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Would you like a Summer break that lets you really unwind and relax to a profound level? Are you running on empty? Do you need some time to stop and recharge? The theme of this retreat is DEEP REST. All the practices we share will contribute to relaxation, rejuvenation and to restoring your whole system.
Open to everyone, our Summer Immersion offers you six days to immerse yourself in a wide variety of practices enabling profound transformations to occur and allowing you to return home refreshed and inspired.
There are ten bedrooms in the house which can accommodate up to fifteen people. Five of the rooms have en suite facilities, others share a bathroom. One single en suite bedroom is wheelchair accessible as is the whole of the downstairs floor. The venue has a wheelchair available for less able guests. The yoga and meditation studio is a beautiful light and airy space featuring a wooden floor with underfloor heating.
Since the theme of the retreat is ‘Deep Rest’ all the yoga and other sessions will offer ways to release tension and stress from our body, heart and mind helping us to come to a place of true and profound relaxation.
By combining asana practice with meditation, relaxation, discussions, nutritional guidance, pranayama (breathwork) and chanting, we offer an experience of holistic living. This means developing a fuller and more meaningful connection with your experience, with your bodies, with those around you, and with your purpose and place in the world.
The pace of the retreat helps participants to remain energized and engaged throughout. The schedule is designed in such a way as to balance activity with rest, discussions and socializing with quiet, reflective time, and earnest inner exploration with fun and laughter.
The retreat experience can be deep and transformational, and we put a lot of care into setting up an environment that is safe, nurturing, friendly, relaxed and supportive. At Holistic Yoga Retreats, we are committed to promoting improved health, well-being, and understanding, for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Michelle will offer yoga and meditation based on the traditional Hatha Yoga teachings but taught in a way that is fluid, free and up-to-date taking into account each individual's needs.
In the evenings we will enjoy the chance to sing together. With no need for musical ability, singing is a gentle form of exercise. It works the lungs and heart, oxygenates the blood and generates endorphin-happy hormones!
This retreat will include:
‘Asana’ translates as ‘comfortable seat’ so the intention when teaching asana is to help you find your comfort within each pose so that you may rest there with steadiness.
Always primary in the asana class is a constant connection to the breath to calm the body and nervous system and to connect with the spiritual dimension. Awareness of grounding is encouraged to maintain a body that is stable and free and a mind that is calm and equanimous.
Asana is a wonderful tool for coaxing out the meditation mind into your daily life since, in asana, you apply focus and equanimity whilst moving and not just in sitting still.
Most important is the inner state you cultivate when practicing; there is no interest in imposing or achieving shapes with the body, rather the interest is in finding a way to be inside your body that is peaceful and connected. This ultimately leads you to greater mindfulness in your daily life and the ability to be present with the here and now no matter how challenging. When you are present with what is, you feel and process emotions as they arise so they have no chance to get stuck unresolved within you.
Pranayama can be translated as the expansion and increase of your vital life force. You absorb prana (life force) most directly through the breath and through your food.
In the pranayama exercises of Hatha yoga, you manipulate the breath - breathing into different areas of the body, using specific rhythms and movements. You learn to hold the breath into energies your system and to increase your capacity to store prana; you hold the breath out to direct the energy in the subtle body with the ultimate aim of purifying both body and mind.
The rhythmic breathing exercises of the Hatha yoga tradition are strong practices which bring profound benefits: they purify the body and the nadis (the energy channels) releasing blockages and stress and helping you feel a greater sense of balance and clarity. Pranayama is an important step on the path of yoga as it helps the individual connect with the universal energy that is all around you and flowing through you.
Holistic Yoga Retreats recognize the power of these practices and thus they introduce them in a safe and simple manner respecting each person’s individuality.
On the retreat, guidance is also offered on how and what to eat with a view to increasing and maintaining a healthy level of prana (vital life force). As well as looking at the actual choice of food, importance is placed on the freshness of the food and on how and where it was produced. You will receive advice on how to eat for maximum absorption of nutrients and of prana and also on how to know when to stop eating - The secret of the yogic burp.
For some people, the idea of meditation can engender feelings of insecurity and resistance as they compare themselves to an image of a monk sitting serenely in full lotus posture and they imagine him to be resting blissfully with a completely silent mind. However, what people often don’t realize is that the monk has not necessarily succeeded in banishing all thoughts from his mind; rather, he has learned to sit in peace together with the restless wandering monkey mind.
