Sunflower Retreats Holidays yoga classes are suitable for beginners as well as more practiced yogis.
Best yoga classes ever. I learned so much!
We practice in a stunning location on a hilltop, blending-in perfectly with the setting. Our yoga style is non-competitive with a down-to-earth approach, created by Sunflower Retreats founders and followed by all our guest yoga instructors. Our way of choosing our yoga teachers is unique: we expect them to be humble, genuine, non-judgmental and spiritual in their approach to their teaching, as all true yogis should be.
Our teachers teach a variety of Hatha yoga methods such as Iyengar, Kundalini, Satyananda, Sivananda, Vinyasa Flow, Anusara, Astanga, Yin Yoga and Divine Feminine Yoga.
Classes are held in English, on Friday through Tuesday from 08.00 to 09.30, before breakfast, with some yoga classes throughout the week outdoors in spectacular surroundings when the weather is suitable. Morning classes sometimes start at 08.30 early or late in the season. Afternoon yoga sessions are also offered three times each retreat week.
Optional Extra Yoga Classes
We offer a two-hour workshop each Saturday, in yoga, meditation and other related subjects costing €20 per person. We'll cover subjects such as Yoga Nidra, Yin Yoga, Chakra meditation & balancing.
Our yoga deck
Outdoor yoga classes take place on our platform which is located in an oasis of green inside the village walls. It's a beautiful and serene environment, with dappled sunlight and the sound of birdsong all around.
The yoga room was lovely and so was the platform outside in the garden. Truly a magic environment for yoga. I didn’t want to leave!
A. Jordan, Ireland, 2012
Our yoga studios
When we choose to practise yoga indoors, we use our own professionally designed and restored 40 square-metre studio, which has a wooden floor, a fresh water spring and an ancient cave as a bathroom.
For larger groups, we also have a 50 square-metre professional yoga studio which has panoramic views, coconut carpeting and central heating for the winter months.
Our yoga classes are attended only by our guests; we don't include visitors.
What Our Yoga Holidays Cover
The classes taught cover the physical teachings of Hatha yoga with emphasis on the spiritual aspects of the yoga tradition. We emphasise that yoga is not a sport and that it's important to not be competitive with yourself or others. Each yoga class is a holistic practice - a time to connect to your body, mind and inner self.
(Read more about Hatha yoga »)
Your yoga class includes:
■ Asanas (physical movements)
■ Pranayama (breathing practices)
■ Meditation (stilling and calming of the mind and inner self)
■ Relaxation (complete mind, body relaxation)
Individual Yoga Lessons
This has been the most magical and fulfilling holiday I have ever given myself. I have learnt the true essence of yoga.
Terri, USA, 2003
Individual tuition is also available, with one-to-one yoga lessons in Asana, Pranayama, Meditation and Relaxation. These private classes, with the yoga teacher of the week, are great for people who would like to deepen their yoga practice or work on a yoga routine for their individual requirements.
Sunflower Retreats' Yoga Teaching Team
All of our teachers are required to have undertaken no less than two years training so that we do not rely on 'fast-track' yoga certification.
Lise Baronet, from Canada, has been teaching with us since 2011 and will return to Casperia teach from the start of our 2016 season through 11th May. She says "I look forward to 'coming home' to Sunflower where a reverence for yoga, people and the environment are a big part of the retreat experience."
Lise has studied and taught in Canada, Nepal, India and the Bahamas. Recently she felt a strong pull to move to Manitoulin, a Canadian island known by its first peoples as The Great Spirit. It is an island of breathtaking beauty, cultural significance and spiritual energy where people live in harmony with nature, with a deep respect for traditional aboriginal teachings; a way of honouring life that reminds her of the yoga teachings. So she is there to live the ancient teachings of both cultures that point us into the direction of holistic wellbeing. As she hikes, kayaks and snowshoes about the island, as she practices and teaches yoga, she feels the wisdom of the ancient sages of both cultures becoming more and more a part of her.
Lise has over 900 hours of asana, pranayama, meditation and therapeutic training influenced by Paramanand, Sivananda and Anusara. In her classes, poses sometimes flow, often are held; breath and meditative awareness are always central. she talks about the details of alignment but also want students to discover peaceful silence. Traditional poses are sequenced for their intended internal benefits and for an holistic experience different from merely a workout. Each class is touched with caring gentleness, humour and encouragement; the goal is a purification of body and mind that releases the vibrant, healing flow of energy.
