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I began attending annual retreats 20 years ago and still do to this day.  The impact on my dedication to life and relationships is immeasurable. These retreats are a compilation of everything I love about retreat from the past 20 years.  They offer depth, direct support and the light essence of vacation. Beautifully crafted combinations, made for you.

Each year I collaborate with other teachers to provide extra care for each guest and generate diversity in our offering.  Each teacher is a friend, someone I learn from, and with whom I have a good work history.  They have extensive training and received formal vows to serve our world with the greatest of care.

Lets make self care COLLECTIVE CARE.  A deep preservation, dedication and political act to support the way we want to be with the world for the benefit of all.  Collective care is our innate wisdom and uncovers compassion in every interaction.

On retreat, you will learn simple tools to create space and feel resourced in your life back home.  This will help you hold yourself and others in healthy ways.

We celebrate and welcome our similarities and our differences.  Attendees are from different countries, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, mental and physical capacity, and ages. 

Spirit of Zen


Meditation & Yoga Retreat


with Melissa

& Suniti Dernovsek

June 14-19th, 2024

Stowel Lake Farm

Salt Spring Island, BC



Meditation & Yoga Retreat

with Melissa & Suniti Dernovsek

Stowel Lake Farm

September 12-17, 2023





Join Melissa & Elena Brower on The Practice You Podcast this fall as they discuss their experience as Zen Practitioners and householders navigating the terrain of transitions.

Date to be released ~


Retreat comes from the Latin word meaning "to pull back." Choosing retreat practice means that you commit to a specific period of time where you pull back from regular life.

1. Pull Back
It’s strategic. You step back from your regular life, pulling in all the energy that’s otherwise fanned out and thinned out in multiple directions.  Unplug from technology and gather your attention to focus on something you really love.  Settle into bed when the sun sets and open your eyes when it rises.

2. Deceleration
By stepping out of your scheduled day-to-day there’s new space and time to explore.  Commitment to work, family, communications, volunteer work, household and daily transport all get a breather.  Retreat offers deceleration — simple patterns and fluidity to experience being instead of doing.

3. Listen
As you settle on retreat all of your senses come alive!  Listen to the sound of your breath, trees blowing in the wind, the sound of wildlife, simple village life, and most importantly the call of your own heart.

4. Recover & Remember
Can you feel the ways you need to recover?  It could be from the death of a loved one, illness, broken hearts, intense work, a big wedding, school, project culmination and more.  We wear so many roles!  Retreat invites us to recover and remember our inner landscape of body and outer landscape of the world. What happens when you get a little distance from your persona to just be.

5. Routine, Practice & Habits
Retreat is a distillation of healthy habits in a concentrated space and time just for you.  Explore yoga, healthy movement patterns, meditation, writing, textural study, plant based food, and nature as an annual ritual of retreat.  You will leave retreat more fit, rested, content, clear to reset and do the work you want to do in the world.  

6. Inspiration
Inspiration comes from the Latin word inspiratus and means to breathe into. 


When you break regular patterns and habits surrounded by fresh landscape and support, the space allows you to breath life into your life — space for downtime and the art of doing nothing.  Experience how you can master this art and still be fully engaged with the world in meaningful ways.

AHKi Resort
AHKi Resort
AHKi Resort
AHKi Resort


Melissa and Brian are a fabulous team, and are carrying on Michael Stone’s legacy of building community and bringing spiritual teachings into everyday life. They have a way of creating a very safe environment where you feel protected. If you needed to speak with them, they’re available. They’re amazing facilitators.



Brian and Melissa have a child-like quality that is super inclusive. They’re in touch with their inner child and they have the capacity to see other people’s inner child as well. That’s a really important quality in a teacher. The two of them together are a powerhouse of inclusivity.



On many occasions during this retreat, I was deeply moved by the ways that both Brian and Melissa fostered awakening by creating a supportive environment where community healing could take place.

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