An approach effective in today’s busy life (which creates a generally busy mind) is not to aim to silence the mind but instead to learn to witness it. At Holistic Yoga Retreats, you will be offered a way into meditation that is accessible to all. It is a form of meditation that encourages awareness of what is present with absolutely no judgment: an inclusive awareness that is allowing and compassionate. The more you increase your acceptance of what is present, the more resistance decreases, resulting in greater inner peace and joy.
Yoga Nidra is a guided journey of self-healing, visualization, and deep relaxation. After some preliminary stretching and breath work, participants lie on their back in the yogic relaxation posture shavasana and journey into the twilight zone between the waking and sleeping states. During the various stages of the practice, participants are guided deeper and deeper into the Yoga Nidra trance, where healing and the experience of high states of consciousness occur effortlessly.
Yoga Nidra is an excellent way to develop pratyahara, the practice of turning the senses inward as a foundation for deeper meditative states. The various stages of Yoga Nidra purify the subconscious mind, open the third eye chakra, cultivate the witness state, and aid in the smooth flow of prana (vital energy) around the body and into parts of the being that may have become cut off from it.
At Holistic Yoga Retreats, periods of silence are included within the schedule in order to enhance the other practices that you do and to support the process of going deeper within yourself. This use of silence on yoga and meditation retreats is very common and traditionally includes refraining from writing, reading, and making eye contact as well. In the retreat, these periods are relatively short, typically from bedtime until mid-morning the following day.
Although this is something that - at least at first - some people can find a little unusual, uncomfortable, or challenging, by the end of the retreat it is always the case that people have come to value and appreciate the contribution that these periods of silence have made to their experience of being on retreat.
For some, eating may come to be seen as something that gets in the way of yoga and meditation practice, but in fact, the act of eating itself can be done in such a way that it is as much a meditation as sitting motionless in the lotus position. For those who find it hard to fit in enough sitting practice, the three or so meals a day provide the perfect opportunity to train the awareness, reconnect with the body and to realign oneself with an intention of loving-kindness.
In an age characterized by a bewildering mass of contradictory information about what we should and should not be eating, endeavouring to be more present as we eat might be our best chance of tuning into our body's wisdom and guidance about what is right for us, at this time, for our own particular body. Side benefits of this highly engaging practice include improved health and clearer awareness of the body's needs in general.
Participants are invited to arrive from 4.30 p.m. with the first session beginning at 6 p.m. We will send you on your way with a delicious lunch on the last day leaving you satisfied and ready to hit the road at about 2 p.m.
Michelle Levi is an 'Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher' with Yoga Alliance. She completed a nine-month full-time teacher training course at YogaArts, Byron Bay, Australia. She teaches classes, workshops, and retreats mostly in Devon, UK. Michelle has been influenced by a number of different styles of yoga and meditation and with her teaching, she hopes to bring more kindness, peace, and joy into your life.
Ollie Frame is a polarity therapist, integrative counselor, and wholefood caterer. Within the world of yoga, he has a particular interest in yoga Nidra, a guided journey of self-healing, visualization, and deep relaxation. Widely traveled, he has spent many years exploring the world’s great mystical traditions and seeking an integrated understanding of healing and spiritual practice.
Bala Brook is a stunning location on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and on the edge of the open moor. There are thirty five acres of delightful gardens, fields, mature oak trees, and woodland adjoining the waterfalls of Bala Brook, which tumbles down to join the river Avon. The venue has a resident flock of Hebridean sheep. The nearest large town and station is Totnes, which is 12 kilometers away.
A gate from the meadow leads out onto the wide open moor. From the front, it’s a short walk up the lane to Shipley Bridge and pedestrian track leading up to the Avon reservoir and higher open moor. An exhilarating walk northwards brings strong hikers to Princetown in the center of Dartmoor. Another walk westwards leads to the famous ancient oaks at Piles Wood alongside the exquisite river Erme. There are other, gentler walks around, some through woodland.
The food served will be delicious, nutritious and especially suitable for practitioners of yoga and meditation. It will be mostly organic and people on vegan and gluten free diets will be catered for. The food and practices will offer a gentle and healthy way to detox.
Individual massage sessions will be available by arrangement at an extra cost.
Please book your flight to arrive at Bristol Airport (BRS).
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