Retreat participant,  

April 2012  






Join in with other like-minded women in the beautiful, serene Berkshire mountains for an extraordinary week of renewal.  


Gain new insights as you discover and explore your depths and potentials, release old patterns and stress, and add tools to create a more joyful, rewarding, healthy and meaningful life.      


Explore a great array of exciting participatory classes and workshops designed just for women, facilitated by six workshop leaders whose experience and talent span an extensive, in-depth range of health and healing modalities.   


The size of this exceptional retreat is limited to 25 participants to promote an atmosphere of trust and transformation, and to allow each participant to have time for expression and to receive individual attention. 


Topics and events include 

  • Cooking for health, wellness, and beauty
  • Preparing quick, easy, and delicious meals for yourself and family
  • Women's health concerns 
  • How food relates to emotions  
  • Optimizing digestion 
  • Practical macrobiotics: putting everything in place    
  • Remedies -- your natural medicine cabinet   
  • Making the best of your dining experience
  • Getting to the basics of exceptional macrobiotic desserts   
  • Osteoporosis prevention and strategies for bone growth from Bones for Life® 
  • Gathering and maintaining abundant energy 
  • Herbal facial and massage for rejuvenation
  • "Pelvic Clock"and other movements from the gentle developmental, brain-based Feldenkrais Method®    
  • Gentle morning yoga, kick-boxing, and Tao Yin exercises   
  • Self-care and nurturing -- a senior macrobiotic
    teacher's panel
  • Herbal facial and massage for rejuvenation 
  • Knowing your dreams
  • Walking for better balance  
  • Stress Management   
  • Drumming and dance  
  • and much more!       

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 can help improve many specific health issues. She will also discuss physical and emotional dynamics to improve the quality of our lives so we may enjoy vibrant health.


Quick and Easy Cooking - with Melanie Waxman       

Melanie will show you that creating healthy, balanced and delicious meals doesn't mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen! You'll learn how to make dishes that can give you strength, vitality, and health - can be put together in a jiffy - and are so pleasing to the palate you'll want to make them again and again. 

Cooking to Relieve Stress  - with Melanie Waxman 

Do you sometimes feel off-kilter? Find out how adjusting your cooking can help you regain feelings of balance and well-being. Discover dishes that help you feel relaxed, soothed, and nourished. Learn practical and realistic ways to be efficient in the kitchen after a long day at work. Decode how to turn macrobiotics into a practical way of life for you, gaining tools to have less stress and to stay healthy and happy.


Cooking for Beauty Within- with Amber Maisano

Support your organs, including your skin (the largest organ) with a variety of dishes and remedies designed to hydrate, balance and maintain optimum weight, regulate blood sugar, and provide lasting energy throughout the day.




Making the Most of Your Dining Experience - with Mirea Ellis 

One of the highlights of any Kushi Institute program is enjoying our freshly prepared buffet-style meals. Made from high-quality organic whole foods that help boost your health and vitality, this discussion shows you how you can get the most benefits by making some personal adjustments to your selections. Find out why we have two buffet lines and which may be the better choice for you. Learn how simply choosing certain proportions of dishes and condiments can influence your health and well-being in many ways, including: becoming more alkaline (which equals more resistant to illness); improving digestion; maintaining better blood sugar levels; helping you reach weight goals; creating more satisfaction from your meals; feeling more light and relaxed, and more. You'll be able to apply everything you learn in this discussion to your meals at home as well as dining out.   


Women's Health - with Bettina Zumdick 

In today's culture, some diseases or conditions are more common to women, such as osteoarthritis, obesity, breast cancer, and depression. Concerns exclusive to women include pregnancy and menopause, as well as conditions such as uterine or ovarian cancers. In this brief introduction, senior macrobiotic teacher Bettina Zumdick will address these concerns to provide you with an understanding of the macrobiotic approach to women's health and wellness.


