retreat information, rules, Ts & Cs

Retreat Information

Viveka Gardens: a retreat place where community and visitors can ground themselves through yoga practices and growing, and so connect with their true self to embody peace and unity

The purpose of a retreat is to leave behind mundane matters to go within and find inspiration. At Viveka Gardens Yoga Farm we facilitate a space for this. If you are new to ashram-style life some aspects of the daily routine might offer opportunities to go with the flow. VG is not suited for girls’ weekend away or spa/pamper type expectations. Please read the following notes.

We follow a vegan yogi diet, always tasty, nutritious and filling. We offer gluten-free options where at all possible but are not able to cope for more specialised diets. There is an allergy section on the enrolment form. There are two good meals a day, generally brunch at 10am, allowing for a slightly longer fast overnight, and 6pm. An afternoon snack and fruit are available.

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 retreat or you will most likely develop a withdrawal headache. You may want to bring painkillers. Drinking lots, doing asanas and fresh air will help.

Wifi is very very slow (2Mb download) 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 may give the landline number to partner/family for use in case of emergency.

For your and other participants’ benefit, please find ways to leave work and other commitments behind. If something comes up beforehand please talk over with Fiona how it can be best supported while on the retreat.

Accommodation is comfortable dorm-style. Please be considerate of your room mates and practise patience, kindness and adaptability. You may want to bring earplugs just in case and not mind if your room mates ask you to sleep on your side.

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. Bins are provided for tampons, towels, wipes etc.

You are invited to bring organic, biodegradable toiletries that do not contain animal products and are not tested on animals if possible. A basic range of such products will be for sale.

Karma Yoga is selfless service and one of the four paths of yoga. Guests are asked to participate in karma yoga 1 – 1.5 hours each day. Read more about karma yoga.

What to bring

  • Yoga mat
  • Meditation cushion
  • Blanket and/or meditation shawl
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Notebook
  • Slippers, warm socks
  • Towel
  • Ideally bio-degradable, organic wash products (to not harm septic tank flora), not containing animal products nor tested on animals. There are items for sale
  • Waterproof boots for walking. Even if it is not muddy (and Devon can be muddy) there is long grass which will be wet with dew on morning meditation walks.
  • Warm and waterproof clothes for outside
  • Gardening gloves if you have them and possibly secateurs

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)

For sale:

  • Kingfisher toothpaste, soap, Faith in Nature shampoo and conditioner, Dr Bronner soap
  • Yogi tea, incense
  • Dhals, grains, spices, veg and other ingredients to replicate dishes made at VG
  • Gardening gloves

House Rules

At Viveka Gardens the aspiration is to lift the vibration of the place and visitors. Therefore, you are asked to:

  1. attend meditation and asana sessions
  2. 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
  3. use your phone outside or in the hall and be considerate of other participants wanting to enjoy the retreat atmosphere
  4. not bring meat, eggs, dairy, fish, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, garlic, onions, caffeine-containing drinks, honey
  5. try to observe silence overnight from the end of evening meditation to end of morning meditation
  6. leave outside shoes and coats on the hall racks
  7. contribute to the daily tasks in the running of the place (karma yoga), typically 1.5 hours a day

Terms and Conditions

Payment: full payment is due upon booking. We accept payment by internet transfer, paypal, cheque and cash.

Cancellation: it is only possible to offer a refund in extenuating circumstances up to 14 days before the course/retreat and if we are able to fill the place. The refund is subject to a 30% admin fee. In case we cancel you will of course receive a full refund. You are advised to have travel insurance as we cannot pay for any transport you may have booked.

Check in is 2pm and check out for B&B, noon, otherwise for retreats, at retreat end.