2016 Event Reviews

Domus Mariae Weekend - November 2016
Domus Mariae Remedial Residential - November 2016
Highgate House Weekend - October 2016

Domus Mariae Weekend & AGM - June 2016
Domus Mariae CPD Weekend,  Subtle Energy - February 2016

Domus Mariae Weekend, November 2016

I had the pleasure of being a newcomer at a truly beautiful and enlightening weekend at YHET last weekend. I would like to thank all those involved in making it such a varied and enjoyable experience from start to finish. The venue is so relaxing and easy to feel a part of with the facilities offering everything for everybody. The food and refreshments were varied and plentiful with lots of choice and helpings. Sitting chatting to everyone gave a real sense of being part of the whole group and getting to know everyone. Having our own kitchen on each floor made for easy and flexible breakfast times. The rooms and facilities were all immaculate.

As for the all important yoga, the various classes offered a perfect balance of gentle yoga, stretching, strengthening, meditation, relaxation, chanting and even a gong bath. The early morning classes offered a perfect warm up to the day ahead with time afterwards for breakfast and a walk around the beautifully kept gardens. Having various different teachers throughout the whole weekend enabled me to experience different styles and paces of yoga. I have practised yoga for many years but haven't experimented as much as I would like which meant this weekend offered an ideal opportunity to immerse myself in a variety of experiences which were not just "exercise" based. I particularly enjoyed the chanting which I had never experienced before and found it very uplifting and blew away the cobwebs and inhibitions. I definitely feel more toned following some of the stretches and more dynamic yoga and am determined to up my regime at home, fingers crossed on that one!

The gong bath experience was unforgettable and really moved me. I have suffered mal alignment for many years which is gradually being corrected with thanks to my dentist and physiotherapist. The one area which I have suffered a lot of problems I found the gong bath particularly beneficial as this worked on a different level to just the physical. The vibrations seem to home in on this area immediately and I feel a lot more "clear and free flowing". I found the experience quite emotional but in a good way and am planning to visit another gong bath soon, luck for me they are in my area I am pleased to say. I found this a perfect end to the Saturday evening.

I can honestly say that I feel much stronger in mind, body and spirit and have met some wonderful people during the weekend. I will definitely return to the next YHET weekend and look forward to meeting up with all the wonderful people involved. I thank you all dearly and highly recommend joining YHET for all the benefits you have to offer.

I am now a proud member of YHET (membership complete!) so look forward to hearing all the news and upcoming dates.

Jo Hannington

Domus Mariae Residential Remedial, November 2016

Arriving on the Wednesday evening I quickly settled into my room and then caught up with the other members whom I hadn’t seen since last year, there were no embarrassing silences just chatter, chatter, chatter.

The first session with Gill Ansty related to the duality of yoga.  She demonstrated this by saying that if you put two oxen into a yolk they work in unison but are still separate. We worked with the right and left side of our bodies then experienced the togetherness of our whole body once the practice was over.

This theme was further demonstrated during the afternoon session when together we painted a silk picture.  Gill had drawn the outline on the silk with silver and gold paint, the five of us sat round the table and using silk paints we randomly coloured each section in.  Even the members who let out a groan – “I can’t paint” before we started enjoyed the experience and the end result speaks for itself.  “Just like the oxen we worked separately but in unison”.

After dinner we were given a demonstration of Dowsing by Jenny and June.  This ancient and mythical art fascinates me, I have no idea how it works - it just does.  It told us no to chocolate but said it was ok to drink the red wine, so Jenny and I just had to test it.

The Friday morning session was led by Helena Read who always provides us with a gentle but rewarding session.

Monika’s Mathieu’s session was also about the alignment of our bodies. She explained “why” and the benefit and consequence of an asana done in a specific way.

Ceri Lee again worked with aligning both sides of the body with a gentle twist.

The yoga performed in the remedial group although gentle is still challenging – being small in numbers allows you to discuss your experience during the practice.  This can be very helpful and of use when trying a different way to perform an asana.  A new position for me and several others in the group was the mermaid; this made performing a twist much easier, because you feel much more grounded. Also one thing you are sure to learn on a YHET weekend is there is more than one way to kill the cat, I mean perform the cat.

Saturday afternoon we did mantra with Ian Burgess.

