The Magic of Sedona with the Power of Plants

A Special Distillation Retreat with the New York Institute of Aromatherapy

Sedona, Arizona

June 2Nd – 7th, 2018

Join Amy Galper, Founder and Executive Director of NYIOA, and Jade Shutes, Founder and Director of Education of the School for Aromatic Studies, for a special distillation retreat in Sedona, Arizona.

Sedona Vista Photo by Maher El Aridi on Unsplash (1).jpg
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Let your mind, body, and spirit soar in the transfixing beauty of Sedona’s red rock formations, an area long known for natural healing and spiritual awakening.

Adventure into the breathtaking landscape to forage and connect with native plants of the Southwest

Learn how to create essential oils and hydrosols of the highest quality and standards using wild-crafted native and cultivated plants of the Southwest.

Be inspired by the tradition of artisan distillation with Master Distillers Clare and Max Licher of PhiBee Aromatics

Lift your spirit in the purifying and rejuvenating practice of Hatha yoga, with the splendor of Sedona as your backdrop.

Start and end your day in the beautiful accommodations of Oak Creek Canyon’s intimate, award-winning Briar Patch Inn.


  • Six days and five nights of distillation training and wellness activities in curated small-group setting
  • A two-day workshop on native plants of the Southwest and their energetic and therapeutic properties with Clare Licher, gifted artisan distiller and alchemist 
  • Wildcrafting of plant materials with Max Licher, renowned expert of native plants of the Southwest
  • Two to three opportunities for native plant distillations
  • Two morning yoga classes 
  • Two catered vegan lunches and one catered vegan dinner
  • Tour of Sedona area as well as time for shopping
  • Optional rides to Sedona from the phoenix airport may be pre-arranged through the school - or book your own taxi/shuttle


$1,500 before April 1, 2018

$1,850 after April 1, 2018

$750 deposit / payment plan option available - please review our payment plan details below.


Note: Lodging and airfare are not included. Lodging at Briar Patch Inn is mandatory and purchased separately, below.


$540 for Shared House: beds in shared rooms and shared bath

$815 for Shared Cabin: beds with shared bath


Note: Rates include total per person lodging, taxes, and tip. 12 spots available in a first-come, first-served basis. Please review our cancellation policy below.



Amy Galper, B.A., M.A., Dipl. AT, the pioneering educator behind NYIOA, has been a Certified Aromatherapist since 2001, as well as a passionate advocate, entrepreneur, formulator and consultant in organic beauty and wellness. It’s a journey that began long before the pursuit of wellness was common, and led her to a vast knowledge of essential oils and their applications as a way to connect to the body through the senses. In 2001, after having trained with Jade Shutes (former president of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, or NAHA), Amy earned her Certificate in Holistic Dynamic Aromatherapy from what is now The School For Aromatic Studies. Today she is also the NYC Director for NAHA. Over the past several years, Amy has also built a vibrant consultancy practice, offering her expertise—in ingredient research and sourcing, product formulation, wellness event planning, USDA Certification and more—to a number of beauty and wellness brands. As the Education Director and Natural Beauty Expert for Credo Beauty, she supports the Credo Team as they pioneer the new paradigm for Clean Beauty.



Jade Shutes holds a Diploma in Holistic Aromatherapy, Holistic Massage, Anatomy and Physiology, and Reflexology from the Raworth College of Natural Medicine in Dorking, UK, and a Diploma in Aromatherapy from the International Therapist Examining board (ITEC). Today she is the visionary and director of education for the School for Aromatic Studies. An aromatherapy practitioner, researcher, and educator for over two decades, Jade opened her first aromatherapy school, The Institute for Dynamic Aromatherapy (IDA), in New England in 1991. She has also taught at Bastyr University, Duke University, Ashmead College, San Diego Hospice, and throughout North America. Recognized as one of the vanguard of professionals who helped introduce aromatherapy to the US, she has since played an active role in the setting of standards for aromatherapy education in North America.

