Silence. Dead silence. The only noise I’ve heard in the last hour was the gentle hum of a pickup’s engine, followed by delicate pitter-patter of footsteps to the welcome mat of my two-bedroom, two-bath log cabin, “Coyote.” My Stanley thermos of steaming coffee stoically awaits me in the 40-degree dawn, and I gladly receive it. It’s now about 7 a.m. and my 90-minute sunrise yoga class commences in 15 minutes (the first of two sessions ahead of me that day, in addition to a sound bath and outdoor activities of my choosing). The scene is Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana — where I’m fittingly alone and surprisingly not lonely — on a three-day, four-night yoga retreat. The mastermind behind it all is Robyn Berkley, the founder of luxury activewear brand Live the Process, who carefully curated the annual outing.
“For me, to ‘live the process’ is all about balance,” says Berkley, “so Montana, in all its raw beauty, was a natural choice for a yoga retreat.” Aside from the daily yoga, meditation, and sound bath sessions (led by Love Yoga’s Kyle Miller and Sky Ting’s Krissy Jones), Berkley organized natal chart readings by a local astrologer, nature walks, and spirit bag crafting. She’s also responsible for outfitting me and my fellow yogis in what looks like 80s-inspired dance garb, cashmere performance knits, and color-blocked bodysuits in muted earth tones.
The retreat also offered ranch activities like horseback riding, hiking, and archery — all limitless and available at leisure — and the option to go off grounds to tour Yellowstone National Park, fly fish, take a hot air balloon ride, among many other outdoor activities. (Plus, transportation is courtesy of the ranch, including airport transfers). And while you’re out and about, you risk the chance of running into neighboring mountaineers like Ben Affleck, Tom Brady, or Gisele Bundchen, who are members of the prestigious Yellowstone Club, or Ted Turner, who owns four ranches totaling over 153,000 acres in the area.
The entire experience truly felt like a state of equilibrium. It wasn’t just about exercising, but recovering. The complimentary meals at the ranch’s own Horn & Cantle, for example, were not the bird food you’ve come to expect on a yoga retreat; while green juice and vegan chili were options, I certainly had my fair share of wine and “cowgirl cookies,” mind you. And back at the cabin, you won’t find any televisions, phones, or strong WiFi, for that matter. Instead, there’s a selection of books (“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, “Wilderness Essays” by John Muir, “How to Stay Alive in the Woods” by Bradford Angier), a record player with Elton John spinning, and a cast iron wood burning fireplace (which is great for warmth, but perhaps even better for that smokey scent). Wearing my new ultra-soft leggings after a day of being outdoors, I realize that disconnecting is just as an important part of “the process” as any other — and what better place to do it than a ranch that leads by example, preserving the beauty of Montana exactly as it’s found in nature.