Practicing yoga and helping animals in need are very near and dear to my heart, so I’m thrilled to have this guest post today from Elena Mikhaylova. A yoga instructor in the Denver area, she is planning a weekend yoga retreat at Kindness Ranch, an animal sanctuary for research animals, in Heartville – I know, cute right! - Wyoming.
The September 7-9 stress relief focused weekend will include workshops on meditation, reiki and nutrition led by Sophia S. Paul as well as Bhakti flow and Doga (yoga for visitors and a dog from the ranch) led by Stephanie Uvalle. Visitors will also have the chance to take a tour of the ranch, work with the volunteers and animals, and hike in nearby Guernsey State Park. Beautiful Wyoming vistas? Yoga? Animals? Fabulous yurt accommodations? I’m in!
Second Chance for a Happy Life
“He is so cute!” laugh visitors of the Kindness Ranch when a black dog approached them extending his paw just like if he wanted to greet his guests with a handshake.
“Actually, it is very sad,” responded his animal companion.
At the Kindness Ranch, former research animals are offered hope after enduring years of testing in laboratories, but some lessons are not forgotten. For example, this adorable dog, Enrique, was sold to a laboratory as a tiny puppy, intentionally made allergic to beef, fed beef substitutes, and then given regular blood tests. Even after being relieved from the laboratory, Enrique offered his paw to every human in anticipation of another needle.
If these animals could speak, visitors would hear heart-breaking stories of ignorance and cruelty. Stormy, a beautiful white horse, was confined in a tiny stall while her urine was collected to produce Premarin, a hormone replacement drug for women. For years, she was impregnated, and her foals killed. She arrived at the sanctuary in 2007 overweight, pregnant and afraid of humans. Simone, along with three other pigs, was used to teach students how to implant medical devices. Molly, a large white beagle with a very intelligent face, was anesthetized over and over for testing human stents in her jugular vein.
Every year, millions of animals die in research laboratories during the tests, or are killed later when they become “useless” to the labs. But Kindness Ranch creates hope for them. Located on one thousand acres of land in eastern Wyoming, the ranch provides shelter, food and support for dogs, cats, horses, pigs and sheep. After a rehabilitation period, the animals are available for adoption.
When they arrive at the ranch, many animals do not even have names; being speechless research tools, all they deserved were numbers. Now Enrique, Stormy, Simone, Molly and more than sixty other Kindness Ranch animals enjoy a pain-free life, learning how to be loved and respected.
A three-hour drive from Denver, CO, the sanctuary offers visitors an unforgettable experience with six guest cabins and a five bedroom vacation house available rent. It’s a picturesque place for family reunions and weekend getaways, where volunteering with the animals is always welcomed.
On September 7-9, 2012, the Kindness Ranch Yoga Retreat will offer participants the opportunity to practice yoga, learn about the ranch, and volunteer with the animals. Available to all fitness levels and age groups, the program includes yoga with a dog from the ranch (doga), hiking, meditation, Bhakti Flow, introduction to Reiki, nutrition and a cooking competition.
The instructors are well-known yogis from Colorado with extensive international experience. Sophia Paul is an author of five published books about yoga, nutrition and green living. Stephanie Uvalle is an organizer of popular annual yoga retreats in Bali.
Money raised from the retreat will be used to promote the Kindness Ranch as a responsible tourism destination for both families and groups, supporting the growth of the sanctuary and enabling them to save more lives.
We live in a fast-paced environment, often skipping meals and meetings with friends, and giving up on long-term relationships. But when you realize that a “fast-food” quality of life cannot be tolerated anymore and a chat with Facebook friends can’t substitute a quiet dinner with your significant others, Kindness Ranch is the place to take a breath and discover what really matters to you. Take a break and share your love with the sanctuary animals. You will find inner peace, happiness and inspiration.
Please join us for an unforgettable weekend of yoga and support for the sanctuary. Visit Kindness Ranch to register. We offer accommodation options for any budget, discounts for carpooling and have scholarships still available.