The Magic of Sedona with the Power of Plants

A special distillation retreat with the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies
Sunday, May 3rd - Thursday, May 7th, 2020 | Sedona, AZ

Join Amy Galper, and Jade Shutes, Co-Founders of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies, for a special distillation retreat in Sedona, Arizona.


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 distillation with Artisan 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 El Portal Sedona


Four days and five nights of distillation training and wellness activities in curated small-group setting.

  • A four-day workshop on native plants of the Southwest and their energetic and therapeutic properties with Clare and Max Licher, gifted artisan distillers.
  • Wildcrafting of plant materials with Clare and Max Licher, experts of native plants of the Southwest.
  • Two to three opportunities for native plant distillations.
  • Two morning yoga classes.
  • Two catered lunches and possibly one to two catered dinners.
  • 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.


El Portal Sedona Hotel was selected as an architectural masterpiece by “Keep Sedona Beautiful,” (an environmental organization dedicated to keeping Sedona’s natural beauty preserved) - and is Sedona’s only Arts & Crafts adobe hotel. El Portal Sedona Hotel is a luxury hotel dedicated to providing an extraordinary lodging experience.

El Portal is situated in Sedona’s art district, adjacent to the world famous Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village. The boutique hotel is also within walking distance of uptown Sedona and have access to a full gym, two swimming pools, and spa privileges at Los Abrigados. Guests just have to show their room key!



Sunday, May 3rd: Check In
Afternoon: check in at El Portal.
5:30 pm: Catered dinner at El Portal.
7:00 pm: Walk to PhiBee Aromatics distillery for a welcome presentation.

Monday, May 4th: 
8:00 am: Depart PhiBee Aromatics distillery for a rugged and spectacular scenic drive up Damfino Canyon (Schnebly Hill Road), where at the top we will collect Pinyon Pine and Alligator Juniper.
12:30 pm: Lunch: Sandwiches from Indian Gardens Marketplace and Café (Gluten free available)
1:30 pm: Return to distillery for a begin a distillation of Alligator Juniper and for a beginning presentation on the aromas, therapeutic properties and uses of Southwestern essential oils.
6:00 pm: Break for the evening, participants arrange own dinner plans.

Tuesday, May 5th:
8:30 am: Yoga with Linda Whittington at El Portal Hotel
10:00 am: Meet at distillery for processing and beginning a steam distillation of Pinyon Pine and further presentation of SW essential oils.
12:30 pm: Lunch - Walk to Pumphouse Station.
1:30 pm: Return to distillery for further presentation of SW essential oils.
4:00 pm: Decant the Pinyon Pine essential oil from our distillation.
5:00 pm: Group Dinner at Elote Café

Wednesday, May 6th:
8:00 am: Depart from the distillery for the scenic Mogollon Rim, where we will wildcraft Douglas Fir.
12:30 pm: Lunch - Sandwiches from Indian Gardens at a beautiful vista point.
1:30 pm: Continue our collection, possibly of another species.
3:30 pm: Return to Sedona
6:00 pm: Group Dinner at the Mesa Grill (located on top of the scenic Sedona Airport Mesa)

Thursday, May 7th: Check Out
8:30 am: Yoga with Linda Whittington at El Portal Hotel
10:00 am: Meet at distillery for processing and beginning a steam distillation of White Fir and to create a Southwestern perfume blend.
12:30 pm: Lunch: Walk to Secret Garden Café.
1:30 pm: Free time to shop and have (more) fun!
4:00 pm: Return to distillery for final sharing and discussion.
5:00 pm: Decant our White Fir essential oil.
6:00 pm: Farewell dinner Pumphouse Station.
If you would like to stay an extra night - you can arrange with El Portal directly

Amy Galper 700 px


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 Aromatherapy Educator and Author


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.



Clare and Max Licher started PhiBee Aromatics out of a love and passion for the native plant world. They bought their first distillation system in 2005, and have since distilled over 100 different species of native and locally cultivated plants. 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. Clare began studying medicinal herbs in 1987, and the native plants of the Southwest when she moved to Arizona in 1991. She completed a 235-hour AIA and NAHA approved Aromatherapy Certification course in 2012, speaks nationally and internationally on the aromatic plants of the Southwest, and has written for Aromatherapy Today and the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy. She also has consulted on numerous international distillation projects, and has conducted volunteer distillation trainings, sponsored by Partners of the Americas and Prosperity Catalyst, in both Jamaica and Haiti. While Max is a full time architect, he is also an avid botanist and photographer. He has contributed over 6,000 plant specimen collections to local herbariums, and catalogued over 1,200 native plants in the Sedona Oak Creek Canyon region. His plant photos have been widely published in Southwest native plant books and journals. He has also recently completed a treatment of the Genus Carex (sedge species) in Arizona, and is currently working on a treatment of other sedges and rushes of the Southwest.



Linda Whittington has been teaching yoga since 2011, and she has lived in beautiful Sedona since 2014. She offers a warm and welcoming environment in all of her yoga classes so that ALL yoga students feel supported and safe. Linda's main purpose is to bring her students into their hearts as they practice, to bring a deep sense of complete self love and acceptance. She offers classes of all levels, from rigorous vinyasa classes to gentle slow flow classes. Yoga brought Linda into her heart, changed her life completely and gave her such a sense of balance and self worth, so as she teaches her hope is to offer that same experience to her students.

Sedona Class


NOTE: Rates include total per person lodging at El Portal. Limited space available on a first come, first served basis. Airfare is not included. Please review our cancellation policy below.

$3200 Full Payment or $800 Deposit


"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

"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

"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

Payment Plan Policy: The $800 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 April 1st. The total retreat and housing payments must be made by April 1st to retain your space in the program. 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 April 1st will automatically receive a refund minus the $500 deposit. No refunds will be given after March 1st.