Shakti Awakening: Women’s Retreat
A deeply feminine and spacious autumnal retreat awakening the wisdom within us.
Connect to your creativity, sensitivity and sensuality to bring aliveness and presence to our lives.
Braziers Park, Ipsden, Oxfordshire, OX10 6AN
Friday, October 13, 2023 – 10:00 – 11:00am
Sunday, October 15, 2023 – 3:00pm
with Laura Hinde and Lou Stanion
During this weekend retreat, we’ll be enjoying:
- Circle time: There will be an opening and a closing circle (the only two things that we ask everyone to be at) and plenty of time to check in throughout the retreat
- Yoga: Womb, Kundalini, Somatic Hatha, Restorative and Yoga Nidra.
- Pranayama, Meditation
- Music, Chanting, Crafting
- Walking in the forest
- Showering under the stars
- New Moon Ritual, Ceremonial Cacao
- Gong Bath: melt into the vibration of sound
This weekend is for you if:
✶ You are a woman
✶ You would love a relaxing and nurturing weekend away
✶ You want to connect with like-minded sisters
✶ You want to experience deeper relaxation and well-being
✶ You want to learn to surrender more to your body and your inner wisdom
✶ You want to learn life enhancing / rejuvenating practises that will nourish you going forwards
Why a women only retreat?
✶ When women come together there are things that happen for them that is not possible in a mixed environment. There is a deepening of self that unfolds within a supportive network of women of all ages.
✶ Women often seem to be in a transition which provokes the desire to go on retreat (considering the viability of a marriage, moving on from a corporate job, going through a rite of passage such as pregnancy, peri-menopause or menopause). Transitions are smoother with support.
Braziers Park is situated within the Chiltern Hills, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We will be making the most of this! It is right on the edge of the village of Ipsden (where the yoga hall is situated) and close to the town of Wallingford. To the north lies Oxford and to the south, Reading.
The drive from St Albans to Braziers Park is 53 miles and takes just over an hour depending of course, on the traffic. We have chosen the start and finish time of the retreat to (hopefully) hit the ebbs from a traffic perspective.
Braziers Park is a community, a residential college and an architectural treasure. It was founded in 1950 as an educational trust, and is a continuing experiment in the advantages and problems of living in a group. Community members share responsibility for running the mansion house (a Grade II* listed building), 55 acres of land, organic kitchen garden and livestock, facilitating courses and organising events assisted by visiting volunteers from around the world.
We will all be sleeping in the mansion house in either a triple, twin or a single room. The rooms are all different shapes and sizes, comfortable but simple, with a variety of different views. Bathrooms will be shared.
There is plenty of communal space too.
The drawing room is the biggest room, with doors which open out onto a large level terrace that leads onto the lawn. There is a study and a library also there to use.
We will be using Ipsden village hall for most of our sessions. It is about a 20 minute walk to and from the mansion house, along a quiet country lane. The walk provides a natural transition time but it is also possible to drive if you’d prefer.
The food at Braziers will be vegetarian as well as wheat/gluten free for lunch and supper. At breakfast, both wheat/gluten free and wheat alternatives will be available. Braziers is renowned for delicious and creative home cooking. Food is locally sourced where possible or from the kitchen garden. There may be additional charges for special dietary requests.
Your investment for the weekend includes tuition, accommodation (twin or single rooms available) and all meals.
Triple room: £435
Twin room: £470
Single room: £520
Payment plan available to suit you
Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org
The maximum number of
participants for the retreat is 15.
Places will be offered on a
first-come, first-served basis.
And if you are able, do bring also your beloved female relatives with you: bring your mother, your best friend, your (adult) daughter your favourite auntie, your mother-in-law, your niece, your god-daughter, your favourite female neighbour or just yourself!
For questions please contact
Lou on 07730 430 330
or Laura on 07974 653 661.
Cancellations made more than 3 months before the retreat (13th July) – – Full refund less 5% admin fee
Cancellations made between 13th July and 1st September – – Refund less £150 (unless we can fill your place from a waiting list)
Cancellations made between 1st September and the retreat (13th Oct) – – No refunds
“Thank you two for the wonderful Shelter and Haven you created at Braziers Park. It was something different to everyone who attended but harmonious and overlapping in our every need. You catered for us in tiny details and made it seem effortless and seamless. From my personal viewpoint, it was an affirmation and a chance to “check in” with the heart through the breath and YOGA in its entirety. I felt a new path of exploration in the MOON CYCLE awaits and revisiting the old remains a touchpoint and a comfort.”
