Experience the transformative power of a retreat

Whether you are a published author working on a specific project, a beginning writer wanting to let your writing flow, or simply yearning to deepen your personal writing practice, this retreat will leave you feeling nourished and in tune with yourself.

  • RELAX deeply to the ancient sounds of Himalayan singing bowls.
  • RELEASE physical and emotional blockages with Yin Yoga. Find stillness in long-held floor poses that energise the deep tissues of the body.
  • RE-CONNECT with your true voice and tap into your inner wisdom through writing.
  • RE-ENERGISE in the vibrant environment of Hoi An.
Write Your Journey Writers & Yoga Retreat in Vietnam

Ready for a creative vacation of a different sort?

How about combining a restorative inner journey with a week-long exploration of your wild mind and a behind-the-scenes trip to one of Vietnam’s most atmospheric towns?

What would happen if you took a week-long pause from everything that keeps you busy to nourish yourself with mindfulness practices, yoga and writing?

Imagine starting every day with a balancing sound bowl meditation and a gentle yoga session to create stillness and space. Imagine listening deeply and hearing the whispers of your inner voice.

Imagine this. You have spent the morning becoming aligned with yoga and meditation. You are deeply relaxed and connected. Your pen glides effortlessly over the page. Your mind is awake and alive. Imagine the joy of deep creative connection.

And this. You are cycling through rice paddies, past water buffalo and frond-fringed ponds, your heart is filled with the smiles of a people whose language you don’t speak. At the local market you taste authentic cau lao and watch friendly women in conical hats shave banana flower and green mango into the most delicious salads.

Your senses are alive with new sounds and smells. Imagine the vibrant yellow of Hoi An. The magic of lantern-lit nights on a full moon when the Vietnamese honor their ancestors. In your journal you capture the mystical stillness of a weathered pagoda and the gentle waft of incense.

Sharpen your powers of observation while getting lost in the tight alleys of  the World Heritage listed ancient town of Hoi An. Writing through the lens of Vietnam will imbue your voice with a sense of wonder. Connect deeply, emerge restored and creatively re-charged.

Let us take you on an unforgettable tour of Hoi An. We came for a month and we stayed a year. Who knows what it will do to you? Come and find out!

Re-connect with yourself through writing, yoga and mindfulness.

This retreat is suitable for anybody who believes in the soul nourishing power of writing.

Whether you have an established writing practice or have always wanted to write but never had the time, this retreat is for you.

There will be plenty of free writing time, guided writing exercises, workshops and feedback, including one-on-one feedback. The retreat is designed to nourish mind, body and soul. Feedback will be constructive and gentle and you have the option to share as much or as little of your writing as you wish.

Most days begin with gentle yoga and sound bowl balancing meditations and end with opportunities for after dinner chats and readings.

We combine the quiet, contemplative practice of Yin Yoga with gentle Hatha yoga to connect deeply. Yin Yoga is as much a physical practice of releasing tension, softening and lubricating tight muscles and joints, as a it is contemplative practice in stillness and mindful awareness.

Yin Yoga is a natural companion practice to writing. Yin Yoga challenges us to find stillness, to sit with our physical edge and to observe whatever arises without judging. Observing our reactions when staying with our physical edge, trains the mind to become focused. We observe from the inside out, like a writer.

Learning to observe ourselves in the act of thinking, we become witness to our own stories. Sound bowl meditation and Yin Yoga help us become deeply relaxed and fully present to our unedited selves.

We use mindfulness practices of the Vietnamese Buddhist zen monk Thích Nhất Hạnh to learn how to feel home in the present moment using the breath as an anchor. Whether you are an experienced meditation practitioner or new to meditation, the practices used in this retreat are simple yet very powerful to calm the mental chatter and to feel grounded.

What’s included?

