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Meet Theresa Polley of Retreat in the Pines in East of Dallas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Theresa Polley.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Theresa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After spending my 20s raising my family and working in the corporate world, I finally found time for myself by joining the YMCA and discovering fitness at age 30. I was intimidated by all the fit people, but they were very welcoming. I loved the treadmill and weights at first. I finally got up the courage to try Group Exercise Classes and that was truly my passion. I would take anything and everything. I was attending a spin class in 2000 when the instructor didn’t show up, the other students asked me to lead the class. I was hesitant at first, all of those people looking at me! But I was immediately hooked and took a Cycle Teacher Certification at Cooper Clinic. After that I was teaching Cycle, Strength Training and more. Fitness became a huge part of my life and gave me a way to release stress.

2003 was a challenging year. I was laid off from my job, my mom died and my marriage was struggling. I found yoga as a way to cope with all of that.

I fell in love with Yoga because it brought me such peace and it helped me not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. When I started my Yoga Teacher training, I wanted to share the life changing benefits of yoga with as many people as possible.

In 2004, I bought property in East Texas with my then husband. That later became my business, Retreat in the Pines.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Hardly! But my persistence kept me going.

My marriage was struggling, ending in a divorce in 2010. My ex-husband wanted to sell our property in East Texas, but I fought for it as I knew it would be my saving grace.

Being a single mom and raising three children, while running my business, had a few rough patches. At one point I was working two other jobs and while trying to keep my business going.

Now I’m a single mom again, with custody of my one year old grandson, which is challenging, but lots of fun.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Retreat in the Pines story. Tell us more about the business.
When I started my retreat business in 2004, I imagined a getaway that would be accessible to everyone. Focused on that idea, my first retreat was priced ridiculously low. I continue to keep our prices low and offer scholarships so ALL women can enjoy time away.

After a disastrous attempt at co-ed retreats, I choose to keep our Retreats “Women Only” because I want women to feel comfortable and relaxed. Having men drastically changes the dynamic, and many guests over the years have shared they like the women only aspect. Many women tell me that the retreat feels like a slumber party – and they love that. I believe keeping the retreats women only is where the good stuff happens, we are relaxed enough to get out of our comfort zones and find a change of perspective. I limit our retreats to 12-15 guests so staff and guests have the opportunity to know each person there.

In my first year of business, there were only a few retreats on the calendar and my first retreat had only two guests! Now, most of our retreats sell out weeks or months before. The retreat center attracts women from Texas, as well as around the country, most fly into the Dallas area. We’ve had women from NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Denver and all places in between. Now we have retreats almost every weekend of the year, and most sell out ahead of time.

When I first started the business, I did everything myself – from cooking meals to cleaning the property to doing repairs to teaching yoga to marketing and so on. The day I realized I COULDN’T do it all is when things changed. Now I have a staff of 20, women who complement what I do well – which is teach yoga, lead workshops and (my favorite!) visit with guests. And I have plans for growing Retreat in the Pines into the future.

Retreat in the Pines is located on 30 acres of peace, serenity and pine trees in East Texas, about a two hour drive from the Dallas area. We have two log homes for accommodations, a Yoga studio looking out over the trees, an outdoor deck for meditation and yoga, several hammocks and a brand new kitchen and dining hall with a view of nature in every directions.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I really don’t think it has been luck that has gotten me to where I am today. There was some being in the right place at the right time. But the rest of it was hard work, dedication and persistence.


  • $399 to $649 for All Inclusive Weekend
  • Massage is an additional $75

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