Every so often dedicating a day to the practice of mindfulness, in the company of like-minded people can make a big difference in finding more sanity in our busy lives. The day retreats at part of longer courses and can be booked as stand-alone event by anyone who has previosuly done a mindfulness course.
Longer, residential retreats are often a turning point for people, taking the understanding of mindfulness to a deeper level and helping to make it an integral part of one's life.
Upcoming Retreats & Workshops
Coming down to Earth and into the Heart
5-day retreat with meditation and mindful movement
Wed 5 – Mo 10 April 2024
for people with some previous experience, suitable for mindfulness CPD
with Ratnadevi and Kristine Mackenzie-Janson
Take a break from the speed and complexity of life and re-connect with the things that really matter: feeling grounded and loving with ourselves and others, and connected to the wider world and our purpose in life. Global events have been taxing for our nervous systems and this retreat is an opportunity to calm down and deeply nourish and resource ourselves, which will of course benefit others too.
Mindful movement is highly effective in down-regulating our stress levels, particularly when done spaciously and with an emphasis on presence and enjoyment. It will help us to feel well-toned and grounded in our sensory experience, less prone to mental proliferation. We are drawing from several disciplines: Chi-Kung, Yoga, Feldenkrais Method and fascia stretches. It doesn’t require any particular degree of fitness and flexibility, and people with particular health issues should get in touch with Ratnadevi prior to booking.
On the retreat we flow organically between movement and stillness, learning to see, hear, smell and touch the world with fresh appreciation and open-heartedness, doing less and being more. Some of the meditations on this retreat will explore kindness and compassion, developing skills to be more accepting and caring towards ourselves, others and the world. Acknowledging any inner objections or doubts is part of the process, as we encourage all of ourselves onto this organic journey.
Once we have got to know each other, much of the time will be in silence, including mealtimes and overnight. This will give us the opportunity to go deeper, while still feeling in connection with others. In fact, allowing ourselves to be nourished by a growing sense of being part of something bigger is a large part of our intention for the retreat. This can be so relaxing for the hard-working parts of us that are so used to striving on our own. There will also be opportunities to share how we are getting on in small groups. Weather permitting some practice will take place outside, in the peaceful and magical setting of the island – maybe doing walking meditation among the horses. The retreat includes an hour each day after breakfast of Working with Community, contributing to the running of the Centre, working alongside the resident volunteer team.
Bookings and cost:
In order to secure a place on the retreat, you must pay the tuition fee (which includes hall hire) of £270, using the 'book now' button below. We recommend you book soon to avoid disappointment.
You go to the Holy Isle website to choose your room and pay for your accommodation and food. See their website for information on types of accommodation and costs.
Important: The retreat starts with supper on the first day and finishes after breakfast on the final day. It is important to attend for the whole duration of the retreat, to ensure the best experience for yourself and the group.
The retreat is not suitable for people who experience major mental issues. If in doubt, please contact Ratnadevi or Kristine prior to booking.
‘I attended a 5 day retreat in May this year led by Ratnadevi on Holy Isle. The island is a special place, steeped in history and protected from the busy-ness of life by not just the small ferry crossing from Arran but also by the retreat setting itself with its own gardens, its Buddhist philosophy, and the beauty of its setting. Having a teacher with a lifetime of experience in meditation and therapeutic methods provided a wonderful atmosphere to deepen our self-awareness, learn new practices, and brought many moments of joy and connection for us all. It was a privilege to have been there. Many thanks.’ Dr Derek Chase Retired GP
'I loved Ratnadevi's calm, wise and playful leadership. She has a way of coming alongside people in their experience as a gentle guide rather than a 'top down' teacher. I always feel completely safe in her expert way of holding spaces and there's a deep trust that she knows how to read the room and take us where there will be most growth.' Diana Firthster, Education Lead for the West of Scotland Development Education Centre
The careful thought, imagination and dedication that went in to planning and delivering all the different exercises and elements were so evident - and much appreciated. I particularly liked being outside, where this was possible.
-Christine Sutton, Social Work Manager, after a weekend on Holy Isle
I would like to thank you deep in my heart for the retreat and the care and compassion you showed to us all, including my daughters who thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We had long chats about the inner critic on the train home and laughed and cried about how much more awake we feel. I sat looking out the window at the beautiful countryside rolling by, the groups of small lambs curled up together on the spring grass and I felt so calm and whole. Thank you for helping me back to this stillness.
Ratnadevi is an inspiring teacher who brings both great compassion and the wisdom of long experience to her leadership of the retreat. Her retreat programme allowed plenty of space for exploration and reflection of a number of mindfulness themes, with a lovely sense of gentle but firm purpose. The retreat at Ardfern was such a wonderful opportunity for deepening and refreshing my practice, extending my learning, and sharing with others. I have returned home with a renewed sense of commitment and enthusiasm. The silence and the size of the group worked very well for me, with a lovely balance of intimacy without intrusion. And Ardfern seems to me perfect place for a retreat - natural beauty, comfort, quiet - full of life at the same time.
-Dan Markus, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
This was a spacious retreat, where practice deepened and unfolded at the right pace and with the right amount of gentle and thoughtful guidance from Ratnadevi and Larry. Each day had been carefully planned. The different practices complemented each other well and I felt, allowed me to progress through an interesting personal journey, sometimes hard, sometimes easy but never trivial. The beautiful surroundings were of particular importance, allowing a deeper connection with nature to develop, culminating in a shared experience, watching the Milky Way and shooting stars on a clear night.
-Michele Hipwell, Health Psychologist and environmentalist
The structure of the retreat was elegantly put together and flowed well - a clear map, providing direction and places to pause. The group was prepared step by step for the silence, which met my needs for connection. All facilitation by Ratnadevi was done with care, kindness and authenticity. I particularly liked the precision of language and economy of words. She is an exceptional teacher - I am so fortunate to learn from someone who has vast experience and practice.
- Ann, psychotherapist.
The conditions offered themselves perfectly to reconnecting to a deep sense of place, serenity and connection with nature and with others. Ratnadevi encouraged us to approach our difficulties in a new way, with more kindness, flexibility and deeper inquiry, which is not only of great personal benefit but refreshing curiosity and development as a mindfulness teacher .
- Hermione Thornhill, clinical pyschotherapist
The teachings were uplifting, gentle and delivered at exactly the right pace. Ratnadevi and the group created a lovely peaceful and other-worldly atmosphere. I am looking forward to practicing mindfulness and meditation in a more flexible and accepting way - anticipating great adventures.
- John O’Reilly, ecologist and psychotherapist in training