Morning Retreat Sunday 29 April

goddess_mandala_by_nahimaartI hope you are having a happy snow day!

The morning retreat in April is now on Sunday 29th.  A morning of practice, reflection and connection.  The morning will include yoga practices, social time, group discussion and pranayama (seated breathing practice) & meditation.

Next date:

  • Sunday 29 April 2018 (please note new day/date)
  • Our discussion will include yoga philosphy and aspects of the season
  • Time: 0930 – 1245
  • Spaces: Maximum 10
  • Cost: £35 per person or Early bird £30 per person by 14 March 2018

Click the link to book your space: Morning Retreats at Yanley

All things being well …

spring blossomThank you for all your lovely messages and warm well wishes.  I finally feel like I am in recovery.  Still a little fragile but moving in the right direction which is a huge relief.  All being well, I will be back to work on Monday.

Monday evening there is a reiki share (1900 – 2100), please let me know if you would like to come along.  I’m really looking forward to this!  There are four spaces left and you are welcome however little or much reiki experience you have:  reiki shares

And yoga returns for a reduced four week term on Wednesday (3 classes) and Friday morning.  All classes now have spaces.  Thank you for being patient, I very rarely cancel yoga.  Please let me know if you would like to join us for the term: Yoga at Yanley


reiki day – 23 April

A day for reiki practitioners to meet to share reiki and be nurtured.  All levels are welcome.  We will cropped-ivy-now.jpgstart with gentle yoga practice in the beautiful loft at Yanley Court.  This will lead to a futon-based reiki share.  The day will include conversation relating to healing experiences and the space for sharing ideas and peer supervision.  Our time will end with a distant healing circle and meditation.

I want the day to feel spacious and restorative.  I was introduced to working with reiki on the futon by a friend and fellow reiki practitioner.  I feel a deeper connection to the person receiving and to everyone giving.  If you are concerned about knees, hips, backs, please don’t be.  There are ways to work to ensure you are comfortable and part of the shared healing process.

  • When: Monday 23 April, 10 am to 4 pm
  • Where: Yanley Court
  • Cost: £55.00 per person (early bird price £45.00, booked by 1 March); payment due at time of booking
  • Everyone to bring lunch; tea/coffee and biscuits will be provided
  • Six spaces available

Email me to reserve your space and to arrange payment: 

Future dates:

  • 25 June
  • 6 August
  • 29 October

Diary reminders

Just a quick note to remind you that Early Bird Yoga is on Friday morning 730-830 at Yanley Court.  Bodies are always a bit more reluctant to move first thing but that can be accommodated.  It’s a great way to start the day: Early Bird Yoga

And another reminder that there is a reiki share on Monday evening 1900-2100.  Please let me know by Sunday evening if you are joining us so I can confirm numbers: reiki shares

image from

Many thanks, hope you get your Thursday groove on, Y x


Introduction to reiki

I am really enjoying the reiki shares and encourage anyone who is interested to come along for an evening of giving and receiving healing.  The next evening share is Monday 13 November (7.00 pm – 9.00 pm).

Link: Reiki share/gathering

If you want to understand more about reiki, how about coming to a course to learn about it?  This is a two day course to introduce you to the principles and practice of reiki for self-development and self-care.  The next foundation course for reiki is Friday 26 January and Monday 29 January.

Link: Reiki I Course

I am planning to offer reiki II in the Spring.

what is a mandala?

Goddess Mandala by Nahimaart (

At the end of October, I am taking a group on retreat to Dartmoor.  Hopefully the weather will be kind.  If it isn’t, there will be space to create our own mandalas.  I was first introduced to mandalas during my reiki apprenticeship however they are found across cultures and traditions.   A mandala is said to represent wholeness and the womb of creation, revealing the inner workings of nature and the universe.  Today, a mandala has become ‘a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically’ (


Taken from:

Hildegard von Bingen, a Christian nun in the 12th century, created many beautiful mandalas to express her visions and beliefs.  In the Americas, Indians have created medicine wheels and sand mandalas. The circular Aztec calendar was both a timekeeping device and a religious expression of ancient Aztecs. In Asia, the Taoist “yin-yang” symbol represents opposition as well as interdependence. Tibetan mandalas are often highly intricate illustrations of religious significance that are used for meditation

Both Navajo Indians and Tibetan monks create sand mandalas to demonstrate the impermanence of life.  In ancient Tibet, as part of a spiritual practice, monks created intricate mandalas with coloured sand made of crushed semiprecious stones. The tradition continues to this day.  The creation of a sand mandala requires many hours and days to complete. Each mandala contains many symbols that must be perfectly reproduced each time the mandala is created. When finished, the monks gather in a colourful ceremony, chanting in deep tones as they sweep their mandala into a jar and empty it into a nearby body of water as a blessing. This action also symbolizes the cycle of life.

