From silent meditation retreat to wild women’s retreat 

“What do you actually do on a women’s retreat?”

It’s a question I get quite often. I also hear from some women that it seems scary. I both recognize that from the past and I am fascinated by it! 

How can that be? 

Why is it that some of us think it sounds scary to gather with a group of other women? 

As I said, I experienced it myself without even being aware of it. So my intention here is to tell you a bit more about both what we do but also as best as I can to capture some of the ambiance, energy and magic that occurs there. Why it’s so special. 

Before that, I want to share my own path into women’s work, which today is something I am passionate about and love. Retreat has been a part of half my life. I attended my first retreat at the age of 23, a 10 day silent meditation retreat. I had never meditated but felt in my whole being that this was right. I found tools to calm my troubled mind and its vast array of thoughts. While I did of course encounter challenges, it was still a place where I felt comfortable to be. In the silence. Rather, it was another place that challenged me more but I wasn’t aware of it at the time: to take off my mask and being vulnerable with others. 

I encountered that resistance years later when a colleague, a yoga teacher, started talking about her women’s circles and I remember being provoked by hearing about them and the Goddesses she was talking about. I became uncomfortable and preferred to talk about different layouts for yoga classes. Years later and after many silent sitting retreats, I had an awakening. In a rather brutal way. I had a breakdown on a silent retreat with panic attacks, and these continued even after the retreat. It led me to a deep realization, with valuable help from others, that something was missing. I had a lot of connection upward, but what about downward connection? How anchored was I? In the depths of my own body? How much contact did I have with my power centres in the female body – my womb space and yoni? 

On an intuitive level, I could see that I needed something completely different from what I was used to. It calmed my whole system and led me to women’s courses, circles and retreats. In particular, it was a women’s retreat in Thailand that was a turning point for me. Unlike the retreats I was used to where you could easily stay anonymous in the crowd, here we were four participants and four assistants and one teacher. There was nowhere to hide. I was visible and it was scary but most of all wonderful. A lot changed for me on this retreat – dance became a natural and meditative part of my life. The power I felt of sharing and being vulnerable, allowing myself to be seen and heard by the other women changed my life forever. The realisation of what I had been missing became so clear. 

Because of my own experience of a high threshold  into these contexts, I have the deepest intention with my women’s retreats to create a very safe, accepting and loving space. That is hugely important. Where every participant is welcome just as she is. With her story. The very premise is that none of us is a project that needs fixing, but we get to breathe out,  lower our shoulders and explore what it’s like to be. Be who we are. My own experience is that it allows me to relax and take care of myself on a deeper level. 

You will be greeted with a open warm arms. We gather the first afternoon and allow ourselves gradually to arrive at this new place in a new group with yin yoga, restorative yoga and yoga nidra. So that the body, mind, soul and heart all feel held, cared for and safe. After a yummy dinner we meet again in the circle and share for the first time. We share one at a time and practice really seeing and listening to our fellow sisters from the heart. Something happens when we have that intention. We can rest into our own heart. Nothing that needs to be done. Neither I nor you need fixing. And when I can rest into that truth, I can hold space for you, in a different way, as you share. I can see all of you. 

The days that follow, we flow. We begin in the mornings by breathing deeply into parts of our body that may have been a little forgotten: the womb and the yoni. This is followed by a gentle flowing yoga where you will be guided but I will also encourage you to feel deeply into your own body. What does it want? What does it need? How can you honour your body? What does it mean to honour your body? 

And during the days we have different workshops on themes that we often talk too little about. Themes that we need to talk about in order to take care of ourselves on a deeper level. To take responsibility for our own well-being. One of the themes is Pleasure. And throughout these workshop we alternate theory, lots of practice, and sharing. 

We mix the light with the dark, the serious with the playful. 

The magic comes from the deeper connection with ourselves, with each other and when we put into words things we may not have talked much about before. This will also be a place where we all can and are allowed to thrive. We come together in a context where we lift each other up, where we come home to a much more liberating and true story than the one we may have been stuck in – a new story where we all have a place. Where it doesn’t have to be threatening when a fellow sister is thriving, stepping up and living fully! Rather, it gives us inspiration and permission to do the same.

To illustrate the deep connection that develops between us, I quote a woman who exclaimed at the end of the last women’s retreat, “I would like to move in with each of you in this room!”, and it felt perfectly natural.  

Warmly welcome!