Yoga Retreats: A Wholistic Approach to Energy and Self-Discovery

Ignite Retreat

How did you ring in the New Year?

At a quiet cottage outside of the Grand Rapids, a group of people began the year with a nourished mind, body and heart. At the Ignite Retreat, attendees spent four days and three nights pursuing replenished energy and positive energy for the year ahead.

Kelly Smith, founder of Yoga for You Online and host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast, is a yoga instructor and meditation consultant in Grand Rapids. She leads retreats like this one all over the world, and she welcomed in 2019 with an exclusive group of 10.

The Ignite Retreat helped a small group welcome the new year with positive energy.
The Ignite Retreat helped a small group welcome the new year with positive energy.

What to Expect at a Retreat

At the Ignite Retreat, attendees gathered just outside of Grand Rapids for three days of yoga, rest and self-discovery. Their days were spent practicing yoga with vinyasa and nidra flows, studying meditation and their personal human design, doing soul writings, and performing sun salutations, all in an attempt to manifest positive energy for the upcoming year.

Sam Kalawart, Grand Rapids nutritional coach and founder of Healing Space, lead the retreat with Smith. Kalawart prepared clean food for every meal while offering nutritional guidance and lifestyle advice to attendees.

Kalawart also lead the group through human design studies where they learned one-on-one about their personal energy level and application in the world, and she guided group breath-work circles.

Some attendants were local, from the greater Grand Rapids area, while others traveled long and far, even from Missouri, for this “one of a kind experience.”

The Retreat Experience

Attending one of Smith and Kalawart’s retreats usually isn’t a one-time thing. Many attendees have already participated in one of their retreats and are coming back for more.

Attendees come in with burdens, baggage and expectations that they carry with them daily. They are encouraged to leave them at the door so that they are open and perceptive to refuel and realize things about themselves they never knew.

As a novice to retreats, I attended Ignite with an open mind and curious spirit. The other attendees welcomed me warmly and I felt immediately comfortable with Smith and Kalawart. I enjoyed the yoga sessions, I learned much about myself and about others, and I devoured every tasteful meal prepared by Kalawart like it was my last.

From my experience, I can say that you will leave a retreat feeling refreshed and energized, feeling centered and whole, and feeling like you know more about your place in the universe than you did before you came.

Through yoga practice, one-on-one consultations and the escape from reality, you are sure to discover rejuvenation and something you didn’t know about yourself.

The Ignite Retreat is one of several retreats that Kelly Smith conducts each year.
The Ignite Retreat is one of several retreats that Kelly Smith conducts each year.

Upcoming Retreats

Smith and Kalawart will be hosting an Ignite Spring retreat in Fennville, Michigan from April 5-7,  including yoga, meditation, breathwork, energy healing and a raw cacao ceremony.

Smith will also be hosting the Harmonious Life Yoga Retreat in Cusco, Peru from Aug. 3-10. This retreat will include daily yoga and meditation, workshops, healing sound baths and several exciting excursions to explore the exotic country of Peru.

For more information on Smith and her retreats, teaching and podcast, visit and read the article on mindfulness and meditation in the January 2019 issue of the Grand Rapids Magazine, on shelves now.

*Editor’s Note: GR|MAG contributor Tylee Shay participated in the yoga retreat mentioned in this article and chronicled her experience.

**Photos by Tylee Shay.

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