Autumn Retreat 2014, an intensive Okido yoga residential
course was held
for 16 – 20 (Thursday –Sunday) October 2014 in Thorpeness,
a small village in
We love to come here once a year. What a spot! The house
we rent stands
right in front of the sea with no road in between. Movements and sounds
sea, the skies, sunrises and stars - everyone appreciates a taste of
world, just two hours away from London.
Thursday 16 Oct. We began with preparations to
the house before
welcoming the participants. In order to make a clear dojo, Michael and
had the task of fitting the living room furniture into the small
room. Meanwhile in the kitchen Junko arranged all the food we brought
as cooking light supper to be served on arrival of the participants. I
many things to organise: checking the bedrooms, the programme time
aid kits and so on. And, receiving the participants.
It was a
largely different group from previous years and many had not
attended before. Yet there was already a chatty, bubbling energy at the
meeting for supper. We did self-introduction and I gave the guidance
retreat. Then Trish led a ginger compress session. The first evening
always starts quite late and it was nearly 10:30 pm when all was over.
participants seemed relieved to hear that the wake-up call would be at
7 am. I
know everybody is tired from stress of work or other elements of the
sleep is the best. Feel safe!
Friday 17 Oct. 7:30-9:00 am, I led
the first yoga session before breakfast, while the other staff was
the kitchen to prepare both breakfast and lunch because we were going
walk to Aldeburgh after the breakfast. The group was quite relaxed
autumn products like mushrooms and blackberries. We stopped for tea at
Aldeburgh and walked back on the seashore in the beautiful autumn
Following a break after lunch, Trish led a movement to
music class in various
tunes: a morning raga, jazz, classical, folk, world and modern music.
she guided us to Savasana with lavender and linseed bags covering
passed the class to Michael for a general yoga class and meditation.
supper, Junko and Anna led a chamomile compress session to end the day
pm with the
Saturday 18 Oct. Wake-up call at 6:30am.
Anna’s morning exercise class.
Jogging or walking. Breakfast. Junko’s purification lesson.
or dynamic hara-strengthening exercises. After lunch, Trish led a walk
Minsmere, a famous nature reserve in the Suffolk countryside. We walked
silence for some part as viewing a small herd of red deer. Then I led
into the deep inner realm through asana and pranayama, and then
meditation to re-connect
with the outer realm as keeping in touch with the inner. After supper,
we had a
merry time in singing with Anna’s leadership. The last session
was shiatsu led
by Trish. She asked us to make pairs of more experienced with less
experienced. By this time the group was raised into the mood of sharing
time and energy with anybody that just happened to be a partner at that
As humbly asking for partners’ requests,
people got into
work with free spirit. This full day ended at 9:45 pm.
Oct. It was a cloudy morning, but as Anna was leading us in
AEIOU sound exercises, the clouds over the sea parted from the horizon
sun came up. We all observed the spectacle in silence and then went
enjoy the fresh air. A small flock of seabirds flew past. Then Jogging
walking. After breakfast Trish led a partner exercise class, followed
dynamic yoga class. All were great. After lunch and a short break,
an art class. We normally do this kind of class on the third or fourth
after some physical cleansing was done to release feelings more freely.
After 2 hours of intense individual work, we displayed all paintings
and enjoyed looking with mugs of yogi tea and Anna's
cute biscuits in our hands. Then questions and discussion
session. As Junko
facilitated the session, I talked towards the questions from my Okido
experience, with Michael’s helpful notions. Interesting questions
“When doing exercises, my mind is engaged with other things. How
can I become
stronger in having ‘no mind’ and give full attention to my
breathing?” “Is it
necessary to believe, to gain benefits from spiritual pursuits?” “If Okido means the way of Oki, how many
can we follow during any one life time?” This
is a very valuable session of discussion for
everyone. After supper everybody
including the staff wrote a reflective report. Trish led a ginger oil
and this long full day was closed at 9:30 pm.
Monday, the last day to finish at 2:30 pm.
Wake-up call at 6:10am.
Michael led morning exercises with chanting of Heart Sutra, we all
and sunrise. This is a wonderful session on the last morning of our
Jogging or walking, and only light soup for breakfast. Then I gave the
lesson of asana and meditation. I asked people to sit on
additional height so that stiff hip joints or knees, if there were,
would least bother them. I opened the windows. Wrapped warmly, they
the sea simply merging into them. After the participants packing their
luggage, we had a beautiful brunch and socialising time for 11.15
– 12:30. The
group has become like a family. It is amazing to see this quick
comfortable openness among people who have different backgrounds and
and more over did not know each other four days ago. Then we returned
energy to the house by performing thorough house cleaning as brining
sea air into both the house and our own bodies. The furniture was put
we did our final gathering in the normal living room setting. Sharing at the final gathering was deep.
So, this is Oki sensei’s
‘Eat from the same pan’. Let's do it again.
Retreat 2015 : 15-19 October 2014