RELAXATION & JOY

Where learning to relax, trusting others and loving yourself becomes a natural state of mindfulness.

Only when you love yourself can you truly love others

"Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any  time and be yourself"

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June 2019

LITHA - The longest day. The battle between dark and light.

The sun is at its height of its life giving power! Within its climax is the whisper and promise of a return to the dark! We are drawn back into the dark to complete the turning of the wheel.


" A truly remarkable and magical day." Jack



In a week were high winds and threatened rain, we were blessed with a dry, sunny day!


To relax everyone and download the pressures of life we started our day with a barefoot walk on the labyrinth. As you stroll in a gentle meditative state, following the different twists and turns of the labyrinth, you find that your mind and body start to re-balance, your mind is freed up to set intentions and negativity begins to drain away. An exercise with scarlet wool which was thrown across the room at each person who then wrapped it around the wrist - a star shape was formed across the room with the thread, everyone was physically connected for that moment - the wool was then cut but everyone still had their connection with each other and the day.


With shoulders gently lowered below our ears, Jules led us through two hours of yoga. Beginning gently with a little Yin then working up to Nidra to challenge the mind to force out negativity and bring in peace and harmony. The shevasana at the end was much needed and a few snores could be heard as proof of total relaxation became obvious!


A picnic lunch was shared al fresco at the giant wooden table surrounded by the ancient trees and wild flower meadows.


There was a selection of mysterious, mindful and artistic boxes. Everyone was encouraged to take a box away to a peaceful private place and consider the contents. No two boxes were the same. One had chocolate with instructions as to how to eat mindfully; another had feathers and ink for drawing; one had a tiny tea set in it for a tea tea ceremony with a stranger - to sit and find out about each other; there was a bee hive nest of great geometry to draw; there were cloud formations to consider; there were stones with messages and ideas; there were crystals for healing and setting intentions; dragon breathing and much more. No one could say what was in their box, once they had finished with their box, it was put back with the rest and another one taken. A beautifully gentle, considerate exercise.


Exploration and gathering of natural gifts were collected to decorate the wooden carvings of the Green Man and his goddess in celebration of the King of Oak's battle with the King of Ivy - the battle of dark and light - night and day - winter and summer.

A beautiful and simple ceremony was held in appreciation of the sun's divine power of life giving force, it's fertility, colours, light and warmth. A candle was lit to represent the sun - each person then lit their candle from the original showing that giving and receiving light grows until everywhere and everyone has light.


Tea and cakes were needed and more chatter!


The day was completed with roaring flames in the fire-pit. The group sat around the fire with drums and we were all led into mesmerising rhythms with solo contributions and singing. As the group of individuals worked together, we knew that everyone was in glorious harmony and at peace with themselves with a slightly tingling feeling of being part of nature's life giving force!


RESPONSE:

"I really can't imagine a more pleasant retreat experience. Loved starting with the labyrinth as it really centred me after a horrible journey/start.

The yoga was delicious as always - Jules has such a gift to be able to tune into us all and say exactly the right thing. The card message was really special. Loved helping to create the wool star and having lunch after yoga was perfect) decorating the green Man and woman was something I couldn't really visualise and the reality just was so much better than I expected.

Then THE BOXES! What a wonderfully creative and special activity and ticked every box I have!! (see what I did there)

Finishing with the fire pit was really special too

Honestly there wasn't anything I would change of the programme and it totally relaxed me but with an urge to change too!!

Thank you to Kate and Jules for another really special day"

Wendy



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"Low self esteem is like driving through life with the handbrake on."


RETREAT @ TOFTE MANOR FEBRUARY 2019


Such a beautiful day with a group of very lovely guests with the biggest warm hearts!

We started the day chatting and getting to know each other then gently flowed into the Crystal Room for some gentle yin yoga with Jules.


The central mandala was lavishly decorated with fruit and vegetables in the chakra colours to be worked with during the session. This room was flooded with light and the underfloor heating was a joy to lie on, the whole group fell into a peaceful state of mind almost immediately.


Following a restorative session, we gathered in the cottage for a glass of restorative bubbly, a snack and more chatter. This was followed by foraging for natural items for drawing. Whilst exploring the grounds the guests were invited to find a quiet place to sit and think or write a love letter to themselves. To write about the things you love about yourself, the things you love being which might have slipped off your radar under the pressure of daily life - to think about how to bring about the best for you.

Remember to put yourself first. By loving yourself, loving others will be easier and you will feel valued and loved.


A wonderful noisy lunch party followed. Chakras were discussed and visualised and the group settled to draw their natural findings, breaking personal learnings by using new mediums to draw with, wild colours, unformed shapes. Everyone stopped feeling judged by crushing past art tutors and LET GO! The results were outstanding and fresh, bursting with joy! The newly found self-confidence was palpable.


The afternoon held a meditative walk on the labyrinth topped off with a roaring fire and drumming circle.


RESPONSE: "Jules & Kate. Thank you so much, you have no idea how much good this day has done! I have not felt this positive for many months. Wendy xx"










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Mandala with candles and foliage with drums in the background

Mother and daughter work back to back

Foraged from the grounds of Tofte Manor

The Retreat held at Tofte Manor on 21st December was magical. Held in the Sanctuary, a hexagonal building set in the woodlands beside the labyrinth, the inside has beautiful geometric wire designs hanging from the ceiling.


After meeting and greeting, sharing warming drinks and much laughter, everyone worked in pairs during the yoga session. Working back to back, mothers and daughters and friends were gently led to trust and support each other physically. Within minutes everyone was in tune and moved beautifully gracefully.


Whilst it was still light, we went outside to appreciate the wonderful setting and forage for natural foliage to add to the head wreaths. Refreshed, buzzing with the outdoor activity, the group had drinks and settled down to make their beautiful head wreaths. Lunch of home made spicy root vegetable soup and hunks of bread with mulled wine seem to re-energise the group! We read extracts and poems and discussed what winter meant to us, what we wished for ourselves. Notes of negativity were written.


Dark descended, candles were lit and we trooped out under the moonlight to walk the labyrinth, always a very emotional experience. Each person manifested plans for the future as they walked deep in thought. The firepit was lit, drums gathered. The notes of negativity were ceremoniously burnt on the fire along with rosemary for remembrance. A drumming circle set up a rhythm and we sat by the fire as the sky became clear and velvety black. Back in the Sanctuary, a circle was formed and thanks were given that such a wonderful group of people had spent precious time together appreciating the positivity for change and growth of Winter!

Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire

t: 0794 0827480  e: kate@kdgd.co.uk

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© 2019 by Design & Photography by Kate Davies Graphic Design