Shinrin Yoku Retreat

September 16 - 22, 2019

“Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.” - John Muir.

The Gaia Forest Bathing and Wellness Retreat held at Tofte Lake Center Sept 16-22, 2019 will provide this for you. Six days and six nights in the north woods of Minnesota will touch your soul and help renew your spirit.

“Nature Deficit Disorder” was coined by author Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods.  Might you have NDD? You may feel too caught up in our hectic fast-paced world of technology and fake news. Perhaps what you need is a quiet mindful week in a cabin, on a lake, surrounded by woods, with a small group of like-minded souls.

Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing) began in Japan during the 1980s and it translates to mean “taking in the forest atmosphere.”  Research around the world has repeatedly determined that the health and emotional benefits of quiet time in the forest leads to an improved quality of life. Time spent quietly and mindfully in nature results in a boost in your immune system, reduced blood pressure, reduced stress, increased ability to focus, and improved mood as well as better sleep.

Your week will entail a balance of elective activities including daily Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Walks, yoga sessions, healthy eating classes, nature crafts, and group gatherings. In addition to a welcome dinner and send-off breakfast, three healthy eating classes including meals are provided. Kayaks, paddle boards, canoes, and a sauna are available for exploring and enjoying the lake, along with the loons. A library, dance/yoga and art studios provide space for your creative endeavors. There will also be free time for you to explore Ely, the lake and property, or simply relax, sitting on the dock taking in the fall colors.

For art, animal, and outdoor lovers, Ely also boasts the International Wolf Center, the Bear Center, the Dorothy Molter Museum, and the Jim Brandenburg studio, among others. 

Our accommodations feature fully equipped cabins with kitchens and lake views. Linens and towels are provided.
Residency week fee per person: $795 (this includes lodging, instruction, and 5 meals)

Space is limited: we would love to receive your application by March 30, 2019.

Applications for 2019 are now available. Just click the Sign-Up button (to the right) to apply. Please contact info@toftelake.org with your questions.


Tom Bezek

Tom Bezek.png

Tom is a graduate of National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Minnesota Outward Bound, Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs as a trained Shinrin Yoku/ Forest Bathing Guide, and University of Minnesota with double major in Social Work and Therapeutic Recreation. 

Tom spent 37 years working in a Juvenile Residential Correctional Facility for Hennepin County, and after retirement was the Executive Director of We Can Ride - a therapeutic horseback riding program serving people living with disabilities. He is now retired and spends time outdoors conducting Shinrin Yoku walks at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and with his family of 4 adult children and 7 grandchildren.