  • 7 x nights accommodation in single room in river-fronted boutique resort, halfway between Ancient Town and the beach
  • Bicycle rental and some local transfers to and from town/beach
  • All breakfasts, all lunches & 5 dinners
  • 4 guided excursions & cultural workshops in and around the UNESCO listed town of Hoi An
  • Daily morning yoga & meditation
  • Daily writing workshops,  feedback sessions & one-on-one sessions
  • 1 individual sound massage with Himalayan singing bowls & group sound bath
Writing and Yoga Retreat Vietnam - Our morning writing session on the beautiful terrace of our retreat in Hoi An.
Group Sound Bowl Meditation www.feelintune.com

What’s not included:

  • International or domestic airfares/bus/train tickets to reach Hoi An (Da Nang is the closest airport)
  • Visa fees and travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Additional activities can be organised at own cost and on demand.
  • Alcohol and personal items
  • Transfer to and from Da Nang airport (but we are happy to arrange that for you at $12 per one-way transfer).

FROM:  $ 1250* ( EARLY BIRD PRICE until March 31st)

A non-refundable deposit of $ 450 will reserve your spot.

*All prices in US dollars

Can you imagine spending a week in this tranquil boutique resort?

Your home for the week is An Villa Boutique Resort, half way between Cua Dai beach and the World Heritage listed Old Town of Hoi An.

Situated right on the river, this small boutique resort is a tranquil oasis amid palm trees and tropical gardens in an authentic Vietnamese neighborhood.

There are six unique living spaces – ranging from two-person studios to three-bedroom family villas – designed by a French expat architect and furnished with an eye for artistic detail.

Each living space comes with a private garden or terrace and a well-equipped kitchen, though you’ll hardly be cooking at home during this retreat.

There are plenty of quiet spaces to retreat in contemplative stillness and to connect with your creative flow.

The priceless things you’ll take away from this retreat

Money can’t buy happiness …

…. but it can buy you a week of healthy habits that will leave you feeling deeply nourished, re-balanced, inspired & re-energised.

You’ll take home with you:

  • a stack of new writing
  • insight into your creative potential
  • a new sense of wonder and deep connection with yourself
  • mindfulness practices to keep you centred and focused
  • re-newed focus on where you are headed as a writer and on life’s journey
  • self-care practices and a deeper understanding of the transformative power of writing
  • knowledge of easy yoga asanas you’ll be able to do at home to prevent writer’s back pain, hunched shoulders, tightness in hips and legs

Meet Your Retreat Facilitators

KERSTIN PILZ, Phd – Retreat Leader

Hi fellow writers and creative seekers,

I’ve taught a wide range of forms of communication, writing and reading in over two decades as a university lecturer and education manager.

As a keen traveller, I’ve led academic study tours in Europe, sailed aboard a floating university campus to 12 different ports and developed the curriculum for the first ever Bachelor in Visual Arts for Maldives National University.

I’m also a certified yoga teacher and a practitioner of mindfulness meditation. I divide my time between Vietnam and the Wet Tropics of Australia and regularly travel throughout Asia to deepen my practice.

Since leaving full-time employment for the freedom of the open road, I’ve dedicated myself to bringing together my passion of writing, traveling, yoga and meditation with my other passion, teaching and mentoring.

Writing has always been my preferred way of making sense of the world.

You can read my full story here.

Write Your Journey - Kerstin Pilz
Singing Bowl Master Nigel Rowles

Let me introduce you to

NIGEL ROWLES,

who will help you unleash your creative genius with unique sound bowl balancing techniques.

NIGEL ROWLES is a  professional musician with over 30 years experience teaching music, playing in bands and as a solo performer.

His first sound bowl massage was life changing. He had never felt so deeply relaxed within minutes of lying down. Four weeks later, he was on a plane to Kathmandu to begin his training with Himalayan masters and to explore how sound can be used to balance the body’s frequencies.

In Nepal he spent many hours hand selecting a set of eight tuned bowls and perfecting his personalised method of playing the bowls. As a trained musician he prefers chord structures, rather than matching the bowls to the body’s chakras. By using tuned bowls to create chords, he can generate a larger number of harmonies which bring about inner balance and help relief stress.

Find out more on Nigel’s website: www.feelintune.com

Meet Victoria Nhan,

who will lead our gentle morning yoga classes.

