JUNE 7-10, 2019

This workshop will be held in beautiful Black Creek on the West Coast of Canada. MAP



Designed for those with surgically corrected spines, this inspiring 4-day retreat empowers participants to connect with their bodies and help overcome spinal discomfort. Martha’s comforting approach will assist participants with increasing mobility, improving alignment, and reducing stiffness from surgery. 

Ahava is passionate about creating safe spaces for authentic expression. During the retreat, she will spend a few hours guiding participants through the four practices of Writing Alone Together to help us explore our unique and common stories of fusion. Through our writing and sharing, we will become compassionate witnesses for ourselves and each other. Our conversation will centre around the questions:

  • How do we come home to the crooked beauty of our bodies?

  • How can we thrive in a body with a fused spine?

Relax and unwind on beautiful Vancouver Island while finding new sensation and awareness in the whole body!

The retreat will be held between Campbell River and Black Creek at the beautiful seaside wellness centre, Ocean Resort. Perched on the stunning coast of Vancouver Island, participants will stay in ocean-view rooms while enjoying delicious meals made from the best local ingredients. Participants may also choose to take advantage of the on-site spa which offers massage, healing treatments, a sauna, and more. The beautiful retreat setting has been chosen to allow people time to ‘treat' themselves to an escape in nature where they can come together to share stories, meet new friends with similar issues, and learn ways to help themselves.

From Vancouver, Canada, Martha Carter is the Director of Marta Marta Productions, and Twisted Outreach Project (TOPS). A certified Yoga Teacher, she holds a BA in Music, an MFA in Dance and teaches both dance, yoga and Stretch for Scoliosis in Vancouver and beyond. As a progression of Martha Carter's ongoing training in Hatha Yoga and Yoga for Scoliosis, Fusion Yoga has evolved from Martha’s desire to find ease and mobility in her own fused spine. Based on Iyengar Yoga and Elise Browning Miller’s approach to Yoga for Scoliosis, Martha adds her own personal experience with Harrington Rods to specifically address spinal fusion, instrumentation and how it affects the whole body.

Ahava Shira is a poet, writer and multimedia performer who has been exploring the liberating power of creativity for over 30 years. Ahava wore a brace for 4 years during her adolescence before having spinal fusion surgery at 17, fusing her spine from L1 to T3. Her memoir-in-progress, Curve, is about her journey to free herself from anxiety, fears and other physical and emotional patterns inherited from childhood and to embrace the beauty and serenity of the present moment.

Author of a book of poetry and a spoken word CD, Ahava is co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journalling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection. She lives on Salt Spring Island where she keeps her body strong and resilient through dance, hiking and her practice of Yoga for Scoliosis.

Full Retreat Package -
$750 +tax
Workshop Only Package - $405 +tax
Sliding scale available based on need.

Full Retreat Package Includes:

  • Daily yoga, movement, meditation and relaxation classes

  • 2 catered meals & a self-serve breakfast each day

  • Ocean-view shared occupancy room

  • Shuttle to and from airport or bus station

Single accommodations available for an additional cost.
Camping available for a reduced cost.

"A few months ago, I was stuck. Through the idea and resources offered by TOPS and the Fusion Retreat, I can now see a pathway through the pain. Life transformed!" — 2018 Fusion Retreat participant

Participants are responsible for arranging transportation to the Comox area. Black Creek is half way between Courtenay and Campbell River, both of which have airports. Access is also possible by car or bus, via the ferry from Vancouver. TOPS will arrange for your airport or bus terminal pickup and transportation to the retreat centre.

Driving & Ferry:
If you are driving from Vancouver (or further afield), take the BC Ferries ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Nanaimo (BEST/closest port of entry). While you can also arrive by ferry to Duke Point, please note it is further away. From the Nanaimo Ferry terminal, you can drive to Ocean Resort in about 20-25 minutes. Driving directions to Ocean Resort can be found here.

Foot Passengers by Ferry:
If you are not travelling by car (or wish to park your car in Vancouver, or at the Ferry terminal) and plan to walk on to the ferry, if you can plan to take the 1:15 pm ferry departing from Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver to Nanaimo, one of our associates will be at Nanaimo Ferry terminal between 3:00-3:15 pm to meet you, in which case there is no need to take the bus from the Ferry terminal to Ocean Resort. We will just need to know to expect you.

