Recently, ITSA Life founders Randall Simpson and Daniel Young travelled with their daughter, Amazon to host a healing retreat in France.
This healing retreat was born out of a desire that Randall and Daniel shared to reach out to former attendees of their ITSA Life yoga teacher retreats and Abode yoga teacher and natural healing retreats in Bali.
Building a Global Community
ITSA Life founders maintain mentoring relationships and connections with their students long after the retreats or teacher training courses are complete. This is a part of the overall desire to build a global community of nurturing and support for former students. Randall and Daniel understand the need to support these individuals who now strive to create environments where they can share the principles of yoga and natural healing in their local communities.
Where Was the Retreat?
Because many former students live in Europe, Randall and Daniel decided holding a retreat in a more centralised location would benefit the most people. It was important to the pair that they could reach out and meet former students where they needed healing.
The ITSA Life healing retreat took place in Hossegor, France. Situated in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southern France, Hossegor is a well-known seaside resort town with its roots in the early 20th century. The region is an impeccable blending of the Basque and Landaise cultures.
The way of life and the Bohemian vibe of the area helped to create a welcoming and inspiring environment for yoga and natural healing. The Hossegor culture allowed the ITSA Life retreat attendees to mesh well with the community surrounding them.
The retreat attendees enjoyed 12 days together, residing in a lovely French home. The residence faced the beach as well as the coastline. The back yard opened into a lush forest. This proved to be an ideal area to enjoy yoga and healing sessions, meditation and free time. Each evening, the retreat attendees could walk through this beauty to then witness a spectacular sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
The Hossegor area is famous for some of the best surfing conditions in the world, so retreat participants had the chance to partake of the excellent surfing. Additionally, there were numerous French markets where all manner of fresh, high-quality food was abundant. The local seafood was especially wonderful.
Healing Retreat Structure
Randall and Daniel arranged the 12-day retreat to include essential components for natural healing as well as room for spontaneous activities. The basics of each day included:
- Daily physical Abode Yoga connecting the mind and body.
- Natural Healing of our innate love & beingness.
- Womb healing, Reiki, self-healing, and healing circles and rituals.
- Space to experience the community and beauty surrounding the retreat area and interact with each other.
- Community meals at the retreat house.
- A three-day manifesting process to integrate the male and female sides to work in harmony.
- Experiences guided by the flow of the yoga such as dance, art, time with nature, dancing to the rhythm of the forest trees, and a full moon dance ritual.
Meals of Significance
Mealtime at the ITSA Life retreat was of great import. In addition to serving the purpose of nourishing the body, each meal shared during the retreat also functioned to heal and nourish the spirits of those partaking.
As a part of living in community, each person had the responsibility to plan, shop, and prepare a meal for the group. This action of giving to each other helped healing to flourish in everyday life.
Each meal had a ceremonial element to it; as though the one preparing the food was making an offering to the community. As this happened, healing was threading through the group.
Additionally, every meal was an exercise in cultural education and an investment in unity. Attendees resided in Canada, France, and Norway. In preparing meals, they were sharing some of themselves, their ancestry, and their local community.
The exceptional quality and flavours of the food added to the element of healing. Using principles of balance impacts the way you relate to food. Certain foods can work in conjunction with how you feel and respond to the day. Some can substantially heal parts of you physically, but it is important to remember that there is also emotional healing brought about by foods.
By experiencing the elements of natural healing and yoga flowing through meals, attendees saw how it is possible to live everyday life in a way that is healing. This revelation was a key element that Randall and Daniel wanted to demonstrate to the retreat attendees.
Creating a Healing Way of Life
“We can create a way of life that is healing. One where we don’t have to tap in or tap out of.” – Randall Simpson
One of the principles Randall and Daniel were eager to share with their former students was the idea that it is possible to live a life that allows unity in all parts of life. When living in the lifestyle of yoga, the emphasis is on not compartmentalising facets of life, but instead, find ways to bring all parts together. Build the idea that everything exists in harmony, without ‘good’ or ‘bad’ parts.
Doing this creates a life of serving and healing where there is no need to run away from parts of life to experience bliss and peace. Using the three living levels of Reiki as a guide, attendees learned about living their best possible life.
Randall and Daniel highlight the fact that all humans have the ability to live this aligned version of life and that it does not take away from life but adds balance and freedom.
Blending the various areas of life into a harmonious unit requires the conscious mind to choose actions and thoughts based on whether they are detrimental or enriching. Even though all must face adversity, listening to intuition while walking through adversity helps maintain alignment and balance.
Retreat attendees were reminded that this way of life is not a ‘dream life’ but rather the most natural and ‘real’ life possible. The world pushes for more to be completed faster, in essence driving people at the speed of light. When this happens the mind and body experience stress and disruption of the natural flow occurs. It is essential to experience what life holds now and not stress about things that are missing. Slow down to ease the noise and stress in both mind and body to achieve living in reality.
- Randall and Daniel demonstrated ways for the attendees to move outside of the proverbial box in order to receive more from their yoga experiences.
- Retreat attendees learned that it is possible to live a healing way of life every day and not just on holiday or at a retreat.
- Resisting healing is not necessary because healing is not scary or difficult. It can be fun and enjoyable.
- Attendees learned ways to strengthen their offerings to the communities
- A total of 100 continuing education hours and certification