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Victoria travelled around Australia and Southeast Asia before falling in love with the beautiful beach town of Hoi An, which she’s called home for the last two years.

Victoria’s practice and teachings revolve around the simple question “how can we live life with more love, peace and joy?” She uses mindfulness cues to guide students to bring awareness to body, mind and spirit, both on and off the mat.

Victoria is also an accredited Reiki Practitioner and she’ll be available for private one-on-one healing sessions throughout the retreat* to help you balance your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies through energy work.

Victoria is the founder of Yoga in Vietnam (an online community of yoga lovers and practitioners in Vietnam) and editor-in-chief of More Than Food magazine (a community of unique voices from around the world sharing experiences in food, drink & travel).

Learn more about Victoria  and her teachings on her website.

*private Reiki sessions are at extra cost

Victoria Nhan, Yoga Teacher, Write Your Journey Vietnam Retreat

Sound Bowl Balancing takes us to a place where …

…. creative energy flows and the inner voice speaks freely

The rich sounds we hear and feel when the bowls are placed on or around the body, are a succession of frequencies that resonate in concentrically swelling sound waves, penetrating every cell of the body. Sound bowl balancing is like a massage at the cellular level.

Like an orchestra, our bodies vibrate at many different frequencies. If an instrument is out of tune, we feel off key and unbalanced. Too many discordant frequencies can affect our wellbeing, creating stress, anxiety and disease. Sound bowls vibrate our frequencies back into balance and make mind, body and soul feel in tune.

Sound bowls balance the brainwaves of both hemispheres of the brain allowing us to journey deeper into our creative potential.

FREE Sound Bowl Meditation

Download your personal 15-minute

Sound Bowl Meditation here.

Instant calm & focus.

Any time, anywhere.

Be inspired by the colours, flavours and people of Vietnam

You will be staying in a small boutique resort, amid rice paddies, within cycling distance of the beach and the UNESCO World Heritage ancient town of Hoi An in central Vietnam. This beautifully preserved ancient seaside town was once a powerful trading port along the ‘sea silk road’. From the 15th to the early 19th merchants from China, Japan and later Europe settled here, creating a unique architectural fusion of timber framed houses, pagodas, assembly halls and wooden footbridges that survive intact to the present day.

The silting up of the mouth of the Thu Bon River, making it unusable as a sailing port, and the decline of the Nguyen dynasty, led to the remarkable conservation of the historic street scape. For the next 200 years little changed here.

The arrival of tourism has brought new life to the historic streets, which for most of the day are closed to motorized traffic. Today, the wooden shop houses are abuzz with trendy wine bars, artisan tailors, art galleries, fine restaurants, and everything in between.

This retreat is for you if you

  • need to get some writing done and crave to dive deeper into your creativity
  • yearn to step away from all that keeps you busy, distracted and disconnected from yourself & your writing
  • desire a nourishing environment that will allow you to release long-held stories
  • are willing to surrender to the flow, because we’ll let all of it flow, our creativity, our writing, our breath, our wild minds, our voice, our stories. Gentle yoga, sound bowl balancing and mindfulness practices help us work through the blockages to find spaciousness in mind, body & soul

Here’s what we are NOT going to do:

  • therapy; We’ll use writing as a form of self-care, to get to the deep stories, but we are not therapists, we just facilitate the journey to access your true voice
  • network to get published or pitch industry experts
  • lecture you on plot or structure; Of course I’ll share with you everything I know about the nuts and bolts of storytelling, crafting good sentences and characters, but I’ve retired from my position as University teacher. I am here to guide you towards the stories you need to write and to discover your voice
  • athletic yoga; we’re not about Ashtanga or Power Yoga, but will make you feel fabulous with Gentle Hatha Flow and Restorative Yin Yoga
  • critique your writing; of course we will share our writing in daily reading circles and I’ll be available for one-on-one feedback, but this retreat is about letting your writing flow without judgement or anxiety
  • preach Eastern philosophy; we are about using mindfulness and sound bowl balancing sans all the esoteric fluff

PRAISE: what former retreat participants have to say

Writing and Yoga Retreat Vietnam - Sharing one of many joyful moments in our Hoi An Writing and Yoga Retreat

“If you are thinking of a writing retreat, I wholeheartedly recommend Kerstin’s retreats, for seeing with fresh eyes. You will love the self-care, stimulation, reflection and perspective it provides. The writing experience on the retreat prompted us to hone in on our unique voice. Writing sessions focused on a theme such as beginner’s mind, writing for the senses, storytelling, memoir and crafting a personal creative manifesto.

