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Nature, Community, and Self-Care: Women’s Retreats in Alberta with Yervana Local Sarah Salter-Kelly


Image: Philipp Lublasser

Nature, Community, and Self-Care: Women’s Retreats in Alberta with Yervana Local Sarah Salter-Kelly

If you’re looking for a chance to reset, connect to the land, join a welcoming community of women and manifest lasting healing in your life, a Trauma as Medicine Women’s Retreat with Yervana Local Sarah Salter-Kelly in beautiful Alberta might be just what you need. That’s why we caught up with Sarah to ask her all about her teachings and experience facilitating women’s groups, and what to expect on the retreat! Read on for more.

What is Trauma as Medicine?

Trauma as Medicine is a practice developed by Sarah. Through it, one utilizes their relationship to nature to navigate trauma and cultivate healing. It is based on two philosophies. Firstly, that we can learn from all of our life experiences. Secondly, when we nurture the connection between ourselves and nature, we can heal. Therefore, by participating in a Trauma as Medicine retreat, you will develop the tools to transform trauma you’ve experienced in your life into a means to grow and heal. Essentially, creating medicine from trauma. 

Trauma as Medicine was conceived through the teachings of Sarah’s unique life experience. In particular, healing from the homicide of her mother and learning to forgive her perpetrator. In addition, Sarah has 30 years of studying personal growth, mysticism, restorative justice, and earth-based healing traditions. As Sarah says, “I’m using earth-based teachings, so my background is in Shamanism, Animism, and Wicca. It’s helping people to form their own direct experience with the divine through connecting with themselves and the land.”

A true force of nature, Sarah is down to earth, straightforward and compassionate. Consequently, she has a strong presence to facilitate powerful experiences. She details her teachings in her book, Trauma as Medicine.

Image: Trauma as Medicine Women’s Spring Retreat with Yervana Local Sarah

Community and the Trauma as Medicine Women’s Retreat

Community building is very important to Sarah as she facilitates workshops and retreat experiences. Therefore, being part of a community of women is essential to the experience of Trauma as Medicine.

As Sarah says, “We cannot heal without each other. What we’re wanting to do is create a sisterhood dynamic that helps us to step above and beyond the norms of day-to-day reality. We create this container where we feel empowered to really show up and be ourselves.”

Sarah is an expert at creating a safe group dynamic, in which participants feel empowered to share with each other. As a result, lasting friendships between participants are created, and last beyond the retreat itself. 

Mental health and self-care

According to Sarah, “when we take a moment to connect with the land, it helps us to reconnect with ourselves and remember who we are. So often in today’s world, we have this idea that we have to be going all the time. Certainly as women, we often feel like we’re taking care of everybody else but ourselves. As a result, that impacts our mental health because we’re always in that place of holding on to everything – all the responsibilities, all the jobs, all the busyness.”

Experiencing Trauma as Medicine with Sarah allows for, “a breath of fresh air, where you can step back and be with yourself. It lets you take time to listen to who you are, and what you want.” Consequently, it allows you to reset, and learn the tools to care for your mental health going forward.

Image: Trauma as Medicine Women’s Spring Retreat with Yervana Local Sarah

The Women’s Retreat experience 

The Trauma as Medicine retreat runs over three days: Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Though the majority of the experience is instructional and intentional, there is plenty of time for journal writing and reflection. 

It starts with an opening circle which includes a guided meditation. Then, participants each create a mandala from nature, which they’ll use throughout the retreat. This is so that, as Sarah says, “they have their own meditation place. They’ll be going out on the land and choosing the spot, and that’s where they’ll go to do their reflection.” 

Throughout the retreat, Sarah uses a variety of land-based teachings she’s developed throughout her many years of learning and exploring. These include meditation, yoga, shamanic journey, fire ceremony, self inquiry, journal writing, and time alone in nature. 

Participants will learn, “how to shift their perspective in their attachment to what their trauma has looked like,” through a variety of different tools. Subsequently, as Sarah says, “We’re looking for those aha moments, those deep insights where we’re like, ‘Yeah, this is who I am!’’  

Who is this retreat for? 

According to Sarah, “it’s for women who are interested in utilizing their relationship with the land as a medium to manifest healing.” The Trauma as Medicine Women’s retreat is for all women who acknowledge that they have gone through some type of trauma. Likewise, it is designed for those who are interested in using land-based teachings to address that trauma and cultivate self care practices. 

The retreat is a welcoming, inclusive space, where participants are empowered to participate in a way that feels safe to them. Sarah says, “it’s very important that somebody is their own authority on how they are addressing trauma in their lives.” 

If you’re a nature lover, this retreat will be particularly powerful. A running theme throughout the retreat is the element of being present in nature. It’s a chance to take a break from day-to-day life, in an environment where connection to nature is ever-present. 

Join Sarah!

Check out Sarah’s page to stay up to date on her latest retreats. Join as she leads you through land-based teachings, circle, yoga and movement, shamanic journey, ceremony and meditation. Connect to yourself and nature, and manifest healing, self care and mental health practices through outdoor experiences. It’s sure to be a life-changing experience, and an Adventure in the truest sense! 

Can’t make one of Sarah’s retreats? Check out other amazing health and wellness adventures below!

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Mackenzie is passionate about connecting with our Yervana community of Locals and Explorers, and sharing their stories. Originally from the Canadian prairies, she spent three years living in Aotearoa New Zealand before settling in Kimberley, BC. She loves practicing and teaching yoga, perfecting her homemade pasta and sourdough, attempting to ski and surf, hiking, and travelling.
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