“It is a little difficult to put into words the gratitude I feel for the space you just held for me and others this weekend. I find it hard to describe it any better than sacred. The company, the food, the accommodation, the beauty of the area, the timetable. So perfect. I loved the dancing, chanting, walking, connecting, the variety of the Yoga, the sharing time, the meditation. The list goes on. I have felt rather like a vulnerable open wound these last few years and I cannot express how much both of you, The Yoga Hall, the Red Tent and this retreat have helped me to heal.”
“Enormous and heartfelt thanks for the weekend retreat. It couldn’t have been more crafted and sincere… Having had two quiet and reflective days at home, I feel the word to describe best is REPLENISHED. None of us could have known how we would manage and cope with a pandemic and lockdown, and whilst I felt proud and privileged to support loved ones and the community, I was definitely DEPLETED. You gave me the unlimited grace and kindness to go deep and heal. My love and gratitude to you both.”
“Such an honour and a gift to be here with you beautiful goddesses. Thank you both so very much! Wishing you a thousand blessings and more on all you do, all you are and all you send out into the world and beyond! So much love and gratitude.”
A poem dedicated to Lou and Laura in honour of their “Open to Light” yoga retreat, Florence House, 17-19 Sept 2021
Retreat, I said, to my family.
I’m going away, for a few days, to retreat, I said.
And I did.
Welcome, they said. Welcome to time for you,
To retreat from your daily life and jobs and rushing and people and pets
and pushing and pulling and noise and demands from the outside world.
Welcome they said. And I was.
Swim, she said. Let’s swim.
Let’s go to the ocean and swim.
Let the waves wash away the aches and the pains
and feel the water of life lift you up with the waves.
Watch the fish jumping and the seagulls feast with pleasure.
And I swam. And it felt good.
And I felt the water of life lift me up.
Dance, she said. Let’s dance.
Let’s dance to the Four Directions.
Back, forth, right, left.
North, East, South, West.
Dance, she said. And we did. And it felt good.
And we danced to the Four Directions.
Lean in, she said, lean in.
Lean in to the floor, supporting your back.
Lean in to the ground holding your bones.
Lean in to Mother Earth below you.
And I leaned in.
And the tears came, and the tears went.
And the body shook, and my heart ached.
And I let go of somethings I no longer needed to hold in my body.
Things I no longer needed to hold on my own.
I leaned in. And I let go.
Rest now, she said. Rest, dear woman.
Rest in the arms of love.
Here’s a blanket to wrap yourself in.
And I did, I rested.
And I was bone tired, and it felt good to feel the tiredness, and I shed some tiredness deep within.
And I felt better for resting.
Be fed, she said. Be fed.
Take, eat, this nourishing food, while it’s hot.
Go sit quietly, eat and digest in peace.
And when you’re finished I will bring you cake. And she did.
And I ate. I ate cake.
And I felt full and warm and nourished and fed.
And it felt good to be fed by another.
Feast, she said. Let’s feast.
Let’s Feast on the love and the holding,
the safety, the space to retreat and to rest and be fed.
Feast on the leaning in, being wrapped in a blanket of love.
Lean in, she said. And I did.
And I felt loved, and safe, and nourished, and held, and fed, and rested.
And it felt good to retreat.
And it felt good to be me.
Open to light, they said.
And we did.
With much love to you all, wherever you are on your journey, may you find some more space to retreat.
Laura and Lou have been working together since 2006 and in 2011 started to team teach a monthly Restorative Yoga workshop. In January 2014 they jumped in a car and sped to their first ever Red Tent, held by the women of Brighton! Inspired and enthused, they co-founded Red Tent St Albans a month later. Soon after that they formed a small ‘Guardians’ circle to support the Red Tent space and have been sitting in Women’s circles ever since.
Motivated by a desire to calm her mind, Lou’s interest in yoga started in 2004. In 2006 she qualified as a Yoga teacher in India, trained by the Sivananda Organisation. Her teaching has its foundations in time spent with Faustomaria Dorelli at the Innergy Yoga Centre in London. Part of a dynamic yogic Sangha (community), and alongside this working in a busy commercial role promoting African Safaris, Lou gained a lived understanding of how to integrate yoga into daily life. It was at Innergy that her love of singing was re-kindled and monthly chanting (either in London or St Albans) became a regular part of her life.
