Following an initial such week-end event held at the end of February, a second and third Mindfulness Week-end are being held in a countryside chateau in Cognac, near Bordeaux, in western France from 4-7 April and 2-5 May 2019.
The Mindfulness Weekend is a unique opportunity to retreat and restore both the body and mind, guided by a qualified mindfulness teacher, who will introduce participants to a range of practices to help them bring awareness to the present moment and cultivate attitudes of kindness and compassion towards themselves and their experiences.
Over the course of the weekend, participants will be introduced to mindfulness and guided in various meditation practices by a fully qualified mindfulness teacher. Practising core meditation practices such as the body scan, sitting meditation and mindful movement, participants will develop skills which they can incorporate into their everyday lives.
"Many misconceptions about mindfulness exist. It does not allow us to empty the mind of thoughts or achieve some higher state of ultimate peace and calm. Rather the practices experienced will help to develop a certain degree of concentration and steadiness in the mind which brings insight into what is going on in our experience in any given moment. Meditation helps us to see what is present and how we are relating to it."
As well as guiding the above meditations, the Mindfulness Leader will share some basic Buddhist teachings, which can provide food for thought. Participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy mindful walking and experience through the senses this beautiful part of France.
Imelda Wright is a diploma-trained teacher in mindfulness-based interventions and Deputy Principal of a busy primary school. She discovered mindfulness and the benefits it brought to her life many years ago. It helped to quiet a very busy mind and allowed response rather than reaction in life, especially in difficult situations. With the knowledge of these benefits and having undertaken tailored training, she began bringing mindfulness to the children and teenagers with whom she works. She now trains other teachers and has designed a mindfulness summer course for teachers to introduce them to developing their own mindfulness practice and to support them in bring mindfulness into their own classrooms. Imelda is also qualified to teach the Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and has taught this course and other mindfulness courses to adults. As part of her MBSR training, she came back to yoga, something that she had practised many years ago. The combination of mindfulness and yoga have been powerful tools on her journey to wellbeing.
The venue, Aulagnes
The beautiful country chateau is surrounded by gorgeous vineyards and the programme also includes a taste of France and some of the very special things it has to offer...
Aulagnes is a beautifully elegant and serene country house nestled in the Cognac countryside and only an hour away from the wonderful city of Bordeaux. Standing on the top of a hill, the views from Aulagnes are magnificent, a 360 degree uninterrupted view of vineyards and rolling hills. The house exudes a warm welcome and a wonderful sense of home, having been lovingly and tastefully restored in recent years. Its living areas are relaxed yet sophisticated while its seven bedrooms are wonderfully comfortable and full of character.
The chateau is located just 20mins from Angouleme which has a direct TGV link to Paris.
The Aulagnes caretakers are Charlie (from Rathfarnham and Kildare) and Olive (from County Meath), an Irish couple on a French adventure looking to create space where things can happen...
"What a wonderful weekend I had recently in the beautiful setting in the French countryside to experience for the first time a mindfulness experience. As a sole traveller I was a little apprehensive but was made to feel so welcome that I immediately felt relaxed and at home. I enjoyed every minute, the food, the house, the mindfulness and the company. Highly recommended. I loved it. A must." Caroline de Lacy
"I had a wonderful few days in Aulagnes with Charlie and Olive. The house, large and elegant overlooks rolling hills covered in vines. A beautiful and tranquil aspect. The bedrooms are gorgeous and very comfortable. I really enjoyed the mindfulness programme. It was presented very professionally and our mindfulness coach was wonderful. I think we all benefited hugely from the experience. There were also interesting trips planned which gave a good balance to the weekend. The food was amazing. I loved being served up delicious meals skilfully prepared using local produce. The team went out of their way to ensure that we felt at home and they thought of everything to keep us happy (even provided hot water bottles at night!) All in all a unique and special experience." Jackie Oglesby
"I spent a restful, restorative and relaxing weekend in Aulagnes practicing Mindfulness under the guidance of Martin Towey. Martin gently led us through many yoga poses, interjected with nuggets of Buddhist wisdom through poetry and prose. All this took place in the home of Olive and Charlie who not only warmly welcomed us by offering us full board ‘par excellence’ but also devised a cultural and historical programme for the benefit of their guests. I would highly recommend a visit." Margaret Ryan
This exclusive Weekend is open to 10 participants with a minimum number of seven.
Cost: €500 (sharing) or €530 (private room), with a 10% discount for bookings by 8 March (for the April week-end). The cost covers all mindfulness and relaxation sessions, all meals, beverages and accommodation and all guided outings. Yoga mats and sitting stools are also provided.