yoga, embodied movement & meditation
Clare Stephen - I first encountered yoga while backpacking around Sri Lanka and India aged 19 and instantly fell in love with this most profound and beautiful practice. Yoga has been a constant refuge throughout my life since.
I trained to become a yoga teacher within the Iyengar tradition and qualified at introductory level in 1989. In 1991, after visiting the Iyengar Yoga Ashram in Pune India, I went on to do further training with senior Iyengar teachers and gained my junior intermediate level 3 certificate in 2005. This allowed me to specialise in teaching antenatal yoga which, being a practising midwife , was an area of particular interest.
In 1986 on a year’s trip to Asia, I visited McLeod Ganj, a Tibetan refugee village in the foothills of the Himalayas and the residence of the Dalai Lama in exile. Whilst on retreat there, we were lucky to have an audience with His Holiness on two occasions. This experience and indeed the whole journey round Asia, affected me profoundly and deepened my faith in the Three Jewels: the Buddha , Dharma and Sangha. I subsequently took refuge as a Buddhist.
I started coming to Dhanakosa in 2000 and have been teaching on yoga retreats here since 2008. I find the practice of yoga and meditation mutually supportive. Both nurture ease and deep embodiment and create the conditions for insight, wisdom and compassion to arise.
Polly transitioned to teaching yoga in 2017 from a 15 year career in creative communications. Since qualifying at Raja Yoga Academy's 500hr training, Polly has worked as a travelling teacher in California, Thailand and New Zealand as well as well as the UK. She follows the Ghosh methodology and studies with Acharyas Ida Jo and Scott Lamps, sharing these teachings through a range of yoga styles. This therapeutic method is rooted in healing and integration: focusing on health, strength and functionality in the body and stillness in the mind, with the values of knowledge, humility and discipline at heart. Polly teaches yoga for all levels from restorative to dynamic, for private clients, retreats, studios, special events and festivals. Polly contributes to key projects and events for Buddhafield, her sangha.
Open to all, these retreats are suitable for both beginners and those with more experience, but no previous experience is assumed. All these retreats include introductory meditation teaching and periods of silence.
These retreats combine introductory meditation teaching with a blend of traditional yoga and contemporary approaches to embodied movement. This playful synthesis of body based approaches to wellbeing (through meditation and movement) in the peaceful and beautiful environment of the retreat can help restore physical and mental vitality and balance in our lives.
We will cover an introduction to two traditional Buddhist meditations as well as give a solid introduction to the principals of meditation. We will also be exploring some traditional Buddhist teachings to get a flavour of how these might be relevant to our modern lives.
No previous experience of meditation, yoga or embodied movement is assumed so these retreats are suitable for complete beginners, but they are also a good refresher for those who already have some experience.
For more information see the retreat information sheet.