Kerstin was adept at crafting a gentle writing curriculum experience that opened us up to our voice and skill. It was so valuable for me to work with themes, prompts and exercises to dust off and access my voice.

An individual hour-long sound bowl meditation with Nigel was included and involved the placing of sound bowls around us and on our body. It was the deepest of relaxation experiences. That night I slept like I hadn’t slept for a long time.

Kerstin arranged a well-balanced itinerary and journey through the week. The yoga and writing complemented each other perfectly as we attended to both practices.”

Terri, life coach, Sydney. Read her full write-up on her blog Quiet Writing.

Writing and Yoga Retreat Vietnam - One of the writers sharing her story with the rest of the group.

“This was an outstanding, deepening and inspiring experience. Kerstin clearly poured her heart and soul into providing the most spacious, accepting and safe environment for writing together. There was a great balance of prompts, discussion and teaching, writing, reading and sharing.

As the week progressed, we all went deeper and deeper into our creative expression. I particularly liked that there were a variety of approaches to opening up our writing: visual, verbal, drawing.

The yoga, meditation, sound baths and excursions were all wonderful. Kerstin attended to every aspect of being in a foreign country. The individual consultations were extremely helpful, motivating and inspiring and as a result, I am leaving with a project that I knew I needed to do but was avoiding.”

Heidi, craniosacral therapist, Woodstock, NY

Writing and Yoga Retreat Vietnam - Flora getting ready for a trip to the pittoresque Old Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

“I truly enjoyed the entire writing workshops! There was so much content to cover however it was just enough to allow creativity to flow, so much scope for the imagination. I really liked the format and basically how the workshops were not structured but very free flowing. It was awesome! Till this day I am so grateful that I randomly did a Google search and found this retreat in true millennial style!

The individual sound bowl session that I had with Nigel was my first time doing sound bowl meditation. I will definitely be trying it again, it was so relaxing and calming, literally the best thing ever!

The overall organization was fantastic. I enjoyed everything about An Villa! The staff were fantastic it was so good of them to provide us with all that we needed and go out of their way to ensure that we were comfortable.”

Flora, poet, activist & youth worker, Melbourne

BOOK NOW

JOURNEY TO SELF

8 – 15 September, 2019 – Hoi An

.

EARLY BIRD from $1250*

Available until March 31st

A $ 450 deposit will reserve your spot.

*all prices in US Dollars

Have more questions? Please get in touch:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What kind of writing will we do?

In this retreat we will be using writing for its therapeutic and healing benefits. We will use it as a companion practice to mindfulness meditation and Yin Yoga to connect deeply with our true selves.

We will do timed writing exercises, free writing for 10 minutes to carefully selected writing prompts. The power of freewriting is that it allows you to bypass the harsh inner critic. You write straight from the core, without stopping to think or edit or worrying about grammar and spelling.

At the end of each session there will be a sharing circle. But sharing your writing is totally optional, as the aim of writing practice is to allow you to write freely, connecting with your unedited inner voice.

What makes writing so effective as a wellbeing practice is the fact that we use narrative to create meaning for ourselves. Our identities are made up of the stories we tell about who we are, what has been and where we are headed.

Writing is a way of letting go of everything that no longer serves us. We release untold stories. We name painful emotions. And then we turn the page of our journal and write on.

When we write our thoughts and feelings down, honestly and raw,  we gain insight into our motivations and actions.  We learn to say “Ah, I can see now why …”. That’s when we will be able to write new, healthier, self narratives.

