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Natural Awakenings Magazine Daytona | Volusia | Flagler

Sedona Wellness Retreat in April

Mar 01, 2023 10:43PM ● By Rebecca Young

Empowering Wellness is hosting a wellness retreat in Sedona, Arizona, from April 20 through 23. Attendees will experience a powerful Earth Day weekend like none other, which will include yoga, creating gemstone mala bracelets, massage therapy, ecstatic dance, a cacao ceremony, sound therapy with singing bowls, a traditional sweat lodge, and a sunset hike with a shaman mystic healer that will feature a meditation journey in an energy vortex.

“My true passion is to be able to teach others how to take healing into their own hands and to empower their health and wellness journey,” shares Empowering Wellness owner Leona Douglass, an experienced licensed massage therapist, reiki master, ACE certified personal trainer, theta practitioner, frequency practitioner, shaman and Young Living independent distributor.

“As someone who is very passionate about travel—I’ve traveled to 105 countries—and about all things wellness, it’s a dream of mine to be able to combine the two of them together,” adds Douglass, who helps her clients achieve new levels of health and wellness through bodywork, fitness, aromatherapy, healing workshops and destination wellness retreats.

While enrolled in the fascial stretch therapy program for all three levels at the Stretch to Win Institute, in Chandler, Arizona, Douglass said she would visit Sedona on the weekends and fell in love with the place. “I knew there was something magical and healing about that land, the energy vortexes and practitioners,” she shares. “So I thought to myself, my first destination wellness retreat when the world finally opens back up again is going to be Sedona on Earth Day to celebrate Mother Earth.”

Douglass said the retreat will start with an intention-setting ceremony, during which participants will create their own mala bracelets by tapping into their intuition and seeing what crystals speak to them. She said that this will be something that they’ll always have to remind them of their healing experiences in Sedona.

The next morning will kick off with a yoga class. There will then be some free time for participants to shop, have lunch, go to the gym and swim before receiving massage treatments right in their own hotel rooms, so they can completely relax. “That’s the one thing that’s different about a vacation than a retreat,” says Douglass. “After a vacation, nine times out of 10, you go, ‘Man, I need a vacation from my vacation.’ When you come back from a retreat, you go, ‘Man, I feel retreated, I feel relaxed, I feel rejuvenated.’” 

That evening, there will be an ecstatic dance DJ, so participants can breathe and experience meditation in movement. Next, there will be a singing bowl practitioner emerging listeners in a south bath, so they will have a chance to relax to vibrations of sound healing. Then participants will step into a cacao ceremony. “Cacao is the number one heart chakra-opening plant medicine,” notes Douglass. “We will actually be serving traditional ceremonial cacao that has been blessed.” She says that participants will breathe their intentions, prayers, aspirations and dreams into the cacao, and then will drink it, inhale and really feel and enjoy the taste of it. “They will feel the energy going right into their energetic heart space,” exclaims Douglass.

After the cacao ceremony, there will be a burn ceremony, where folks will focus on releasing what no longer serves them and call in what they want to truly manifest in their lives. “We are going to burn it in the fire to ignite the healing out into the world, to be able to truly light the fire within, to be able to shine that light out,” Douglass explains.

The next day, participants will start off with another beautiful yoga practice, and then will have some time to hydrate, refuel and get ready to go into a traditional shamanic sweat lodge, during which a shaman mystic healer will guide them through the sweat lodge meditation. Next, after some welcome hydration, they will hike during sunset into an energy vortex for an Earth Day meditation celebrating Mother Earth.

During their final morning, there will be a yoga and meditation closing ceremony focusing on their gratitude. Participants will have time to reflect and journal about their healing experiences at the retreat so that they can take this back home with them and share it with others. “As they open their hearts and are able to give love and gratitude and light from within out into the world, they will create a ripple effect for the collective. I truly believe that I was sent on this Earth to be a healer, and I’m healing the world one person at a time,” shares Douglass.

Cost: $2,399 per person; price includes all activities, breakfast, light snacks and lodging

(does not include airfare). For more information or to register, visit