Life is Ceremony, Ceremony is Life

What if we lived our lives as if everything were ceremonial? What if we lived each day making offerings to the life-giving elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth. What would the world be like if we took the time each day to bless the trees, birds, plants, rocks and all living things?

This is the path of the Shaman.

The Shaman wakes each morning with blessings and gratitude for the unseen realms that are always supporting and mentoring us.  The Shaman offers rituals to honor that which gives us life. They co-create their realities with the presence of prayer and spiritual inquiry. They see the beauty and magic in all things God’s made.  Everything becomes symbolic and placed in Divine order as messengers along a path of awakening to higher consciousness.  All of life around us – the animals, herbs, crystals – they are guides, allies and healing companions.

We are inextricably connected to all of life on this planet. 

Whatever we do effects the whole, no matter how small you think you are.  Every thought, and word becomes an action that creates a wave of energy that changes the energy around you. It’s time for all of us to recognize how LARGE and IN CHARGE we really are.  How responsible and accountable we must be for the distribution of our energy.

Wake up each day and burn off the negative dross.

According to the Artist’s Way, one of my favorite books of all time, the “Morning Pages” are a very valuable tool in releasing this energy and creating space for creativity to move through you.  Place a notebook by your end table and write 3 stream of consciousness pages to release anything that’s accumulated from the prior day and dream state.  Pay no attention to spelling and grammar, just write! Place it to the side and never read it again. Metaphorically burning it up. Or check out the YogaWakeup app for some of my meditations (see below!).

Practice ceremony daily.

A ceremony is an offering of blessings in our lives. It’s an opportunity to thank your guides, spirit allies, and all of those things around you that bring you life, joy, celebration, love and prosperity. A way that you can honor God in all things.  Even those things that challenge you, are placed there for your own growth.

Ceremony Meditation

If you are unsure of how to start a ceremonial practice or if you want to share your practices with your community, come to Ceremony Meditation at 417 Rose in Venice across from Cafe Gratitude which will open in October.

Our mission as an intentional community is to provide a space where all beings can feel supported and safe within their spiritual practice(s), allowing them to step into the Trust of their own Evolution. We stand with open hearts and minds with all of creation. Ceremony is Life…Life is Ceremony.

Our Purpose:  We acknowledge this World is flourishing with wisdom teachings, sacred practices and conscious raising traditions covering the Globe. At the core of these teachings, we know and understand ‘Paths are many, Truth is one.’ We honor and host all practices that are in agreement with our commitment to every being on the planet discovering his or her Authentic Self, in other words Self-Realization. We will guide all beings to an experience in their heart, where the source of all creation emanates from.

Shamanic & Ceremonial Retreats – Spirit Wisdom Healing Transformational Retreats

You also have the opportunity in September  2016 to connect to all of Nature, experience deeply healing mineral springs hot baths, yoga, meditation and learn Shamanic rituals and ceremonies in Mount Shasta. The Spirit Wisdom Healing Retreats will be an annual retreat offering.  In 2017, you can join us July 27 – August 1st, 2017.

Infinite Blessings on the Path of Awakening to the Truth of It All,

Ceremony Meditation
417 Rose in Venice
across from Cafe Gratitude
Open in October.
yoga app

Why You Should Consider Developing a Mobile App

A few months ago, I was featured on with tips on how to successfully market yoga retreats, and I shed some light on how difficult it can actually be to start your own yoga class nowadays, with the market being so congested. The article discussed the many things one should consider, such as the audience you’re shooting for, where your event is going to be held, and the theme of the retreat. Much of these come into consideration when you’re planning an event, but when it comes to building your brand and generating a following, you may want to focus on one more thing: getting your information out there.

While a good website is essential to any business nowadays, it’s even more important for your website to be accessible via mobile. According to the company that runs Pocket Fruity, growth in mobile internet is among the most powerful trends on the internet landscape, with more and more people now accessing the internet via their mobile phones than through any other channel. While most websites can now be optimized for mobile phones, many marketing experts claim that mobile apps are the better choice, as they give your users easy access to dedicated information regarding the services you’re offering.

An article on Forbes explains one of the most important reasons why businesses should invest in mobile now:

“A recent report by Google showed a major growth of 411 percent in mobile searches for last minute hotel and accommodation bookings from June 2011 to June 2012, while desktop searches decreased 79 percent. eBay accounted for a staggering $5 billion in mobile transactions in 2011 and expects to see $10 billion in mobile transactions this year. With nearly as many mobile devices as people in the world, and more iPhones being sold than babies born in the world every day, the mobile commerce revolution is just getting started.”