The the health benefits of writing about both negative and positive emotions and life events have been confirmed by a number of scientific studies. Professor James Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin conducted the first qualitative research study on writing as a tool for healing in the early 1980s.

What if I write in a foreign language?

You are encouraged to write in your native language as this will allow you to connect more deeply with your inner voice.

The writing you will be doing in this retreat is for your eyes only. Sharing is optional and only invited for selected prompts.

How much meditation will we do?

To really allow ourselves to find stillness within, we will observe noble silence in the mornings until breakfast.

We will start the day with morning journaling, a 15 minute sound bowl meditation and a 60 minute yoga class, alternating between yin & yang yoga (gentle Hatha yoga).

There will be further guided sound bowl meditations during the daily workshop to introduce you to various meditation techniques.

No meditation experience is necessary for this retreat and you will not be expected to sit in meditation posture for more than 20 minutes at a time.

We will practice mindfulness as a lifestyle practice – both on and off the meditation cushion – including mindfulness activities such as walking meditation, mindful eating & creative photo meditations.

What kind of yoga will we do?

We will start our mornings with a gentle Vinyasa flow sequence to wake up the body and get you connected to your breath.

On some afternoons we will unwind with Yin Yoga.

In case you are new to Yin yoga here’s some info:

Yin Yoga uses long-held floor poses that allow us to go deeper in the body to access the fascia and the tissue around the muscles, the joints and the energy pathways that run through the body,

Yin Yoga is a great complement to more energetic styles of yoga and other forms of physical exercise, like running or cycling, that work the muscles.

By working on the meridians of the body, activating ch’i flow, Yin Yoga helps to nourish our internal organs and the denser tissues of the body with vital fluids.

The practice can also give you greater range of motion, improved joint mobility and flexibility.

The most important benefit of Yin Yoga, no doubt, is that it helps to release deeply held tension not just on a physical level but also on an emotional and mental level.

The practice activates our parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to rest and digest, making this a deeply healing and nourishing practice.

Visa

Some nationalities (ie. most European passports) are eligible for a 2-week visa on arrival. Alternatively you can obtain your visa by sending your passport to the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country.

A more convenient way is to request a visa letter, which you will need to print and present at the immigration office upon arrival at the airport. Your visa will be processed then and there (it takes between 15-30 minutes, depending on whether you arrive in busy Ho Chi Minh City or the quieter airport of Da Nang).

If you’d like to use this option, we can put you in touch with our contact, whom we have successfully used for the last 3 years.

Sample Schedule

First Day:

14:00–16:00 Arrival, Check-in/Meet& Greet

16:00–17:30 Sound Bath & Yin Yoga session

18:30 –20:00 Welcome Dinner

20:00 – 21:00 pm Poolside chat

Sample Day

6:30–7:00 Optional Morning Journaling on Yoga deck

7:00–8:00 Gentle Hatha morning yoga

8:00–8:30 Sound Bowl Meditation & mindful journaling*

8:30–9:30 Breakfast

10:00–12:00 Mindful Writing workshop

12:00–13:00 Lunch

13:00–15:00 Rest & time for individual sound-bowl massage*

15:00–17:00 Afternoon Writing Workshop or excursion

18: 30 – 20:00 Dinner

20:00 – 21:00 poolside chat

*we will practice noble silence until breakfast

*one individual sound bowl massage included in package; additional sound massages or classic massage available at extra cost

Terms & Conditions

TERMS & CONDITIONS

• A non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to book your spot.

• Early bird pricing ends January 7, 2019.

• Full payment for all bookings required two weeks prior to retreat start. Any bookings made thereafter, must be paid in full.

• Any cancellations made prior to 31/12/18 – full refund (less non-refundable deposit)

• Cancellations made between 1/01/19 – 25/02/19 receive a 50% refund (less non-refundable deposit)

• No refunds for any cancellations after 25/02/2019.

• Please note that Write Your Journey reserves the right to cancel the retreat prior to 25/02/19. Prior to this date, we would recommend any flights booked are flexible fares.

© Copyright - Write Your Journey