Chloe Alex Stock, from the UK joins our team this year to teach a Yoga and Pilates Week from 12th to 18th May.
Chloe's passion comes from teaching what she knows and practises personally and from having the ability to translate that knowledge and breakdown of postures in the classes she teaches.
After living in New Zealand where she gained her Classical Pilates qualification, she followed her heart to India, the birthplace of yoga, to study and practise yoga in order to gain her 500-hour Yoga Alliance certification. From years of travel and teaching around the world, Chloe has gained great and valuable teaching experience through retreats and studios in Sydney, Cambodia, LA, New York, London, Sri Lanka, Biarritz and Tokyo.
Chloe is also a holistically trained therapist so truly appreciates the necessity of balance between strength and relaxation. She believes that yoga and Pilates should serve your body enabling you to feel recharged and restored.
We welcome Jessie Jeanne Stinnett, from the USA, to Sunflower Retreats for the first time, as she joins us to teach for two weeks from 19th May to 1st June.
Jessie began practicing yoga as a supplement to her career as a professional dancer. Jessie is a Yoga Alliance Certified instructor through Frog Lotus International. She teaches classes and workshops regularly in London and the US, and is also pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Practice.
Jessie teaches dynamic Vinyasa Flow yoga classes which focus on building strength, stability, and flexibility. She draws on her experience as a dancer/somatic movement practitioner to develop classes which condition and increase awareness of the body and heal, restore, and express one’s inner landscape.
The use of metaphors and imagery are key methods of Jessie’s teaching style which serve the purpose of guiding her students to a deep, subjective understanding of how the techniques and philosophies underpinning the practice apply to them as individuals. She encourages depth of understanding over superficiality: quality versus quantity.
The pace of the class generally includes a quiet time of transition through Tapas (Sanskrit: heat/self discipline), building the internal fire, as the physicality of the practice intensifies to resolution in the final moments of relaxation, observation and reflection. Students are left feeling energized and thoughtful and encased by the energy that their very own body-mind cultivated as a glowing membrane of radiance.
Nancy Brewer, from the USA, our Casperia manager and PR will teach from June 2nd to 15th and June 30th - 6th July.
Nancy Brewer was born and raised in Indiana and relocated to Florida in 2011. It was here in Fort Lauderdale she was led to take a yoga class and was surprised how she felt afterwards; a state of bliss and tranquility. That’s when her interest blossomed. At first it was a way of releasing stress but the more she practiced, the more she realized how her mind and spirit were transforming as well as her physical body. Nancy believes it’s important to take moments for ourselves to cultivate peace and self love. After practicing for four years and experiencing how yoga can be truly transformational, she felt a desire to share this ancient and sacred practice with others.
Nancy is a traveller at heart, with a passion to see the world. She received her 200-hour certification through Yandara Yoga Institute in Sweden and is registered with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200). She found that channeling her yoga practice especially off of the mat can welcome peace and self love during chaotic moments in life. By centering, up-lifting and challenging practices, she guides her students to explore their own sense of flow.
We welcome Sara Rossi back to our team to teach from June 16th - 29th.
Sara from Italy, grew up in Costa Rica. She was introduced to yoga through a friend and Kripalu yoga teacher in 1997. After several years as a student, she decided to continue her education and became certified as a yoga instructor.
In 2004 Sara headed to India to study Therapeutic Yoga in Yoga Vidya Dham. She went to Seattle to study with renowned pre-natal yoga teacher Colette Crawford at the Seattle Holistic Center and has taken various levels of Anusara alignment based yoga training. She is currently a 500-hour. registered Yoga Therapist and she teaches gentle and energetic flow classes focused on connecting strongly to the breath. Sara also teaches Yoga Nidra the art of conscious relaxation (a powerful practice where the body and mind are liberated from their tensions and anxiety).
She is also a holistic health coach, having graduated from the Institute of Nutrition in New York, so her goal as a teacher is to guide her students towards a healthier lifestyle, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Sara's classes are suitable for all levels.
We welcome Joanne Heath back to our team to teach with us from July 7th - 3rd August.
Joanne brings fourteen years’ experience and a deep commitment to the teaching of yoga in its purest form. Making spirituality accessible to all, Joanne’s teaching style and passion for the art and science of yoga creates a truly memorable experience for her students.
