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Somatics Training Retreat for Yoga Teachers

Whether you simply need the therapeutic effects of a weekend of deeply nourishing Somatic practice or want to take this into your teaching, this will be a retreat of deep connection, self-compassionate practices and embodied awareness.


Gayle's Retreat133564
Little Gayles, Friston, Eastbourne Sussex, GB BN20 0BA

Type of Event

  • Retreat

Yoga Styles



Mar 12 to
Mar 14
16:00 pmto16:00 pm



Full Description

Can be attended as part of Charlotte’s Teaching Therapeutic Somatics course, or simply to experience Somatic practice and restore resources.

This teacher training retreat is open to yoga teachers, yoga therapists and anyone else interested with at least a year’s yoga experience (although you will need to be a qualified teacher to continue the full module, see below). Whether you simply need the therapeutic effects of a weekend of deeply nourishing Somatic practice or want to take this into your teaching, this will be a retreat of deep connection, self-compassionate practices and embodied awareness.

The course/retreat can be taken simply for 15 hrs CPD experience and understanding of Somatic practice or as a more complete module with after-study, teaching skills and sequencing days, worksheets and an assessment for how this can be integrated into yoga teaching – taking it to a total 60 CPD hours as the Teaching Therapeutic Somatics course.

“I was able to drop into a very relaxed space in myself and it felt very natural to be around other teachers. It was so healing and helpful to share and talk and because Charlotte set the tone and held the space so honestly, it felt very grounded and real, which I really liked. I also feel like I’ve integrated some new ways of feeling movements and not being so rigid.” – Camilla Morgon, yoga teacher, Brighton

The Somatic teachings for the weekend will be by their nature fluid, explorative, restorative, meditative and influenced by Feldenkrais, Qi Gong and other practices that step away from an emphasis on reaching particular forms or goals within asana. Through embodied awareness, there will be an emphasis on recognising and offering kind attention to the habits and expectations we may spend our time retreading in our work and personal lives. For each session, there will be a short introduction and time for discussion and Q&A at the end.

Part of the full module is an online course that includes videos of the practices on the retreat (taught and with a teacher’s commentary) that can be purchased after, either to complete the full course or simply for your own practice and learning.

This 60 hour module of Teaching Somatics course makes up the most experiential and practical portion of Charlotte’s full 130 hour CPD Therapeutic Somatics for Yoga Teachers course – of which the more theoretical, philosophical and enquiring part is the course Yoga & Somatics for Healing & Recovery. This retreat can be taken at any time as part of the full CPD hours.

“I’m so glad I came. I arrived feeling exhausted, unsure and generally constricted. I left feeling rested, restored, inspired and invigorated. Charlotte has such art in expressing her vast knowledge of yoga and the human body-mind. She teaches in a way that seems to be designed to bypass the needy/greedy brain and head straight for the tissues themselves. This way her teachings are felt, experienced in the body and become embodied experience rather than yet more concept and theory. The retreat is at a fantastic location, the food and accommodation were great and it was just so nourishing to be so well held in community with like-minded people. I am definitely coming back for more!” – Lisa Wise, yoga teacher and owner Clear Space Studio, Hereford

The retreat content:

Friday afternoon: 2 hours
Central axis and skull-sacrum polarity: spine undulations, forward and side/ lateral sheath – annamaya kosha (physical body, containment) – thoracolumbar fascia and embryological considerations

Friday evening: 1 hour
Simple movement into meditation – soma & stillness

Saturday before breakfast: 1 hour
Qigong-inspired practice into personal asana practice, into meditation

Saturday morning: 2.5 hours
Shoulders, neck and jaw: reptilian to all-fours/ dorsal sheath – pranamaya kosha (breath body, primal vitality) – scalp fascia to diaphragm connections, vagus nerve and primal development

Saturday afternoon: 2.5 hours
Hips, sacrum and belly: prone and baddha konasana/ ventral sheath – manamaya kosha (mental body, evolution of thought) – diaphragm to anterior iliac spines and psoas, gut-brain connections

Saturday evening: 1 hour
Exploring free practice to meditation – attention to transitions

Sunday before breakfast: 1 hour
Qigong-inspired practice into personal asana practice, into meditation

Sunday morning: 2 hours
Diaphragm, ribs, lungs and heart: twists/ spiral sheath – vijnanamaya kosha (wisdom body, heartful awareness) – sternum, ribs and thoracic fascia, around the heart centre and solar plexus

