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Villa Lena Retreat


  • Villa Lena Strada Comunale di Grotta al Leccio Palaia, Toscana, 56036 Italy (map)

We have planned a magical four days of yoga, sound healing and art workshops to nourish and uplift you so that you leave Tuscany feeling rejuvenated and inspired.

Sprawling over 500 hectares of stunning woodland, rolling hills, olive groves and vineyards, Villa Lena is an organic, agricultural estate with a farm to table restaurant, and an ever- changing, seasonal, Italian menu curated by the international chef in residency. The villa also has ten internationally established or emerging artists in residence who are hosting workshops and sharing insights into their work.

We are bringing some of our favourite teachers and healers from London and working with the wonderful Villa Lena team of artists, chefs and producers to create a completely unique programme. Yoga, meditation and sound will take you deeper into yourself, so that you can connect with the luscious landscape and tune back into your natural rhythms. 

what's included?

Guest accommodation is in comfortable rustic apartments in the estate, the artists reside in the main villa.

Delicious, seasonal Italian feasts. Brunch and supper are included in the and are cooked by chef in residence, Alexis Delany. Each meal is vegetarian and will use fresh produce from the Villa Lena farm.

A full programme of yoga classes from a selection of London’s most cherished teachers. Whether you are completely new to yoga or have a really strong asana practise, someone will be perfect for what you are looking for. 

Enjoy gong sessions and sound healing cacao ceremonies; sound healing is the intentional use of sound to create a space to facilitate healing in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels of our being.

A ritualistic full moon ceremony will take place with live music. 

There will also be a programme of workshops from Villa Lena artists in residency.

Yoga teachers

katarina rayburn

Having initially graduated with a Physics degree Katarina then trained as an actress in London, it was at this time that she realised how invaluable yoga was in keeping her physically and mentally on point. 

Discovering the strong and very yang style of Rocket yoga in London was the practice that got her hooked. She credits practicing ballet for over 10 years as bringing a graceful element to her yoga.

Katarina went to the Andaman Islands in India and explored the lighter practice of Sivananda yoga. She returned to India a year later to complete her 200hr Yoga Teacher Training in Ashtanga Vinyasa and Rocket with The Yoga People, who themselves were taught by Larry Schultz the pioneer of Rocket yoga.  She then went on to complete her 100hr advanced Rocket teacher training in Thailand with them. 

She practices a mixture of Dynamic vinyasa as well as Dharma Yoga, which she takes influences from in her classes.

Katarina had just returned from India after completing another 100 hrs of advanced teacher training in Mandala and Shamanism with The Yoga People.

Katarina is a 300hr, Yoga Alliance approved, Registered Yoga Teacher.

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leila sadeghee

Leila started her adult life in the bosom of the London art world in the 90’s. Moving to London at barely 19, she followed her passion to work with contemporary artists with characteristic strong intention, immersed herself in the international art scene, and got her degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art. By 1998 she was working with several cutting edge galleries when she woke up one morning and realised, out of the blue, that she needed to change her life.

So began her life of meditation, yoga, and the healing arts that took her from studying Buddhism in India, to the Omega Institute where she studied with Pema Chodron, to New York City where she became the protege of visionary body therapist Yamuna Zake, to training as an energy healer, and ultimately becoming a teacher of yoga asana. She has been a practicing healer and teacher for nearly 15 years, and she underpins her continual evolution with deep study and mentorship with Tara Judelle, Sianna Sherman, the Tantric scholar and meditation teacher Paul Muller-Ortega, the master teacher Adyashanti, and the intuitive Holly Stars.

Leila is a truly creative soul and a gifted healer who has a keen sense of life as a transformational process of empowerment. Her years of experience with the body lend her a bio-mechanical savvy that keeps it real and practical. She knows what it means to break down and to break through, so she is a skilled and supportive guide for people who want to use the practices of yoga and healing to create transformation at every level of life. Leila has worked with people from all walks of life and all ages. Her classes, courses, and trainings are focused on supporting people in awakening to the mystery of who they truly are so they can live a life of joy, freedom, and dedication to their own highest calling.

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rachel johnston

Rachel lives and works in Amsterdam and London. She is an artist and teaches yoga in various studios, living rooms, parks and spaces across both cities.

Rachel's own yoga and art practice has taught her that when we bring our whole being into each moment, we have the infinite potential to heal, create, love, and be at peace. It's Rachel's work to help people find this place through movement, making, courageous self-love and self- care.

