Mindfulness Retreat with Horses, Nature and Sea
We believe that horses can become our partners in healing by allowing us to experience the serenity of the present moment and provide us mirrors of our own emotions, ways of communicating and challenges in relationships. 'HEAL DIFFERENTLY' programme was carefully designed to provide you with a unique approach to personal health and growth involving the horse-human relationship. It promotes emotional growth and learning, psychological exploration, enhanced relationships, awareness of the present moment, improved communication and encourages insight and healing.
Retreat is an opportunity to step out of the complexity of your life and embrace new tools that will enable you to live more mindfully, with greater ease and self-kindness. This retreat will combine the fertile atmosphere of Gozitan silence, time for meditation and walks in nature with elements of equine-assisted therapy. Our aim is to support you in your emotional and personal growth in an atmosphere of safety.
Through different mindfulness and self-compassion practices you will experience first-hand the impact that developing awareness can have on your mind and body. You will be introduced to a range of skills to help you be more embodied, calm and responsive and less controlled by worry or constant mental chatter. You will learn new tools to help you build your resilience to physical and emotional pain, whether expressed through anxiety, stress or depression.
The use of horses within therapy can be traced back to early 1950s. Their ability to read human emotion and their inherent honesty is perhaps why we look to them in times of distress. Horses are particularly well known for their ability to foster therapeutic change, both physically and emotionally. Used to help with a variety of issues from addiction to low self-esteem, horse-assisted therapy is becoming a useful tool for people seeking to work with deeper layers of their own minds and bodily memory. No riding experience is necessary and you won't be required to ride the horse at all. Horses are considered to provide more scope for behavioural change and often facilitate profound emotional processing. There are a number of reasons for this, including the following:
Because of their size
As horses are large and powerful animals, they can be intimidating. For some people, this presents them with a challenge as soon as they are near them - to overcome this fear. Combating this initial issue can be incredibly liberating and helps to boost feelings of confidence and self-esteem. Accomplishing tasks and gaining the trust of such animals only continues to reinforce these feelings of empowerment.
Because they are herd animals
Horses are herd animals, which means they naturally desire company and often want to be led. This makes them very social animals that want to create bonds - and this can be especially poignant when it comes to humans. Horses are therefore ideal for therapeutic purposes, as they will be inclined to develop a relationship with you when you are ready.
Because they mirror behaviour
Horses have an innate ability to mirror the thoughts and behaviours of others. Because they are prey animals, they can read body language and respond to our emotional vulnerabilities.
Because they have their own personality
Horses can be incredibly human in their personalities - they can be stubborn and seemingly defiant at times. They also like to have fun and often turn exercises into games. Horses can be incredibly caring too, and if you are upset they often respond in a nurturing manner. These personality traits once again make horses a natural companion during the therapeutic process, providing vast opportunity for growth.
You will learn to:
Practice mindfulness formally and in your daily life
Cultivate the attitudes of mind that incline you toward compassionate engagement with yourself and the world
Handle emotions and challenging situations with greater ease
Be more embodied and connected to yourself and the world around you
Support yourself at times of difficulty or failure
Take steps towards appreciating yourself
Be less judgemental of yourself and others
Work with emotions skillfully in a body-oriented way
Other features will also entail being able to:
Introduce yourself to and interact with horses
Participate in unique experiences designed around your specific needs and those of the group
Become more aware of your social and emotional patterns
Develop a bond with a particular horse if you wish to
Explore your learning with the group or individual facilitators
Experience farm-life first hand and engage in some tasks, such as feeding the horses
Dates and Prices
Tuesday 23rd May (4pm) to Monday 29th May 2017 (11:30am)
- Shared room (2 people per room): £125 per night £750
- Single occupancy: £155 per night (£930)
- Reduced fee places at £550 are offered to people with their own accommodation arrangements in Gozo
- One reduced place at £500 is available to a person who is willing to offer extra support to our chef in the preparation of meals
If finance is a problem at the moment and you feel you would benefit from participating in this retreat, please get in touch.
The fee includes accommodation for 6 nights, mindfulness tuition, therapeutic programme with horses, 3 delicious meals a day and unlimited snacks and drinks. Participants are expected to arrange their own flights. CPD certificates are available on request.
- Morning and afternoon mindfulness sessions
- Systematic instructions and careful guidance
- Structured activities with horses based on equine-assisted therapy
- Delicious organic meals (vegetarian and some seafood)
- Community living, periods of working meditation and involvement in preparation of meals
- Amazing sound bath experience
- High quality accommodation with en-suite bathrooms
This retreat will take place in the middle of the Mediterranean sea on the island of Gozo in the village of Ghammar. Gozo, which means ‘joy’, is the second largest island of the Maltese Archipelago and is an ideal location for those who treasure a slow, relaxed rhythm of life and cherish being close to the sea. You are bound to enjoy the bright blue skies and crystal-clear sea, the unique coastal landscape and unspoilt countryside.
How to Get Here
Fly in to Malta International Airport (flights are between £85 and £130). There is a direct bus X1 (€2), coaches and taxis, that will take you from the airport directly to the Gozo Ferry Terminal. It takes 20 minutes to cross to Gozo. You only pay for the ferry when you leave the island (€4.50). Taxi to the farmhouse is around €17. We can also organise a transfer from the airport to the farmhouse.
We will be staying in the Hamlet Dream, a luxurious farmhouse in the village of Ghammar near Ghasri in Gozo. It is an exclusive property finished to very high specifications, enjoying breathtaking unobstructed countryside views and the facilities of a communal sauna, gym, Jacuzzi and swimming pools. Most bedrooms are twin with en-suites and there are bedrooms with double bed available for a couple.
“This retreat was a great balance between teaching sessions, practice and spending time in nature. I really enjoyed exploring the island and being introduced to the non-touristy places of Gozo. The bon?re in the cave overlooking the bay was such a treat. Loved it” ~ Sean
“Great food, comfortable accommodation, amazing people. Luka knows his subject matter very well and I’ve learnt a lot of tips that I’ve continued to practice daily since. And thank you to Dorota for showing me how to stretch my old bones!” ~ Martha
“I thought I was pretty bad at yoga and Pilates but since the retreat I’ve gained a lot of con?dence to establish my (almost daily) practice. My days are now ?lled with new routines that engage both my body and the mind. Thank you for showing me how deeply they are connected” ~ Anna
“Thank you for introducing me to self-compassion. It’s stayed with me ever since” ~ Martin “I’m really grateful to my daughter for bringing me to this sweet little island and to your retreat. My mind, body and spirit are still nourished by the practices and moments of connecting with you all. Hope to see again soon” ~ Pauline