Sunday early afternoon: 2 hours
Arms, legs and eyes: moving and reaching/ core sheath – anandamaya kosha (bliss body, openness and potential) – plantar fascia to core, reaching and standing into our full expression

“I finished the weekend feeling emotionally, spiritually and physically nourished and am looking forward to my next Yoga Teachers Retreat!” – Rosie Iles-Jonas, yoga teacher, Brighton

If wanting to expand the retreat content to complete this module – Teaching Somatics – of the full Therapeutic Somatics for Yoga Teachers course, the complete work to take it to 60 hours will comprise:

4 hours pre-reading before retreat – specific excerpts from Charlotte’s book Yoga Therapy for Digestive Health – with worksheets to cover basic anatomical, energetic and teaching considerations for optimal connection with the retreat content
15 hours practical over the retreat weekend – including brief introduction and reflective discussion after, for each session

6 hours – extra day workshop on teaching skills specific to Somatics – at separate dates after the retreat

6 hours – extra day workshop on sequencing classes to focus on or integrate Somatics into Yoga – at separate dates after the retreat

6 hours online course – deeper learning into each of the practical sessions covered on the retreat; videos of the practices with commentary, short lectures

6 hours worksheets from online course (to be submitted) – on understanding of the practices, teaching language and personal adaptation into individual teaching style and content

10 hours personal practice of the Somatic practices from the retreat/online course and manual

1 hour class plan submitted to then be taught

1 hour teaching observation – either in person or video submission

5 hours class attendance – Charlotte’s classes or workshops (or other appropriate Somatics teacher), with reflective practice afterwards (to be submitted) – 3 hours for attendance, 2 hour for the write-up

= 60 hours CPD

These two courses together form the full Therapeutic Somatics for Yoga Teachers certification (120 hours CPD), with this breakdown:

Yoga & Somatics for Healing & Recovery: moving beyond stress, trauma, burnout, anxiety, fatigue and post-illness through embodied awareness – the more theoretical, philosophical and enquiring part – 60 hours
Teaching Somatics: the art of leading others inwards towards whole – the more experiential and practical component – 60 hours

Gayles is a picturesque retreat centre ideally situated in outstanding countryside on the South Downs, five miles from Eastbourne and fifteen from Brighton. Here rural doesn’t mean hard to reach; there are excellent train services from the nearby towns that provide direct travel to and from London Victoria, Gatwick, Ashford International, Brighton and so on. Gayles is just one-and-a-half hour drive from London and there is a regular bus service that conveniently stops beside the entrance. For European visitors there is a ferry service to and from mainland Europe from Newhaven, which is only a twenty-minute drive away from retreat.

The environment and ambience at Gayles encourages an open, safe, relaxed and intimate atmosphere that promotes learning and self-development. The owners Derry and Roz believe that retreats should be fulfilling and inspiring; unobtrusive but available. They do all they can to support you in making the most of your time here so that everybody leaves feeling stimulated, nourished and refreshed. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to find space for quiet time alone.

Gayles is set in ten acres of land with beautiful sea views from the cliffs; adjacent to the Seven Sisters Country Park (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), The National Trust Crowlink Estate and Friston Forest.

With its open fire, high ceiling and refreshing artworks, The Stables, a beautifully converted 1930s stable and adjoining property, provides a warm and practical area for eating, chatting and relaxing. The ground level has an open-plan, well equipped, kitchen and dining room with under-floor heating. Immediately outside there is a large, decked, seated eating area which is wonderful for informal meals and gatherings in more clement weather.

There is extraordinarily beautiful countryside, seaside and excellent walking opportunities all around.

All accommodation is in comfortable dormitories. The accommodation, studio and eating areas are situated close together around a thoughtfully maintained garden next to gentle meadows offering stunning, panoramic views, allowing you space between activities and room to wander and reflect. There are two recently renovated dormitories, ‘The Studio’ and ‘The Playroom’, which offer comfortable and spacious accommodation for up to seventeen people.
All accommodation is equipped with toilets, showers and washing areas as well as hot drink making facilities. There are good quality, sturdy single and bunk beds with individual storage drawers. Duvets, pillows, linen and towels are provided.

Good quality locally sourced vegetarian food (vegan on request) is tasty and nourishing and is served in the relaxed atmosphere of the beautifully converted dining room. If the weather is sunny there is the option of eating out in the open on the terrace. Any food intolerances can be accommodated and you will be asked for details on the booking form.