Join us at the beautiful Hearth and Soul Retreat Centre, nestled in the mountains near Stanford for this seven day silent retreat. Using music, conscious dance, movement, listening, direct perception, deep presence, relaxation, mindfulness, yoga, nature and meditation as tools to enter into deep communion.
The aim of the retreat is simple: We are giving ourselves the enormous gift of taking time for ourselves. To remember what Being Human really is. To explore our being and deepen our connection. To spend time in communion with life. Exploring a different way of being in our world. To rest. To let go, for a little while, our routine and daily narratives. So we may explore and discover other faculties that exist inside us. That can help guide our creative expression in life. And finally to integrate and embody this inner wisdom so that it may serve us better when we leave this space.
Just as an acorn under the right conditions becomes a great oak tree, so too we humans under the right conditions thrive into our full potential. This retreat provides a space with the right conditions. The emphasis will be on conscious dance and movement with a weaving in of practices to help nurture growth, explore yourself, and build bridges between all aspects of your life. A time of deep rest, rejuvenation, inspiration, and creativity. Immerse yourself.
This is a retreat and not a workshop. The only things we will process are things that arise in the moment. All welcome!
When: 4 -10 April 2023
Where: Hearth and Soul Retreat Centre, Western Cape, South Africa. 2 hours out of Cape Town.
Cost: R6250 including vegetarian meals and 6 nights shared comfortable accommodation on an amazing farm. Much of the food is grown on the land!
Booking essential: Contact Brian to book firstname.lastname@example.org
More Details about the retreat:
The focus of the retreat is to enter into communion with ourselves and nature. To remember what it is to Be Human. We aim to spend seven days exploring non-verbal communication that all life is speaking.
- We will gently transition into silence during the first day and come out of it on the last day.
- Our aim is to access the present now through movement, mindfulness, and meditation.
- We will not bring or use our phones, tech, books, drugs, alcohol, or stimulants.
- Our time will be spent deepening and expanding into the experience of Being so that we can explore and awaken to aspects of our minds, hearts, and body that we don’t usually hear in our day to day life.
- We will aim to cultivate deeper receptivity and listening to nature around and within us and respond to this deepening sensitivity through creative expression.
- Journals for creative writing, poetry and jotting down epiphanies as well as art materials to paint, drawer or make art are permitted and encouraged.
- We will also aim bring ourselves into harmony with nature and be open to experience transmissions from higher aspects of our being.
- It will be a time learn to move or practice moving in harmony with the world within and around us and improve our ability to be an instrument of the divine flow of our life.
- There will be adequate time to rest in between sessions of movement. You do not have to have a certain level of fitness just a willingness to perhaps push through a few edges in the spirit of adventure. All are welcome on this retreat.
- See the retreat guidelines below for more information
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have about the retreat. Please book early to avoid disappointment as space is limited to a maximum of 25 participants.
What the days will look like:
- 06:30 - 8:30 - Yoga/breath work/meditation
- 8:30 - 10:00 - Breakfast and free time
- 10:00-12:30 - Conscious dance/movement practice and yoga nidra/deep relaxation practice
- 12:30 - 15:00 - Lunch (Main Meal) and free time/walking in nature
- 15:00-17:00 - Conscious dance/mindfulness practice
- 17:00 - 19:00 - Dinner and free time - Make dinner light meal
- 19:00 - 21:15 - Conscious dance practice and meditation
- 21:15 - Free time and sleep.
The daily practices will change from day to day, each day will have a specific focus or aspects of exploration and intention, building to an integrated whole by the end of the retreat. We explore the maps of the Awake Human Being system. There will be a breathing balance between rest and movement. The first 4 days of the retreat are part in preparation for the 5th Day - Where we will move in a Dance Ceremony from noon till midnight. combined with 24 hour solid food fast. The 6th day will be a day of integration in silence and we will only break the silence on the 7th day in the closing.
