WORKING WITH

THE SHADOW.

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THE WAY OF SHIVA.

AT PEACE WITH THE FATHER. AT EASE WITH THE WORLD.

25 - 29 JUNE

BREAKING FREE from conventions does not entail becoming a rebel (that is, to be ‘against’ something), but it does require  confronting the power dynamics that might have been keeping us in a state of subordination in our life, including our social and intimate relationships.
Bringing into question the archetypcal figure of the Father – ruler and patriarch – and thus our relationship to our very own father, becomes a prerequisite to venture on a journey of self-discovery towards a more authenitic self. A self at peace with life.

The ancestral practices of yoga recognise that the relationship, or non-relationship, to our father is a key of to the broader field of life and relationship.
On this 5-day yoga retreat we will operate within the Shamanic circles rich in intensive Hatha-tantric, Asana-Kumbukh  practices addressing the theme of the Father in all of its broad manifestations. The practices will span many themes relative to how we relate to the Farther energy.
The retreat will be composed of healing and confronting yoga practices focused in the direction of healing energy in connection with one’s own father.

We will work with the energy of Shiva to guide us on this retreat.
Shiva is a paradoxical figure, for he is both honoured by the those against convention and restriction, and at the same time he is a central figure to the self-righteous religious institutions.
Shiva is at once the restrictive Lord of Tamas and limitation – God to the Gods – but equally he is the archetypal Wild dancing Shaman and Goblin King.

Working with the energy of Shiva will help us intuitively resolve this apparent paradox, for he understands the empty one-sided patriarchal game of dominance and weaves through it’s landscapes without showing a hint of disempowerment…
Shiva is he who has come to know all aspects of himself and can therefore dance with all aspects of creation.
Shiva’s Third Eye is the eye of singularity that sees nothing foreign but has attained the secret vision of seeing all of life as a mirror of his own soul.
This is the vision of the yogis, this is the path that is said to lead home, the path where all fear and separation ends and friendliness born of fearlessness prevails.
The wise honour Shiva because he knows wisdom, the Goblins honour Shiva because he has met and made friends with his own inner Goblins.
Nothing is out of bounds for Shiva because his heart is pure.
Shiva sits in the Seat of Power and so can we. Not necessarily an asumed throne of rulership and authority over our lives, but perhaps a seat where the inner child of the wilderness can sit safe and free in powerful inoccence.

We will call on you Shiva. Oh great Father,
eternal wandering Yogi, wild and untamed,
standing outside of convention and yet friend to all,
Seeing the unseen with your secret eye,
eternity locked in your hair
dancing with drum in hand
chanting with the hum of tantric song
”we salute thee oh maha yogi.

WORKING WITH THE SHADOW.

A short interview with Boonath

ANCIENT & SACRED

In these full-immersion retreats you will practice a form of Yoga that is rarely available and accessible even in India today. You will take part in a sacred Yogic tradition that roots itself in India’s native shamanic wisdom & Tantric lineage handed down orally between generations of Yogis, Babas, Sadhus and Fakirs.
You will be exposed to the old tantric ways of seeking profound healing and spiritual awakening, including practicing in darkly-lit spaces to quieten the mind and awaken the senses to the body’s subtle energy currents, holding simple postures for long periods of time, and engaging in powerful breath-work to open-up the body and take the mind into altered states of consciousness.

GENTLE

The practice draws on postures seldom used in modern styles of yoga, namely Chandra Parampara, an ancient sequence of Moon postures that honours the mother and the divine feminine, gently opening-up the body to its highest levels of flexibility through minimal effort.
Integral to this experience will be the exploration of sound-currents present in the body (Nada Yoga) – perhaps one of Yoga’s greatest secrets and one of the most powerful vehicles through which the karmic patterns stored in the chakras can be accessed and released in pursuit of profound healing.

UNIQUE

Unique to this tradition is its simultaneous employment of Asanas (postures), aerobic & anaerobic Pranayam (breathwork), Mudras (gestures), and Mantras (sacred sounds).
The synergy created by the employment of these various yogic tools will lead you into altered states of consciousness and dream-like experiences aimed at facilitating a greater openness to inward journeying and an easier access to your subconscious.