Buddhist sand mandala (

The American Navajo people create impermanent sand paintings which are used in spiritual rituals–in much the same way as they are used by Tibetans. A Navajo sand painting ritual may last from five to nine days and range in size from three to fifteen feet or more.

Representing the universe itself, a mandala is both the microcosm and the macrocosm, and we are all part of its intricate design. The mandala is more than an image seen with our eyes; it is an actual moment in time. It can be can be used as a vehicle to explore art, science, religion and life itself. The mandala contains an encyclopaedia of the finite and a road map to infinity.

Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.” It is “a synthesis of distinctive elements in a unified scheme representing the basic nature of existence.” Jung used the mandala for his own personal growth and wrote about his experiences.

It is said by Tibetan Buddhists that a mandala consists of five “excellencies”: The teacher • The message • The audience • The site • The time

An audience or “viewer” is necessary to create a mandala. Where there is no you, there is no mandala. (from: You Are the Eyes of the World, by Longchenpa, translated by Lipman and Peterson).

In meditation, we can repeat mantras and represent these repetitive sounds with a particular form of mandala, a ‘yantra’.  Mantras were offered to a deity, in the hope that the mantra would gain energy and power through repetition; and now, mantras are also used to focus the mind for personal affirmation or to create mental clarity or stability.  The word mantra translates as the liberation of the spirit through thought (man = to think, tra = liberation).

This yoga term we have brought our awareness into the lower abdomen, also the place of svadhisthana, the sacral cakra.  I have put the Swami Saradananda’s yantra representation of svadhisthana on the wall each week:

Svadhisthana from Swami Sarandananda’s book ‘Chakra Meditation’

In reiki we use mandalas to focus our healing intention for a person or issue.  When sending healing, we use the representation for 21 days and then burn it, to release the energy created through our meditation.  If you read this blog regularly, you know I have been reconnecting to my reiki practice and teaching.  I have a healing book which you are welcome to write messages in for distance healing to be sent or you can ask me to do this for you.  If you would like me to create a mandala for you, please ask.

Blessings Yvonne

guided meditation

Autumn Equinox – artist unknown

I’ve had an inspiring couple of days teaching reiki and spending time discussing energy.  As well as talking about the principles and application of healing, we discussed the expectations of others.  I am particularly struck by how we can be made to be responsible for other people’s connection, or lack of connection, to mystery.

On the second day we started with a short yoga pratice to recall the cakras and their location.  I remembered that I said I would record a guided meditation of svadhisthana (sacral cakra).  It’s not polished and is offered in the spirit of practice. I hope it provides you with a guided journey inwards.

Svadhisthana guided meditation

(This meditation is a combination of my class teaching and Sacral Meditation detailed in The Book of Chakra Healing by Liz Simpson (1999))

I hope you enjoy it.  Please let me know how you get on

Blessings, Yvonne


what’s in a name … reiki boar


I call my Reiki practice reiki boar.  During our recent reiki gathering, boar presented himself from the card pack.  Here are some words about Boar wisdom:

  • Boar symbolises Warrior Spirit, leadership and direction, healing, protection and the element of earth
  • He is paired with sow who offers generosity, nourishment and discovery
  • He calls us to the forest to discover a secret about ourselves and the world.  There are ancient ritual boar paths which also exist within us.  If we follow them, we can meet boar and explore the wild and untamed power in all of us.
  • Boar represents the goddess, healing and inspires music and poetry.  This primal power calls us to be empowered, to lead and direct
  • With Boar to guide us, we can use our wildness and energy for genuine acts of heroism in a world that longs for insight and healing

He’s a rather splendid energy to be guided by

* reference: taken from ‘the druid animal oracle deck’ by P & S Carr-Gomm


what happens at a reiki gathering?

Last Monday saw the beginning or restart of the reiki gathering evenings.  These spacescropped-ivy-couch-now.jpg are sometimes called reiki shares or healing circles.  Three out of the four people who came were new to reiki and I was touched that they arrived open-hearted, open-minded and willing to trust the space being offered.