Other research has revealed that as much as 66% of users who did mobile searches visited businesses, but 76% of users left websites when they took too long to load on mobile. When you create a mobile app, it means potential customers have to do less to find information on the services you’re offering, and through e-Commerce options they can even book your services. Potential features of your app could be event calendars, interactive maps, galleries and access to testimonials from previous participants.

The best part about the mobile app industry is that it’s become so popular that there are many resources available to you should you decide to develop an app for yourself. There are services such as Appy Pie and Como, which allow business owners to build apps simply by inserting content into templates. These are good for basic apps, but if you want a bit more functionality, you may want to build your app from the ground up.

According to Formutus, figuring out the costs of mobile app development is easy, and many agencies have already released mobile app calculators where you can choose the features you want, and see how much the app will cost. Now, you don’t have to hire an agency to be able to create your app, but most agree that it’s best to get a designer. The designer will be there to help you conceptualize and execute your app, with you simply providing the content and graphics. Blue Cloud Solutions outlines the process of app creation quite well, saying that most table-based apps will cost somewhere between $1,000-$4,000.

It seems like a big cost, but with all the potential mobile apps have, those who want to begin their own yoga retreats should definitely consider launching their own dedicated apps.

5 marketing tips

5 Marketing Tips for Successful Yoga Retreats & Events

As recently published by

By January 30, 2015

When I first started teaching yoga over 6 years ago, I had been asked many times by yoga teachers and studio owners, “Nicole, how do I market this yoga retreat or yoga event? I don’t have the faintest clue how to market this.”

As a marketing professional for over 15 years, I was qualified to answer that question and also very perplexed. In my mind I thought, “How the heck did you get all these students without knowing how to market anything?”

The Golden Years

Studios at that time in San Francisco had packed classes and the teachers were getting tons of privates. It was incredible! I was surprised that what I felt was so crucial to the success of a business, was not understood by this sector, yet so much success was unfolding for them.

I bring this to our attention because many Yoga teachers, brands and studio owners still have a somewhat laissez-faire attitude toward success based on the past. They believe, as the saying goes, “if they build it, they will come.”

The success of the yoga studios and teachers over 6 years ago was due to great timing, an avid practice, and a passion to share it. Yoga was a new concept. It promoted great values and ideals that were very quickly embraced and needed in our society. Yoga filled a gap for Americans.

Crowded Marketplace

Yet, In Los Angeles where I reside now there are studios on every corner and an overabundance of amazing teachers, yoga teacher trainings of all modalities every weekend and hundreds of workshops to choose from. There is a lot of talent and it has become a very competitive business. Now that there is very healthy competition in LA, marketing is on the forefront for all Yoga brands and teachers.

Yoga has become a full-fledged consumer business. “The latest “Yoga in America” study, just released by Yoga Journal in 2012 shows that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, compared to 15.8 million from the previous 2008 study, an increase of 29 percent.”

Yoga Retreat Marketing

It used to be that marketing a retreat or event was about the “Big Name” teacher. Get a great venue, bring the best talent and people will flock. That is no longer the case. After working at YogaWorks for the past 4 years in the teacher training department, it’s very clear that a lot more is happening now behind the scenes to fill workshops, trainings and events with students.

Now, marketing for yoga events and retreats resembles my time as an event planner/marketer in the consumer restaurant business with even more bells and whistles and social media playing a heavy role.

In subsequent blogs, I will discuss more about the detailed marketing steps, but for this first blog in this series, I wanted to list the basic strategy to marketing and creating a great event.

1. Know Your Audience

I’ve also observed yogis are interested in brands that pay attention to the environment, are involved with non-profits, business ethics, and sustainability. All of these facts come from Yoga Journal’s 2012 survey:

  • 80% of yogis are women but men are growing.
  • Age range is 18 – 44. College educated.
  • About 30% of the market has been practicing over 3 years and the rest are even less than that. That’s a huge beginner market hungry for education.
  • The highest motivational factors to start a practice were flexibility, general conditioning, stress relief, overall health improvement and physical fitness.

2. Location, Location, Location

As a practice Yoga is a getaway. It’s a welcomed reprieve from the stresses of life. It’s about creating a sanctuary for personal transformation.  When considering a location you want to consider tantalizing the senses to help practitioners illicit the feelings of their practice (even if they aren’t practicing as is the case in some yoga related events):

  • Aesthetics – ambient lighting, beautiful artwork, spiritual and multi-cultural references
  • Sound – ability for silence/reflection an/or great yoga music
  • Practice space – how comfortable and spacious they will be
  • Smells – incense or infused oils or exotic smells
  • Environment – natural, clean, sustainable
  • Taste – vegan and vegetarian options, not heavy drinkers

3. Timing

Yogis are generally not night owls. I find many yogis are in bed early and wake up for a morning practice. Yoga events don’t tend to go very late. Also consider, in the 80% female demographic many have families and kids to manage, so its helpful to consider working around school for timing of events and times of the year you host events. You may even consider childcare options or kids’ activities for large-scale events.