If you will be arriving into Nanaimo by ferry at another time, there are two bus options: IslandLink and Greyhound. You’ll need to book a ticket to ‘Campbell River’. IslandLink is small (approx 10 seats), but quick and easy. Greyhound is bigger, but stops in a few more places. Both cost approximately $40 CAD. IMPORTANT: Both buses will stop along the highway to drop you off at the driveway to Ocean Resort BUT you must ask ahead of time (at boarding) if they can drop you off “just past Saratoga, at Ocean Resort”.

If you are arriving by air, Comox airport and Comox Harbour airport (if you take the seaplane) are both approximately 25 minutes from Ocean Resort, and someone will be there to meet your flight.

If you are flying into Vancouver International Airport, the easiest option is to take a second flight from there into Comox. There are flights leaving the South Terminal at Vancouver International Airport to Comox on Pacific Coastal AirlinesWestJet also offers a flight from Vancouver to Comox. Alternatively, you can catch a bus from Vancouver International Airport to Tsawwassen Ferry terminal - the ferry will take you to Duke Point Ferry terminal, and you can catch a bus from there to the resort. 


Friday June 7, 2019

  • Arrival

  • 6:00pm – Dinner & Introduction

Saturday June 8, 2019

  • 8:30am – Breakfast

  • 9:30am - 11:30am – Morning Session with Martha

  • 11:30am - 12:30pm – Reflections and Writing with Ahava

  • 12:30pm - 1:30pm – Lunch

  • 1:30pm - 4:00pm – Free time or Optional Activities (Nature, Spa, Massage)

  • 4:00pm - 5:30pm – Afternoon Session with Martha

  • 5:30pm - 6:30pm – Reflections and Writing with Ahava

  • 6:30pm - 8:00pm – Dinner & Lecture (subject TBA)

Sunday June 9, 2019

  • 8:30am – Breakfast

  • 9:30am - 11:30am – Morning Session with Martha

  • 11:30am - 12:30pm – Reflections and Writing with Ahava

  • 12:30pm - 1:30pm – Lunch

  • 1:30pm - 4:00pm – Free time or Optional Activities (Nature, Spa, Massage)

  • 4:00pm - 5:30pm – Afternoon Session with Martha

  • 5:30pm - 6:30pm – Reflections and Writing with Ahava

  • 6:30pm - 8:00pm – Dinner & Lecture (subject TBA)

Monday June 10, 2019

  • 8:30am – Breakfast

  • 9:30am - 11:30am – Morning Session with Martha

  • 11:30am - 1:00pm – Writing with Ahava and Closing Group

  • 1:00pm - Lunch & Departures

"After four days I can say this retreat was amazingly valuable. The knowledge, enthusiasm and the application. Thee combined skills of Martha, Ahava and Kathryn provided a wide and comprehensive process. The workshop was personal, individual and honest."

"For anyone with scoliosis and a fused spine, this is an opportunity to learn, practice and feel about this unique medical and physical situation! It is the first time I have met other people traveling this journey. It has given me the confidence to practice yoga for my fusion seriously."

"This retreat is an effective way to kickstart a new relationship to one’s health and fusion… to hear from others who have proactively forged a new reality by working with rather than against the ‘limitations' we internalize through the course of the treatment. This is a reconciling with the whole self.'

"The TOPS fusion Yoga retreat was a life-changing experience that allowed me to connect deeply with myself and others who have gone through spinal fusion surgery. I came away with a self care practice and community of wonderful fusion sisters that I will carry with me forever."

"I felt seen and encouraged which allowed me to open my chest, open my heart - physically, emotionally, spiritually... It will continue to give me confidence in my body for new and unexpected ways for a long time to come. What joy!"

"I learned to accept and support my body within the fusion. I found a community of like-bodied spirits to connect with."

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Cancellation Policy: 15% non-refundable up to 1 month prior to Retreat start date; 40% non-refundable within 4 weeks of Retreat start date.