Venturing West - Bozeman Bound

July 18, 2016

Aero Founder, Lindsey Jones, and friend, Lincey Hinkle recently experienced one of Montana’s main attractions: Big Sky Yoga Retreats, where they immersed themselves in a “cowgirl” get-away. “When Lindsey first told me about the retreat I didn’t really know what to think or expect,” said Hinkle. “The first thing I did was Google the retreat center and my mind was blown! They have so many different retreats and they all looked so beautiful and relaxing. That’s when I really started to get excited about the trip.”

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Signing up for the retreat was a breeze. “Because we would be riding horses, we had to fill out important waivers before we could go. It was super easy because everything could be done online. The website also had packing lists and resources to help plan out transportation. Traveling to a new place can be scary but I felt well prepared because they told us exactly where we needed to go and what to bring! There’s a great reading list too that I still need to work through!”

When asked to describe their experience, Hinkle jokingly clarified, “…we didn’t do yoga on horseback.” However, she did enjoy how the yoga aspect of the retreat prepared them for more relaxed and meaningful rides.

Although both possessed equestrian experience, Lindsey was more familiar with yoga and Lincey, with horses. Lincey admitted, “I’ve been obsessed with them ever since I came out of the womb.” This led her to pursue an equine major at a Kentucky University where the two women first met.

“The relaxing part for me was being with the horses. It’s kind of like breathing, in a sense. Riding horses is healing and something that regenerates me. We also did a lot of meditation and listening to nature. For me, I primarily tried to focus on hearing God.”

Regarding the length of her stay, she noted, “It seemed like a really short trip, but I felt so relaxed, rested and challenged that it didn’t matter so much. It felt like just the right amount of time for a retreat.”

In describing their itinerary, Lincey explained, “We were outside a lot of the trip, and were with the horses at least once or twice a day. It wasn’t all about riding horses and yoga, though. There were several events we participated in and free time as well. I remember jumping into the freezing cold, Montana water with some of the women at the center one of the days.”

The ranch staff added their color to the whole experience. “The main wrangler who handled our trail rides was a serious historian. He had a lot of really neat facts to share with us. One fun thing I learned was that Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea were in the area a lot.”

In this ethereal setting, they found the weather to be perfect. “There’s a saying out in Montana that goes, ‘If you don’t like the weather in Montana, wait ten minutes and it’s going to change.’ When the sun comes out it’s in the seventy or eighties and the moment it goes behind the clouds you’ll want to have a sweatshirt on because of the altitude…”

Big Sky Yoga Design and Development by Aero Interactive

The ladies found the surrounding mountain range particularly entrancing, “It was beautiful! You know that feeling when you have a crush on somebody? That’s how I felt about the mountains. Anywhere you turned, anywhere you looked you could see the mountains… that was a highlight for me. My favorites, that we saw, were snow-capped. I learned that they used to be called the ‘crazy woman mountains.’ They’re dangerous, but gorgeous at the same time.”

With a background in “Western Pleasure” competition, Lincey found this retreat appealing although curios.  “Before Lindsey explained it, I never would have put yoga and horses in the same category. I never thought they would correlate, but it turns out they do because of the movements you make.”

“The thing we always kept coming back to was energy. Not only does the way you move and the energy you have affect the horse, but you also have to have a certain amount of energy to ride.”

Cowgirls and Horses - Big Sky Yoga Retreats

“Now that I’m back home and into my routine with my horses and lessons, my trainer and I talk about energy and how it relates. I can see now looking back how much the one really does lead to the other.”

Overall, these friends turned “cowgirls” were extremely rejuvenated by their yoga ranch excursion. “Traveling with Lindsey was super special. It’s hard to live so far away from your best friend, so any opportunity we get to be together is great. When I was a horse instructor in college she took one of my classes, so it was really neat to watch her interact with the horses on the retreat. She hasn’t done any riding for almost five years, and I loved getting to see her enjoy it and watch how excited she got with the connection of it all.”

When asked if she would do it again, Lincey replied enthusiastically, “In a heartbeat! I’ve been going through the different retreat options and they all look amazing. I’d love to go riding in Costa Rica!”

Read the Aero case study about our team’s experience building the site.

Interested in a weekend getaway with some of your close friends? Check out the new Big Sky Yoga Retreats website.