UNBOUND

Because we are going to play with shamanic yogic traditions, the practice will take place outside of clearly time constraints. In line with this approach, there will be no predefined time schedule in order to allow the energy of the group to flow freely, and for the teacher to guide the practice in accordance with the group’s energy and needs. Classes, ceremonies, exercises, chanting, eating and even sleeping will happen naturally and not according to a fixed time. Participants will be expected to take part in every session and it will not be possible to dip in & out of the practice. Participants will be expected to spend some time every day helping with the preparations of meals.

INCLUSIVE

The retreat is suitable both for beginners and advanced practitioners, and in particular to all those seeking a deeply healing experience on an emotional and physical level.  Although the practice does not involve strenuous physical exercise, some physical flexibility will be necessary in order to participate fully in the retreat. Because places are typically limited to a maximum of 12 participants, priority will be given to those with a serious intention and commitment to leaving their comfort zone and seeking genuine change.  Yoga teachers, bodyworkers and shamanic practitioners will benefit greatly from the retreat as they will learn rare tantric healing techniques. The retreat is not suitable for people with serious forms of psychosis, and regular users of alcohol or drugs must discuss the issue with us prior to booking.

The practie usually takes place in the dark or darkly-lit spaces.
The pictures below were taken during the closing circle on the final morning of the retreat.
They capute the flow of a practice spent grounding before returning home.

THE TEACHER

ben2

BOONATH was born into a life of yoga. He grew up between Europe and India and was introduced as a child to yoga through his grandparents who were on both sides yoga practitioners.
His grandparents took him on his first Himalayan pilgrimage when he was just seven years old and he has been exposed to the world of yogis eversince. Most of his family still live in India and he has been travelling there regularly for over thirty years in his pursuit of yoga. He has worked closely in apprenticeship with two elders in the line of Siddha and Ayurvedic systems of healing and holds much knowledge in the use of herbs, astrology, rituals, mantras and bodywork among other things.
Boonath has been working in this line and helping people with the implementation of these techniques for over 20 years to successfully overcome mental and physical problems, from chronic pain to alcoholism.
Boonath’s healing and yoga work often sees him travelling to Eastern Europe to give workshops and healing sessions. In Latvia he did live and teach for a period of years and has become one of the most respected teachers there.
His travels and yoga workshops in Eastern Europe continue to benefit people in deprived circumstances. In recent years Boonath has been living and teaching yoga in Germany where he has regular students and teaches intensives to aspiring teachers, including Kim, with whom he developed the concept of Working with the Shadow in 2014 whilst teaching in the yoga-collective Kim had set-up in a economically deprived neighbourhood of Berlin.
As part of his training, Boonath also undertook a deep study of more Modern systems of yoga taught in the West, including a Anusara teachers Certificate and an Ashtanga primary series certificate studying closely with celebrity teachers, such as Anna Forrest of Forrest yoga, David life of Jivamukti yoga, Gurumukh Kaur Khalsa of Kundalini Yoga, Senior Iyengar teachers, Shandoor Remmete of Shadow yoga, and Mark Whittwell of the Yoga of Heart foundation, who has become a close friend of Boonath. These formal studies and encounters have all left their impression on Boonath, but his teachings are deeply rooted in the more Shamanic traditions of the mystical Babas and Fakirs of India, with whom Boonath has been studying closely for over thirty years.

THE ORGANISER

KIM is the founder of Healing in the Willows, the retreats company hosting Working with the Shadow, which he developed in 2014 in collaboration with Boonath, who he assists with the organization & teachings on the retreat. Kim discovered Yoga in 2006 as part of a profound awakening that brought him closer to the spiritual realm after spending over 10 years coordinating international environmental campaigns in Brussels & consulting for major environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth, ActionAid, and many others.
Kim has practiced Yoga with many teachers from many different modern styles of Yoga, including Iyengar, Astanga, Vinasa, Bikram, Sivananda, Scaravelli, Kundalini, all over Europe, India and further afield. In 2011 Kim set up a first yoga collective in Berlin which he then expanded to a new location in 2013, in one of the economically deprived areas of town that was undergoing gentrification. The collective brought together a variety of local teachers to promote yoga on a donation basis within the surrounding community unable to afford the increasing cost of living.
It was in Berlin that Kim met Boonath and, after years of searching, was shown the scope of the potential of Yoga. This rare and ancient Tantric lineage revolutionised Kim’s understanding of Yoga and approach to healing, both on an individual and collective level.
Since then Kim has been collaborating with Boonath on the development of the Working with the Shadow retreats. Much of Kim’s research & campaigning work has been concerned with the investigating the ‘shadow’, especially power constellations of policy actors which political scientists refer to as ‘shadow elites’. From different perspectives both Kim and Boonath understand that if we are to understand where power lies, we must look to the shadow and investigate it, not run from it. To understand why we function the way we do, and why the system functions the way it does, one must look where we usually are told not to. Yoga has enabled Kim to understand that the outside world is but a reflection of one’s inner landscape.
As a result, the bridging of the spiritual and the political realms has now become Kim’s main focus.

