This retreat is a synthesis of movement, energy work, sensitivity exercises, meditation, the arts, and the unexpected. It works as an effective sideways approach to awareness, which can take us surprisingly deep in a short time by bypassing our habitual ego defences so we have nowhere to hide. It also works as a vibrant exploration and appreciation of the human body in movement and stillness. It is designed to enhance wellbeing of the whole body-mind, increase acceptance of our challenging but precious human vulnerabilities, and lead us to more ease and delight.
There will be a variety of active and more meditative awareness exercises: Energy-breathwork to enliven, stimulate sensation and enhance the dance of life in every cell of the body. Energetic & slow movement and stretches to open up and loosen stiffness of body and mind, help us let go of holding patterns and give us a felt sense of change. Grounding techniques to bring us into stronger connection with the solid support & spacious kindness of the earth, and so enable us to let ourselves be more fully in the flow of 'here, now', whatever its flavour.
Moving, looking, touching, writing, and various playful activities, with an eclectic selection of music and sense stimuli. Stillness with meditations & silence to know our experience more fully and integrate it.
Many of us spend much of our lives in a somewhat alienated state - not being fully in touch with the body, but living mainly from the neck up ‘in our heads’. This retreat addresses that tendency very directly and works to reverse it. If we’re fully in touch with the body, experiencing all the changing sensations, feelings & emotions of being fully alive and human, we cannot be alienated.
Opening fully to the physical sensations of emotions we often hide, deny, or stay just on the surface of, can feel disconcerting and challenging at first, but that only means it is really rewarding, joyful and energising once we allow ourselves to fully turn towards our experience, whether its flavour is it sweet, sour or bland.
Our bodies are great Dharma teachers. All we need to do is turn towards them, open our minds to the awareness they offer us, and let them lead us to depth, delight and awakening.
This is obviously not a traditional-style retreat. It feels more like a week-long workshop. It’s a busy, programme with a variety of activities, moving quickly from one thing to another. To balance this there are periods of silence (with 3 full days) to increase spaciousness. It does need commitment, and willingness try something different and go with the flow, even when it feels strange or scary.
NB: It is possible to do this retreat if you have some physical or energetic problems, but please check suitability with Dhammagita BEFORE booking.
Dhammagita focuses on the development of awareness through the body. She has been teaching and leading retreats for 20 years. Her background of Shiatsu practitioner and other bodywork trainings, art, drama, and training in the USA with Reggie Ray, all feed into her approach to teaching. She loves helping people open up to insights and delights, is passionate about truth, teaches with humour, and brings an eclectic mix of life experience and interests to her retreats. She firmly believes that depth and delight can, and must, co-exist.
Her inspirations: her body, Buzz Lightyear, life, the universe and everything.
Hridayagita is an avid meditator with the body and loves exploring the qualities of the six elements in the body. She teaches Tai Chi Shibashi and loves the element of play in movement meditation and the breathing body.
Her inspirations: Dhammagita :), singing and dancing, breathing, being alive...
Satyavandana: A body-based style of practice underpins Satyavandana's whole Dharma life. She loves a left-field approach, especially with arty/off the wall kind of twists, alongside practices that facilitate us to deeply inhabit the body with deep listening, coming into alignment with how things actually are. She has practised dance as a body meditation for more years than sitting meditation.
Background in arts & community, growing and caring for trees, plants and vulnerable humans. Her love for land, planet and living things feeds her superpower of caring, serving and supporting.