The Forge | Meditation for Non-Meditators: Come to your senses retreat

The Forge Corwen

Meditation for Non-Meditators: Come to your senses retreat

Event Date: 24/05/24 - 27/05/24

Exploring your senses to become more self-aware

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Come and play with your senses!

  • Have you ever wondered why certain smells trigger certain memories?
  • Or how tastes are heightened when you can't see what you are eating?
  • Have you ever taken the time to truly observe the intricate details in nature all around us?
  • Or slowed down to appreciate how different types of physical contact make us really feel?

Although the name suggests it is all about sensory experience, in reality it is so much more than that. It’s a few days completely away from everything to slow down your mind and become aware of your existing habits, try out a 'buffet' of new possible habits, and then create your own toolkit of practices to take away with you to help you in everyday life. It’s also a great way to focus on your awareness and find out what it means to be truly present in the moment, but without hours of sitting cross legged and chanting! All the activities are really fun and gentle and we go at a pace that suits everyone. If you don’t want to engage in some of the exercises or you find anything triggering then you are very welcome to take some time out to relax in one of our hammocks or take a walk instead.

As well as the programme of formal activities we also make time to go wild swimming, to read, and to relax around the campfire, really just taking in the mood and the energy levels and going with that.

You will be sleeping in one of our luxury bell tents which have real beds, carpets and log burners and we’ll be providing lots of nourishing and wholesome food so you don’t have to worry about cooking or washing up during your time with us!

The leaders for the retreat are Kiki and Kyle from West Virginia in the US and they are both amazing people. Kiki is full of energy and enthusiasm, which Kyle, as a practicing Buddhist, offsets with his calm and capable demeanour. They are brilliant at reading the dynamic of the group and immediately put everyone at ease. They always create enduring friendships with everyone who comes on this retreat.

Activities will include:

  • Exploration of breath and movement
  • Synesthetic expression: describing perceptions of one sense through terms typically applied to another
  • Sensory deprivation: limiting one sense to heighten the experience of others
  • Practicing and refining your ability to identify and describe your own perceptions accurately and specifically
  • Connecting sense and memory
  • Experiments with sensory misperception
  • Periods of intentional solitude and reflection
  • Encouraging bravery in exploring the edge between familiar and unfamiliar, within safe boundaries
  • Discovering senses beyond the “famous five”

This retreat is designed for people who:

  • Are game for exploring new ideas and practices
  • Don't necessarily think they can "do meditation" but are open and curious
  • Are willing to be vulnerable and look inward to see what they can find
  • Are open to connecting with themselves, with nature, and with whatever the environment presents

The retreat will take place over four days and three nights and will be fully catered. Accommodation is in our luxury bell tents and the activities will all take place in and around The Forge and our Iron Age hill fort.

The price is £535 per person which includes absolutely everything, and payment plans are available if this makes life easier for you.

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Book your place on the retreat

A woman creeping through a woodland blindfolded
A man sitting cross legged in an open sided cabin on a beanbag
A blindfolded woman using a rope to move through a woodland
A blindfolded woman smelling some fresh mint leaves
Two men creeping through a woodland, one is blindfolded
A man floating on his back in a river
A man and a woman sitting on wooden star gazer chairs eating mindfully
A honey and lemon cake decorated with elderflowers
A group of people sitting on bean bags at sunset

About Kyle and Kiki

Kyle Weaner
Play and exploration were big parts of growing up in the mountains of West Virginia for Kyle. From imaginative play in the woods, swimming and boating in river rapids, skiing in the winter, to foraging for wild foods Kyle has cultivated physical awareness and capability in connecting with and moving through the environment for his whole life. Kyle has been a licensed massage therapist for 20 years, and therapeutically accesses sensation and pain as a way to come to the present moment to relieve pain, stress, and trauma. Kyle studied traditional Tibetan Medicine as an apprentice under Dr. Jampa Yonten for nearly seven years in India before returning home. He founded the Jivaka Wellness Center in 2013, and serves the community through Tibetan Medicine, massage, yoga, and meditation to help others get in touch with the body/mind connection and their own health and well-being. Kyle is a Buddhist, and draws on his study and practice to guide his work.

