June 15th – June 22nd 2019
This week is about enjoying the benefits of singing, the outdoors, nature, walking and hiking in the mountains with companionship. The location is the north west Italian Alps near Aosta and the border with Switzerland. The venue is mountain Refuge Vieux Crest situated at 2000 metres above the village of Champoluc in the valley D’Ayas for 4 nights and 3-star Hotel Castor in the village of Champoluc for 3 nights. Being both on the mountain and in the village during the week means we will sample Refuge life and experience the social aspect of Champoluc.
We love the mountains and the peace we feel here. Have you already experienced the beauty and benefits, physically, mentally and spiritually? Imagine adding a new dimension to your experience. We bring singing, camaraderie, the outdoors and local foods and wine together in the wonderful Monterosa mountains. You will experience the benefits of singing, learn breathing techniques and gain a sense of your own energies, all of which will have lasting effects on your everyday lives.
“But I can’t sing” we hear you say, we have heard that many times before. No experience of is required, this is not about rehearsing for a performance at La Scala! This is a gentle reminder that we can feel more at ease, relaxed and resourceful when we accept ourselves and nature as they are.
The act of singing causes the body to release endorphins? These are the body’s feelgood chemicals. The deep breaths taken during singing equates to that of aerobic exercise, which increases blood flow and releases endorphins. It’s been found that we get a similar endorphin rush when we laugh, eat chocolate, or hold a baby.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, drops more quickly when we sing and that shiver down the spine, we’ve all experienced, is Dopamine being released. Singing in a group encourages feelings of bonding and trust increasing the feeling of togetherness.
Outline daily Schedule.
The week will be led by experienced opera singer and singing teacher, Georgina Kellen and mindfulness teacher John Arnold. It will comprise both structured and informal teaching in Singing incorporating breathing and focussing techniques. It will be down to-earth and practical in nature, so that those participating will acquire a set of take-home skills to apply in their daily lives and deepen into for themselves. There will be Walking and Hiking incorporated into each day for those who wish to explore the landscape and nature of the area and connect closer with the natural elements.
Without fixing too-rigid a schedule, the days will include:
- Guided early morning body and mind practice. During the week participants are encouraged to share their own start-of-day routines if they wish.
- After breakfast, a morning period of singing practice.
- After lunch, guided walks and hikes, suitable to varying levels of exertion, all of which are optional.
- Late afternoon singing practice.
- One-to-one time with Georgina and John to talk about your own singing and mindfulness practice.
The week will be suitable to all, as much to beginners as to those with experience wishing to further their training and knowledge in singing, its benefits and how to share the skills with others. If you wish, there will be opportunities to learn about mindfulness and meditation practice. We aim to conduct many sessions outdoors, weather permitting, so the natural elements can be incorporated into the teachings. By the end of the week you will have had an uplifting experience, made new friends and you will have many practices to take into your everyday life which reduce stress, increase self-awareness and help us appreciate our strengths.
Venue – Refuge Vieux Crest
The Refuge is located in the hamlet of Crest situated at almost 2000 metres above the village of Champoluc in the valley D’Ayas, 40 kilometres from Aosta in the north west Italian Alps. Vieux Crest web site is here and further photographs of the Refuge and surrounding area can be viewed in our Vieux Crest Gallery. We will spend the first four nights here, on the mountain, savouring the mountain refuge experience.
As mountain refuges go the Vieux Crest is very comfortable, cosy and each room, of 3 or 4 occupancy has its own bathroom. All linen and towels are provided. The restaurant is comfortable and teaching area suitable for 15 people, which will the maximum number of people we will have for this retreat. The Refuges restaurant is highly recommended and caters for all dietary requirements. There is traditional regional food and some interesting fusions. The menu can be modified each day to suit the tastes of everyone.
The Hotel Castor is a traditional family run hotel in the centre of the village, next to the river, church, some shops and cafes and not far from Spa centre. The interior is full of character, old wood panelling, a cosy bar and lounge and a wonderful restaurant serving local produce and an appetizer salad, cheese and meats buffet. The rooms have their own bathrooms and all the comports required. There is a games room and a yoga studio where weekly classes are offered.
We have used this Hotel numerous occasions and guests have always enjoyed their stay here. For more details see here.
A Mindful Mountains representative and transfer vehicle will meet you at either Geneva, Turin or Milan Malpensa airports, we have transfers available from each of these airports. All three have daily flights from various UK airports so this increases your choice of departures. Transfer time from Geneva to Champoluc is 3 hours, Malpensa 2 hours and Turin 1.5 hours. The transfer vehicles will be departing airports for Champoluc at 2pm on Saturday 15th June, please arrange flight to coincide with this time. For the return on Saturday 22nd June transfer vehicles will be arriving at airports at 1pm.
In Champoluc you will transfer to a four-wheel drive vehicle to transport you to Refuge Vieux Crest which is a 20-minute drive on a forest track. If you would like to travel on alternative days or extend your visit please do let us know and we will arrange transfers and accommodation to suit your preferences.
The package price of £1150 and includes:
- Return airport transfers to / from Champoluc.
- 4 nights half board accommodation at Vieux Crest.
- 3 nights half board accommodation at Hotel Castor.
- 6 days of Teachings with Georgina Kellen and John Arnold.
- Daily guided walking and hiking, 3/4 hours.
The cost does not include flights, insurance and lunches.
Contact John through the Contact form on this web site giving names and preferred arrival / departure airport. On booking a deposit of £100 is requested and final balance required four weeks prior to the Holiday. On booking you will be provided details of suitable clothing for hiking, and asked for dietary requirements which we will cater for.
Further information and questions
Please use the Contact form on this web site to ask any questions.
About Singing and Mindfulness:
For more information about the benefits of Singing see here.
For more information about Mindfulness see here.
About Your Teachers:
Georgina Kellen bio.
John Arnold bio.
About the Venues:
See here for Vieux Crest.
See here for Hotel Castor.
See here for photographs of Vieux Crest and the surrounding area.