Saturday evening was something else; the Gong Bath was quite an experience.  Some people were able to let go and be completely absorbed in the vibrations.  I was quite cautious, unsure how my nervous system would cope, so held back, unfortunately this in turn made me fidget. I suppose it is having the confidence that it will be beneficial and not harmful.  Nonetheless the effect was awesome and something I would like to try again.


Laura Isteed

Highgate House Weekend, October 2016/p>

What lovely people, what wonderful yoga and what a terrific weekend!

This was an experiment for my wife and I to try a weekend of yoga and healthy exploration after taking up yoga together 2½ years ago. It was a birthday present for her and what’s more I was to join her in the experience.

Well, the experiment was successful!

The sessions were so very varied with different styled teachings of yoga, meditation and ‘specials’ practiced in packed days (They were arranged gentle or stronger in simultaneous events whilst being given the option to move from one to the other as desired. Please note they were not compulsory!) We met such lovely people and saw a much gentler side to life than one experiences in the everyday – at least in mine!

As a man it’s always good to meet other guys trying the same. I only wish more would try particularly when this weekend experience transformed my whole end of week and more! Body, mind, spirit, all moved to better places. You wouldn’t believe how good I feel on the Monday writing this post event!

It was particularly good to experience this with my wife too!  Marina enjoyed it immensely. A superb experience to share in more ways than one considering the excellent hotel with it’s culinary delights were both special and also personalised where you needed.

So why don’t you buy this as an anniversary or birthday present for your husband/wife or partner and come along together as I did or simply do it because you want to. I can’t wait for the next one! I promise if you come with an open mind you won’t be disappointed…..go on try it!

Kevin East and Marina Ossovskaya


Highgate House Weekend, October 2016

As a Yoga for Health Foundation teacher, who’s been AWOL for a few years expanding my training and having a family, I was keen but nervous to attend the October Highgate House weekend. I needn’t have worried. The YHET welcome was warm – it was like ‘coming home’ with friends old and new. 

The venue is far superior to any other I’ve experienced on a YHET weekend. It’s a nice location, conveniently located near the M1 but rural enough to be beautiful. The hotel is unique; a mixture of old and new. The old is charming. The new is comfortable. There’s free parking, Wi-Fi, Sky TV, and refreshments. There is even a small pool, gym and sauna on the premises but I didn’t use them this time. The food was delicious and the chef literally bent over backwards to cater to every single dietary requirement magnificently. Every single staff member I encountered was exceptionally helpful and friendly. 

The yoga space was large, clean and warm – not pretty, but very functional. The variety of yoga and meditation offered was great which sums up YHET’s ethos of ‘Yoga for All’. The only thing that would have made it perfect for me was newer more comfortable beds, but it was still good to have my own en-suite room – something you don’t often get on such a competitively priced yoga weekend. 

Overall I would recommend and I will endeavour to return in April 2017. Thanks to all for making the weekend such a success.

Liz Brown

Domus Mariae Weekend & AGM - June 2016

This was my first weekend stay at Domus Mariae.  I was so pleased to have at long last managed to get there…. at long last time allowed!

What an eventful weekend.  From the moment Greg gave us his interpretation of a ‘Gentle Yoga Stretch’ - to include a ‘different’ demonstration of Sirsasana, to our final meditation, led by Paul Blissett, on Sunday.

On Friday evening Helena guided us through a unique way to introduce ourselves to one another.   It had been requested in the email sent to us prior to the weekend, that we bring a significant and perhaps sentimental item along. In turn we spoke about our particular item and it’s significance which gave us a small insight into each others lives.

Saturday was an extremely full day.  It began before breakfast with a Gentle Stretch guided by Paul Blissett. Our mid morning Yoga classes were separated into two groups.  Those who wished for a more strenuous Hatha session were led by Thais Hobbs and Suzan Wells led the gentle/ remedial class. Suzan also led the Meditation before lunch. During lunch it was obvious that both groups had enjoyed the classes.  It was interesting that these two girls had trained together at Yoga for Health Foundation and yet both had developed their own diverse and fulfilling styles.

In the afternoon most of us attended the AGM.  I’m certain it was good for all of us to be reminded of the amount of work that goes into the organisation.  New leaflets to advertise YHET were handed out and a request made for any of us who felt able, to take a batch of leaflets, in order to hand out as many as possible to as many as possible.