4. Theme/Objective

In yoga classes we create a theme for the practice derived from a quote or perhaps a pose we are working toward. Similarly, we want to have a clear theme or objective that provides us with an end result and a way to measure our success. We want to create content that we can use to market and report pre and post event via photos, videos, social media, etc.

5. Consumer Engagement

How will you engage with your consumer at the event? What are the benefits to them for attending? This is a very juicy area to explore. Events are social occasions so we want to promote and market via social media, PR, emails, videos, blogs, etc. to the consumer. We also want to consider the event’s value so that we can solicit yoga brands for sponsorships and book great talent (music, yoga teachers, presenters, etc).


These basic marketing strategies can help get you up and running for a successful event, but there is so much more to consider. Please check in with our blog series on other marketing tips and more detailed steps to marketing successful yoga events and retreats!


Yoga & Empowerment Retreat in Costa Rica with Nicole!

in COSTA RICA with Nicole Doherty
at Buenaventura Rainforest Wellness Center & Encantada Beach-Front Retreat

Join Nicole for her signature Yoga & Empowerment retreat in Costa Rica! Spend 4 nights immersed in the rainforest along a pristine river at the sacred wellness center of Buenaventura in the Savegre River Valley and 4 nights on a peaceful and relaxing beach at Encantada on Playa Esterillos. Connect your Soul and Spirit to the Earth and Dive into the Magic, Beauty and Adventures of Costa Rica’s remote Jungles and Beaches. About: |

Experience Nicole’s powerful “Empower to Evolve” workshop series that was created for personal transformation. This rejuvenating and regenerating week-long retreat is designed to give you effective, practical tools that will empower you to explore new visions for your life. Enjoy daily yoga, pranayama, meditation, farm-to-table organic vegetarian/ vegan meals,“Fountain of Youth” waterfalls, blue clay skin treatments, rock pools, nature hikes and epic sunsets, and optional workshops and activities including “Cacao to Chocolate Making Workshop”, canopy ziplines, surfing, horseback riding and more!

What’s included:

  • 8 Nights Lodging (4 at Buenaventura / 4 at Encantada)
  • All Meals
  • All Ground Transfers
  • Daily Yoga Classes & Meditation
  • 3 Yoga and Empowerment Workshops
  • Edible Food Forest Organic Farm Tour
  • Avatar Adventure Hiking Tour to Waterfalls & Blue Clay Mud Baths
  • Trip Planning Services by Tico Guide Travel

What past retreat goers say about Nicole & her retreats:

“WOW. I really don’t know where to begin. I’m sitting here eating my bland, boring, non Chef Robin made dinner and just reflecting on the weekend. This entire weekend was just incredible and I am so grateful that I was a part of it. You are so AMAZING and I can’t thank you enough for putting on a magical retreat that allowed me to reconnect with myself and also connect with other spiritual, curious, and open people. I look forward to the another retreat with you : )Thank you again Nicole!”
Allie K

“Ahhhh…  I am just reading this and drawing in a deep breath.  Thank you so much once again for the beautiful support and love during the retreat and after. Life has so many gifts!   I am moving forward and finding my glass half FULL and full of HOPE. With Gratitude and love…”
Ojai Retreat Fall 2014

“It was so amazing and empowering…and I feel so blessed that it was my first yoga retreat experience led by Nicole Doherty, I don’t have the words to even describe how i feel but just blessed!! Xo”
Goda Yoga Student, Ojai Fall Retreat 2014

Retreat Cost:
$1,662 USD (Double Occupancy) / $1,942 USD (Single Occupancy*)
Rates are Per Person / * Single Rooms only available at Buenaventura
$250 Non-refundable Deposit lock down the best rooms when you sign up early
Balance due by January 15th, 2015 so we can book best fares/accommodations/tours


Additional Expenses NOT included:
Airline Fare (~$650-$750 from LAX or SFO), Travel Insurance (~$150), Airport Exit Fee ($29), Tips, Alcoholic, Beverages, Lunch on 03/15, Optional Tours/Excursions not listed above, and Miscellaneous Travel Expenses (getting to/from LAX or SFO airports)

To reserve your space, first contact Nicole at:
or call 415.378.8547

After we talk you can pay directly here through Paypal $250 non-refundable deposit per person.

And for travel logistics/accommodations:
Harlow Newton
Tico Guide Travel