Midwest Yoga Retreat

Midwest Yoga Retreat with Thomas Fortel

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Fall 2020 Retreat has been cancelled. While we are sad we will not convene in person, we recognize that unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. In January 2021, we will evaluate the viability of holding the Spring 2021 Midwest Yoga Retreat, and will update this website with further information. Thomas leads some online practice, and we hope this community will cross paths and share practice there. Information about these virtual sessions is on Thomas's website.

Hello friends and welcome to this bi-annual gathering of Midwest yoga practitioners. My name is Thomas Fortel and I warmly invite you to this extended weekend of fun and reflection with our yoga community. I live in Big Sur, California, am from St. Louis and look forward each year to this retreat time in the heartland of our country.

Taking time for oneself to go on retreat is one of the many spiritual practices available to us. Often on retreat, we enter into the cradle of nature where the pranic force (life energy) is magnified and completely available for anyone who comes. In a similar way, the practitioners of yoga have journeyed for thousands of years to the ashram (yoga community) to engage the practices of meditation, pranayama (conscious breathing), chanting and Hatha yoga. In Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, the word "shramas" literally means fatigue, and "ashram" means removal of fatigue.

Find out more about Thomas at thomasfortel.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a good retreat for beginners?

To fully participate in the retreat, it is best to already know yoga postures. If you are very new to yoga, consider a taking a weekly class for a year before attending this retreat.

What should I bring?

Yoga equipment:
Limited blocks and blankets will be provided, and props are used in all practices. It's a good idea to bring some of your own. Contact Rob Shakespeare if you have questions.
  • Yoga mat (required)
  • Yoga Blocks (1 or 2)
  • Bolster (optional)
  • Wool or Cotton Yoga Blankets (many practices use two)
  • Yoga strap
  • Eyebag

Special clothing considerations:

The yoga practice area is a "no shoes" space. Some like to have socks to wear while they are warming up.

Meals are served in the end of the yoga practice room, and shoes are required for the buffet room. Many bring a pair of easy on-and-off shoes or sandals to make the practice-to-meal transition simple.

Most people will have a short outdoor walk on gravel paths from their rooms to the yoga practice room and dining room, so be prepared for any weather you may encounter - it will be chilly in the fall and spring mornings, and remember to account for the possibility of rain! Weather pending, there may be a bonfire one evening of the retreat; you are welcome to bring snacks or evening drinks to share.

If you are new to yoga retreats, you will find that many people wear yoga clothing for the entire retreat, not just for practice.


Kitchens are accessible from most rooms if you need to store refrigerated items.

Many paths are unlit at night, so you may find a flashlight helpful.

You may want to bring a water bottle to take filtered drinking water from the center to your room.

What should I do if I arrive for 2-day retreat on Friday?

  1. Go to entry hall of retreat center to complete sign in sheet and identify your house and room name.
  2. See map of the farm to locate your house.
  3. Drop your belongings in your room.
  4. Return to retreat center 15 minutes prior to yoga practice to set up your mat and props.


Contact Rob Shakespeare with questions about the event, registration, or payment.


(812) 320-2806

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