Spotlight Series: Sari Gabbay and Cannabliss Retreats
Image: Becca Atwood @ganjatographer
If the idea of gourmet cannabis infused meals and flower pairings, cannabis influenced yoga and meditational experiences, sativa infused fitness experiences that elevate endorphins along with interesting panel discussions, opportunities for acupuncture, massage & reiki sessions plus connecting with nature appeals to you, you'll want to check out Cannabliss Retreats.
We spoke with Sari Gabbay, Cannabliss Retreats founder to hear all about her upcoming 5-day Cannabis Experiential Retreat in Ojai which is starting on June 22 and yes, it sounds so amazing that we are booking our flight immediately.
For 14 years you ran a creative agency - U2R1Media - and then you decided to branch out into cannabis and more specifically, the wellness industry. Tell us about that transition. How did you arrive at that decision to make such a big change?
It hasn’t really been a transition, rather than stepping into what I’ve always been a part of. What happened was that the agency expanded into the cannabis business, and from a professional standpoint, I am still creating brands and marketing strategies in this space. I felt a deeper calling that I needed to listen to and that was to help people wake up and use plant medicines as a tool to assist that evolutionary experience. My own existential journey started way before my career, and it was always an integral part of my life, the most important part actually.
So I don’t see this as a transition it’s two simultaneous careers where I get to use both my passion for health and wellness and creativity and design in the cannabis industry that I truly believe in and love so much!
Would you say that cannabis was a big part of your life before you decided to jump into the scene professionally?
Yes, however, I have only begun to understand the power of this plant and how to use it in a sacred way, in a medicinal way, and when I say medicinal I mean medicine on all levels. Cannabis is a tool to help people heal and grow, it can be abused and misused… I’m hoping to provide an environment where people can really learn about the benefits and experience the plant in a fun and safe environment.
Let's talk about Cannabliss Retreats. You have another one coming up soon - 5-Day Cannabis Experiential Retreat in Ojai - June 22nd - 26th. 2017. What can people expect from this event?
They can expect a mind-expanding experience with various plant medicines that will activate a multi-sensory experience. We will have cannabis food pairings, sound baths, drum circles, vaping stations, amazing gourmet food, yoga, fitness, meditation, hiking, sacred ceremonies, art installation engagement, psychedelic black light yoga with nootropics, two amazing panels on science and intimacy, our official Plant Your Seed workshop and so much more!
NOTE: There is still time, you can still reserve a spot and either enjoy the complete experience or choose a one to three-day package... Click here to learn more.
What goes into planning a 5-day cannabis retreat? How big is your team and how far out do you plan retreats?
A lot of relationship creating, understanding your audience and what they are looking to experience, patience, time and creativity. My team is small, primarily me, and then I have facilitators who are helping on their individual experiences. I started planning this one in January!!
Tell us about The Plant Your Seed workshop
Cannabis and other plant medicines are meant to be used as a heart opener which allows you to sit in a space outside your ego and evaluate your life from a non-attachment perspective. We typically create stories in our head that define our existence and more often than not these stories are detrimental to our well-being, causing anxiety and stress.
We attach to outcomes that we believe are true and then when they don’t materialize we feel depressed and deprived, not seeing the benefits of what opposite of our desired experience could be.
The entire retreat is about planting your seed… You will be given questions and exercises that will be rewiring your brain the entire time. We will do an intensive workshop that will allow you to look at your challenges in a different way, pinpoint the beginning of that challenge in your past and see how every repeated challenge since then has just been your brain firing off reactions to the original trauma.
Once you can actualize the benefit of that incident, by doing some techniques, you can release attachment and finally let go and feel free.
It’s powerful stuff, it works if you do the work.
You’ve enlisted some incredible brands to participate in the retreat. Is GrassFed is doing all the catering?
We have amazing sponsors and are excited for more to come!
GrassFed is doing the catering, the vape station and the educational bud-tending
THC Design is sponsoring flower and a video
Humboldt Brothers is sponsoring flower and the opening ceremony
MERRY JANE - sponsored media
HMBLDT are sponsoring pens to every retreat guest (for the full experience)
KATY - is the nootropic being sponsored for our psychedelic yoga experience
... and so many more who are contributing products to our guests in their gift bags!
How does cannabis enhance meditation and yoga?
In my experience, it makes me more focused, opens my heart, takes me out of my head, makes me feel stronger in my body, and allows me to connect to my higher consciousness and receive the messages I need to enhance my life and make the right decisions.
In my personal experience, I find that vaping before I run helps me enjoy the exercise more and focus less on how tired my muscles get. Do you think that cannabis can play a positive role in more strenuous physical activity?
YES! I always toke and workout after, I love doing cardio after a good sativa, I usually microdose and it enhances the entire experience, I sweat less and am able to exert more. That’s why we are integrating fitness and cannabis into this retreat as well!
What challenges unique to working in cannabis have you come up against in the past two years and how did you overcome them?
The laws are mainly the biggest challenge, not knowing what is really legal because they are always changing, deciding what you can and can’t communicate, how to position your brand in a way that educates the audience and gives cannabis a new meaning, a healing meaning. But for the most part, I haven’t faced big challenges and I believe it’s because I’m on the right path and doing what I’m meant to be doing.
If you were to offer advice to a woman looking to get involved in the cannabis industry what would you say?
It doesn’t matter if you are in cannabis or not, the rules still apply. Be confident, have a strong backbone, be authentic, don’t take things personally, do what you love, partner with people who bring to the table what you do not have so you don’t compete with them, be collaborative, not competitive, lead with love and money will follow.
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