Dessert Magic - with Amber Maisano

What makes macrobiotic desserts so unique, delicious, nutritional, and just plain yummy? Visually appealing, flavorful, and guilt-free, macrobiotic desserts are a great way to introduce people to the exceptional offerings available within this diet. In this cooking class you'll join Kushi Institute chef, Amber Maisano, who will discuss concepts and demonstrate a variety of macrobiotic desserts using whole grain sweeteners, and macrobiotic dessert staples: agar-agar and amasake.


Chewing for Better Digestion- with Bettina Zumdick  

Learn why how well we chew affects every aspect of our health as well as our appearance. In this dinner discussion, you'll gain a deeper understanding of what it means to "chew your food well"  and why it is vital to the importance of creating digestive enzymes, absorption of nutrients, energy maintenance, and relaxation of the digestive organs.


Macro Menu Planning - with Melanie Waxman 

In the mad rush of today's world it can be difficult to get into the kitchen -- let alone cook a satisfying meal! This discussion during dinner will give you ideas on how to really enjoy your macrobiotic practice with emphasis on selecting healthy foods and designing menus that fit into your busy life. Gain an easy balance in the kitchen between creativity and discipline in this wonderful practice. An extensive handout on macrobiotic menu planning is included in your welcome packet. Questions are encouraged! 


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 emotional and life changes..   

Senior Macrobiotic Teacher Panel on Self-Care and Nurturing  - with Mirea Ellis, Melanie Waxman, Bettina Zumdick    

Discover the self-care and self-nurturing practices these macrobiotic teachers use to help them create balance, vibrant health, well-being, and beauty in their lives.  




Natural Home Remedies - with Melanie Waxman 

Learn simple home remedies to strengthen the immune system and keep flu, colds, and fevers away. Discover what we can have on hand in our homes to ensure that we are ready for common ailments such as headaches, coughs, food poisoning, or even a sprained ankle. Find out how to use simple herbs and basic cooking ingredients to reclaim our freedom from today's 'popping a pill' culture.      


Abundant Energy - with Melanie Waxman 

External influences on your energy are many and varied. By understanding the vital connection between you and the space in which you live, it is possible to make changes to those things that influence you most, and ultimately, to change how you feel. With Melanie as your guide, see foods in terms of their living energy and how to apply this to pattern greater emotional energy and ultimately the health of every living cell in your body. A great macrobiotic primer.  


Other Workshops on Fitness, Movement,
Natural Beauty, and more!


Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® - with Misha Forrester  

Rediscover childlike flexibility with the Feldenkrais Method®, an internationally acclaimed system of health and pain relief. Using slow, gentle movements designed to communicate between muscle, bone, and brain, you'll develop a new awareness of your movements with more options for greater coordination, better posture, and cultivation of ease and grace. Great for relieving pain or stiffness and for finding renewed pleasure in your movements. To read about the Feldenkrais Method® click here or for this YouTube demonstration here


Tao Yin Gentle Exercises - with Bettina Zumdick  

Tao Yin is an ancient Oriental system designed 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 life's experiences. This set of exercises integrates internal and external awareness and discernment. Guided imagery is incorporated with emphasis on relaxation.


Walking for Better Balance - with Misha Forrester

Based on the Feldenkrais Method® this "inquiry" and mindful walking lesson builds on making better connections between your heels, ball of toes, toes, and ankles in relationship to your knees, hips, and pelvis for joint stability, upright mobility, and better balance. Kushi Institute participants have remarked how this lesson provides new insights to one's own postural habits and the potential for change. A requested class over and over again! 


Morning Yoga  - with Rima Sala

These classes are designed to help free the body of restrictions, through gentle stretches, postures, and flows, releasing stress and tension and restoring and balancing your energy as a start to the day. For every age and any fitness level.  


Kick-boxing - with Mirea Ellis

Rev up your metabolism, tone muscles, build strength and endurance, and develop better balance with these fun, low-impact cardio workouts designed for everybody - all moves are easily adjusted for every fitness level. Enjoy great music including African drumming and traditional Brazilian songs as you go through simple routines you can continue to do at home.


Dreams As A Doorway - with Bettina Zumdick 

Dreams will often point to dynamics we might overlook in our waking life, so 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.  


