Riverheart Retreats is a peaceful paradise in the hills of Andalucia, Spain, which offers healing and creative yoga retreats in the lush gardens.
Yoga Retreats (2)
Samm Short is one of Riverheart's creators and owners and also a fellow painter and long-time student of Ian's. Fearless love and courageous expression are the two guiding principles that she tries to work from each day and that Riverheart has been founded on. For her, the practices of writing, painting, yoga, and meditation all seek to discover and express the same truth that love and joy are at the root of all things.
Mike Helmle is the resident meditation instructor at Riverheart Retreats, sharing his passion and knowledge about the practice of meditation by leading the nine-day Vipassana retreats. Together with his wife, Samm Helmle, Mike co-founded the Riverheart Retreats center in 2017 in order to create a space for people to come and develop their spiritual practice; a space where people could find the peace needed to ground themselves and listen to their inner voice. A previous graphic designer, Mike spent seven years studying and practicing meditation in Thailand and Peru before moving to Spain.
from Switzerland, September 2021
This retreat was the best experience of my life and I am very grateful to Mike and everyone involved for doing their part perfectly! Mike is an incredibly inspirational and wise teacher and an amazing human being. He fosters a student-teacher relationship without unhealthy hierarchies, while caring for participants. The setting at the Olive Branch adds extra charm to the experience, making it truly magical.
This was my first retreat and I had little expectation, and I was blown away. I can say with certainty that the experience will have a major influence on my life.
Everything was organised with a lot of attention and care. The schedule is well set up, so there is plenty of time to rest, eat, move and contemplate on the experience. Meditation instructions were clear and well explained, such that they can be applied by beginners, but also quite beneficial for more advanced meditators. Yoga sessions and walking meditations are a wonderful way of integrating movement in the mindful practices, which I found to be aligned with my sporty habits, but I could also see the benefits for the overall meditation practice. The talks were communicating important messages that were useful for the course of meditation and for life in general. The food was incredibly good, probably some of the best food I have ever had.
I am looking forward to doing more retreats with Mike and his team and have already recommend them to all my friends, as I would recommend them to anyone!
from United States, August 2021
"The most worthwhile thing I have ever done"
I don't mean to exaggerate, and I don't say this lightly, but the silent meditation retreat was genuinely life-changing. I got to live life in a way that I didn't know existed - more mindfully, aware, and intentional. With Mike's thoughtful, caring, and wise guidance, I got to discover insights about life and my existence that will guide me for the rest of my life. I will most certainly do it again and would highly recommend it to anyone.
from United States, August 2021
"A life changing experience"
Without any prior meditation experience, nor high expectations I went on this retreat in the beautiful Spanish mountains.
After one week, guided fantastically by Mike, I can now see much clearer on my life and myself. Meditation is such a powerful tool on the path to enlightenment and can be used by anyone. The switch between walking and sitting meditation was extremely helpful in building the necessary energy and concentration to gain deeper and profound insights. For the first time I learned about Buddha's teachings and was able to experience them first hand during this retreat. It was an experience I wished I had done earlier in my life and I cannot wait for my next retreat (with Mike)!
from Switzerland, August 2021
"Meditation with an ideal teacher in a perfect location"
My only previous experience before meditating here was at home with guided YouTube videos for half an hour max. As a complete beginner I went in with no expectations and upon completion I have a strong urge to wish to continue to learn more about the Dharma and if offered to do another 7 days of mediation straight after, I would have said ‘absolutely, yes!’
The course was challenging but with Mike’s instructions my progression was fast and I gained a lot of personal insights that will stay with me forever as some of my most profound life lessons. To still the mind is to instill a inner peace and this connects you to your true self. You really do hold all the answers to your life, you just need the quiet space to fully hear & trust yourself. Life becomes more clear, more simple and complications fall away. Mike leads in a way that is clear, compassionate & intuitive. He knows how to guide you in your next step with and without words through the connection he develops with you. A simple look or pause from words speaks plenty. I am so thankful for this experience & my heart expresses nothing but gratitude to my deeper understanding of mediation in its purpose of the Dharma. Really, I could not have wished for a better experience, Mike was awesome the food was delicious, made with love and warmth from Loretta & the location immerses you in nature. Everyone from the course left the retreat with a fuller heart & a lighter head, I honestly could not recommend this retreat more!
from Austria, July 2021
"Vipassana Retreat - Best decision of my life"
The Vipassana Retreat was the best experience I've ever had. Probably the most precious and important one of my entire life. It was difficult and exhausting but extremely rewarding.
Everyone involved was just wonderful, Mike is an incredible teacher and an amazing human being. I always felt safe and comfortable having him guiding us through the week.
The Olive branch is a beautiful place, the garden especially is a piece of art and the view of the surrounding mountains is astonishing.
The food was nourishing and delicious, prepared by the most warm-hearted and caring woman.
The schedule seemed well thought through, I don't have anything to compare it to though. However, Mike seemed to be well prepared and everything went so smoothly.
I'm very very grateful to everyone for putting together such an outstanding retreat.
from Great Britain, October 2019
"A Truly Magical Place "
Riverheart is an incredibly special place. It is clear that a huge amount of thought and love has gone into it. I attended the 7 day Meditation, Yoga and Writing retreat in October and couldn’t have had a more wonderful experience. The location is beautiful and the Cabana I stayed in spotless and comfortable. The food was delicious and plentiful. I enjoyed the yoga, which was suitable for different levels of experience, and doing the class outside was really invigorating, if a little cold at first on an October morning! I found being in such a beautiful place, observing silence for part of the day and being without phone/internet, as well as being instructed in such a gentle and informative way, made meditation a lot easier and enjoyable than I’ve found in the past. As somebody with little to no experience of creative writing, the creative writing element of the retreat was an absolute revelation for me. I found the sessions hugely inspiring and enjoyable; they were taught with clear passion. Samm and Mike’s hospitality was faultless and they helped with anything you needed. I could not recommend Riverheart more highly and I hope to return one day!
from Ireland, August 2019
"Riverheart captured my heart"
Family centred, happy, safe and incredibly caring environment.
Yoga with Samm.
Natural healthy attainable approach to health.