In a place where the beauty of nature is unlike anywhere else on the planet, join Gillian for a life-changing week, or two-week retreat in the gorgeous surroundings of the Bodhi Tree Resort in Nosara on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Rest in luxurious jungle accommodation, wake at dawn to the sounds of the rain forest and deepen your meditation and yoga practice in stunning open-air shalas with ocean views. Drop into a slower pace of life and make the most of the chance to reconnect with yourself and the environment in a relaxed atmosphere and in heart-warming company.
Gillian’s summer retreats are organized, each year, around her inquiry into the conditions for human flourishing. In all the places of the world where humans live the longest, healthiest lives – the Blue Zones of the planet – people share the same nine secrets about how to live well and live long. These are the locations where the greatest number of people are to be found who have lived to be 100 years-old, or more, in a good state of health – body and mind. The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica is one of these five Blue Zones. It is the perfect place to discover what Costa Ricans proudly call ‘Pura Vida’ – the pure life. Here, there is everything to learn about how to cultivate and sustain the optimal conditions for human well being.
Join Gillian for a transformational retreat and share in her understanding of the benefits of Blue Zone living. Each day, discover more about the nine variables that are essential to human health and happiness and learn how this knowledge might become part of your daily life. Cultivate new rituals of self-care practice, and begin the day with morning meditation, time for reflection, and revitalizing, strengthening sun salutations. After a fresh tropical juice and breakfast of locally grown fruit, and other delicious, farm-to-table food offerings, take your yoga practice off the mat and join Gillian for a silent yoga hike through the surrounding rain forest. In the afternoons, after a nourishing lunch, take plenty of time for yourself – rest; enjoy a spa treatment; explore the local beaches; try a surf class; take an excursion; or a Spanish immersion class, and return to the yoga shala before dinner for deep relaxation through restorative spinal release and breathwork practice.
Gillian’s teaching suits complete beginners as much as more advanced yoga practitioners: all levels and all ages are welcome on retreat and happily practice side-by-side. This is because Gillian teaches alignment-based hatha yoga, which means practicing slowly, so that care can be taken in each pose, and each flowing, sequences of poses, to bring muscles and bones, breath and body into proper alignment. Gillian offers a joyful and careful engagement with the transformational process of self-discovery that begins on the yoga mat. Her teaching of the physical postures is always related, in an engaging and accessible way, to her current state of inquiry into yoga philosophy and what it means for humans to find relief from physical and mental suffering through the practice of yoga. Gillian incorporates Qi Gong – energy work – into her morning sun salutation classes and provides the opportunity, on retreat in the Blue Zones of the world to relate the practice of yoga to a profound appreciation of nature and the environment as an aspect of a healing process that quickly enables participants to quite literally feel that they are ‘coming back to life’.
The remote and unspoiled beauty of the Blue Zone of the Nicoya Peninsula, with a stunning combination of rain forest and Pacific Ocean beaches in Nosara, provide the ideal location to retreat, and rest in an appreciation of the planet and the wonder of life unfolding all around. Costa Rica is a country at the cutting edge of so many global trends, which makes it the perfect destination to learn more about how humans can live well and sustainably on the planet. National commitments to green energy; protection of wild lands, rain forest and biodiversity; and investment in education and health, without a permanent standing army, make Costa Ricans justifiably proud of being ahead of the curve when it comes to environmentalism and sustainable tourism. With coastlines on the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica is famous for its biodiversity, volcanoes and beaches. Roughly a quarter of the nation’s land is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife and in August, during the period of the retreat, the Pacific Coast is the best place in the world to observe Humpback Whales ‘wintering’ with their young in the warm tropical waters.