Joanne left a well-established career in marketing in 2001 to undertake over 1,300 hours of intensive teacher training with Yoga Arts in Byron Bay, Australia before embarking on a two year study trip to India. There she completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Indian Philosophy and Religion and a Diploma in Yoga from Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi. She also trained at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandarim, Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute and KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute.
As an activist for children’s rights and social justice, Joanne played a leading role in the rescue and resettlement of vulnerable children from an illegal orphanage in Uganda. She later co-founded projectHELP in aid of the children of Kalyanpuri Slum, New Delhi and in 2014 worked with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi to launch End Child Slavery Week. Joanne recently returned to India to design Destiny Beads, which serves to educate and uplift slum children in India by way of training, employing and empowering their mothers. She is also feature writer for yoga and wellness magazines, and her first book, Little Gems, will be published soon.
Joanne practices Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka and has been greatly influenced by the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti over the years.
Julie Bolitho-Lee, returns to our team to teach with us from August 11th - 31st.
Julie is originally from the US but now lives in Oxford. She has been practicing yoga since 2004. Her practice began when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of nineteen and she realized that a disconnect existed between her mind, body and spirit.
Julie was trained by Devarshi Steven Hartman, Megha Nancy Buttenheim, and Jovinna Chan at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the United States. She has a BA from Alma College and a Master's degree in Literature and Medicine from King's College London. She is also a 2005 Truman Scholar and an internationally published poet.
Julie has a passion for teaching and aims to bring love and offer grace to all of her students. Her yoga practice flourished after discovering Kripalu yoga, a form of Hatha yoga using inner focus, meditation, standard yoga poses, breathwork, development of a quiet mind, and relaxation. Kripalu emphasizes following the flow of Prana, (or life-force energy), compassionate self-acceptance, observing the activity of the mind without judgment, and taking what is learned into daily life. Kripalu yoga can be vigorous or gentle; and can be practiced by, as well as benefit, anyone.
Alice McGuigan, returns to Casperia to teach with us from September 1st to 14th.
Alice has been exploring various forms of yoga for over five years, qualifying as an instructor at Sampoorna Yoga School (Yoga Alliance UK) in India in May 2014. Her manner is adaptable and creative; one that reflects her training in a variety of styles. She often interlaces pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and philosophy into her classes with reference to the 8 limbs of yoga. Alice has taught Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow across India and Nepal, where she also completed a 10-day silent meditation course (Vipassana) and began teaching internationally.
Since returning to the UK, Alice has gained experience teaching group, corporate and private classes, including retreats locally and abroad. She has led Laughter Yoga and creative expressions workshops, ran classes to fundraise for ActionAid and regularly teaches around Berkshire. Always eager to learn more and deepen her understanding of Yoga, she continues to train under the guidance of several inspiring teachers; Elise Beechen, Sophie Cleere and Katia Major.
Alice says “In the last few years, yoga has helped me find balance, positivity and strength in the mind and body. It is why I started teaching; why I love sharing it with others. I encourage students to practice mindfully, in a non-competitive and non-judgemental way. I offer a range of modifications, so that people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can participate and share the benefits of the practice.”
Since graduating with an English and Drama BA from Queen Mary University of London (2013), Alice is also a freelance writer and arts project manager.
We welcome Maija Klamer, from the Netherlands, to our team to teach with us from September 15th to 28th.
With a background in dance and body language, movement is a natural way for Maija to express herself and to understand people. Maija was inspired by various international teachers such as Shiva Rea, Simon Park and David Lurey and went on to complete over three hundred hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher training in Amsterdam in 2010.
At the beginning of 2015 Maija stayed in a Tantra Yoga ashram in Goa where she fell even more deeply in love with yoga and the rich Tantric culture. Back in the Netherlands she started studying Tantric-Ayurvedic body-work, which has deepened her understanding of the body, mind and emotional structures. She is currently training at the Tantra Academy in Amsterdam in Ayurvedic Abhyanga Massage and Marma points.
““I feel it is a great privilege to be able to help people relax, energize and open their hearts to the beauty of existence. In my yoga classes we will work with different yoga styles and techniques such as Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin-Yang, Tantra, chakras and meditation.
Instead of just focusing on getting stronger and more flexible, I would like to invite you to feel that you are already perfect as you are. From this point of self-acceptance and compassion, we can feel more free to explore our possibilities and whatever comes up in the moment.”
