The Story That Heals Us
Qoya and Writing Retreat


Is it possible to take the worst thing that ever happened to you and turn it into a gift?

Life is unpredictable. You make a plan...and then life happens. The worst year of your life may be followed by the best year of your life.

A promotion you rejoice over becomes a heavy burden. A breakup that devastates you turns out to be a blessing you say prayers of gratitude for years later.

The question is: how can you flow with the currents of life instead of swimming against them?

How can telling your stories alchemize both the grief and the glory into powerful medicine?

This retreat is a unique invitation to dance your stories before you write them, get out of your head and into your body, and tap into the sacred soil of your intuition.

By saying yes to this outer journey to Miami, you'll feel empowered to go on the inner journey and use your stories to heal.


I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.
— Anne Lamott


Join writer and Qoya teacher Betsy Murphy for a weekend of writing and discovering why your story matters—and why your life matters.

Many women feel that if they’re not professional writers, their stories don’t matter, even just writing is a healing act for yourself. Perhaps you’ve struggled to find a truly supportive space to share your stories and need some gentle encouragement and guidance to get words out of your head and onto the page.

You are a unique creation, both who you were born to be and your life experiences. There is and never will be anyone else on Earth like you, so you possess stories and perspectives that are yours alone to share.

It’s said when two or more women get together and speak their truth, the sacred is present. The writing we’ll do on this retreat is a way to bring the sacred into a written expression. We’ll look deeper into what is guiding our spirits, how to tell the stories that help us make sense of our lives, and find the places where our own stories connect to the bigger human story.  

In addition to our Qoya classes and writing circles, you’ll have abundant time to lounge, rest, and indulge in the Standard’s incredible spa. Your body and spirit will be well nourished so your soul can remember the stories it’s ready to share.


"I love how Betsy swallowed the sun and now it beams out from everything she does—pleasure activism, writing, loving her kids, loving her community, and most of all loving herself. I love the way Betsy has transformed what has hurt her into what heals her, and how she's danced forward into the eternal What’s Next."

JENNIFER GANDIN LE, writer and editor


This retreat is for you if:

+ You want to write but don't know where to start.

+ You're passionate about sharing, but your voice may quiver when you speak.

+ You're a cheerleader for others, and YOU need to feel supported.

+ You’re willing to slow down and show up for both your grief and your grace.

+ You've taken a Qoya class—or you have no idea what Qoya is (all women are welcome).

+ You need some spa time at one of the coolest spas and pools in the U.S.!



"Taking Qoya with Betsy is better than a morning at the spashe's gentle and loving as a facilitator, yet I walked away from each class with major shifts in my beliefs about what's possible for myself and the world."

EMILY B, playwright and screenwriter



"I have such gratitude for how gentle and encouraging Betsy was with my writing and how that feeling of safety allowed me to dig deeper."

ELISABETH, past retreat participant



Betsy writes about sensuality and her path to enlightenment through the body. Her first book, Autobiography of an Orgasm, describes healing her body and spirit—and the impact of sexual assault and being silenced. The book goes beyond the physical to the emotional and spiritual experiences of being a woman and a mother. In 2018, Betsy premiered her solo show, “The O Diary,” based on her books. Betsy was born in Indiana and raised her four children between Indiana and Miami. She now considers northern California home between offering Qoya and writing workshops and retreats around the world. You can find out where she is teaching at

"Betsy is smart, funny, and uncommonly perceptive. She can find the story in anyone."

CORTNEY, Qoya France Writing Retreat 2016


"Writing my memoir with Betsy’s guidance has made me feel a part of a greater story of standing in truth upon this earth. 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. I am eternally grateful for Betsy and her loyalty to truth and healing."




"Muriel Rukeyser asks, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Betsy did the thing I haven’t read anyone else do before. She said all the things out loud. With her voice and the sharing of her story, she gives you permission to acknowledge and heal your own trauma, to grieve your own losses, to celebrate the sacred moments of divine perfection, to learn the wisdom that lives in the body and most importantly to embrace and honor the journey."

ROCHELLE SCHIECK, creator of Qoya



Initiation Teacher Training is available in Miami! It is our second level of teacher training in which you learn the basics of how to lead another person through a Qoya class.

Pre-Requisite: Online Intro to Qoya Training
Register for the Intro to Qoya Training if you haven’t already, and complete it before we gather together in Miami.

The Initiation tuition is $600, and your total tuition includes an extra night (Thursday, October 3rd) at the Standard before the retreat begins on Friday.

To register, simply select the room option you’d like WITH Initiation Teacher Training at checkout. This includes both the training tuition and your extra night of accommodation on Thursday, October 3rd.




Thursday, October 3rd (OPTIONAL)
2:00 pm (120 min.) Qoya Initiation Teacher Training
5:00 pm (75 min) Qoya Community Class (open to the public; women only)

Friday, October 4th
9:00 am (105 min.) Qoya Initiation Teacher Training
2:00 pm (150 min.) Qoya Initiation Teacher Training
6:00 pm (120 min.) Retreat begins with Qoya & Writing

Saturday, October 5th
9:00 am (75 min) Qoya Movement
1:00 pm (120 min.) Qoya Initiation Teacher Training
5:00 pm (150 min.) Writing

Sunday, October 6th
7:30 am (90 min.) Qoya Class and Retreat Closing
11:00 am (60 min.) Qoya Initiation Teacher Training

If you opt not to attend the Qoya Initiation Teacher Training, those time periods are free for you to lounge, rest, and enjoy the Standard Spa or take an excursion in Miami to the beach, shopping, etc.


