14th – 21st September 2019
Led by Vin Harris and Graeme Nixon
This retreat is a unique opportunity to explore the path and practices of mindfulness high in a mountain refuge, close to nature and with companionship. There will be teaching sessions, guided meditations, mindful movement, yoga and mindful walking / hiking. For many of us it is a rare luxury to be in nature for several consecutive days, to have uninterrupted time and space where we can connect with ourselves and listen to what is alive in us, beyond all the doing and busy-ness. The Retreat is located in the north west Italian Alps, near Aosta and the border with Switzerland. The venue is Mountain Refuge Vieux Crest, situated at 2000 metres and above the village of Champoluc. The teachers for this Retreat are Graeme Nixon and Vin Harris.
The nature of this Retreat makes it suitable for people regardless of previous mindfulness experience. If you are already a practitioner or even a mindfulness teacher, Graeme and Vin will skilfully guide you on your Heroes journey opening up fresh horizons for your mindfulness practice. If you are a beginner it’s a wonderful opportunity to gain an experiential introduction to mindfulness practice from Graeme and Vin who are leading teachers in this field. As well as structured “formal” practices you will learn how to integrate mindfulness into everyday life to help sustain you on the path.
Because the Retreat includes activity outdoors and physical movement, we will also be learning on the move and making the most of the mountain environment and the natural surroundings. Some of the teaching sessions will be held outdoors and each day there is walking and hiking, led by John, in the forests and mountains surrounding the mountain Refuge. Routes will be chosen to suit the fitness and aspirations of guests. Some mindful movement and yoga are also planned on a daily basis which, like the walking and hiking, is optional.
Graeme and Vin are currently working on a book about the Journey of Mindful Heroes and this is the theme that inspires our week of retreat. They will lead the teaching, guiding us through the stages of the path of the Hero’s Journey that Joseph Campbell discovered in stories, myths and fables from all over the world. No two journeys are the same and we all face different challenges, nevertheless, there are distinct patterns. The key stages of the Hero’s Journey are Departure, Descent, Initiation and Return. We will explore together through discussion and reflection practices how this can support the transition of mindfulness practice from pathology to potential.
A Map for the Journey of Mindful Heroes
Joseph Campbell came to the conclusion that the Hero’s Journey is an archetypal narrative reflecting the universal aspiration to find out who we really are. It is a timeless quest to discover and then share the ever-present treasure that moment by moment is rendered invisible by illusionary fears of inadequacy and unrealistic hopes of perfection. Graeme and Vin will show how progress through each stage can be facilitated by the skills and attitudes included in a holistic approach to Mindfulness. Do you want to leave behind your everyday world, to explore new territory, to return home from this time of retreat refreshed and ready to share your unique treasure with the world?
To find out more about the Hero’s Journey see here for an 11 minute animated video.
Without fixing too-rigid a schedule, the Retreat will include:
- Guided early morning practice involving, yoga, movement, meditation. Those joining this voluntary session are welcome to share their own start-of-day routines.
- After breakfast, a morning period of teaching.
- After lunch, guided mindful walks and hikes, suitable to varying levels of exertion, and which are optional.
- Late afternoon tuition each day, to re-cap the morning’s session and allow for personal practice.
- Periods of guided meditation.
- One-to-one time with Graeme and Vin to explore areas of the practice of special interest to you.
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. Access to the Refuge from Champoluc is by four-wheel drive vehicle via a 20-minute drive on a forest track.
As mountain refuges go the Vieux Crest is very comfortable and cosy. Each room, of twin, 3 or 4-person occupancy, has its own bathroom. All linen and towels are provided. Although it is expected that the majority of the physical practice will be taught outdoors there is an indoor teaching area suitable for up to 15 people, which is the maximum number we will enrol for this retreat.
The Refuge’s restaurant is relaxing and highly recommended and caters for all dietary requirements. There will be traditional regional food and some interesting fusions. The menu can be modified each day to suit the tastes of everyone.
A Mindful Mountains representative and transfer vehicle will meet you at one of three airports; Geneva, Turin or Milan Malpensa. All three airports have daily flights from various UK airports, increasing your choice of departures. Transfer time from Geneva to Champoluc is 3 hours, from Malpensa 2 hours, and from Turin 1.5 hours. The transfer vehicles will be departing airports at 2pm on Saturday 14th September and arriving at airports by 1pm on Saturday 21st September. Please arrange flights to correspond with these times. In Champoluc you will transfer to a four-wheel drive vehicle to transport you to Refuge Vieux Crest.
The package price is £1150 and includes:
- Return airport transfers to / from Refuge Vieux Crest.
- 7 nights full board accommodation with a light sandwich lunch.
- 6 days of teaching with Graeme, Vin and John.
- Daily guided mindful hiking / walking 3/4 hours.
The cost does not include flights or insurance.
Book this Mindful Mountains Retreat via our Contact form – providing your name, preferred arrival airport and a brief overview of your Mindfulness, Meditation and Hiking experience. On booking a deposit of £100 is requested and final balance required four weeks prior to the Retreat. On booking you will be provided details of suitable clothing and asked for dietary requirements which we will cater for.
Read Vin’s summary Bio here.
Contact Vin here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vin-harris-806aa912/
Read Graeme’s summary Bio here.
Contact Graeme here: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/people/g.nixon/
For details of the Aberdeen University MSc in Mindfulness Studies see here:
For questions related to booking and teaching please contact John through the CONTACT form on this web site.