As well as teaching yoga, Maija will also be offering relaxing Ayurvedic massages during her weeks at Sunflower Retreats.
Lisa Quish, from Ireland, joins us again to teach from September 29th to October 12th.
“My mom taught Yoga in the seventies; there was always a sticky mat on the kitchen floor, in front of the fire place or in the back seat of the car so it is not surprising that the legacy was passed on, (like a family recipe that gets handed down over time). It was not until my early twenties that I started practicing regularly and not until I went on retreat to Italy (for the first time) eight years ago that I was inspired to follow the teaching path.”
Lisa gained certification in 2007 and completed a 500-hour Yoga Therapy post-graduate qualification in 2012, under the guidance of wonderful teachers like James Higgins, David Curtis, Shandor Remete, Shiva Rea and Jodie Ruffety. As well as classical Hatha she brings elements of Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar, Shadow and restorative yoga.
“As a committed yoga practitioner and teacher my style is ever-evolving in an attempt to recognise and honour the multiple layers of yoga. As I explore, I play with ways to mindfully sequence the practice to best help my students to navigate their way through the peaks and troughs of life, physically and emotionally, offering tools to live in a way that best supports our human experience.”
Daniele Piserchia, from Italy, returns to teach from 13th to 26th October.
Daniele has been a daily practitioner and teacher of Daoist yoga know as Sundao for four years. His background includes intensive training at the prestigious mountain Buddhist monastery called Magoksa in Gong Ju, South Korea.
Daniele has also studied many holistic spiritual methodologies and various approaches to meditation and channelling and brings his own unique wealth of knowledge and experience to his classes and lectures.
Daniele’s in depth understanding of Daoist Yoga along with his creative talent and personable charm makes his classes a very healing and rejuvenating experience.
Daniele has a passion for the Yoga science and has regularly attended yoga and meditation classes at Sunflower Retreats in Casperia as he also has also worked, in the past, as General PR and Retreat Manager at the centre.
Daniele is an articulate and knowledgeable teacher whose authenticity makes him accessible to students.
Lucy Bremner, co-founder of Sunflower Retreats, from London, has been a holistic practitioner in the UK and worldwide since 1988. She specialises in a wide range of body work, therapies and energy and spiritual balancing treatments such as Chakra Balancing and Reiki.
Lucy was drawn to the practice of Hatha Yoga and the yoga philosophy while studying holistic therapies professionally in London in 1989. In the late 80's and early 90's, then in her twenties, she travelled independently in Nepal, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, Sudan and the USA, where she broadened her studies of yoga, Eastern philosophy and the healing arts, including the American Indian tradition and philosophy.
Lucy is a qualified Holistic Therapist and international yoga teacher, accredited with a distinction in her final examinations with Friends of Yoga - a society and examination body for yoga in the UK and India which is recognised by Yoga Alliance as an international yoga school. Over the last twenty years she helped hundreds of people with healing therapies and with yoga instruction, either through her yoga classes and treatments, or through all she has coordinated in the yoga and healing section at Sunflower Retreats' centre in Casperia. Her interests also include Shamanism, Astrology, art and the study of the sacred and divine feminine.
Lucy offers one-to-one healing yoga sessions for those looking for a transformational healing experience of yoga. Her yoga classes also include oracle card readings to help you find your life path and help with any questions you may have. Private classes are available most weeks within the season. To book in advance of your retreat, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucy's yoga classes are holistic and grounding, fusing the elements of Ying and Yang, yoga asanas and practices to bring balance (union) to the body, mind, emotions and spirit. She loves to share and communicate the ancient knowledge of Western and Eastern traditions through the healing power of yoga and meditation, both in her classes and her treatments. She is a gentle teacher, encouraging and supportive in her teaching and holistic therapy work.
A mother of two children born by natural childbirth methods, she also teaches pregnancy yoga and preparation for natural birth.
You can read more about Lucy and her philosophy on her web site www.healingthedivinefeminine.com »
Lucy will lead yoga sessions at Sunflower Retreats on weeks when there are no guest teachers, however she and her husband Alan may not always be at the Retreat Centre during your week. (Don't worry, our staff are fabulous too!). Lucy also teaches the 2 year part-time Yoga Teacher Training courses at Sunflower Retreats.