There were brief introductions to each other and the principles of reiki to start us off.  Everyone was to give and receive reiki.  We had a discussion about ‘how to do that’.  It’s simple.  Place the hands on the body with a healing intention and trust that you will act as a conduit for energy to flow from a universal source to the person on the couch.  Rei is universal energy and ki is our individual energy.  Reiki is the conscious connection between each individual and their place in the world.  We are all connected.

With many hands available, 10 minutes is a powerful amount of healing to receive.  Each person takes it in turns to lie on the couch and has the opportunity to ask for something particular for themselves.  After receiving, the person sat quietly while the next healing session took place.  How much people want to share or not share of their experience is a personal choice.

Once everyone had received, we sat in a circle and offered distance healing to someone we knew, didn’t know, or an event or concern.  This was done without personal agenda.  We cannot know the healing someone needs and sometimes our needs can cloud our objectivity.  So we send healing with the intention that it will be used for the recipient’s highest good.

We brought the evening to a close ensuring everyone felts heard and safe, and was ready to step back out into the world.

Here is some feedback from Monday’s evening:

I attended one of Yvonne’s Reiki evenings, I went with a curious and open mind, as I did not know what to expect.  We were all total strangers but after introductions, I was put at my ease as most of the others didn’t know much more than I did about Reiki.   The whole experience of giving and receiving ‘hands on’ Reiki was very comfortable and relaxing.  I would definitely like to learn more and do it again! (Angela)

So – had my first Reiki experience on Monday at Yvonne’s Reiki Share. I didn’t know what to expect. She was right – I went with an open mind and that was all that was needed. It was friendly and informative and I felt the Reiki warmth! My interest is piqued so I’m going again … can recommend! (Anna)

The next shares are 7 August, 11 September and 9 October 7pm – 9 pm.  Cost is £10.  I want to keep groups small so if there is enough interest I will offer more dates.

In the Autumn I will be teaching Reiki I and will post information soon.

Thanks for reading, blessings Yvonne x

What happens at a Death Cafe?

nature time season

nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress (Dickens)


This week I travelled to Tiverton with a friend to the Pop-up Death Café in Tiverton.  I am still processing the afternoon but having just written that down in a note to another friend, I realise my processing is at the stage of ‘I must create space to think about that …’.  Writing always helps me to think and give space to my emotions.

My first observation is that I set this up with other people in mind and didn’t consider how I felt about it for myself.  I left Bristol feeling apprehensive and curious.  When I arrived we had tea and cake – always a good start.  And then one of my dearest friends said hello.  Nixie was co-facilitating the gathering which gave me a sense of safety and the knowledge I was held.  I found the afternoon hugely beneficial and something I want to continue exploring and being with.

I joke that I’m ok about death, as long as it isn’t my own.  Sitting for a couple of hours with a group of people from different places and times of life was wonderful.  Everyone had a reason for being there which is no surprise.  I had assumed that people would be  drawn to the group because death had been present for someone they loved or through their own journey with health, illness and the ageing process.

offer your heart
Taken from Soul to Soul by John Mundahl

We agreed that the afternoon was confidential for the group but what we learned we could share.  My thoughts are:

  • Death is a lot easier when you are among people who love you
  • The journey becomes clearer when those you love know how you want your life to be celebrated
  • Talking about death allowed light to be present
  • Whatever our religious belief or disbelief, being together and choosing to acknowledge that death is part of life gives more space and power to love and living than it does to fear

On yoga retreat last year, we had talked about karma and death.  It became apparent that my fears around death are not in the dying but in losing my family and friends and not being part of their lives.  I have strong attachments that I want to keep.  It reminds me of the monkey and the coconut, told here by Poelo Coelho:

I said to a friend: ‘It’s odd that proverb, An old monkey never puts his hand in the pot,’

‘Yes, but it has its own logic,’ he replied.  ‘In India, hunters make a small hole in a coconut, put a banana inside and bury the whole thing.  A monkey finds the coconut, puts his hand in the hole but can’t get it out because his closed hand is too big for the hole.  Instead of letting go of the banana, the monkey stays there wrestling with the impossible and gets caught.’

Turns out that the banana I have been gripping tightly is Death not Life.  I am bginning to realise that monkey trapDeath is in my pot of life and I can choose to hold onto the fear it creates and perhaps even become seduced by it.  Or I can choose to acknowledge Death and let go of the fear.  As a human, I love to plan and think about the future.  That’s ok but staying in the present while I plan is essential.  I am in a blessed position, my fears can be about the future, not about now.