Accommodation Options and Prices (a discount is available if booking two weeks)
Treetops King Room Ensuite – shared patio deck – double occupancy – £1250 per person per week – Room Booked
Treetops King Room Ensuite – shared patio deck – double occupancy – £1250 per person per week
Treetops Queen Room Ensuite – single occupancy – £1150 per person per week – Room Booked
Treetops Queen Room Ensuite – single occupancy – £1150 per person per week
4 x Bodhi Casita Queen bedrooms – shared bathroom – outdoor lounge – shared occupancy, each Casita sleeps 2 – £1200 per person per week – Two Rooms Booked – Six Rooms Remaining
1 x Dorm – triple occupancy – £900 per person per week
(Another dorm may be added by special request)
Luxury jungle accommodation at the Bodhi Tree Resort for 7 nights/8 days
Three delicious, organic, locally sourced meals a day for your entire stay
Two 120-minute yoga and meditation classes day in the stunning open-air shala with ocean views
24 hour unlimited access to the salt-water infinity pools
An optional boat trip is often a highlight of being on retreat with Gillian – a chance for the whole group to enjoy a change of scenery on the water – and enjoy together the thrill of a more intimate exploration of coastline and ocean environment. The boat trip will be offered on the day that is free of yoga practice and for those who wish to explore what else the resort and local area have to offer, there are a variety of experiences available including:
‘There’s no doubt you’re in safe hands with Gillian. A slow-moving, careful physical practice alongside thought-provoking readings, genuine care (with an emphasis on self-care) and infectious humour. I felt my mind and body unfolding as the week went on leading to a steady grounding I thought I’d long lost. Spinal release in the evenings encouraged a letting go of the whole body and incredibly restful sleep followed. My shoulders and hips released – as did my heart – at this nourishing and transformative retreat. Thank you Gillian.’ – KAREN
“Gillian Evans’ offer of a gentle enquiry into our yoga practice gave me the confidence to explore my body and mind both on and off the mat. I’d recommend Gillian’s retreats to anybody looking to raise their awareness of what their practice means to them.” – RUBY
“The Sardinian retreat was simply wonderful, set in a beautiful hotel near the foot of the mountains and close to the sea. The yoga facilities were excellent and it was a pure joy to get up early in the morning to do our yoga and on one morning to watch the sunrise over the sea. Gillian is a fantastic teacher. She breaks down the individual poses to ensure that we do not hurt ourselves and provides alternate solutions for those of us who are not as flexible. Everything is an invitation as she says “yoga is a work in not a work out”. If you are a beginner or have never tried yoga before she is ideal taking you through it slowly and carefully. My memories of Sardinia are of a great time making lots of friends and laughing an awful lot.” – ANDY
“Our yoga retreat in Sardinia was blissful. Gillian’s morning and evening yoga practice is so well-judged that I woke up keen to start every morning and went to bed contented every night. She’s a wonderful teacher, able to get the best out of everyone, regardless of whether you’ve just started doing yoga or have many years’ experience. It’s worth saying too that Gillian attracts a great group of people – friendly and welcoming and good to talk with over dinner. If I can, I’ll be joining every yoga retreat she organizes.” – CHRISTINA
“I was a complete newbie to Yoga or any stretchy stuff, sort of dragged along by my partner, and frankly apprehensive about what I could do. Gillian couldn’t have been more welcoming. And, when I found out everyone else was friendly and encouraging, no one expecting me to be any better than a beginner, I was first relieved … then happier and happier. I started the week planning on how I’d winkle out of sessions if I needed to. By the end of it, after such great, sensitive teaching, the warm company, the superb food and sunshine, I was a convert.” – CLIFF
“The retreat with Gillan was a magical experience. Gillian is a wonderful yoga teacher, down to earth, very funny, but she brings a deep spirituality to everything she does. The Sun Salutation classes in the morning were the best way to greet the day, starting with a meditation listening to the sounds of the world waking and often Gillian read a poem or a text that was always inspiring and thought provoking. Gillian’s attention to detail and her slow precise teaching means you are in very safe hands. Beginner or expert, her classes catered for every level perfectly. The evening spinal release class was also a perfect way to wind down, again slow and deep. Don’t miss the silent walks that Gillian organises, for me the highlight of my retreat was the silent walk to the beach to swim quietly towards the sunrise, what better way to start your day.” – JACKIE
“I travelled all the way from Australia on my own to Gillian’s yoga retreat in Sardinia. It was a highlight of my life after working long hours and being stressed out it was the perfect way to unwind, restore, relax and recharge the body. It was also great to feel part of a little community as the group was so friendly and welcoming. The surroundings were incredible and the yoga twice a day really restored my mind, body and soul. I loved the personal touches she gave to the classes by reading poetry. It was also a marvellous opportunity to experience another culture. Costa Rica here I come!” – LISA
Gillian has been practising yoga for over thirty years. She is passionate about the transformational potential of yoga and leads alignment-based hatha yoga classes and workshops in London and Manchester in the UK. Gillian teaches breath work, meditation and physical postures with a focus on the slow and safe development of strength, flexibility, stamina and deep relaxation.
Inspired by Sarah Jettoo and trained at Triyoga by Anna Ashby and Joey Miles in the alignment-based method of hatha yoga, Gillian guides students through 90-minute, or 120 minutes classes that conquer fatigue, cultivate good posture, improve mood and increase body and mind awareness. Gillian is a member of the teaching faculty of the Advanced Yoga Teacher Training (500 hours) led by Anna Ashby and Jean Hall at Triyoga, London.
Gillian is also an Urban Anthropologist. She is a senior lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, and is preoccupied, like all anthropologists, with the question of what it means to be human. Gillian lends this question to her enquiry into the conditions for human flourishing in the Blue Zones of the world, and to her exploration of the yoga tradition. She brings a unique anthropological perspective to her teaching practice and to workshops for fellow yoga teachers. Gillian’s previous Blue Zone Yoga Retreats have taken place in Sardinia (Ogliastra Province 2019) and Ikaria (Greece 2018).
Qualifications/Certifications: Gillian holds Triyoga’s yoga teacher training diploma, (350 hours) which is fully recognised and accredited by the British Wheel of Yoga, Yoga Alliance Professionals (Yoga Alliance UK) and the Yoga Alliance USA. This training is established as one of the leading trainings in the UK.
Gillian is also qualified and increasingly interested to incorporate QiGong into her yoga teaching through the Triyoga QiGong for Yoga Teachers training with Mimi Duo-Keemer.