PhiBee Aromatics

Clare and Max Licher started PhiBee Aromatics out of a love and passion for the native plant world. Clare began studying medicinal herbs in 1987 and has completed a 235-hour AIA and NAHA approved Aromatherapy Certification course. Max is an avid botanist and plant photographer, and has catalogued over 1,200 native plants in the Sedona Oak Creek Canyon region. They began distilling essential oils in 2005, and have since distilled over 80 different species of native and locally cultivated plants, plus 4 macerations. They wildcraft in a sustainable fashion and attempt to benefit the plants in their trimming techniques. They are permitted by the US Forest Service, and have worked with the Nature Conservancy on many occasions. 


Nestled in Oak Creek Canyon along the lush banks of Oak Creek, the Briar Patch Inn invites you to nurture your relationship with nature. At the base of the surrounding red rock mountains, the spring fed waters of Oak Creek create a healing, magical oasis—the perfect setting for the Briar Patch—a quiet blending of 9 acres, 19 cottages, majestic canyon oaks, dappled sunlight, squirrels, sheep, and a caring staff. The Briar Patch Inn as a lush and peaceful environment, devoid of distracting devices, miles away from the energy of modern life.


Hatha Yoga in Sedona

Taylor (RYT500), a Sedona local, has been a student of yoga since 2002. She has a total of 900 hours of training in hatha yoga, kundalini, and advanced hatha emphasizing therapy and Ayurveda. In 2010, Taylor was initiated in the Sivananda linage, receiving her first 200 hour Hatha certification in Uttarakhand, India. Taylor is an outdoor enthusiast, perpetual student, hiking guide, and artist. Her studies focus on plant medicine, Eastern philosophy, astrology, and various healing modalities. The foundation of her classes is Hatha-based, sharing from her personal experience to bestow an integral approach to teaching. In pursuit of sharing sacred knowledge, we can use this spark to illumine the brilliance of bringing balance to the physical and esoteric bodies. There is a cyclical interplay of working with the body to gain control of the mind and prana, to experience the unchanging truth that is within each of us eternally. She is honored to be both a vessel for the teachings, and a student of her students.


DAY ONE:  Saturday, June 2nd
9am - 1pm:  Plan arrival at Phoenix Int’l airport and coordinate travel to Sedona. It is an approximate 2-hour drive. Shuttle are available from Phoenix Airport to Sedona via Ace Express Shuttle
3pm - 4:30pm: Settle into our beautiful accommodations at Briar Patch Inn
4:45pm: Gather at main entrance of Briar Patch to catch van
5pm: Dinner at Elote Cafe
7pm: Welcome and introduction to PhiBee Aromatics Distillery

DAY TWO: Sunday, June 3rd
8am: Leave for Jeep trip up Schnebly Hill Rd., where we will collect Alligator Juniper needle
12pm: Catered lunch at scenic overview at the top of Schnebly Hill
1:30 - 4:30pm: Return to distillery to study the 7 native Junipers of Arizona and other conifers. Possible hydrodistillation.
5:30pm: Dinner

DAY THREE: Monday, June 4th
8am : Yoga class with Taylor
10am : Distillery Day which will include a workshop on the native plants of the Southwest, along with hands on distillation preparation and instruction.
12pm: Lunch at the Pumphouse Station (walking distance)
1:30-4:30pm: Plant spirit distillation. Decant Alligator Juniper oil either before or after dinner depending on the progression of distillation.
5:30pm: Dinner

DAY FOUR: Tuesday, June 5th
8am: Leave for the San Francisco Peaks, where we will collect Douglas Fir, and also see White Fir, Ponderosa and White Pine, and many other native plants.
12:30pm: Catered lunch
2:00pm: Possible visit to Hart Prairie Nature Conservancy property
5:30pm: Dinner in Flagstaff at Criollo or the Tinderbox

