The purpose of a retreat place is to leave behind mundane matters to go within and find inspiration. The aim is to facilitate a very peaceful vibration for all who come here, drawing on the traditional ashram ‘rule of life’. If you are new to ashram-style life there may be some aspects that give the opportunity to go with the flow. Please read the following notes; there is an application form at the end.
- a safe, warm and inclusive environment for relaxation, learning and sharing
- an opportunity to develop yoga practices and live an ashram-style life
- accommodation and food
- a rural location away from it all
- simple living, high thinking, Swami Sivananda
We follow a vegan yogi diet, always tasty, nutritious and filling, we hope. There are gluten-free options where at all possible (let us know in advance). We eat communally. We have lots of lovely herb and spice teas and barleycup for you but black tea and coffee are not available. If you use caffeine, it is a good idea to cut down or better cut it out a week or so before the coming here or you will most likely develop a withdrawal headache. Yoga, drinking warm herb tea and fresh air will help. The nearest place is 4 miles away and not 24/7.
Wifi is slow in this rural area so you are encouraged to make a virtue of it and enjoy a digital detox. Similarly, phone signal is poor. You can of course give the landline number to partner/family for use in case of emergency.
You’ll have a comfortable bed in one of the guest spaces, maybe sharing with other people of the same sex. There is good hot water and cosy woodburners. If you are used to central heating you may need to adapt. In summer this is not usually an issue. In any case it is good to bring layers and slippers for indoors.
The two barns are heated by woodburners. You will be shown how to light and maintain them. It is up to all take responsibility for safe use.
Drainage is via a septic tank which relies on natural organisms to break down effluent so you are invited to bring organic, biodegradable toiletries. Ideally these are not tested on animals and do not contain animal products. There is Faith in Nature Shampoo and Dr Bronner soap for you to use.
Bins are provided for tampons, towels, wipes etc.
Generally it is important that you take part in all the activities of the programme – asanas, talks and meditation – to benefit from the group energy and not dissipate it for others. You are encouraged to be mindful when others are practising ensure that your activities are peaceful, even if you are somewhere else on the property.
Please aim to have left work behind.
please see the contact page. Use of public transport and car sharing are encouraged; taxi sharing too. Please register for a retreat in good time to benefit from group email so you can coordinate with other participants.
What to bring
- Yoga mat if you have one
- Meditation cushion if you have one/are a yogi
- Blanket and/or meditation shawl
- Comfortable clothes; layers for different degrees of warmth
- Slippers, warm socks
- Towel (we have spares)
- Ideally bio-degradable, organic wash products (to not harm septic tank flora), not containing animal products nor tested on animals – there are toiletries for use
- Good walking boots and/or wellington boots – ground and lanes are often wet and/or muddy and if not grass is dewy
- Gardening gloves if you have them and possibly secateurs (if on a yoga and food growing retreat)
- Warm and waterproof clothes for outside
- sun hat, cream and sandals
What not to bring: pets, loud music, aggressive/violent/sexual books/music/downloads, fur or other animal products. We accept wool, silk and leather shoes are hard to avoid; see also house rules below.
We supply Faith in Nature shampoo and conditioner and Dr Bronner soap for you to use if you like to preserve septic tank flora and avoid the vibration of animal testing/products.
At Viveka Gardens the aspiration is to lift the vibration of the place and visitors. Therefore, you are asked to:
- attend meditation and asana sessions or respect when they are going on
- help maintain the peaceful and pure atmosphere of the meditation/altar space and asana studio in particular, also the other inside spaces and the land
- use your phone outside or in the hall and be considerate of retreat participants/other volunteers wanting to enjoy the retreat atmosphere
- not bring meat, eggs, dairy, fish, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, garlic, onions, caffeine-containing drinks, honey; if you do you may be asked to leave
- aim to observe silence overnight from the end of evening meditation (9.30) to end of morning meditation
- leave outside shoes and coats on the hall racks
- contribute to the daily tasks in the running of the place as well as your volunteer tasks (included time-wise in your weekly hours)
- avoid gossip and negative talk
Thank you for reading to the end. To join the retreat complete this form. You will find payment information there.
Terms and Conditions
- payment in full on booking to confirm your place (please contact if you need another arrangement or are on benefit and require a bursary)
- refund only in the case where the retreat is cancelled for unforeseen reasons