You just can’t beat a yoga retreat in France!
This is traditionally the time of year when you take stock of your life, looking back at what has gone before and forward to what is to come. Maybe things didn’t turn out quite the way you had planned…Maybe you didn’t have a plan at all!
We all get swept along by the tide of events and the desire to please others and often wish we could just take the time to really think and put our lives back on track. So, have you ever thought of going on a retreat to find a place and time to think?
Yoga retreat in France
Well, I’ve been talking to Danuta Karpinska of the Radha Caudet Yoga Retreat Centre about her work, the centre and the people who go there.
You may be surprised to learn that there is nothing ‘New Age’ going on at Caudet, it is not full of old hippes and although a lot of Danuta’s guests have practiced yoga before some of them have no experience of it at all. So what brings people to Caudet? There’s the setting, which is just perfect, in the rolling hills of the Gers.
Then Caudet itself, which is a high quality, high comfort haven, lovingly created by Danuta and Steve over the last four years. But Danuta told me that most of her guests come to Caudet because they are driven by a fundamental question, such as ‘What am I doing with my life?’ or ‘Who am I?’
At Caudet you are away from the distractions of everyday life and responsibilities, you’re free to concentrate on yourself, to get in touch with your intuitive side and deal with those questions.
But don’t expect Danuta to give you answers, what she provides are the tools which enable you to find them deep within yourself. “Tools for understanding how your mind works, seeing you have choices and accessing the courage to make those choices”. You don’t come to Caudet to wave your legs around for a day or two, Danuta says “Taking a course here could change your life”.
Yoga for your life
Danuta has been an instructor of Hatha Yoga for more than 25 years and is dedicated to helping others overcome problems with their lives or their work. She is a guide to the self-reflective practices of Swami Sivananda Radha, renowned for their crystal clear guidance. You can come for a couple of days or for much longer; everyone is welcome, people of all ages and of all religions and none.
Danuta offers a variety of different courses such as ‘Strategies for Life Weekends’ where you will learn to stretch and flex your body, be aware of your breathing and achieve relaxation. You discover the hidden language of the postures and learn to listen to the messages that your body gives you. You explore the language of your dreams and learn to make your own interpretation, something only you can do.
You can try the ‘Steps to Freedom’ course which lasts five days, this uses the Kundalini system to explore how your mind, body and consciousness work together. You study the symbols which represent the whole of life and find their relationship to your own life and challenges. The insights that you gain will amaze and inspire you to find new direction and purpose.
If you’re concerned about your health you might opt for a ‘weekend of healing yoga’, Danuta has experience in working with those recovering from illness or injury, from children to seniors.
An option which is particularly popular with Steve and Danuta’s younger guests is to become a Karma Yogi which only costs 30 Euros a day. Karma Yogis participate in the yoga courses but they also help with the work that needs to be done at Caudet. So depending on your skills, you might find yourself helping to prepare meals, working in the garden, repointing a wall or doing something on a computer.
Your work is carried out as an offering, simply because it needs doing and you reflect on the symbolism of what you’re doing and how it applies to other aspects of your life.
Whatever your needs, Danuta is there to help you decide and even when you go home after your retreat she is just a phone call or an email away. You will find your time at Caudet to be a joyful experience and although people often have to face difficult areas in their lives, there is support from other members of the group and nobody is obliged to go deeper than they wish into those areas. You don’t even have to do yoga, you can just enjoy the peace and quiet and the delicious homemade food.
But isn’t all this concentration on the self a bit, well…selfish, I asked? Danuta told me that rather than being selfish, it’s a good thing to take a kind, compassionate interest in oneself and at the end of this path of self-discovery you will find out what you have got to offer to others. I will leave you with a fantastic quote from Ascent Magazine “This process may not be exciting to view from the outside, but from the inside it has all the thrills of the wildest adventure vacation, and far more benefits.”
For more information here is Danuta’s website.
Have you ever been to a yoga retreat in France? Share you experience below!Image Credits
1. Sunset yoga by Graham, via Flickr
2. © Wendy wise
3. © Wendy wise
4. © Wendy wise