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Mindfulness & Self-Care Retreat

Help Animals Without Depleting Yourself

Ready to recharge your batteries? Let’s find healthy ways to dissolve anxiety, manage stress, and build personal resilience. Join our retreat at Banyan Grove, a serene, quiet campus lined with redwood trees in the quaint town of Forest Knolls, an hour or so drive from Berkeley. Spend the weekend practicing mindfulness, meditation, restorative yoga, self-care, fusion fitness, and join in a healing ritual. Slow down and relax with us. Nurture yourself with essential techniques for daily living so you can help animals without depleting yourself. Scrumptious, healthy vegan food will be catered.

Speakers: The Mindful Vegan author Lani Muelrath and self-care coach Allison Rivers Samson

Vegan Chefs: Hiromi Bower Ui and Kiyoko Usugi

When: Saturday, June 9, 10am-4pm and Sunday, June 10, 8am-3pm

Where: Banyan Grove, 60 Arroyo Road, Forest Knolls, CA 

Cost: Our retreat is offered by donation to honor the Buddhist practice of "dana" or generosity. Please read about gift ecology

Overnight Accommodations: Our retreat is presented in partnership with ServiceSpace, which operates our venue. We have room for 20 overnight guests. You can also find local lodging here

Venue: Banyan Grove can accommodate 40 guests for the retreat, with 20 of those guests staying overnight. If necessary, we may give overnight preference to those who are traveling from out of town.  

Enrollment is currently closed. 

Contact us with questions or call Lisa Levinson at (215) 620-2130. 


Retreat Program

Saturday, 10am-4pm

10am-10:30am, Welcome

10:30am-12pm, Mindfulness Training and Practice with Lani

12pm-1pm, Organic Vegan Lunch 

1pm-1:45pm, Mindfulness Meditation Practice and Walking Meditation with Lani

2pm-4pm, Integrating Self-Care into Your Daily Life with Allison

4pm-5pm, Nature Walk (Optional)

5pm-6pm, Free Time

6pm-7pm, Organic Vegan Dinner

8pm-9pm, Evening Program 


Sunday, 8am-3pm

8am-9am, Organic Vegan Breakfast 

9-11am,  Restorative Yoga and Mindfulness Practice with Lani

11am-12pm, Nia with Allison

12pm-1pm, Organic Vegan Lunch

1pm-1:45pm, Walking Meditation with Lani

2pm-3pm, Activist Healing Ritual with Lisa 


Retreat Menu

Snacks: ume plum sprouted raw walnuts, flaxseed crackers, raw vegetable stick with dip sauce, pecan snowball cookies, ume plum chia leather

Beverages: hand crafted herbal teas, coffee/tea

Saturday Lunch: pita bread sandwich, falafel, raw vegetables, tahini sauce, pesto, pickles, kale salad, buckwheat chocolate mouse

Saturday Dinner: quiche, quinoa salad, seasonal vegetable cream soup, seasonal fruit parfait 

Sunday Breakfast: pancakes, fresh fruit, fruit jam, chia pudding, superfood green smoothie

Sunday Lunch: variety of seasonal vegetable sushi balls, miso soup, strawberry mochi


Mindfulness Training and Practice

We all know that advocating for the animals has a specific set of challenges and stress. With the simple tools of mindfulness, you can learn to more easily navigate difficult conversations, upsetting situations, emotional stress – and become a more effective advocate for the change you want to effect in the world. With Lani as your guide, find out what the research says about the benefits of mindfulness training - a practical, non-sectarian, science-based practice for restoring and resilience - and come away with specific tools for practicing mindfulness to manage stress and create a healthier lifestyle.

How to Integrate Self-care into Your Daily Life

So much of what we do is focused on energy moving outward to help others. This is an important part of advocacy, and yet to be sustainable ambassadors for compassion, it’s crucial that we first fill our own cups so that we’re able to give from a source of strength. Allison will share some of the tools and practices she uses on a regular basis.

Restorative Yoga 

This mindfulness-of-body practice quickly counters stress and restores balance. It is a particularly healing branch of yoga practices that can give you an early entry point into the accumulation of stress, and assist you in into dissolving the build up of anxiety from its stress origins to what can end up as a crippling anxiety experience. Lani will teach some simple positions from this deeply relaxing style of yoga practice that is receptive rather than active in nature.


This fun, easy to follow fitness fusion class that includes Dance + Martial Arts + Yoga brings a new JOY through movement.  We'll move in comfortable clothes and bare feet.

Activist Healing Ritual

We can acknowledge the suffering of others and offer support without taking on their suffering. As we heal, we build resilience and embrace community care. Join us for a healing ritual with music and activities that unite as a community. The ritual will include music, art, movement, and expression of our compassion for all living beings.


Speaker Bios

Lani Muelrath, M.A., is an award-winning health educator, celebrated speaker and the  author of three best-selling books. A longtime vegan advocate and creator of numerous health and wellness courses, Lani is Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition, Mindfulness Meditation Instruction, as Mind-Body Specialist, and is a Credentialed Yoga Teacher. She has been featured on CBS TV, ABC TV, Health Magazine, Prevention, USA Today, Huffington Post, and The Saturday Evening Post. She is presenter for Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, Complete Health Improvement Program, guest lecturer at San Francisco State University, and Associate Faculty at Butte College where one of her books has been adopted as required text.

Lani has been vegetarian/vegan for 45 years and has been teaching in health and wellness for more over four decades She has been practicing mindfulness meditation for over 25 years, and is recognized as a thought leader and pioneer in transition to plant-based nutrition and in the integration of vegan living and mindfulness practice. She is the author of The Mindful Vegan: A 30-Day Plan for Finding Health, Balance, Peace, and Happiness, The Plant-Based Journey, and Fit Quickies


Allison Rivers Samson is a Self-care Coach, Speaker, and Workshop Leader who helps women make room for themselves, turn workouts into personal playdates, and makes healthy eating feel indulgent. Allison is certified in Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University and received her training as a Health and Wellness Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

For 20 years, she ran Allison’s Gourmet, the first online vegan bakery and chocolaterie, which she retired in 2016. Allison is an award-winning vegan chef and author of Quick + Easy DIY Salad BarComfortably Yum, and The Dairy-Freedom Cookbook; co-creator of The Dairy Detox; Nia Black Belt instructor; and mama to lifelong vegan Olivia.


Lisa Levinson directs In Defense of Animals’ Sustainable Activism Campaign, which offers emotional and spiritual support for animal activists via a helpline, support groups, and online events. Lisa organizes Vegan Spirituality groups and retreats to explore veganism as a spiritual practice. She co-organizes the Interfaith Vegan Coalition to help places of worship go vegan. She co-founded Public Eye: Artists for Animals to teach compassion for animals through the arts and founded the Toad Detour to help migrating toads safely cross the road in Philadelphia.




Vegan Chefs

Kiyoko Usugi is a vegan chef, forager, artist, owner of ume plum orchard ‘Mume Farm,’ whose cooking is inspired by her childhood in Northeast Japan, her extensive international travel, living on American Indian reservations, and time walking for peace across the US with a Buddhist nun. 


Hiromi Bower Ui is a mother, gift ecology researcher, organic farm to table vegan chef, fermenter, farmer, and heirloom seed saver, who was born and raised in a small farming town outside of Tokyo. Her cooking reflects her upbringing surrounded by older relatives preparing food for the community, plus permaculture activism and time spent on farms in Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan and with low income communities in East Oakland.

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