Our bodies represent the life we have lived so far; a map of our personal history. It is through our choices of movement, day and night, and the cellular loads these choices create that our bodies become our autobiography.  Rachel teaches and practices yoga because it provides a useful tool to view the way we move and feel and to change the patterns we find that are no longer useful. It is her aim to give people a tool for self-enquiry and greater self-acceptance.

These aims are based on exploring personal freedom and the willingness and ability to engage with others with curiosity and compassion. Rachel presupposes no deity, follow no guru or approved “system" and engage gladly with any relevant material - past or present - that serves this practice. She has been practicing and teaching yoga this way in recent years, basing my work on sound biomechanical principles.

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lani rocillo

Lani Rocillo is trained in sound therapy, energy healing and shamanic practice.  Exploration into healing sounds has lead her to travel the world, receiving guidance from masters of sound and energy medicine, connecting with ancient wisdom of sacred sites and collaborating in various art/music projects. She merges framework with intuition in bringing through the vast potential of sound as medium to expand consciousness and to realise balance and harmony into being.

Lani works with vocal toning, spirit language, alchemy crystal singing bowls, gongs, drums, himalayan singing bowls and various percussive instruments.

artists

Artists this year include:

JAMES DAVIDSON is a London based illustrator who collaborates regularly with artists and fashion designers. He is well known backstage during fashion week and is known for documenting ‘live sketching’ backstage scenes, make up looks and the clothes themselves. His work borrows from comic books, pop culture and queer iconography. James’s aesthetic is a marriage of traditional and digital drawing methods.

ZUZANA HLIVAROVA is a ceramicist who chose to work in this field because of instinctual connection to the material. Through repetition and observation she explores simple forms while playing with archetypal symbols. She likes to work with her hands, and her process is guided intuitively when she lays her hands on a block of clay.

MONICA KHEMSUROV & KRISTIN BARRON Journalist and Visual artist Monica founded online journal SightUnseen (90k Instagram followers) and also works as a curator and art director for spaces. Their approach puts emphasis on innovative use of materials and on making things. At Villa Lena they would like to collaborate on a site specifc project, which would be a metaphor for friendship.

ALEXIS GEORGOPOLOUS New York based music composer, producer and DJ. Alexis’ approach is very much determined by context, project by project. Sometimes working alone – as both a composer and songwriter – and also frequently in collaboration, taking cues from the project and co collaborator. Collaborations with visual artists include Tauba Auerbach, on a music installation to accompany one of her sculptures.

LEWIS LAZAR musician and painter. As a musician he has written, recorded and self produced multiple albums and is set to release his first with his band ‘The Hydras’ entitled ‘Razmatazz’ later this year in Japan and Europe. He has also worked on a project called ‘Summer Moon’ with Nikolai Fraiture of the Strokes, also set to release an album later this year. As a painter he has exhibited in New York, Nicaragua and London. He works in oils, watercolors, copper plate prints, photography and ceramics

villa lena 

The charm of Villa Lena is that it’s beautiful, mysterious and expansive. Their holistic approach to hospitality is akin to ours. The villa has a lot more to it than aesthetics; there’s the history of the home itself and the families who lived then left, and the secrets of the artists, what they do and where they disappear to in the day. The whole community is made up of interesting characters. We chatted to a charming wine producer who no longer drinks and had our tarot cards read by an artist who was taught by his gypsy grandmother. The staff are super friendly and talk to you as if you have been there forever, and after a few days, it feels like you have. If you are partial to a ghost story; in the forties, there was an unsolved murder that led the inhabitants of the local village to desert. A young girl was killed, and to this day, invisible people artfully place fresh flowers on her roadside memorial.

In the mornings we practised yoga on the terrace with quintessential Tuscan views. The rest of the day was spent roaming round the grounds, discovering olive groves, different pools, piglets and artist’s studios. A short walk up the road, we found the ruins of Toiano, with a handful of residents who bring water up the hill, by hand, every day. The crumbling houses look out onto striking, panoramic views. Evenings, everyone was reunited for delicious supper on the terrace and each person we spoke to brought a fresh revelation about the little enigmas that had piqued our curiosity throughout the day. In short, I fell in love with the place and I am very excited to share it with you.

 

travel

The nearest airport to Villa Lena is Pisa. Transfers to/from Villa Lena are included. Alternatively you are welcome to hire your own car which will give you the freedom to explore the surrounding villages. 

Price

You can either choose to pay in full or you can pay a £300 deposit. Please note that the deposit is non-refundable and the rest of the balance must be paid by August 31st 2016. 

Rooms are allocated on a first come, first served basis. 

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shared room

£675

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single room

 £900

To book please contact Secret Yoga Club directly

Earlier Event: May 29
Rooftop Yoga
Later Event: December 13
Donation Class