Kiki Alba
Kiki’s delight in inhabiting and experiencing a range of places and cultures goes a long way in explaining how her lifelong sensory scrapbook was compiled. She was born and raised in southeast Ohio, attended high school in Massachusetts, earned her MA from the University of St Andrews, in Scotland, and lived and worked in France, London, and Beijing before returning to the US. She has worked in museums in Pittsburgh and New York City, and has taught students of all ages, in academic and non-academic settings, on three continents - covering entry level to highly specialized content, in subjects as varied as English, French, math, yoga, music, dance, photography, and the history of art. Her love of learning and helping others learn is both motivated and supported by an active engagement with ever-changing sensory perception. The most recent skill she has been developing is lime plastering, a challenging but rewarding activity that tests the balance between precision and intuition. Her practice of Vipassana meditation is her primary foundation for observing sensations, as they are, from moment to moment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring?

Clothing and shoes that are good for walking outside, and that are comfortable to move around in.

There is mention of things like "exploring the edge of one's comfort zone"... will we be doing anything that is actually unsafe or dangerous?

We will definitely not be doing anything that puts anyone in danger. We might encourage participants to observe and reflect on their own aversions or inhibitions, but always with consent.

Do I have to participate in every activity?

No. Part of observing your own senses is respecting your own needs and boundaries - this includes taking breaks whenever you need to. Listen to your own body!

Do I have to talk or share with the group?

You can take part in as much or as little discussion as you like. Among the materials you will be given is a journal - the contents of which are private and yours only. What you share of its contents is entirely up to you.

Do I need to have done qigong or meditation before?

No, not at all. All of the activities are designed to go at the pace and ability of the participants. No prior experience is necessary and you will be guided gently through anything that is unfamiliar to you.

You can find out more in our recent blog post on the top ten reasons why you should join our sensory retreat.

The connections were all so lovely and profound throughout it almost didn’t need a goodbye. A bientot, to be continued, go forth and use the learnings feels more apt. I have a strange mix of ‘feel as if I’ve been away for ten days’ but also that the time just went ‘whoosh’. It was very good for me. I have noticed a real ‘tonic’ and ‘reset’ type feeling. Self-affirming and freeing. You and your specially chosen team and facilitator hosts really created a very uplifting , freeing and healing environment.
Come To Your Senses Retreat guest, June 2023
What a beautiful retreat….the location alone is just wonderful, set in a peaceful and spacious site, with welcoming friendly owners, Sheanna & Jamie, even owls swooping about when dusk comes!

Kiki and Kyle really bring this sensory retreat alive, passing on years of their work and personal experiences and creating an inclusive loving space…..I left feeling so calm and peaceful, from the inside out, sure that the experience would filter into my everyday life….and it really has!

We explored the senses in simple but hugely effective ways, and each day brought something new to learn, from our own perspective and from the others in the group, and is definitely a retreat I would recommend, BOOK IT!!
Come To Your Senses Retreat guest, June 2023

Cancellation Policy

If you are no longer able to make the retreat we will in the first instance give you the option to move your place to another date. If that is not an option then we will work with you to try to fill your place so we can give you a full refund. However if we are unable to fill your spot then the following cancellation policy will apply:

12 weeks’ notice or more – you only lose the 25% deposit

6 - 12 weeks’ notice – lose 25% deposit plus a further 25% of the total cost of your booking (50% of total cost of booking)

4 - 6 weeks’ notice – lose 75% of total cost of booking

Less than 4 weeks’ notice – lose 100% of total cost of booking

Escape to the forge

Book with us today to discover a unique glamping experience in a beautiful, undiscovered part of North Wales. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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