Kushi Institute Logo 4
Women's Retreat Aprl 2013
 It's time to nurture YOURSELF!


Woman Sitting on Wall

Facial massage    


Join us in the beautiful Berkshire mountains for an extraordinary week of renewal in this special retreat designed BY AND FOR WOMEN!    


Explore a huge array of topics in exciting participatory classes and workshops, facilitated by six workshop leaders whose experience and talent span an extensive range of health and healing modalities.     


Topics and events include 

  • Natural approaches for women's health concerns   
  • Making macrobiotics easy and sustainable 
  • Breaking free of emotional eating patterns
  • Cooking for enjoyment, health, wellness and beauty 
  • Optimizing digestion for better health and stronger immunity  
  • Creating and maintaining abundant energy 
  • Experience a rejuvenating herbal facial and massage 
  • Benefit with movements from the gentle developmental, brain-based Feldenkrais Method®    
  • Getting fit and flexible with movement classes including gentle yoga, kick-boxing, Tao Yin exercises and more    
  • Drumming and dance party  
  • and much more! Scroll down for class descriptions       
Start Quotation Mark

"I really appreciated the opportun
ities 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

Retreat Highlights

Women's Retreat  

Hands-On Cooking Program! Hands-on Cooking Classes


Cooking for Women's Health - with Bettina Zumdick 

Learn how to prepare dishes that support better overall health as well as improving many specific women's health issues such as painful menstruation, menopause, fibroids, breast problems, emotional difficulties and many more. Bettina 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       

See how creating healthy, balanced and delicious meals doesn't mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen! 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 how to turn macrobiotics into a practical way of life, and gain tools to have less stress and 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.


Woman in Class  

Discussions and Lectures


Making the Most of Your Dining Experience -
with Mirea Ellis 

Learn how making some small adjustments to your meals can help you become more alkaline (more resistant to illness); improve digestion; maintain better blood sugar levels; reach weight goals; feel more satisfed, light and relaxed; and more. Everything you learn in this discussion can be applied to your meals at Kushi Institute, at home, and dining out.



Women's Health - with Bettina Zumdick 

Learn how the macrobiotic approach to health and healing supports recovery from some diseases or conditions more common to women, such as osteoarthritis, obesity, breast cancer, and depression. This discussion also includes the topics of pregnancy and menopause; as well as conditions such as uterine and ovarian cancers.


Chewing for Better Digestion- with Bettina Zumdick  

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 this is vital for creating digestive enzymes, absorption of nutrients, energy maintenance, and relaxation of the digestive organs.


Macro Menu Planning - with Melanie Waxman 

This discussion will give you ideas on how to design menus that are balanced, delicious, and fit into your busy life. An extensive handout on macrobiotic menu planning is included. Questions are encouraged!

lemon pudding Dessert Magic - a cooking demo and discussion
with Amber Maisano

What makes macrobiotic desserts so nutritional and just plain yummy? Visually appealing, flavorful, and guilt-free, they are a great way to introduce people to delicious macrobiotic cuisine. Along with demonstrating how to create luscious desserts, Amber will discuss the benefits of using whole grain sweeteners and other healthy dessert ingredients.  


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's Panel on Self-Care and Nurturing  - with Mirea Ellis, Melanie Waxman and 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.


Abundant Energy - with Melanie Waxman 

External influences on your energy are many and varied. With Melanie as your guide, see foods in terms of their living energy, and how to apply this wisdom for greater emotional energy, and ultimately the health of every living cell in your body. A great macrobiotic primer.  


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


Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® - with Misha Forrester  

Rediscover childlike flexibility using slow, gentle movements designed to communicate between muscle, bone, and brain. 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. 


Tao Yin Gentle Exercises - with Bettina Zumdick  

This ancient Asian system can bring you more energy, strength and flexibility. Developing physical, emotional and spiritual aspects through this practice can enrich your life's experiences. Bettina will lead a set of exercises that integrates internal and external awareness and discernment, and incorporate guided imagery 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.  


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 for a great 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 also do at home.


Dreams As A Doorway - with Bettina Zumdick 

Dreams will often point to dynamics we might overlook in our waking life, and serve purposes such as providing precognition of future events, connecting to loved ones, receiving instruction and healing, and more. You'll explore various aspects of dreams, including how to program your dreams, lucid dreaming and interpreting your dreams.  


Mother and Daughter  

Connecting with Conversations - with Mirea Ellis

Share thoughts, insights and feelings in a safe space with other women - where you are truly seen, heard, and accepted -- as well as getting to know others in the group more deeply. Starting with a short guided meditation and reflection on a topic, you'll then have the opportunity to share in small groups 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,- a powerful antidote to osteoporosis. Based on Ruthy Alon's program, these simple strategies signal the marrow in the bones to continue to grow.  


Relaxing the Jaw and Tongue - with Misha Forrester 

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 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   

Enjoy a luxurious 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: clay  therapy mask with fruit and sea vegetables; relax with warm towel infused with herbal skin elixir; and guided facial massage with rejuvenating, anti-aging wild rosehip seed oil.



Dancing, outdoor walks, and more!   


For the full daily retreat schedule click here.


Optional Private Sessions
(extra fees apply)

Deeply relax and let go of stress with a restorative massage. Experience the transformational benefits of energy healing. Improve your macrobiotic practice with a private counseling or menu planning session. And more!

While you are at the retreat you can schedule private sessions through the office. As you look at the retreat facilitator bio's below you'll notice which private sessions are offered. For private sessions full descriptions 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,

Woman in Red Jacket  



  • 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.     


For More Information or to Register  




Int'l 413-623-6457

To register online click here






 North Hall view   

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Becket, MA 01223 


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