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6 Days Summer Immersion, Conscious Cookery and Yoga Retreat in Devon, UK

Yoga Retreat UK

Do you need some time to nurture, nourish and deeply relax? Are you looking for a more healthy relationship with food? Do you sometimes eat for emotional reasons? Open to everyone, our summer immresion 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.

Retreat highlights

  • Daily yoga practices
  • Pranayama and meditation sessions
  • Fire ceremony to let go of the old and call in the new
  • Cookery classes and bhajans - singing from the heart
  • Mindfulness of eating for improved digestion
  • Relaxing mindful guided walks
  • 5 nights’ accommodation
  • 3 daily meals

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate

Yoga styles


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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Accommodation

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.

Program

By combining asana practice with meditation, relaxation, conscious cookery, 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.

Ollie will share some of his rich experience from the worlds of Ayurveda and Oriental traditions as well as raw food and other contemporary cuisines. You will be given a booklet full of useful information and vibrant recipes to take home.

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:

  • Hatha Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Pranayama
  • Bhajans-singing from the heart
  • Relaxing, massage, walking
  • Cookery classes - for vitality and health
  • Mindfulness of eating - for improved digestion
  • Yoga Nidra - transformative inner journeying
  • Fire Ceremony - let go of the old, call, in the new
  • Laughter Yoga

Asana

‘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 a 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

Pranayama can be translated as the expansion and increasing 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 in to 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.

Meditation

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

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.

Silence (Mauna)

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 or lunchtime 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.

Sample daily schedule

  • 07.00-08.00 Gentle wake up with movement, meditation, and pranayama
  • 08.00-09.30 Breakfast
  • 09.30-10.30 Cookery class
  • 11.00-12.45 Yoga asana
  • 12:45-15.30 Lunch and free time
  • 15.30-16.30 Gentle yoga or walk
  • 17.15-18.00 Yoga nidra
  • 18.30-20.00 Dinner
  • 20.00-21.00 Evening circle with songs and bedtime treats

Participants are invited to arrive from 4.30 pm with the first session beginning at 6.00 pm. 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 2.00 pm.

Instructors

Michelle Levi
Yoga Alliance International (Yoga)
Michelle Levi is a Yoga Alliance registered and certified teacher. 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
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.

Retreat location

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.

Nearby places

  • Totnes, 12 kilometers

Food

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.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Spa treatments

Individual massage sessions will be available by arrangement at an extra cost.

What's included

  • 5 nights’ comfortable accommodation
  • Bhajans - singing from the heart
  • Booklet
  • Daily delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Cookery classes for vitality and health
  • Fire ceremony
  • Hatha, Laughter, and Nidra yoga classes
  • Mindful walking
  • Mindfulness of eating
  • Pranayama and guided meditations

How to get there

Driving directions from Exeter

  • Driving south after Exeter, leave the A38 at Marley Head, (north-east of South Brent)
  • Wriggle north-westwards around lanes following signs to Avon Dam
  • Arrive at Shipley Bridge public car park, beside the river Avon
  • At Shipley Bridge, cross the river Avon, follow the lane turning around to the left, southwards over a cattle grid
  • After two minutes down the lane, go past one farm on your right, down a little hill over a little bridge and look out for ‘Bala Brook’ sign on your right beside a timber gateway
  • This is the second habitation on your right after leaving Shipley Bridge

Driving directions from Totnes

  • Approaching on the A385 from Totnes, cross the A38 at Marley Head and follow as above

Driving directions from Plymouth

  • Approaching from the South (from Plymouth) turn off the A38 for South Brent
  • But avoid going through the village by taking a left turn soon after leaving the A38, where there is a big main sign 'South Brent twinned with...', and signs for Brent Mill business park and Aish. Then you will definitely need a map to navigate the lanes
  • Go under the railway and around to the right to reach a T junction
  • Turn left up to Aish and thence on up, nearly two miles towards Shipley Bridge
  • After a 'weak bridge', look out for Bala Brook on your left in a dip just before the little Bala bridge
  • If you arrive at Shipley bridge, you have gone too far
  • Please do not enter any unsigned properties

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Bristol Airport (BRS).

GPS

  • 50° 26.802'N 3° 51.710'W

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
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