After our evening meal a small group of us gathered to join in the Circle Dancing. This was led by———and her Mum,  together they made a great team.  Although most of us were completely exhausted after such a full day it was a lovely way to round it off and we were much encouraged by a small but enthusiastic audience.

On Sunday morning Helena lead the class for the early risers with her style of Hatha…reminding me so much of those Ickwell Bury days.

After breakfast Greg handed out interesting leaflets, full of information regarding Labyrinths.  We then experienced, the first time ever for me, ‘Walking the Labyrinth’, one of the special features at DM.  We then separated once again…the General class being led by Paul Blissett and the gentle/ therapeutic by Les Hummel.  Once again both very much appreciated by all. Paul B then went on to lead the Meditation before our final lunch.

My whole experience at DM was as special as I’d anticipated. It was so good to meet up once again with all the friendly members of YHET.   Domus M accommodation was excellent, food was served by wonderful staff and nothing was too much trouble.  As always the organisation of the weekend was  excellent  and my thanks go to all those who voluntarily are involved.  Also many thanks to Greg , Paul, Helena, Thais and Suzan for sharing their great knowledge and love of Yoga.

Christine Stokes

Domus Mariae CPD Weekend on the Subtle Energies of Inner Yoga, February 2016

I have been asked to review the CPD event held at Domus Mariae in February.  It was my first time at the venue and my first time being taught by Tracy.  I have been to other YHET events so recognised many faces and got to know some more.  Its surprising and pleasing how relaxed we all are with each other.  Coming together to learn more must do us some good.

I also quite liked the venue though not as much as St Mary’s in Wantage, which unfortunately is no longer available to us.  It took me quite a while before I realised that some windows do give views of the garden although most seem to give views of walls!  The food was good and the service relaxed and friendly with help available freely without any sense of needing to create a fuss.  I particularly liked the Labyrinth by the chapel.  I’m not that into walking meditation but that made sense to me and I would love to walk it again.

Tracy’s focus is the inner practices of yoga designed to open us up to our connection with all that is.  I found it very beneficial to be given physical awareness practices to tap into this connection and reference to therapeutic benefits which gave me new insight into a long standing problem that I have.   I also liked the references to the underpinnings of Tracy’s teaching both in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the teachings she has received over many years from Dr Bhole.

Tracy had already begun to adjust her planning for CPD weekends from feedback she received after the previous ones.  It was good that she was open with us and to us to consider how to adjust once more for any further weekends.  I am hoping she will plan to do one on the esoteric teachings of yoga again in a way that makes it accessible to new people and to show how this work might fit into our everyday practice and our yoga classes.

One of the things we did realise was  we do enough work in the day time sessions and that it would be better to have something more relaxed and social for Saturday evening’s work.  I seem to remember that happening at Ickwell Bury.  So get your talents out to bring along next time and Saturday evening can be fun and lighthearted and Tracy can have a well earned rest.

Many thanks to all involved.

Lesley Butterwick



Domus Mariae CPD Weekend on the Subtle Energies of Inner Yoga, February 2016


I arrived at Domus Mariae once again on Friday 12th February 2016 for another weekend of the subtle practice of  Inner Yoga with Tracy Gent.  I had attended the previous 2 two weekends with her in 2014 and 2015 and found them to be very interesting.  Tracy teaches with her gentle energy and calm voice which makes the practices easier to learn.

Tracy was originally taught by Dr Bhole, a medical doctor, physiologist, and joint director of research of Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, India for 35 years.  I remember him visiting the Yoga for Health Foundation some years ago.

During the weekend we revisited some of the work we had previously done and Tracy discussed feedback she had received from those who attended Inner Yoga 2.  This time we covered – the spine, working with the doors of perception, nadis, various pranayamas, mudra and bandhas, mantra and transcendental practices.  Each subject was divided into short sessions so we could have a break, a cup of tea or some fresh air.  I found it took deep concentration to keep my mind focused on the inner yoga so the timing worked well for me.

As usual the accommodation was comfortable and the food tasty with no problem for those who are on special diets.  It was also great to meet up with friends again and catch up with their news and views.

Well, it's time for me to to 'go inside' and see if I can breathe through my ears!  I'm not joking!  

Live well, Laugh Often, Love Much


Eileen Nash




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