Reconnect with Zen meditation and Yoga
This week allows you the chance to completely unwind, re-engage with the present moment, and enjoy the peacefulness that surrounds us.
Each day will follow a similar routine, allowing us to easily engage with the practice. We will start each day with gentle Qi Gong movement and energy work, gradually moving into a group meditation and other practices such as, Yoga Nidra, mindfulness discussions, and more physical Yoga in the evening.
The first part of each day will take place in silence, this period of reflection will be held until lunchtime and is a beautiful way to ease into a new day and allows us the chance to be more grounded in what is happening in the here and now.
The afternoons are free for you to unwind and relax by the pool, or to explore the beautiful countryside that lies on your doorstep. There will also be additional excursions for those who wish to see local mediaeval villages, markets and chateaux. At 4pm you are invited to take part in Samu, within the Zen Buddhist tradition this is a period of worthwhile voluntary work where we can each contribute to our small community. This is carried out through various tasks such as gardening or helping in the kitchen, all carried out in the spirit of generosity - a core value of Buddhism.
The week will culminate with a full day of silence, guided meditations and yoga. This retreat is open to all abilities, and you will be encouraged to learn at your own pace. Whether you regularly practice Yoga and mindfulness, or you are new to both and just intrigued, this course is for you!
Guests will arrive on the first day of the course, and once we are all together we will enjoy our first meal, followed by a brief introductory meditation.
Most days will run in the following way:
8am Qi Gong / Energy work
9:30am breakfast in silence
10:00am lying down meditation (Yoga Nidra)
10:30am holding silence until lunchtime at around 1pm
Free time in afternoon to unwind and relax
4pm 'Samu', an hour of mindful activities
5pm discussion and meditation
Dinner at around 8pm and relax afterwards.
Everything throughout this week is optional – it’s there if you want it and you will no doubt benefit greatly from participating. If at any point in the week you feel you'd like to talk to someone or ask a question then both Mark and Sam are available at all times.
Meet your teacher
Mark Westmoquette has studied yoga since 2000 and has been teaching since 2008. He is also a qualified mindfulness teacher, and runs regular yoga and mindfulness courses, classes and retreats for Zenways in London and abroad.
Until 2013 Mark was a scientist doing research in astronomy, after almost 10 years in this office-job, he knows very well the aches, pains, and physical and emotional stresses that can develop within a pressured work environment. Mark’s approach fosters curiosity and awareness as we hurtle through the universe! Mark has been practising Zen under the guidance of Zen master Julian Daizan Skinner Roshi since 2007. In 2016 he became an authorised junior-level Zen teacher in the Zenways Rinzai lineage, and believes that "Yoga and meditation in fact work in very much the same direction, with one emphasising mindfulness and awareness more through movement and the body, and the other more through the mind and your thoughts."
Mark’s yoga classes combine mindful posture and flow routines with an aim to finding how to both strengthen and soften the body and mind, build flexibility and develop our connection with the ground and the world around us.
Accommodation and food is provided throughout your stay, as well as all of the teaching. Your travel to and from the retreat is not included. There will be optional excursions throughout the week so please bring additional euros for extra drinks, meals outside of The Farm, chateaux entrance tickets etc. French wine and beer will be available, although at an extra cost (there is an honesty chart on the fridge which is paid for at the end of your stay). Yoga mats and cushions will be here for the course, though please feel free to bring your own. Also bring clothes you are comfortable in, to meditate and practice yoga.
Thank you for a lovely and relaxing week with just the right balance of yoga, meditation, free time and outings. I leave feeling grounded and inspired to take up yoga again. Mark was a great teacher and I look forward to more retreats in the future!
A wonderful week with blessed souls, stunning scenery and perfect weather. I'll be back next year for the blessings the zen yoga and mindfulness week has to offer. Thank you Mark and Sam for your wisdom, care, and nurturing.