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THE WITCH and the Priest are powerful archetypal figures that have been battling inside us for centuries, as an inner war has been waged in the human heart between our pagan instincts and our religious upbringing – a war that is mirrored outwardly in the world around us.

The Witch has perhaps become a derogatory & disputed term for the forces that stand on the outskirts of the rational. Yet she is a mother of the hearth, a mistress of story-telling and the beholder of healing secrets.
Historically, and since the advent of Christianity at least, it has been the cultural habit & political project of patriarchy to control and bridle the feminine forces of chaos that characterise nature.
This process of divorcing the divine father from the earthly mother has resulted in the feminine aspect of our personality being suppressed, not only in women, but also in men, leading to all kind of imbalances, inward & outward & individual & collective.
The dominant force concerned with finding order, and disengaging with anything that cannot be measured or controlled is an old destructive and onesided approach that denies the magic of Moon-time.
The femminine night-forces that bring chaos and creativity together are the energies we will work with during the course of the 5 days.

Land of the Goddess – A place of Magic

We will work with ancient hatha-tantric asana-kumbhaka practices to make contact with & awaken the feminime & witchy power that lays dormant in our creative centre, known to the Yogis as Shaktistan. This word literally translates as the ‘Land of the Goddess’ and is the place of power & creativity within ourselves. It is the place of creation & the magic well from where all things emerge…
When we access the creative power inherent in ourselves, our lives start becoming more than simple acts of Magic.

Which Witch power?

This ceremony spanning over 5 days & nights will be in the shadow of the Goddess Kali. Kali is known to the yogis as Mother Nature, the Dark Womb, the Maha Yogini and the Queen of the Witches. She represents the origin of life and contains the unstoppable power of both creation and destruction.
By Kali’s guiding force we will strip the inner priest of his parchment and robe to reveal the repressed Witch and Magician that live within us to lead us on the grand road of magic and wonder!

Lifting the Lid!

Together we will uncover the witch’s cauldron that bubbles within our lower belly and drink its primal soup, savouring all of the healing & creative power of emotions, turning even destruction upon its head & creativity upon her feet.
In these days of power, all issues connected to the feminine are welcomed forward by women and men alike into The Healing Circle of Power. A field of chaos, ritual, ceremony, magic and creative birth awaits.


A short interview with Boonath


Participants share their experience of the retreat.


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.


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 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.


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.


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 capture the flow of a practice spent grounding before returning home.



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.


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


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.


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.


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).




€ 399.oo

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

€ 699.oo

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

€ 899.oo

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).


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).



the complete 'WORKING WITH THE SHADOW' calendar.

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