Mill Retreat, Normandy, France
24 – 27 September 2015
Yoga means union. The union of the body, mind and spirit; the individual soul with the universal soul; nature, prakriti with divinity, purusa. This year’s autumn equinox retreat created the space for people to experience this depth of union within, but also the union of friendship amongst our beautiful yoga community.
21 yogis travelled together on the yoga train from London to Normandy, France ~ its own unique adventure. Our retreat took place in a 19th century renovated mill dating back to 1846. A running river flows beneath the building and the original mill wheel provides hydro-electricity for the entire location ~ loving Mother Earth. This unique centre is located within thirty acres of beautiful gardens and grounds. It’s stunning, natural surroundings include a deeply peaceful lake; flowing rivers; a nature reserve; woodland and wildlife. It is a paradise for nature’s diversity.
The Mill has a typically French, rustic ambiance, with large windows, wooden shutters, wooden floors, and balconies overlooking the beautiful grounds. Each bedroom has a natural, unique interior; light, airy and spacious. There are two traditional gypsy wagons to enhance the experience of the country retreat, Francais!
The yoga studio is made of entirely natural wood with a high, vaulted ceiling and skylights; creating a feeling of openness and lightness. On waking up in this stunning location, we did an energising, yang Vinyasa Flow practice. Moving through beautiful sequencing and creative namaskars, we explored elemental vinyasa, uniquely inspired by the symbolism, metaphors and iconology of Ganesha and Hanauman. Evening practices were dynamic, yet soulful, including partner back bends, union of the heart, restorative and yoga nidra.
This soulful sadhana created a sense of connection, openness and vibrancy, leaving yogis feeling lovingly energised, uplifted and alive. The special bonds and friendships formed on these retreats reflect the unifying yogic energy created within our yoga community.
In the afternoons, yogis enjoyed walking in the colourful, natural gardens, rivers and lake, the sun shining in the blue September sky. Some went out on bikes to explore the grounds, took the rowing boat and kayak out on the peaceful lake, or walked to the nearby picturesque village of Aumale. Others relaxed, reading by the fire or spent time connecting with each other, forming friendships and sharing hearts.
The vegetarian, home-cooked food was wholesome and healthy; creative and colourful, served in the bright, beautiful dining room overlooking the gardens. The open fire in the rustic lounge was always lit, creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere. In the evenings, we gathered around the outdoor fire circle, surrounded by two flowing rivers. It was a magic location to connect to the elements under the starry, night sky and full moon. Mill Retreat offers this absolute haven of nature and peace.
On day three of the retreat we took a ‘Cultural Trip’ to explore the iconic sites of northern France. We visited the medieval town of Rouen, the capital of Normandy. The historical streets are lined with 15th century, Tudor architecture and it is where Joan of Arc was executed in 1431. It has a stunning cathedral, painted by Claude Monet, capturing its ornate architecture in a varying lights of day and dusk. Rouen has a wonderful atmosphere and a perfect place enjoy a glass of wine, absorbing the French ambiance. In the afternoon, we explored the picturesque and quintessential ‘Monet’s Gardens’ in Giverny. The sun shine brightly in a blue, autumn sky, lighting up the colour of the gardens, a diversity of natural beauty ~ union with nature.
Our retreat to France was a deeply inspiring, truly beautiful union of yoga, nature and friendship.
Eat, Love, Namaste. Ain’t nothing like a Lotus Love Yoga Retreat!
This retreat was an another amazing weekend! Absolutely loved it!
Namaste, a huge thanks for a very special retreat…it was an amazing new beginning and I look forward to next year in Ireland.
Thank you so much for bringing us altogether in such a beautiful place. It was a fantastic retreat with lots of energy flowing throughout, wonderful food, great company and the best yoga teacher one could ever wish for. Thank-you to everyone for sharing this wonderful weekend and all their love light and energy. I feel hugely energised and look forward to the next one.
Huge thank you and blessings to Heidi for all your hard work, dedication, teachings and inspiration over another wonderful retreat!
Thank you again for the retreat ~ I had an amazing time. Just inspirational!
I really enjoyed the thread of Ganesha and Hanauman’s stories throughout the practices and the relaxation and meditation were excellent. Mill Retreat was full of natural beauty, the log fire was always lit and the food was wholesome, healthy and colourful. I loved the Cultural Trip to Rouen and Monet’s Garden and time with the other amazing yogis on this retreat. Superb!
Thank you for some truly beautiful days in France. It was amazing!
Thank you for some beautiful memories the last few days.
Thank you so much for organising the retreat ~ fantastic. The experience really helped me and I found it very spiritual. I have brought this positive energy into my new beginnings. My family loved the retreat too!
Thank you for the brilliant French escapade.
This retreat was a very special weekend.