My grandmother once said to me that I was afraid of Death because it wasn’t relevant at that moment.  She was telling me to stay in the present.  I often think of her.  She died over ten years ago.  I still expect to see her walking down the road or singing along to Dame Vera Lynn songs played on the organ by my granddad.  To me my grandparents are still present, Death has not taken them from me.

So, that’s the beginning of my processing.  Still some stuff to think about but it’s so much easier talking it through with others rather than sitting in isolation.  As always, it brings me back to yoga.  Yoga is relationship.  When I am in relationship with trust, fear has no room.  The benefits of daily practice are sharpened.IMG_3190 copy

I hope that gives a taste of the experience, I acknowledge it is my own.

I would like to offer a space at Yanley Court for Nixie to join us for an evening to celebrate life and talk about death.  Let me know if you’re interested.  Obviously, there will be cake …

Blessings, Yvonne x

Blog – new look

I’ve changed the layout of the blog.  Please let me know if there are problems finding your way around.  This is also an opportunity to ask you to engage with the information on the blog.  I would love to be able to be an encyclopedia and have all you need available when you ask for it.  Most of what I put on the blog is in response to questions, discussions and ideas.  Do have a look around.  I would hope that most questions you have can be answered here.  This is particularly pertinent to yoga classes and group work.

There are also links for social media sites if access via facebook or twitter are easier for you.  The blogs go there too!



Events & summer yoga – how to book

There are several events coming up that have limited spaces.  Some of you are used to using the online booking system.  I am asking that everyone use this to book their place on reiki gatherings, chanting and meditation evenings as well as the summer sessions.

This will really help me to ensure you have your place booked and I know where we are with numbers.  If you need help to access the system, please ask.  It can be done via the laptop, tablet or smartphone.  Please use the link and choose the ‘Book Classes’ option on the left of the booking page to book your session.  Any problems, please let me know:

online bookingbooking

A reminder of events coming up:

Monday 10 July: Reiki Gathering / Healing Circle 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm

  • Location: Yanley Court, Long Ashton
  • Suggested Cost £5 – £10
  • All welcome.  If this is new to you, all that is required is an open heart and mind
  • Maximum 6 people (3 spaces left)

Wednesday 26 July: Chanting and Meditation Evening 7.00 pm – 8.30 pm

  • Location: Yanley Court, Long Ashton
  • Cost: £10
  • All welcome.  The best way to approach this evening is to just do it.  Perfect pitch is not necessary.  An evening to share some ideas around the yoga sutras and yoga practice.  Tea available after for those who can stay
  • Maximum 8 people (6 spaces left)
  • Yoga Sutra Chapter 1 Teaching CDs available, £10 each

Summer Yoga Sessions – to be booked by 28 July please!

  • Wednesdays, 7.00 pm – 8.30 pm: 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 August
  • Due to the nature of summer these classes can be paid for individually or as a course.  Course/sessions to be pre-booked and paid for in advance: 5 weeks @ £52.50 or £12.50 per class
  • This is often sardine yoga as I only offer one class per week to cater for all students

Please please please ask if you need help with the booking system.  I don’t want you to miss out!

With thanks Yvonne

reiki gathering / healing circle – 10 July

A reiki gathering or healing circle is an opportunity to give and receive healing. Healing circles are open to those of you who are attuned to reiki  but also to those of you to whom reiki practice is new but you areIMG_2918 reiki back interested in learning more about healing or just feel drawn to being in a healing space.  A healing circle lasts for about 2 hours.  All that is required is your presence and openness to give and receive healing.  There are no magic tricks.  Just a healing intention is required.  The more you practice, the deeper the connection.

  • Monday 10 July 1900 – 2100
  • Cost: suggested donation £5 – £10

It would be great to know if you intend to come along. Please let me know if you want more information.


reiki dates

I would like to offer reiki gatherings (shares) and courses again. Now I am solely at Yanley Court and have let go of my college teaching, I have the space and yearning to share reiki and offer teaching.  If you used to come to the shares, you will remember that Gail Lambourne is also available for reiki and we share a facebook page where we post events and information.

facebook page – reiki boar

I had a glorious Friday afternoon sharing ideas about reiki and healing.  I recently offered two dates for shares and although there was interest, the times did not fit.  I think the way forward is to ask you to say what times would work and what courses you are interested in.

