Someone once told me to “live where you pray the best.”
It inspired me to find places in the world
where I write the best because for me,
writing is a form of prayer.
Join me at a private chateau in France
to honor the stories you are ready to tell.
Imagine giving your writing the reverence it deserves
in the setting it deserves.
There will be morning swims in the salt water pool,
solo walks through 22 acres of woods and fields, naps in gardens,
visits to legendary local vineyards, candlelit dinners,
and daily Qoya classes and writing exercises.
A Qoya Writing retreat is an invitation to connect to the wisdom of your body as a portal to your stories.
Through movement and writing prompts, you’ll learn to let your body guide you deeper into your storytelling and honoring your voice.
"Betsy’s intuitive writing prompts have been a deep inspiration. They have uncovered the
story within and taken me down writing pathways I could’ve never imagined."
MELANIE ERICKSEN, www.soulplay.us
What is a Qoya Writing Retreat?
Qoya is a shift in consciousness that evolves the way we have been taught to move our bodies as women. Classes combine the wisdom of yoga, creative expression in free dance and the joy found in feminine movement. During the retreat, your writing is
drawn from intuition and inspiration that comes through in Qoya giving rise to the stories you are meant to share with one person – or with the world. Suggested reading before the retreat: Qoya: A Compass for Navigating an Embodied Life that is Wise, Wild and Free By Rochelle Schieck
Do I need to be a writer to attend?
Betsy believes we all have a story to tell and finds that movement - Qoya - is a natural way to keep the channels of inspiration open. There are no levels in Qoya (and no way to do it wrong) and no levels in writing needed to enjoy, benefit and be inspired during
the retreat. You will receive a three song writing ritual designed to keep the stories flowing even after you leave the chateau.
Betsy Blankenbaker is an inspired writer and filmmaker telling important stories of the marginalized voices of the world. She is a Certified Qoya Teacher and teaches pop-up Qoya classes as she travels. In 2016, she taught at the first ever Qoya Collective Retreat. She also teaches kids Qoya classes at the school she sponsors in Zimbabwe through her NGO, House of Loveness.
"In Qoya, Betsy opens space so each woman can listen and learn from her own body."
INGRID SATO, Somatic Psychotherapist, USA
"After attending Betsy’s welcoming, comforting Qoya Workshop, I felt as if my body and spirit were perfectly balanced, a lovingly stacked cairn of stones - invigorated, in tune and receptive."
SHARON MCKITTRICK, USA
"Betsy is a wonderful Qoya teacher - she confidently and gently guides you through deeply
transformative classes with space for laughter, tears and soul connection. I especially love
Betsy's open hearted honesty which made me feel 'held' in a supportive, loving space. I have
so much admiration for Betsy and regard her as a mentor. If you have the chance to take
Betsy’s Qoya class, jump at the chance!"
SOPHIA ST. VILLIER, London
SEPTEMBER RETREAT ITINERARY
Day One – Arrival
2-6pm: Check into your room at the chateau and spend the afternoon poolside, exploring the grounds or take a five minute walk to charming Clerac village.
6-7pm: Gourmet Dinner
7:30-9pm: Opening Circle & Gentle Qoya class
Day Two – Six *One afternoon off for excursion to local vineyards
9:30am-12pm: Qoya Class
12pm-2pm: Lunch and time to rest
2pm-4:30pm: Afternoon Writing Circle
4.30-7pm: Free time to wander the gardens, nap, write, read, restore
7-8pm: Gourmet dinner
8-10pm: Spoken Word Salons
Day Seven (Last full day)
9:30am-12pm: Qoya Class
12pm-2pm: Lunch and time to rest
2pm-4pm: Writing Circle, Craft Talk, Navigating Publishing
5-7pm: Free Time and Gourmet Dinner
7:30-10pm: Gratitude Despacho
Day Eight - Departure
9:30am-11:30am: Qoya Class & Closing Circle
Departure by 2pm Blessings for your onward journey
ABOUT CHATEAU DE CLERAC
The retreat will be held at Chateau de Clerac in the village of Clerac, thirty minutes north of Bordeaux, a region famous for its wine, food, and rich French culture. The chateau belongs to a family who is offering it as our home base. The closest airport is Bordeaux airport, and you can also fly into Paris or other nearby airports and take a train into Bordeaux.
COST + REGISTER
Pricing is per person.
Your tuition includes:
- Bordeaux Airport (BOD) or train station transfer to and from the chateau
- Accommodations at the Chateau de Clerac
- Three organic meals daily with wine pairings in the evening
- Excursion to local vineyards
- Qoya and writing classes with Betsy
Your tuition does not include:
- travel to the retreat
Register for your spot today.
Select the housing option you desire.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I get there? We recommend flying to Bordeaux Airport (BOD), which is a 40 minute drive away. Airport transfers are included in your course fee. There is ample parking at the château if you choose to drive.
You can also take the high speed train to Bordeaux from Paris and we will arrange pickup at the Bordeaux-Saint-Jean Train Station (Gare de Bordeaux-Saint-Jean).
Please plan on arriving between 2-6pm on first day of retreat.
Please plan on departing by 2pm on final day of retreat.
Can I bring my own food and drinks? All meals and snacks are included; you will be well fed! We will cater for any dietary requirements provided you let us know when booking. If you wish to bring your own drinks, please feel free - there will be no corkage charge since the chateau is your home for the course.
Can I book a single room instead of a shared room? Yes, it costs $750 additional if you want a guaranteed single room. Most of us will be in shared rooms with en suite baths. Please know there are plenty of cozy spaces for private time within the chateau.
Cancellation Policy: If you need to cancel for any reason and we can find a person to take your spot, we will refund the amount paid minus a $500 non-refundable deposit. If we cannot find a person to take your spot, there are no refunds; however, you can transfer your paid spot to someone else, so you can send a friend or family member to the retreat in your place.
Do I need to bring writing with me? It is suggested you submit up to 2,500 words of a piece you are working on to Betsy by August 15. These pieces will be workshopped during the retreat. Betsy will schedule a 60 minute Skype session with you before the retreat to discuss your goals for your writing.
“Working with Betsy was one of those experiences where the veil lifts and you realize just how
magical life can be; that is not to say writing my story of trauma was easy, but she lovingly
guided me through the process. Writing my memoir with Betsy’s coaching has made me feel a
part of a greater story of standing in truth upon this earth. The Buddha said, “There are three
things that can’t be hidden for long, the sun, the moon and the truth.” I am eternally grateful for
Betsy and her loyalty to truth and healing.“
MAGGIE MARIE GENTHNER, Writer/Activist