“Two years ago I went on a deeply self-
& life-affirming yoga retreat called “Working with the Shadow.”
Boonath, the teacher, shared a very different yoga experience than I had ever had
& it was profoundly beautiful… and challenging!
One of the chants stayed with me
& ended up on the song “Remain the Sea” on my album Land of Gold.
I urge anyone interested to check out their upcoming retreats.”

Anoushka Shankar, Musician.

Clik on the video to hear Anoushlka Shankar given an interview about the song Remain The Sea, and how the retreat inspired her to write the song for her Grammy nominated album.
You can also hear the Mantra (‘Hara Ring‘) play in the background of the video and also on iTunes

“I cannot begin to describe
how beautiful the location is…”

Kim, Hotel Manager, UK

QUIET. COMFORTABLE. PRIVATE.

You will stay in the renovated historical apartments of Querceto, a millenary hamlet purched on the edge of Tuscany’s largest National Park, Monte Rufoli.
Each apartment hosts 4-6 participants in single & double rooms, but renting private apartments is also possible for those searching a quieter experience.
Located on the Etruscan Coast, Querceto is just a short drive away from beautiful and secluded Mediterranean beaches, which make for a perfect holiday for those wishing to extend their stay.

ETHICAL. ORGANIC. VEGAN.

All meals are prepared together, as a group, with food sourced as locally as possible & from nearby organic farms.
The food will be predominantly sattvic [‘pure’] in order to correctly sustain the yoga practice.
Meals are Vegan as Veganism best embodies the contemporary meaning of Ahimsa [‘non-violence’] – the very first observance on the path to Yoga.
Gluten-free options and other intollerances can be catered for.

PRICES.

‘EARLY BIRD’ 20% DISCOUNT

Get 20% off listed prices, when you book by the 16th of February.

Committed to making the retreats available to the widest possible demographic
we offer a wide range of prices and, for those in need of financial support,
if you are unemployed or on low income, it is possible to apply for a BURSARY.
Prices vary according to the type of accommodation and include all meals, materials
and full access to the location’s facilities (yoga-shala, infinity pool, etc).

€300.oo

COURSE FEES

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€ 399.oo

TWIN ROOM.
Price is per person.
Two people in two single beds.

€ 699.oo

SINGLE ROOM.
Double occupancy €799
Two people sharing a large double bed.

€ 899.oo

PRIVATE APARTMENT.
One bedroom apartment.
Larger apartments available.

If you cannot find affordable flights for the dates of the retreat,
look for the cheapest flights closer to the retreat’s dates and consider extending your stay
(see our VENUE page for more tips).

BOOK / INQUIRE.

If you would like to join the retreat we kindly ask you to complete the contact form by clicking on the button below.
In the form, please tell us a little about yourself: your age, background / profession, lifestyle, health issues (if any), whether you have any previous experience with practicing Yoga, meditation, forms of shamanism, or other healing arts (not a prerequisite for participating in the retreat, but useful for us to know) and, more importantly, what draws you to come on such a healing retreatis there anything in particular you feel you would like to address & heal on the retreat?

 

Please be aware that typically places are limited to 12 participants per retreat, so places go fast.

 

Also, we request that participants abstain from recreational drugs (including weed & hash) and alcohol, for at least a month prior to the retreat taking place as their use can seriously compromise the experience on the retreat and its outcome, both for the individual and the group as a whole (if you have an addiction, please let us know and we will find look for a solution).
The retreat is not suitable for people affected by severe forms of psychosis, however Boonath is available to treat people affected by psychosis privately in Berlin (get in touch with us for more details).

 

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