Testimonials from participants on previous retreat:
Thank you so much for this fantastic retreat, I enjoyed every minute of it. In spite of being a beginner conscious dancer and never having been silent for even a day, it exceeded all my expectations. My intention was simply to deepen my mind body connection, relax and nourish myself. Over the five days I experienced a myriad of different and wonderful insights into myself and was amazed how you managed to incorporate so much: yoga, meditation, nature, creativity, energy, visualisation, movement, music and more,. bringing it all together in a mind space perfect for growth and endless possibilities. Growing new neural pathways, healing, connecting, opening, processing and playing with the many aspects and layers of our humanness. For me it feels like so much I have been working on has been integrated in a profound way.
Highly recommend this retreat for anyone and everyone. Just had my family to stay for the week and I can't believe how calm I am.
The retreat was wonderful, amazing, mystical and magical. It was a time of ever-present commune in peace and love. I too feel a big shift in my body. I thank you for all that you gave of self to purpose this magical weekend into being. It was truly a joyous time.
Thanks again for creating such an awesome, soulful retreat! I was blown away by the power and beauty of the music… and your facilitation was a perfect blend of wise guidance and non-interference in the unfolding process. I came away feeling inspired and rejuvenated!
The retreat was the best gift I have ever given myself!
The combination of silence and movement was perfect for me. If something came up in me, I would dance with it, sometimes it was a gentle unfolding and sometimes a tumultuous unravelling. I found myself dancing through my relationships, and with the soul of my brother who has passed, as well as with my higher-self and realms of the ancestors, angels and demons. Other times laughing or smiling from ear to ear and just having a really good dance and celebration of life! And seeing this process in others as well was super-cool.
About your facilitator:
The retreat will be held by Brian Bergman (Founder of Awake Human Being and Dance Awake). Brian has been practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness for 21 years and has been practicing conscious dance for the last 9. He is a veterinarian, a qualified Dancing Freedom facilitator and holds a PG Diploma in Yogic Studies, from the Bihar Yoga Bharati, in India. He taught yoga and mindfulness inside prisons for ten years. And Currently teaches weekly Dance Awake classes and workshops. And vets at an Animal Welfare Clinic in Khayalitsha.
About the Retreat Centre:
Hearth and Soul is situated in the mountains between Stanford and Bredarsdorp, about 1h45min from Cape Town. It is a farm set up on permaculture principles and most of the delicious food served on the retreat will be straight from the gardens around the centre! It is a peaceful place with lovely walking in the mountains, with a river, beautiful views, adequate water and lots of nature. The accommodation is comfortable rooms with their own bathrooms and showers. There is a beautiful hall to practice our movement and dance in as well as a newly created outdoor space too. The images below were taken at a workshop we held last year at the centre. For more information click this link: Hearth and Soul
Awareness - the witnessing consciousness - being - here - now - I am Loving Awareness
These are all words pointing to the state of being that we call mindfulness. The aim is to put all our attention into the present moment, into reality as it is, right now. We then allow our awareness to expand into this reality and experience it more fully than we can even imagine. As we free ourselves from the great effort required to not be present, this saved energy is channeled into the here and now. An important aspect of mindfulness, is equanimity. We are fully prepared to be present, even if we don’t like it. We let go of judgment and suppression and allow the moment to unfold exactly as it is. Equanimity implies not reacting to the present moment. It is not detachment, rather it is non attachment. If we don’t like what we are experiencing we don’t run away from it or try escape into something else. We face it and keep moving. Instead of blind reaction which is based on our habits and conditioning, we now have the opportunity to respond. To be responsible. We are supported by our practice of movement. Cultivating awareness and equanimity helps us to stay present and face even the most unbearable aspects of our lives when they surface.
We will keep silence during this retreat. This means we will stop using words to communicate. This silence is a blessing. It enables us to have experience and then deepen it by keeping the experience within for sometime. Please set a strong intention that you will keep this silence and respect other people. We will be moving together and expressing through movement. The aim of this silence is to learn to listen and hear what is actually being said. And to learn to trust this to be more true than words. Outside and inside. Beyond the labels of words. We advise you to switch off your cell phones give yourself this time to be on your own. The world will not fall apart without you.