Located on Belle Isle, steps away from the action on South Beach, The Standard Spa, Miami Beach is less a "hotel," and more a spa with guest rooms. Set amidst peaceful tropical gardens, the breezy, soothing rooms feature private terraces, many with outdoor soaking tubs, as well as an indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy playground, complimentary to hotel guests. The Spa encourages the communal rituals of ancient bathing traditions, and the Lido Bayside Grill offers the perfect warm-weather, sun-kissed global-inspired menu. There’s also a juice café, fitness center, clothing boutique, nail salon, and Danish modern bar and lounge.

All rooms feature comfy beds with Egyptian cotton sheets, fluffy down pillows, comfy daybeds, spa rain showers, cozy hooded robes, custom organic bath amenities, wifi, bluetooth audio speakers, flatscreen TVs, overstocked minibars with organic treats, and room service. It is also pet-friendly.

IMPORTANT: The rooms are small. Consider the pool and spa area as your living room. If sharing a room, please book with someone you know. If you are attending the retreat alone, we recommend you book a Single room. If attending with a friend, please email us at to let us know you’d like to room together.


Standard Medium Room (full bed, 2nd floor room, no patio)
Shared without Teacher Training: $1,051
Single without Teacher Training: $1,341
Shared with Teacher Training: $1,867
Single with Teacher Training: $2,271

Large Garden Room (king bed plus patio)
Shared without Teacher Training: $1,119
Single without Teacher Training: $1,478
Shared with Teacher Training: $1,958
Single with Teacher Training: $2,476

Large Bath Room (king bed with bath on patio)
Shared without Teacher Training: $1,142
Single without Teacher Training: $1,524
Shared with Teacher Training: $2,092
Single with Teacher Training: $2,546

Commuter Tuition (accommodation not included; access to spa included on Friday and Saturday only)
Retreat Only: $600
Initiation Teacher Training Only: $675
Retreat + Initiation Teacher Training: $1,275

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You can add on an extra night before and/or after the retreat at checkout starting at an additional $300/night, depending on your room type. To organize this, please email us at after you register and let us know if you’d like to add on Thursday night, Sunday night, or both.

Please note: If you’re attending the Initiation Training, accommodations for Thursday night are already included in your tuition.




If you sign by August 29th, you receive a free 60-minute Skype session with Betsy to discuss your writing and/or publishing needs. She will contact you after you register to arrange a date and time.



Pricing is per person. The Qoya and Writing Circles are for women only ages 18+. NOTE: The Standard requires a minimum age of 21 to check in.

Your tuition includes:

  • 2 Nights Accommodations

  • $30 Breakfast Credit

  • Qoya Classes

  • Writing Workshops

  • Post-Retreat Movement Ritual

  • 40 Days of Writing Prompts to keep you inspired

  • Access to the shared areas of the Standard Hotel spa, including the saltwater pool, hammam, steam room, sauna, hot tub, and mud lounge

Your tuition does not include:

  • transportation to Miami

  • transportation to/from the airport

  • lunch, dinner, or snacks — those may be purchased at the hotel

  • taxis for excursions in town

  • massages and spa treatments


Register Now

Prices guaranteed through August 29th. After that, you will need to contact us to check availability.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ How do I get there?

The closest airports are in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. You can easily take a shuttle or taxi from either airport, which we recommend, as parking at the Standard costs $40, and you can get around Miami using taxis or Uber/Lyft.

+ What time does the retreat start and when does it finish?

Arrival/Departure Times: Check-in begins on Friday, October 4th at 4:00 pm. If you arrive earlier, you can store your bags and enjoy the spa and pool. Check-out is at 1:00pm on Sunday, October 6th. If you are doing the Initiation Teacher training, you need to arrive a day early on Thursday, October 3rd for a 2:00pm start time.

+ Can I arrive a day early or stay a day late?

Yes! If you wish to arrive early or stay late, you can select this on at checkout for an additional cost:

$300 Extending room for Thursday, October 3rd (if you are doing Initiation Teacher Training, you'll need to select this option and check in a day early as the TT begins on October 3rd).

$300 Extending room for Sunday, October 6th (check out Monday, October 7th).

+ Can I bring my partner?

Yes - contact us directly at to register your partner and make payment for their cost of room. If your partner is a woman who wishes to attend the retreat, then you both need to register.

+ I'm coming alone. Will you assign me a roommate if I register for a Shared room?

The rooms are small, so if sharing a room, please book with someone you know and email us at to let us know who you're sharing a room with. If you're attending the retreat on your own, we recommend you book a Single room.

+ What will the weather be like and what should I pack?

We will email you a packing list upon registration. The weather will be warm -- from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

+ Can I bring my own food and drinks?

Yes. You will receive a $30 breakfast credit to order at the hotel, and you can opt to purchase your other meals from the hotel, bring food of your own, or eat in the surrounding area.

+ I have more questions. Who do I contact?

Any questions we haven't covered here? Email us at

I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.
— Clarissa Pinkola Estes