"...Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

-Mary Oliver

Food For Thought

Stepping Outside: Mindfulness and Horses

Stepping Outside:
A Daylong Retreat with Mindfulness and Horses

Saturday, June 23, 2018
9:30-6:30 pm
On an idyllic horse farm in Sparks, MD

Many of you know that I sold my house last winter and moved to a small place on a horse farm in Monkton. I’d never really been around horses, just loved their beauty and majesty from afar. But as soon as I got here I was “chosen” by a handsome horse named Dylano. He needed a“ person” and I needed him.

Because of my experiences with him, just being together day after day for almost a year, I learned that horses can open another, deeper realm of awareness and being- just by their gentle, yet giant generosity. And I never rode him, nor did I ever want to. I just wanted him to teach me to BE. And he did.

The specifics of what/ how he taught me are hard to articulate. The best I can do is say he offered me deep presence and safe space. He helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin and called me on it when I was either not embodied or fully present with him in an authentic way. He helped me to trust and love more, and to live more authentically in the moment. He taught me to appreciate more….he is an amazing teacher and guide, and helped me start healing deep old wounds just by his gentle holding of safe space and what felt like big, big love.

Well, my precious friend has moved away, but the love remains. And I’m forever grateful. I miss him every day, but the lessons continue to enhance my life.
So when Ashley Smith reached out to me through a mutual friend to see if I’d be interested in participating with her in a retreat utilizing Equine Guided Learning, it felt like a gift from Dylano-a dream come true!


I hope you’ll join us to experience something new….a true stepping outside- into nature, outside your usual boundaries, into the magical world of horsey love and wisdom. There will be a little mindfulness, some energy work, good food, discussion of the importance of balance in body, mind and spirit, plenty of time with horses and yoga Nidra!

Come step outside with the horses and us!
Save the date!

I’d love to see you!


Step Outside: A Workshop and Retreat Combining Horses, Mindfulness
and Somatic Awareness

Immerse yourself in the wonder of the natural world to
build space and stillness.

Take time to listen to your body and support it,
quiet your mind, connect to your purpose.

Join us to learn and be empowered.

June 23, 2018
9:30am until 6:30pm

On an idyllic farm in Sparks, Maryland.

This inaugural retreat will provide participants an opportunity to take their awareness practices to a different level through mind-body-spirit and natural world connection with horses as guides.

The day will move between inside and outside spaces; inner and outer personal work will include:

-Guided equine sessions, working with horses to learn about the impact of energetic communication.

-Yoga nidra, which rebalances the nervous system and provides deep relaxation and the physiologic effect of 2 – 8 hours of deep, restful sleep.

-Presentation and discussion about gut feelings, intuition and how gut health affects the mind-body continuum.

June 23rd, 2018 | 9:30am until 6:30pm
On a farm in Sparks, MD.
Address and directions provided at registration.Sign up by June 9th for an early bird registration fee of $240.  
Enrollees will still be welcome after the 9th but will be charged the full rate of $275.(If cancellation is made by June 20th, 50% of registration will be refunded.  After June 20th, canceled registrations will be non-refundable.)For more information on what to expect and to register, please visit:
  Additional info:
  • Doors will open at 9:15am and coffee, tea and light snacks will be available.
  • The retreat will include a delicious, seasonal lunch, sourced locally.
  • Participation in this first-time event will be limited to 15 (but we will keep a waiting list and consider running additional workshops if interest is high). Anyone over 18 is welcome and encouraged to join us.

WHAT TO BRING: A yoga mat/blanket. An open mind. A raincoat, so it won’t rain.

WHAT TO WEAR: Comfortable workout clothes. Sturdy closed shoes or boots. A hat.  Sunscreen.

WEATHER: This workshop will happen rain or shine.  In the case of extreme rain, the work with horses can occur in an arena just a few minutes away.

ON THE WORK WITH HORSES: This is not a riding, horsemanship or horse training clinic. This is about working side by side with horses to tap into intuition, clarity of choice and purpose and the effectiveness of our communication and commitment.

If you would like to contribute any amount – large or small – for anyone not able to pay, donations will be most gratefully accepted and scholarships will be offered as available.  A portion of all proceeds from this event will be donated to the Holistic Life Foundation, which nurtures the wellness of adults and children in underserved communities.

**Please share with anyone who may be interested! 
Your Facilitators:
( the Horses are the Guides~)
Gina Sager  (with Taj) is  a retired board-certified general surgeon, named one of Baltimore’s Top Docs in October 2000. She permanently left the practice of traditional Western medicine in May 2002 to explore her long time interest in holistic healing. She has studied and practiced Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition, studied the ancient wisdom traditions including Traditional Chinese wisdom and 5 element theory at Tai Sophia Institute, and completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training in Integrative Yoga Therapy at yama studio in June 2005.She completed several professional training courses with Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society. She has studied and practiced Ayurveda for over 15 years and completed a professional Ayurvedic Nutrition training course with internationally known teacher and author, Amadea Morningstar. She has just completed her first year of training in Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine.She teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Seasonal cooking, yoga and yoga nidra in Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties.
Ashley Smith (with Zorro) left a corporate job in HR to pursue a career in which she could work with horses to improve people’s lives, and in which she could help increase appreciation for horses and the natural world. As an Equine Guided Coach, she trains self-awareness, communication, professional and personal development through horse-human interaction. She holds an advanced certification in Equine Guided Education, a somatic based method of coaching with horses, which emphasizes sensate, experiential learning that encompasses body, mind and spirit.
Ashley has worked in California, Washington, Maryland, Italy and Jordan, and has facilitated experiences for individuals, groups and teams which foster understanding of self and other as well as connect people with their sense of purpose in life, the land, the sky and everything in between.
http://www.horsesforthesoul.org  ashley@horsesforthesoul.org
Allyson Hocker (with Daisy) spent years working in skilled nursing facilities and hospitals as a licensed Nursing Home Administrator caring for some of our nation’s most chronically ill patients.  Motherhood and health issues of her own caused her to begin to research and embrace a more holistic approach to being and staying healthy.  She continues to learn and share about root health issues like: balanced blood sugar, inflammation and gut health and how life changes and plant-based supplements can support those.