Since then she has qualified to teach Womb Yoga & Total Yoga Nidra with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, Kundalini Yoga with Har Nal Kaur at Amrit Nam Sarovar and Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater and Teen Yoga with Charlotta Martinus
Later in 2013 Lou undertook Shadow Work training with John & Nicola Kurk. This led her to the ‘Women in Power’ programme, an initiation that unearths and honours buried aspects of the feminine soul and psyche.
In 2015 Lou met Alexandra Pope, co-founder of Red School, whilst attending one of her menopause weekends. Just on the cusp of menopause herself, this inspired her to join the 2016 Woman’s Quest Apprenticeship, a radically new approach to leadership training for women. In 2017 she trained as a Menstrual Medicine Circle Facilitator and Red School Menstruality Mentor, working one to one with women to access the gold hidden within their menstrual and, post-menopause, their seasonal cycles.
And in early 2019 she completed a 580 hour Yoga Therapy & Mindfulness Training with Heather Mason at The Minded Institute and offers 1-2-1 Yoga and Yoga Therapy. She is now part of the supervisory team at Minded and is a course tutor on their new Integrated Yoga & Psychotherapy training.
Lou is a certified Trauma Resilience Embodied Yoga (TREY) teacher and Internal Family Systems Practitioner (Level 1 & 2 trained). Internal Family Systems is an integrative approach to individual psychotherapy with spirituality at its core.
Lou has completed The Path of Light, The Path of Love and The Path of Mystery; all three levels of the self-mastery course The Masters’ Way, which has been created by In’Easa mabu Ishtar working with the Ascended Masters of Light. This year she is taking The Path of the One Heart Level 1 and The Harmonisers Level 1.
Lou also is also a member of the Mentors of Love & Wisdom, a not-for-profit organization made up of individuals from all around the world, who have made a commitment to hold open their divine channel and share the keys and wisdom they receive with humanity.
Laura was fortunate to find her teacher, Faustomaria Dorelli, in 1992. After 3 years of increasingly immersive classes with him at his Innergy Yoga Centre in West London (Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga and Bhakti Yoga in the form on Kirtan Chanting), he encouraged her to take the Yoga Teacher Training Course at the Sivananda Yoga Headquarters in Canada, which she completed in 1995. She remained living on the Sivananda ashrams for a year, teaching in New York State, New York City and on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, followed by a year at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico where she continued to teach Hatha Yoga and learn about Living Foods.
Returning to the UK in 1998 she continued to teach full time at Fausto’s Innergy Yoga centre, training and immersion in Hatha, Raja and Bhakti Yoga. Encouraged by Fausto, she began teaching women Pregnancy Yoga, first learning “on the job” with the women she taught and later training with Janet Balaskas at the The Active Birth Centre.
In 2002 she married and moved to St Albans, founding The Yoga Hall with her husband and fellow Yoga teacher, Finlay Hinde. The birth of their children in 2004 and 2008 motivated a whole new exploration of specialist women’s teachings, training with Birthlight (Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and Francoise Feldman) and Peter Walker (Developmental Baby Massage), as well as a post-natal apprenticeship with The Active Birth Centre.
Inspired by the spiritual depth of Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa‘s teaching, she travelled back to New York City in 2013 to undertake the Khalsa Way Pre-Natal Yoga training. This was where she experienced Kundalini Yoga for the first time and was deeply moved by the experience. It was particularly the quality of the women’s teachings that motivated her to a daily practice of Kundalini Yoga, and to begin exploring Kundalini Yoga more intensely.
In 2015 she took the Women in Power initiation.
In 2016 she completed her Kundalini Level 1 teacher training course at Amrit Nam Sarovar in the French Alps, From there and she continued into Level 2, a 3-year undertaking comprising 7 courses, completing in 2019;
Journey of Life Dynamics: Kriya and Ayurveda, Journey into the Mind: Trance and Transcend, Journey into Listening: From Blah Blah to Wah!, Journey into Sacred Geometry: The Language of Signs, Symbols and Numbers, Journey into Tantra: Shiva/Shakti Awaken!, Journey of the Soul: From Lineage to Destiny, and Journey into the Beyond: The Spiritual Warrior.
Laura has completed The Path of Light, The Path of Love, and The Path of Mystery three levels of the self-mastery course The Masters’ Way, created by In’Easa mabu Ishtar working with the Ascended Masters of Light. This year she is taking The Path of The One Heart and The Harmonisers courses with the same teachers.