Connecting with Conversations - with Mirea Ellis

Sharing thoughts, insights and feelings in a safe space with other women can be one of the most "intimate" encounters possible - where you are truly seen, heard, and accepted -- as well as getting to know others in the group more deeply. This experience includes a short guided meditation and reflection on a topic, after which, in small groups, you'll have the opportunity to share how the topic has touched your life.


Strategies from Bones for Life® - with Misha Forrester

Develop harmonious coordination, stimulate bone-growth with your own weight-bearing posture and load. Engage in springy, rhythmic pulsations for a powerful antidote to osteoporosis. Based on Ruthy Alon's program of ninety approaches, these quick strategies allow you to send pressure through the bones, safely and easily, on your own, in standing, sitting, or lying down that signal the marrow in the bones to continue to grow. For more information on this program click here.     


Relaxing the Jaw and Tongue - with Misha Forrester 

Subtle movement reconditioning can help you release jaw tension that causes head and earaches, TMJ, and/or habitual tightness in chest and throat. Pain and limited movement in one's head and neck may stem from patterns that involve a chain of muscles, rather than just an area that is uncomfortable. This lesson will help you to release tension in your jaw and face which will most likely add to your comfort when sitting and with your digestion.  


Rejuvenating Herbal Facial and Massage - with Mirea Ellis   

Healthy skin is beautiful skin! Experience and enjoy a luxurious spa-type facial using certified organic and wild-crafted herbs, plants, and clay to tone, smooth, soothe, and nourish on a deep cellular level. Included in this session: a bentonite clay therapy mask with organic fruit and sea vegetables; relaxing, with a warm facial towel infused with an herbal skin elixir; and a guided facial massage with rejuvenating, anti-aging wild rosehip seed oil.



Dancing, outdoor walks, and more! Optional private sessions (at extra fees) offered during the week include: Restorative Massage, Energy Healing, Macrobiotic Consultations, Macrobiotic Menu Planning, and Feldenkrais Functional Integration®.  For complete description and fees click here.  




Retreat Facilitators
Mirea Ellis
Mirea Ellis

Retreat Topics 

Optimizing Your Dining Experience


Connecting with Conversation    

Food & Emotions

Macrobiotic Teacher Panel

Herbal Facial & Massage  





Kushi Institute Assistant Director and Senior Macrobiotic Teacher 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. She is also the founder of Rejuva Organics, a natural herbal body care company. 


Mirea is 61 year's young, and shows women how exploring food, movement, and self-care, along with engaging our "higher capacities", can support the development of extraordinary health, vitality and radiance - at any age - and make life more joyful, rewarding, and a continual adventure. 


An energy healing practitioner with over 25 years in the field, Mirea has trained with over 20 native healers including shamans and medicine men and women from North and South America.


Private Session Offered: Transformational Energy Healing 

Bettina Zumdick
Bettina Zumdick

Retreat Topics 

Tao Yin Gentle Exercises

Cooking for Women's      Health   

Chewing for Digestion  

Dreams Workshop 

Macrobiotic Teacher Panel



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 the complex interconnections between body, mind and spirit through her own healing journey from Lyme disease, Bettina knows that it is possible to improve your health and to deepen the quality of all your experiences in life. It is her intent to share the knowledge and wisdom of this path for better health, vitality and being able to pursue your most passionate dreams in life.


Bettina is the author of Authentic Foods. 


Private Sessions Offered: Macrobiotic Counseling, Macrobiotic Menu Planning, Energy Healing 

Melanie Waxman
Melanie axman

Retreat Topics 

Quick and Easy Cooking
Natural Home Remedies
Cooking to Relieve Stress
Abundant Energy
Menu Planning
Macrobiotic Teacher Panel                  




Visiting Senior Macrobiotic Teacher,  Melanie Waxman, has been
actively involved in the healing arts since the early 1980s, specializing in balancing health through food and diet, in the body, and in the home.   


