Boucher finds you don’t have to be suffering from executive stress to book into
one of the more exotic and offbeat retreats gathered here – but it helps.
Manor Centre for Vedic Studies
to the Hare Krishna movement by George Harrison in 1973, Bhaktivedanta Manor is
a Tudor-style rural retreat in Hertfordshire that’s seen as both a centre of
Vedic studies and a window to Vrindavan, Lord Krishna’s eternal home.
emphasis here is on meditation, contemplation and reflection. Courses include
an open weekend for beginners, a mantra meditation weekend and a beading
workshop. Those who want to travel a deeper spiritual path can spend time exploring
the relevance of Krishna consciousness to their own life and if you want to put
the lifestyle into practice, you can learn about ox power and composting, and
there is instruction in the alternative therapy Ayervedic.
to its founder Joseph D’Arrigo, a Tuscan Sabbatical is a week long programme
that "utilises Florence and its connection with the Renaissance as a
metaphor for re-awakening and life examination." A bit deep, but nobody
could deny it’s a great location to collect your thoughts.
typical week begins with two days in Florence investigating the uniqueness of
16th century Italian rebirth, followed by four days wandering around the Tuscan
hills in reflective discovery. You start the day with a simple group yoga
session and painting, writing and singing are all ingredients of a typical day
and artistic greats such as Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci are held up as
secret was balance and passion," says D"Arrigo, who describes himself
as a "former stressed-out entrepreneur" who came to Florence for a
weekend and ended up staying for two months. "I became intrigued by the
Renaissance and how familiar the stresses of that time sounded."
Ashburton Centre, based in a Georgian townhouse on the edge of the Dartmoor
National Park, was founded in 1994 with the aim of providing holistic education
and personal development in a comfortable and supportive environment.
other retreats, you are free to get involved as much or as little as you like.
Courses include cooking, painting and singing and the idea is to share
experiences and have fun regardless of ability, and there are also Retreat
Weekends which entail being in a small, intimate group of like-minded people.
its launch, the organisation has expanded with the addition of retreats in
France and Spain.
houses, advertising agencies and film production companies are among the
clients to have passed through London-based Energy Bank, a centre that relies
on the mystical art of healing via energy.
lengths range from one hour to several months and are individually tailored.
"We reduce stress so quickly that people often don’t realise it has
happened," says Claire Dennett, a councillor for Energy Bank. "But we
have a lot of data showing how dramatic changes have occurred after only a few
visits. We realise there is scepticism but we give people a bolt of natural
energy and the vast majority find it helps their personal and business lives to
company is in the process of opening franchises in branches of a major
a former stately home nine miles south east of Edinburgh, is a residential
centre where you can simply enjoy the peace and quiet of the grounds and
recharge the batteries or take part in activities such as music and the arts.
There are also Myers Briggs indicator tests for people who want to find out
more about themselves.
Aerospace and Cambridge University are among the regular visitors. "If
people are looking for a specific theme we will try our best to provide input.
If it’s spiritual we will find a retreat leader who is qualified in giving
instructions," says general manager Bill Alcorn. "People come here to
find the type of person they are and we do everything we can to help them do
College of Metaphysical Studies
week in the French Pyrenees
College of Metaphysical Studies was established to provide training of all
levels to those interested in metaphysics – a spiritual philosophy of life
where self-empowerment comes from studying how to use the spiritual laws of
a year the college leaves its base in Beckenham, Kent, and takes up summer camp
in Conat, Prades in the French Pyrenees. Here you spend five half-days inside a
metaphysical workshop of self-discovery and relaxation; the rest of the time
you’re free to explore the mountains.
director Cornelius Passchier limits the numbers involved to a maximum of six so
that everyone gets as much from the experience as possible. "We normally
meditate in the open air or in one of the Cathar monasteries", he says.
"The weather is normally so nice that we are completely relaxed and