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Kick Your Breakup Blues

This upstate New York retreat promises to help your heart heal a little faster

“Mindfulness”—a buzzword for meditation, goal-setting and everything quasi-Buddhist—is having a serious moment among trendy New Yorkers right now. One product of this surge in self-care and spirituality is Renew Breakup Bootcamp, an upstate retreat launching ahead of Valentine’s Day where attendees will heal their broken hearts through a series of exercises and activities led by founder Amy Chan, acupuncturist and positive psychologist Noémie Le Pertel and life coach Trish Barillas.

After a bad breakup five years ago, Chan attempted to heal by embarking on her own journey of self care. “I did a yoga retreat. I spent a couple thousand dollars on that, going to Mexico. I did reiki, I went to psychics, I did acupuncture, I did a raw green eating diet because I wasn’t eating so I actually had to have a program where food was delivered to me and I had no choice but to drink these green juices and stuff. I did meditation, I did yoga,” she says. She eventually found her way back to happiness, and now gives relationship advice on her website, Just My Type.

Amy Chan

The retreat will take place at Prana Farms in Staatsburg, New York, about two hours from New York City. Upon arrival, guests will completely disconnect, turning in electronic devices for the weekend. They will meet with Barillas one on one and also share stories and bond as a group. “All meals will be cooked by an on site chef and there will be a communal table where we all come together. It is really important that we sit together and we eat together and we bond together. One of the things that people have a tendency to do especially during grieving is they isolate themselves. A lot of the times the natural tendencies of what we feel like doing when in the grieving process are actually counterintuitive to your healing,” says Chan. 

Each night, guests will have homework in the form of writing exercises. On Saturday, there will be kundalini yoga, a guided visualization (which is similar to hypnotherapy) led by Le Pertel, and talks led by Chan. “In the evening, after dinner, there’s going to be a practice where we’re going to be writing down the things we’ve been trying to let go of. What we’re going to leave in the past. There’s going to be a bonfire waiting for us after dinner where we’re going to go to the bonfire and burn this letter that we’ve written. It’s really like a cleansing day. Then Sunday morning is really about building back up,” says Chan. Guests will depart on Sunday evening, after a day of more talks and exercises focused on “getting back our power and creating certain habits for grounding and centering.”

Is it really possible to get over a breakup in just one weekend? We’ll see, but Chan says the goal of the weekend is “to give you all the tools you need to help you have a positive momentum of healing. You come in and pretty much surrender to the healers that are here who have totally created a curriculum to look at the stages of grief, what’s happening in the nervous system, what’s happening in the brain, what’s happening in the body and how to counter all those negative chemicals and create positive chemicals so you don’t go into a downward spiral.”