Balance Your Elements Retreat
Vinyasa | ayurveda | Restorative
September 9-14th 2018
with Ash bond & Amanda Graham
It all started when…
Amanda & Ash met on a Yoga Therapy course in Thailand. Amanda and her husband Fraser are now the caretakers of this serene slice of the world and have created PraanaWellness here, a retreat centre and gentle haven from the bustle of the world outside.
Days melt into one another. Waking with yoga and fuelled with the most delicious home-cooked food, the hours in between can be spent exploring the local churches and markets, having a massage, lazing by the pool or simply finding a quiet corner to sit and read that book you've been longing to dive into.
Amanda and Ash have devised a programme for this retreat that is designed to inspire balance; a balance of the elements within us but also our relationship with the elements that shift and flow around us with the seasons.
This week of taking a step away from our regular routine allows us a a chance to settle into an easeful series of rituals of self care, yoga, massage, nurturing nutrition and meditation. As well as all of this yummy yoga and nourishing food there will be an extra element of providing a sound foundation in the elements of Ayurveda and a chance to try cooking some staple Ayurvedic meals, all under the specialist eye of Ayurvedic practitioner Amanda.
Woven around our sessions of Ayurveda, our yoga will support this sense of balance. Energising Vinyasa Flow classes, led by Ash, will be structured around the 5 elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Ether. Each will be different, with a chance to explore your creativity in asana. Ash will be on hand to deepen your understanding of your physical practice, whether with precise bodywork-inspired adjustments to help you move more freely or with playful variations to challenge you.
Utilising all of the props that the magical Yoga Barn at PraanaWellness has to offer (blocks, bolsters, blankets and straps) we will also take time each day for a Restorative Yoga session. Restorative Yoga is active rest and students will be propped up and lulled into the softer side of the nervous system to help nurture our energy and nourish our spirits.
Before one of our special morning practices and after one of our evening restoratives, Amanda will take us through some key practices advised by Ayurveda to reset the system, bring us into a new day or close it peacefully and mindfully. Every student will be gifted the tools they need, including a neti pot and dry brushes for massage.
Nutrition is at the heart of Ayurveda, and at the heart of PraanaWellness. The food at the retreat is utterly divine and Amanda has offered us the opportunity to learn how to cook some of these particular Ayurvedic specialities. This will be a hands-on demonstration which will give us the tools we need to integrate some of this balance back into a busy life back home.
A TYPICAL DAY
7.30am: Fruit, tea & freshly squeezed hot lemon/ginger available
7.30-8.00am: Silent Meditation in the Yoga Barn (optional, as of course is everything!)
8.00-9.30am: Dynamic Vinyasa Yoga with Ash in the Yoga Barn
10.00-12noon: Delicious homemade brunch
12noon - 4pm: Free time - massage, walk to the village, laze by the pool!
[2pm - optional extra Arm Balance / AcroYoga session]
3pm: Snacks and juice available
4-5pm: Ayurvedic Session with Amanda Graham
5-6pm: Restorative Yoga Session
8.30pm: Stories by the fire pit
On Wednesday we will also be going for a visit to the local French market.
Accommodation & Rates
Early bird lasts until April 2018.
Luxury Dorms - £850
Greniere 4 (3 beds) - £875
Ensuite 1 (twin) - £895 *full*
Grenier 5 (double - single occupancy option available) - £895
Ensuite 3 - £975 *full*
En 2 (kingsize) (single occupancy option available) - £975
Luxury Dorms - £950
Greniere 4 (3 beds) - £975
Ensuite 1 (twin) - £895 *full*
Grenier 5 (double - single occupancy option available) - £995
Ensuite 3 - £1075 *full*
En 2 (kingsize) (single occupancy option available) - £1075
Bring a friend and both of you receive a complimentary massage at the retreat (yogis - team up!)
Payment Plan Option:
£150 deposit to secure a place on the retreat. Option for a monthly payment plan - please email to discuss.
Travelling to the Retreat
PraanaWellness is also a bed and breakfast and yogis are welcome to spend a few days before and after the retreat to settle in / settle out (!) of this idyllic home. If this is the case please book extra accommodation at least one month prior to arrival.
On our last retreat, one brave soul cycled all the way from Bristol to Jonzac. If you are willing to make the travel part of your adventure then the train is very much a possibility. If you decide to go by plane, there will be 2 organised pick up and drop off times at the airport on the Friday and Sunday. These will be sent out when the deposit is paid.
Options are to fly into:
Paris (Charles de Gaulle (CDG) or Orly), Bordeaux or even London!
Paris Charles de Gaulle has a TGV (train) station within the airport, and is so much more
convenient than Orly airport.
The train options from Paris, Bordeaux and London are discussed in the section below.
Airport transfer to and from Bordeaux airport (an hour by car) is charged at 45€ per person
each way, for two or more people (90 euros for one person, one way). Alternatively, there is
a simple and quick non-stop coach transfer from right outside the terminal at Bordeaux
airport directly to Bordeaux St Jean train station. Details here. Then take the train to Jonzac
and organize a transfer to PraanaWellness at no extra cost.
If you have time, renting a car is a lovely way to explore France and will come in handy if
wishing to explore in your free time during your stay at PraanaWellness either on Retreat
or when using the B&B.
Car hire is available (book online) at Paris airports, Bordeaux airport and Angoulême train
station. There are two types of main road: the National Routes (N) and the Péage that are
the much quicker toll roads.
For trains, we have used this link or here for train timetables and booking (Google says
there are many you can book from, though.)
The journey by train from Paris (CDG to Angoulême) is 3h20m. When booking always check
the premier (first) class price, as it can sometimes be only a few euros more than second-
class. Also, when reserving your seat you may have the choice between an upstairs seat (a
better view of the countryside) but a downstairs seat may be better if you have a lot of
It is even possible to take the train from London (Eurostar changing in Paris for Angoulême)
going through the Channel Tunnel.
The best station to arrive at is Jonzac, which is just 15 minutes from our retreat centre.
PraanaWellness can collect you from this station at no cost. However, if you are coming into
Angouleme then getting to Jonzac on the train is long and may take you via Bordeaux – you
are better off arranging pick-up from PraanaWellness.
Angoulême is an interesting, buzzy fort city built on a hill. It's 40 minutes away from the
retreat centre by car or taxi. PraanaWellness can collect you from this station at a cost of
30€ per person, for two or more people (60 euros for one person, one way).
Alternatively, you could get to our retreat centre using car rental or shared taxi.