We are going to be living for the next few days in a totally different routine to our normal. We will be moving a lot and using the body in ways that may not be familiar. There will be times where you may feel overwhelmed, tired, exhausted and generally edgy. You may experience swings from bliss to anger and other negativity. This is all normal and part of the process. It is an invitation to move with it and allow it to change. Maintain a sense of humour, and push the edges a little. This simply means, whenever you get caught up in resistance, or narratives like not possibly being able dance anymore, simply relax, focus, and return to the practice. Trust the process. If we go beyond our comfort we open to the possibility of knowing where our limits actually lie, rather than what we perceive them to be. We also open up possibilities of moving into new and exciting territory within our being. Pace yourself in the practices, there is a way to move through everything we are doing this weekend, effortlessly.
You are encouraged to keep a journal handy. Its purpose is to record any epiphanies, insights, flashes of wisdom or intuition, downloads, solutions to challenges, and visions to do with your life moving forward. These can be recorded in a few short words, poems, and/or artworks that will enable you to recall and unpack them after the retreat. The journal is not for further processing of the above, doing any analysis or recording memoirs. Try not to use it for anything where we engage with intellect, beliefs and/or reason. There will be time for that after the retreat.
This is another important practice we will be doing while on retreat. Take time to really be present to the experience of eating your meal. Notice through all your senses the food you eat. Smell, taste, touch, look and hear it. Feel the sensations it creates within your body as you chew, swallow and assimilate it. Be aware of your thoughts, moods, and feelings before during and after the meal. Be aware of all the likes and dislikes, and preferences to the food. Observe your breath and body and inner and outer landscapes through the mealtime. Remember the practice requires no real effort. All these experiences are there anyway, we are choosing to be conscious of them rather than zoning out, or getting distracted.
Each day there will be opportunity to walk in nature. Like eating, the walking is also seen as an opportunity to be mindful. Take it as such. The afternoon walks will have a focus of awareness to walk with which will be mentioned in the course of the morning.
Conscious Dance Guidelines
The main practice of this retreat is conscious movement. If you are new to it, here are some tips:
- You cannot get it wrong! It doesn't have to look like a dance, or like somebody else’s dance. You are free to move how you feel to move and dance like you dance.
- Stay in movement. No matter what is going on inside your head, no matter what you are feeling, whether you are exhausted, full of energy, stay in some form of movement. It can be small, or big, fast or slow, in time to the music, or in time to something else.
- Stay present. Keep yourself present by focusing on the body and the breath. Whenever you are distracted into thinking about past or future, or day dreaming, simply return to the feelings in the body, the movement of breath and keep moving. If there is a focus that we are working with in the dance, you can also return to that. As many times as you get distracted, just return whenever you notice your are no longer present.
- Eyes Closed or Open. Dance with your eyes open or closed as much as you like. Closing the eyes is a great way to deal with being easily distracted or feeling self conscious. When our eyes are closed our other senses become sharp and we can feel and listen more and sometimes opening the eyes helps to ground an experience.
- Respect Others. Be mindful of the other dances and where they may be in their experience. Sometimes we are moving through “Stuff”. There is no need to rescue anyone, we simply respect and give them space to move with it. Other times you may find yourself dancing in a connected way with another dancer. This is great, provided the other is also there willingly. When these dances end, and both parties are free to bow out at anytime, let them go. Sometimes we share a moment of intimacy with another. Do not attribute any meaning to this other than what it was. Let it go when it ends and move back into your own dance.
- No words. Everything we need to say is expressed through movement.
On the 5th Day we go into the Dance of the Seven Spaces Ceremony and move from noon until midnight. This is a day of increased intensity. We will push our edges a little more but there will be periods of movement and rest as we move through the ceremony. This day we will fast as well, so that our energy will be used in movement and awareness rather than digestion. The focus of the ceremony is communion and integration.