The Body Compassion Project 2024 Retreat: Celestial Alignment

Body love and acceptance may seem like an unattainable concept. Body compassion is all about starting small. From compassion comes acceptance.

In a world that thrives on unrealistic beauty ideals and external validation, we can lose our connection with our personal power and feel discontent with our bodies. That’s why I’ve made it my mission to teach simple yet powerful ways to: practice compassion and connection with your body; experience more peace and grace in the unscripted chaos of life; develop mindfulness skills; and cultivate more appreciation for your unique values and qualities.

The theme of this year’s Body Compassion Project is Celestial Alignment. Inspired by the harmony of the cosmic elements of sun, moon, and stars, these words capture the essence of illumination, softening and strength, inner light and guidance, and interconnectedness. These values allow us to delve into the roots of our body image, see and make space for the darkness and light within ourselves, let go of what no longer serves us, and embrace compassion and an inner advocate as a strong guiding light in bringing kindness to all parts of ourselves.

Join us for a retreat at the serene, scenic, and peaceful Himalayan Institute in the Poconos and begin or expand upon your own personal body compassion project! With rolling hills, a pleasant pond, and magnificent sunrises and sunsets as our backdrop, this special weekend will include discussion, journaling, yoga, art, and support from a group of likeminded individuals who want to create a more compassionate relationship with their bodies. There will also be plenty of time to explore the grounds, connect with nature and one another, and replenish your mind, body, and spirit with rest and relaxation.

This series is appropriate for anyone who wants to explore how to be kind to their body. Whether you struggle with body image because of diet culture, your past, and/or cultural and societal pressures around weight, race, size, ability, aging, illness, or more, we invite you to join us. Those who are looking to repair or (re)connect with their bodies after trauma, medical trauma, fertility treatments, pregnancy, injury, and more can also greatly benefit from body compassion work. No yoga experience necessary! And no flexibility required!

This Special Weekend Includes:
  • 5 healing and empowering sessions on creating kind relationships with our bodies
  • Yoga practices that include gentle poses with lots of options for all bodies, meditation, guided visualization, mantra, and yoga philosophy to illuminate our discussions and cultivate self-connection
  • Meaningful and supportive discussion
  • Talks on the latest in body image research
  • Journaling, art, and other creative activities
  • Delicious soul-nourishing food
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Additional amenities offered at the Himalayan Institute
  • Plus a private guided hike and forest bath for our group, a Lunar Phase inspired gentle yoga practice, a Fire Pit Pondside Ritual, and a Chai Tea & Homemade Cookies welcome party.
Themes We Will Explore Include (but are not limited to):
  • How do I relate to my body?
  • How do I talk to my body?
  • How did my body image develop?
  • How do systems of oppression, social constructs, and cultural aspects influence my relationship with my body?
  • How do my emotions affect my body image?
  • How do my body language and body image affect my emotions?
  • How can we use tools from yoga therapy to help us cultivate compassion for our bodies?
  • How can we practice gratitude for what your bodies do for us?
  • How do we give ourselves permission to pursue a life beyond external validation and be freed from superficial comparisons and judgment?
  • What’s the difference between tolerance, acceptance, respect, love, and compassion?
  • How do we move forward with connection to self and others?

This retreat is appropriate for women and nonbinary folks who want to explore how to feel more content and compassionate in relationship with their bodies and selves. Whether you struggle with body image because of diet culture, your past, and/or cultural and societal pressures around weight, race, size, ability, aging, illness, or more, we invite you to join us. No yoga experience is necessary.

Body Compassion Yoga

Body Compassion Yoga classes are beginner-friendly, gentle, trauma-sensitive, and unique. Building upon the themes of the retreat we use our bodies to turn inward, connecting to our authentic selves and meeting whatever shows up for us with compassion. Participants often comment on how different our yoga classes are compared to what’s offered in their community. And how they feel included, seen, and safe for the first time in a group movement space. The focus here is less on fitness and more on connecting with the self.

About the Presenter:

-Kanjana Hartshorne, LCSW, C-IAYT, Reiki Master, CCFP, is a licensed psychotherapist, yoga teacher, and C-IAYT yoga therapist. Kanjana owns a group practice, Healing Hearts Wellness, working with a group of amazing therapists and yoga therapists in Exton, PA and virtually, specializing in holistic and somatic therapy for mental health. She also leads retreats, offers continuing education for therapists, and teaches and researches yoga for mental health.

In her own journey to wellness, Kanjana discovered how powerful and healing yoga, meditation, energy work, and the expressive arts can be. She loves empowering people in all bodies to find a deeper, more compassionate relationship with all layers of the Self (body, energy, mind, wisdom, and spirit) through self-discovery, connection, and simple, accessible holistic self-care practices. Connect with Kanjana:

Continuing Education Credits:

While therapists can earn credits for this event, it is not only for therapists. Anyone over 18 is welcome to attend. And nurses, doctors, therapists, and other healthcare workers attending may be able to receive or apply for continuing education units.

For Pennsylvania Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors: This program is approved for 10 credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for 10 credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).

FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for 10 clinical credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4).

These credits can also be applied for social workers in MD and VA. Please contact Kanjana to learn more about CEs for your state and license type.

Clinical Goals:

By attending and participating in all 5 discussions, participants will:

  • Describe breathing, yoga asana, meditation, journaling, visualization, and therapeutic art practices to reduce stress, build awareness of body image, and create change in how we relate to our bodies.
  • Define what body compassion means to you.
  • Be able to explain the ebb and flow of body compassion.
  • Experience yoga therapy tools as evidence-based clinical interventions in the treatment of body image related anxiety, depression, negative thinking patterns, body dysmorphia, and other body image related concerns.
  • Identify practices for helping clients (or clinicians) to cultivate an awareness of body image, how it presents in the body and other aspects of life, how it has manifested over time, and how it has perhaps been impacted by thoughts, expectations, social constructs, systems of oppression, media, social media, family culture, peer groups, and more.
  • Discuss concrete tools for managing overwhelming thoughts and emotions, especially in relation to body image.
  • Identify links between body image, emotions, body language, and self-talk.
  • Explain the neuroscience behind repetitive, negative body image related thought patterns and how to shift these patterns.
  • Connect to a group of like-minded individuals and experience the benefits of community and support in a confidential setting.
  • Discuss the latest research on body image, body compassion, and how body image work is moving beyond the focus on appearance to also treat concerns related to functionality and embodiment.