DAY FIVE: Wednesday, June 6th
8am: Yoga class with Taylor
10am: Start Douglas Fir distillation. Depending on what’s blooming, we may also start a maceration of wildflowers.
12:30pm: Lunch in Tlaquepaque (possibly at the Secret Garden Café or El Rincon)
1:30pm: Afternoon for shopping, body work, readings, etc. 
5:30pm: Farewell dinner
7:30pm: Decant Douglas Fir essential oil

DAY SIX: Thursday, June 7th
Retreat concludes and participants depart



"The Sedona retreat was amazing and enjoyable. Clare and Max gave us a chance to wild harvest Douglas Fir and showed us the process of distilling them. I can still remember the scent that filled up the room during the process. We also got to know many of the native plants on the road and collected huge beautiful sage plants. I truly enjoyed their hospitality and sharing their knowledge with us."

 - Chen, Founder of Freshfield Aromatic

"Not only was this an incredible opportunity to be immersed in one of the most breathtaking places in the country, it was also a highly transformative experience to witness the plants in their natural habitat and acquire such genuine hands-on experience.  Clare and Max infused into the lessons their unique stories and perspectives and far exceeded my expectations.  Overall, it was something I would highly recommend and definitely not miss." 

- Jennifer Goldman, founder of Essential Rose Life

"For me, the best part of this retreat was traveling to beautiful Sedona and participating in the hands on distilling with my classmates in an intimate venue. I found it to be such a valuable asset to my experiential learning for my aromatic studies this past year. The accommodations, itinerary, and meals were perfect. Clare and Max have a beautiful studio filled with art + passion for the native southwest, and their unique personalities and wealth of knowledge shine through. Clare + Max have a way of weaving the culture and history into the stories of the medicinal values of over 66 native southwest botanicals, as well as an eye opening glimpse to the art of distillation, which was a highlight for me . I have gained a deeper appreciation and understanding for hydrosols and essential oils. I am so pleased that I have a deeper connection with the SW ecosystem and I now have a diverse collection of these blends for my treatments which I have incorporated with confidence to my skincare treatments for my clients, friends and family. I have since become a botanical distiller as well, and I am enjoying my continued research in perfumes, spirits, as well as eco-system botanical distilling. I would highly recommend this retreat to anyone who has an interest in widening their curiosity on the distillation process as well as increasing their awareness of all these amazing oils in their natural setting in Sedona."

- Suzanne Barroso, Holistic Skincare Specialist, Aromatherapist, Distiller 


"Attending the distillation retreat in Sedona, Arizona was beautiful, magical and pure enlightenment. I walked away with a deeper knowledge and understanding of how essential oils are made, not to mention spent time in a very special part of this vast country. It is one thing hearing or reading about how essential oils are made, but it is a completely different level being in the woods harvesting Norfolk Pine with a group of like-minded souls, to make and distill essential oil step by step. I loved every minute of it, and I am looking forward to attending the next distillation retreat NYIOA hosts." 

- Elisabeth "Libby" Vlasic, Certified Aromatherapist, Certified Essential Oil Educator

Payment Plan Policy: The $750 deposit payment ($500 of which is non-refundable), automatically holds a space in the retreat. An invoice reflecting the remaining balance will be sent within 3 business days of the deposit payment. Payments can be made in increments of your choosing up until the deadline of March 1st. The total retreat and housing payments must be made by March 1st to retain your space in the program. Briar Patch Inn Lodging is required.  Room selection is requested upon the receipt of the deposit invoice. NYIOA will reach out to secure and finalize accommodations.

Cancellation Policy: All payments, deposit and/or full, will include a $500 non-refundable place holder on the retreat. Cancellations made before March 1st will automatically receive a refund minus the $500 deposit. No refunds will be given after March 1st.

 Bliss Without Bother, a wellness retreat planning service, supported the planning of this retreat.