THE POWER OF WITHDRAWING
NEW YEAR'S EVE SILENT YOGA RETREAT.
[WINTER DETOX RETREAT]
29 December - 02 January
Winter is a time for withdrawing,
Pratyahara is the practice of withdrawing the senses. It brings the focus back inside, it moves the energy inwardly, concentrating the life-force in the core of oneself. Just like Nature does in Winter, we must die outwardly in order to renew inwardly. It is only through this conscious process of going inside that a door opens to the possibility of transformation. For a new growth to sprout, and for that sprout to grow into a new, conscious direction.
Yet, to birth a new sprout and envisage a new direction for our growth, we must gather all of our energy, for is nothing short of a quantum leap we are asking of ourself.
This is why the Yogis are careful with how they spend their energy: never eating too much, never talking too much, never doing too much. Conserving energy like a currency to pay for the crossing into a new realm. The pagans used to place golden coins on the eyes of the dead to pay the boatman carrying them to the other side, where a new life, a new beginning lay.
On this 5-days intensive Shamanic Yoga retreat we will engage in ancient Tantric secret practices that will help us see where we are wasting our energy and how we can conserve and reabsorb this vital power which we have given away unconsciously to people and things that have not served us in our lives.
We will learn and practice the Shamanic art of gathering energy inwardly with a view to develop a clear vision of where we would like to go in our lives – and direct our power towards manifesting this vision.
Talking only at specific times, we shall otherwise share this sacred space in silence, learning to redirect our attention to what is going on inside and communicating with each other and the group on a different plane. We will gain a new understanding of the power of silence and recognise silence as a friend, an ally, in helping us recognise when we are giving our power away.
We shall move in darkness and by candle light into and through a magical realm, unbound by time constraints and allowing ourselves to move in and out of healing trance states. We will engage in rare Asana-Kumbhaka Tantra-Mantra practices pertaining to this ancient shamanic line of the Left Hand path of Tantra.
We will eat healing yogic food and spend time in the beautiful nature in which the venue is immersed.
It will be a magical and healing time.
A YOGA DETOX DIET
The diet on these retreats will be a traditional yogic mono diet of detoxifying Kitcheri – a mixture of half mungbeans & half rice, fruits & vegetables. Used as a healing food (one of the best diets to rid the body of accumulated toxins), Kitcheri is an ancient detoxifying yogic formula used for thinning the veil between the spirit and the physical worlds. It is classically undertaken for 5 days, which is the length of the retreat.
WHAT IS SHADOW WORK?
A short interview with Boonath.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Listen to what participants had to say.
“It shifted my understanding of what Yoga actually is,
on a fundamental level”
Farmer & Activist | UK
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.
The practice draws on postures seldom used in modern styles of yoga, ancient sequences that honour 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 and the tidying of the yogashala.
The retreat is suitable for beginners & advanced practitioners. In particular to all those seeking a deeply healing experience. The practice does not involve strenuous physical exercise, but physical flexibility will be necessary to participate in the retreat. Because places are typically limited to 12 participants, priority will be given to those with a serious intention & commitment to leaving their comfort zone & seeking genuine change. Yoga teachers, bodyworkers & shamanic practitioners will benefit from the retreat as they will learn rare tantric healing techniques. The retreat is not suitable for people with serious forms of psychosis. If you are a regular user of alcohol or drugs please discuss the issue with us prior to booking, thank you.
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.
Pictures were taken in a different venue from the current one.
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 ever since.
Boonath has taken initiation into the left hand path (that’s the path of the heart) and specialises in the branch of Chandra Parampara, that is a secret style of Moon practice that works with the night forces. It is a style of tantra that goes very deep into the subconscious roots It is first and foremostly a Healing System. Most of his family still lives in India and he has been travelling there regularly throughout his life in pursuit of yoga. He has worked closely in apprenticeship with elders in the line of Siddha systems of healing and holds much knowledge in the use of rituals, mantras and body/spirit healing methods among other things.
Boonath has been working in this line and helping people with the implementation of these techniques for over 25 years to successfully overcome mental and physical problems, from chronic pain to addiction.
Boonath’s healing and yoga work sees him travelling across the whole of Europe to give workshops and healing sessions. His travels and yoga workshops continue to benefit people in deprived circumstances.
In recent years Boonath has been living and teaching yoga in Germany where he has a network of students. It was in Berlin that Boonath met Kim, with whom Boonath co-founded Working with the Shadow in 2014.
Formal studies and encounters have all left their impression on Boonath, but his teachings are deeply rooted in the Shamanic traditions of the mystical Babas and Fakirs of India, with whom Boonath has been studying closely since childhood to the present day.
KIM is an Eco-activist & researcher turned Yogi and the founder of Healing in the Willows, the retreat company hosting Working with the Shadow, which he developed in 2014 in collaboration with Boonath, who he assists with the teaching on the retreat. Kim discovered Yoga in 2005, following a burn-out at work that brought him onto a spiritual path. Kim had spent over 10 years coordinating international environmental campaigns in Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin for major environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth, ActionAid, and many others.
Kim practiced Yoga with many teachers from several 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 there that Kim met Boonath and, through Boonath, that his understanding of what Yoga is and what Yoga can do shifted entirely. Boonath’s rare and ancient Tantric lineage revolutionised Kim’s understanding of Yoga and initiated him into a mystical healing journey that impacted strongly also on Kim’s activist work.
Since then Kim has been collaborating with Boonath on developing Working with the Shadow through the retreats they run in a remote forest in Tuscany, where Kim lives, and the workshops they run across Europe.
“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.”
Musician | India/UK
QUIET. COMFORTABLE. PRIVATE.
You will stay in a renovated medieval watermill in the heart of Tuscany’s Chianti region, just a few miles away from the spectacular city of Siena. The mill has been renovated with local material and traditional furniture, creating a magical atmosphere. Built on the river Arbia the mill is located in a secluded area, surrounded by olive grows, vineyard, and woodland. The watermill offers basic single, double and triple accommodation with shared bathrooms, a communal kitchen and a yogashala for practice.
The closest train station is Siena, a short train journey from Florence. The closest airport is Pisa (just an hour away from Florence). We organise transfers from Siena train station to the water mill.
YOGIC VEGAN DIET.
The diet on these retreats will be predominantly a traditional yogic diet of detoxifying Kitcheri – a mixture of half mung-beans & half rice, with a pinch of rock salt and coconut oil (with the occasional addition of fruits & vegetables). Used as a healing food (one of the best diets to rid the body of accumulated toxins), Kitcheri is an ancient detoxifying yogic formula used for thinning the veil between the spirit and the physical worlds. It is classically undertaken for 5 days, which is the length of the retreat. All meals will be Vegan (and Gluten-free) as Veganism best embodies the contemporary meaning of Ahimsa [‘non-violence’] – the very first observance on the path to Yoga.
Committed to making the retreats available to the widest possible demographic
we offer a range of prices to match all pockets.
Prices include accommodation and full board.
Price is per person.
Three people in three single beds.
Price per person.
Two people sharing two single beds.
One person in a single or doouble bed.
Double occupancy €599.
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 arriving early or extending your stay
and visit the nearby cities of Siena, Pisa or Florence.
Get in touch for more details.
BOOK / INQUIRE.
If you would like to join the retreat we kindly ask you to send us an email and tell us a little about yourself:
– Your age,
– Your background / profession,
– Your lifestyle,
– Any health issues (physical/mental/emotional),
– Previous experience with practicing Yoga, meditation, shamanism, etc.,
– More importantly, what draws you to come on such a healing journey?
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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