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Local residents co-hosting Bali yoga retreat as fundraiser

Heidi Shurtz and Stacy McCarthy
Heidi Shurtz and Stacy McCarthy
(Kristina Houck)

Two local yoga instructors are teaming up to raise more than hope for City of Hope.

With City of Hope’s fifth annual Yoga for Hope set for June 13 at Petco Park, yoga instructors Stacy McCarthy and Heidi Shurtz are planning a unique fundraiser to raise awareness about the benefits of yoga, as well as funds for research, treatment and education programs: For one week in July, the pair will be hosting a yoga retreat to Bali.

“It really goes hand-in-hand,” said McCarthy, who has lived in Rancho Santa Fe for 17 years. “Yoga for Hope and City of Hope connects, renews, inspires and cures. That’s much of what we’re doing on a retreat.”

Every year, McCarthy co-leads the master yoga class during Yoga for Hope. Having participated in the event since it first launched, she has helped make it the success it is today.

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Last year’s event raised more than $80,000 for City of Hope, one of the nation’s leading centers for cancer treatment and research, through more than 70 donation-based yoga classes and the fundraising efforts of participants.

“It’s so rewarding,” McCarthy said. “It’s Southern California’s largest yoga event. It’s a phenomenal thing.”

Scheduled to co-lead the class again this year, McCarthy has looked for new ways to raise funds for the event. In previous years, she has hosted donation-driven yoga classes. This year, she and fellow yoga instructor Shurtz are traveling to Bali with a group of yogis July 12-18. A portion of the proceeds from the retreat will benefit City of Hope.

“We want to give back to our retreat members, but we also want to give back to the community and help raise awareness,” Shurtz said.

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This is Shurtz’s third time hosting a yoga retreat to Bali. She and her husband, Jason Shurtz, lead retreats through their local business Yoga Retreats Bali.

A Carmel Valley native and Torrey Pines High School alumna, Shurtz has been a yoga instructor for more than four years. After college in 2010, Shurtz traveled to Bali, where she and her now-husband trained as yoga instructors for almost three months.

“I was not expecting to come out of it wanting to change my career path,” said Shurtz, who has a degree in landscape architecture. “But I fell in love with teaching yoga.”

Now a Carlsbad resident, she returned to the island in 2011 and hosted her first Bali retreat in 2012, with another one the following year.

“I wanted to find a way to bring people to Bali,” she said. “It’s just such an amazing place. The impact that it had on my life was so profound.”

Although McCarthy has never been to Bali, she has traveled around the world and has more than 20 years of teaching experience. In 1991, she helped launch the original Frog’s Athletic Club in Solana Beach, bringing yoga classes to the health club the next year. She began teaching in 1994.

McCarthy and Shurtz met years ago at Pacific Athletic Club, now Bay Club Carmel Valley, where McCarthy is an instructor and Shurtz is a member.

“We want to have an experience where people who practice yoga with us have more time, so we can really deepen our connection,” said McCarthy, who holds private classes and wellness retreats through her business, Yoga NamaStacy, which launched in 1999. She is also a yoga teacher and faculty member at MiraCosta College and offers classes on SprioFIT, a live, on-demand online fitness network.

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“It’s a very bonding and very spiritual area, where they will get away from their everyday life and also deepen their connection with their inner selves. We’re there to foster that and cultivate that.”

The one-week retreat features daily yoga classes and cultural excursions. Up to 20 spots are available.

“Being in a place like Bali lends itself to a transformative, deep and emotional experience,” Shurtz said.

“It’s also a place to reconnect and refocus,” said McCarthy, noting that husbands and wives, as well as mothers and daughters, have signed up for the retreat. “Yoga does that.”

Single occupancy rates are $3,400 and double occupancy rates are $2,600 per person. Group discounts are available for three or more people.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit City of Hope. The last day to book is June 1.

“Make time for yourself,” Shurtz said. “It’s important to take care of yourself.

“If you really want to go, make it happen. You wont regret it.”

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For information or to register for the retreat, visit www.yogaretreats-bali.com.


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