I’ve created two doodle polls: one for courses; one for shares.  Then I will offer regular dates and hopefully rebuild a small and connected group to meet and share healing spaces together.

reiki course doodle poll

reiki gathering doodle poll

Let me know if there’s any problem accessing the polls or if you want more information.  Hopefully this will be a lot simpler than June the 8th …

Yvonne x

what is reiki?

healing imageReiki (‘ray-kee‘) receives reactions of curiosity and joy as well as mistrust.  My own relationship with reiki began about fifteen years ago when I was going through ‘something’, I cannot remember the details, it had an emotional element to it.  I was working in a therapy clinic in Redland and had become friends with Nixie James-Scott.  I became intrigued when she introduced me to reiki.  I was also a little dubious – of the therapy not Nixie!  I was dubious of its simplicity.

A client and neighbour I was working with at the time asked me if I practiced reiki?  When he received reflexology, he said I worked as though I did.  More intrigue.

I began a 6 week course of receiving reiki with Nixie.  It was delicious.  An hour of stillness and being held – not just by Nix but by something I couldn’t put a name to.  I felt reconnected to myself and to my life.  Reassured and grounded.

And that is what reiki is.  The Japanese word Rei translates as universal energy; ki is your personal energy (as chi is in Chinese medicine and prana is in Ayurvedic practice).  Reiki is a reconnection to yourself and something beyond yourself.  Being in and part of the Universe.

It is a formalised method of hands on healing.  We all have the ability to heal and be healed.  We do it naturally.  We rub parts of our body that hurt; we offer comfort to someone who is sad; we feel the pain in a situation and try to offer help in any way we can.

Reiki courses are different to some modalities of healing.  They include an attunement self care is not selfishprocess which I would describe as a guided meditative ceremony to bring clarity and a sacredness to your role as healer.  There are different levels which describe the amount of time you choose to spend learning about reiki.  Some people feel the first level is enough; it focuses on your own healing and development.  You can give reiki to others but this level is primarily about your own healing.

How much teaching you receive depends on your needs and intention.  Some people enjoy teaching days for personal development only, while others want to practice professionally

  • Reiki II: Professional practitioner
  • Reiki III Teacher/Master

My experience of learning were short courses for Reiki I and II (2 days) and Reiki III in the form of an apprenticeship (10 days over 2 years).  (I already had an anatomy and physiology qualification.)  One of the reasons for mistrust is the variation in teaching styles and course content.  You can study Reiki I, II and III over a long weekend.  Personally I wouldn’t have wanted to learn in this way.  I like time to sit and develop.  Two years allowed time for coffee, chocolate and excursions!

There are practitioners who are clairvoyant and/or clairaudient; some who see auras and others who are prophetic.  I am none of these.  And it has taken me a long time to know that that is ok!  I was told by a prospective student that perhaps I wasn’t the real deal.  It makes me laugh now but at the time it filled me with self-doubt.  We all experience touch and relationship differently.  That’s what makes life so amazing.  We all have learning and qualities to share.  To limit our development to a perceived expectation is not helpful or necessary.  reiki-hands-temples_0

For my own reiki practice, I am in touch with my own experience.  When I give reiki to another being, my experience is interesting but it is not the focus.   It is the experience of the being receiving the reiki that is important.  I know from years of giving that the present moment of that being is often very different to mine.

And then there are the reiki gatherings or healing circles.  These spaces are an opportunity to come together and share sacred space.  You can be reiki attuned but the most important thing to be is open hearted and present.  This is a moment where we are all able to receive and give a nurturing touch.  I also include a distance healing circle.  As a group we sit together and offer healing to those who are not with us, known and unknown.

Reiki means different things to different people.  Most agree it is love and connection.  For some it is God, for others Gaia.  As with yoga, reiki will clarify your relationship to life, yourself and others.  There are questions and some go unanswered but I am learning that just because I don’t have an answer, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.  When I think of reiki I feel trust.

Finally, to completely describe what reiki is, here are the principles as given to me by my teacher:

Just for today:

  • I will release the need for anger
  • I will release all worry
  • I will honour my teachers, my elders and every living thing
  • I will work with integrity
  • I will give thanks and feel gratitude for all my blessings

I hope that has given an insight into reiki.  Questions on a postcard please … not really …

Blessings Yvonne x