Macrobiotic for 30+ years, and mother of seven, Melanie is an international educator with a busy, abundant macrobiotic practice ranging from presenting at large seminars including Kushi Institute's Summer Conference to private cooking classes and health coaching (including the English singer Boy George). Melanie can be found online through several websites and her recipe blog:  http://melaniewaxman.blogspot.com/     


Melanie is a prolific writer of The Cooklets, a series of manuals on kitchen methodology and healthy food options.  Additionally, she writes on child-rearing in Bless The Baby  and in Yummy Yummy in My Tummy, on healthy macrobiotic cooking for busy people in Eat Me Now!, and most recently on the wonder of nature in The Little Carrot.


Private Sessions Offered:

Macrobiotic Counseling, Macrobiotic Menu Planning  


Amber Maisano
Amber Maisano

Retreat Topics 

Dessert Magic 

Cooking for Beauty Within 


Amber Masiano, Macrobiotic Teacher, became Kushi Institute's class assistant and chef in 2008.  Last year, she moved into the role of kitchen manager and head chef, responsible for menu design, kitchen scheduling and kitchen volunteer training, and meal supervision. She has formally studied macrobiotics for almost a decade, including graduation from Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Leadership Program.  


Experienced as a personal chef and caterer, Amber has also managed many dual responsibilities during Kushi Institute Summer Conference kitchens, including team leader for the cafe and co-team leader for cooking classes. She has worked with macrobiotic chefs Christina Pirello, Patricio Garcia de Paredes, Mie Naka, Susan Waxman, and Jane Stancich, among others.  

Misha Forrester
Misha Forrester

Retreat Topics 

Feldenkrais Awareness

Through Movement®

Walking for Better Balance

Sounder  Sleeping  

Bones for Life®

Relaxing the Tongue & Jaw 

Licensed Massage Therapist, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Method
  Bones for Life® practitioner, and yin-yoga instructor 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, dancers, and atheletes 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 muscle and brain.

Her experience in natural healing modalities and meditation is evident in her therapeutic workshops which often compliment other mindfulness trainings. 

Private Sessions Offered: Restorative Massage, Torso Massage, Feldenkrais Functional Integration®       


Rima Sala

Retreat Topics 

Morning Yoga


Rima Sala is a certified yoga teacher, trained in the Astanga Vinyasa tradition through Chicago's Moksha Yoga Studio with a focus on movement and breath. Using a relaxed, diaphragmatic style of breathing, characterized by an ocean sound which resonates in the throat, one is able to create and maintain alignment in movement flows, providing a calming, mental focus point.


Teaching since 1999, Rima now makes her home in Berkshires, where she can be found instructing in a number of venues including Zaanti Yoga Studio in Lenox, MA and the Dalton Community Recreation Association, Dalton, MA.



Start Quotation Mark
"Wonderful. Has been fun, informative, transformative. Loved the cooking classes, loved getting to try new exercise techniques.   
I liked the optional program feel. Impossible to pick [from the many options]. Loved it all. I benefited by relaxing and trying new things."  

Carol Lamont,
Women's Retreat participant, April 2012  



  • Program fee: Only $675  
    Includes the full program and all meals
    Program begins with Orientation5pm April 7
    Program ends after breakfast 9am   April13
  • Housing options start at only $100 
    Below prices are NOT per night - this includes all 6 nights!    
    • $100 - Small single room in the North Hall with shared dormitory style bathrooms.
    • $100 - Per person shared double or triple room in North Hall 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 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
    Fee is for each way on program arrival and departure dates. Shuttle is between Bradley International Airport (serves Hartford, CT) and Kushi Institute. Inquire for more details when registering.    

  • Private session fees and information click here.      

For More Information or to Register


Int'l 413-623-6457




Front Field with Bench  



Get a $100 Discount

off the Women's Retreat
when you also attend the
8-Day Weight Loss Program
the prior week!
For more details on the programs and
discounts click here.

8-Day Healthy Weight Loss is one of our
most popular programs and spaces are very limited.
If you are interested in attending register soon.





 North Hall view   

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Becket, MA 01223 


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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.