Yoga & Woodland Workout at Hazel Hill

StoveSpring feels like it’s just around the corner, and with that energy we warmly invite you to shake off winter’s hibernation and stretch into our winter yoga and conservation weekend – we’ll be weaving together expansive yoga with rewarding conservation – you can wander through beautiful woods, practice a ‘cat pose’; warm yourself by log-burning stoves, try out some simple meditation techniques – and enjoy great company and shared meals. We’ll be planting Holly and Hawthorn trees, clearing some areas of the woodland to encourage greater biodiversity, and learning about coppicing Hazel.

We have a magical Saturday night planned, led by Agatha Manouche who has many years’ experience of running groups at Hazel Hill. Agatha will be taking us on a personal journey to reflect on what we wish for in 2016, exploring this turning-point in the year as winter transforms to spring.Forest Ark Hazel Hill Wood

Just 7 miles from Salisbury, Hazel Hill Wood is a 70 acre local woodland and centre for conservation, education and community events with a focus on strengthening our connection with nature and exploring sustainable lifestyles.

Our weekend runs from Friday 5th February at 6pm and costs from £70 including all meals and 2 night’s basic accommodation, and we end on Sunday 7th February at 3pm.

Winter woods“Jude, Louisa and I are excited to be running this event which for the first time brings yoga and outdoor activities together“ said Marcos Frangos, General Manager for Hazel Hill Wood and co-facilitator for the weekend.   “We’ll be carrying out fun and rewarding work in the woods, whilst also enjoying some innovative and relaxing yoga in the warmth of our wonderful off-grid buildings.”

More information can be found at www.hazelhill.org.uk or by visiting our Facebook page, and tickets can be booked via Eventbrite searching for Hazel Hill Wood.

Yoga & Conservation Weekend at Hazel Hill Wood, 5-7th February 2016

yogaAs part of the Hazel Hill Conservation Weekend in February, we will be exploring our inner nature through some gentle yoga and movement. Bringing inspiration in from the woods around us, we will playfully blend into our practice the lessons and gifts of nature such as flexibility, mutual support and fluency of movement. As well as balancing yoga and deep relaxation, these sessions will also offer some more dynamic movement, allowing us to energise and awaken our systems, ready for the conservation work outside.

There will be two classes over the weekend, along with an optional meditation each morning – all of which are suitable for any age or ability, and no experience is necessary. Please wear loose, comfortable clothes and bring your yoga mat if you have one, along with a blanket for the relaxation.

_MG_1174The sessions will be led by Jude Clements and Louisa Clark, who have both trained with Integral Yoga; a balanced approach for body, mind and soul.

We hope to see you at this lovely inner and outer nature weekend!

Back to Work: Drag or Delight? Find yourself or lose yourself in the daily task

roadworks-signAs we approach September, you may be going back to a regular job, or not.  Either scenario may leave you happy or blue.  August seems a good time to reflect on how work fits into your life.

I observe people talking a lot about work, but in a very selective way.  They talk about what they’re doing, maybe moan about the boss, but rarely say what work really means to them.  I believe that’s because work is so important, so personal, so bound up with their sense of self, that it’s too sensitive to talk about.

In the 1990s I led many weekend workshops on the theme Find Your Gift in Work: these groups gave a safe place and structures to explore how work and life can fit, and I feel honoured to have shared so many journeys.  These taught me a lot too: here are a few highlights:

  • Know what’s holding you back.  Do you have doubts or beliefs that limit you in your work?  For example, some people believe they should not earn more or succeed more than their fathers…
  • Are you re-creating your childhood family at work?  I was amazed in my workshops to see how often this happens.  For example, were you bullied as a child by your father?  Was the family always arguing?  Did you have a habitual role, such as the joker or the scapegoat?  Any echoes in your current work??
  • Reduce your financial needs.  It’s easy to feel trapped or pressured about work because of money needs.  Cut back on your needs, and free up your choices!
  • Understand about human sustainability.  I believe that environmental depletion and pollution has close parallels in human work: this is fully explained in my book, The Natural Advantage: Renewing Yourself.  If your work is exhausting you, you need a systemic view of the problem and how to change it.
  • Believe you can fulfill your passion.  First you need the courage to discover your vision, then you need patience and intelligence to make your dream practical.  You don’t have to jump off a cliff, you can find the right steps…

Whether you’re in work or out of work, if you’re unhappy about the situation, believe you can change it for the better.  And if looking within doesn’t give you the clues, look around you: notice what issues concern or excite you, and explore how you could make a difference.

All of these issues matter even more for most men, as their work is often central to their sense of self.  This is one of the issues you could explore on the weekend of August 28-31, at a weekend led by Alan Heeks and Nick Mabey: Manfulness, Mindfulness, Music and more.  For full details click here

Nourishing Resilience: Seedlings of Change

On July 21, Wisdom Tree hosted a highly successful day at Hazel Hill Wood, on the theme Nourishing Resilience For You And Your Work Community.  It felt like a day of planting many seedlings of new ideas and contacts.

NR3Our diverse group of over 20 people, from near and far, included professionals in organisational development, coaching, health and psychotherapy.  The day offered methods and space to explore our own resilience and wellbeing, and how to grow these within the organisations we work with.

Wisdom Tree’s natural systems model of resilience was one of the key resources, and two of the sessions were spend out in the wood, experiencing this model and applying it for ourselves.

Fortified by a delicious lunch, we moved on to explore ways to nourish resilience, including the various approaches Wisdom tree offers.  We received a lot of positive and creative feedback, and the day generated many useful ideas and contacts which we will explore in coming months.

For example, several participants were excited by the idea of ‘Creative Away Days’ at Hazel Hill.  Bringing work teams to the wood immediately creates a sense of relaxation and opens new perspectives: one-day events could achieve a range of objectives, such as teambuilding, creativity, everyday resilience skills, and more.NR5

The day also seeded some useful insights on how Wisdom Tree could extend its range of programmes in the workplace: for example, building on the Resilience Toolkit already used successfully with several clients.

Here are a few quotes from feedback forms:

“I thought the day had a really good balance between structure & flexibility and gave me a great space to reflect. Share and nourish my own resilience and how I might use similar tools with clients”

“I learned from seeing you each facilitate especially easy, light touch and talking from position of experience”

“Thank you, an inspiring day. See you in year for a top-up!”

“I am taking away some new tools to use”

“Excellently structured, resourced and presented day”

Why Do Men Need Men’s Groups?

Men generally grow up seeing other men as competitors, and mostly have poorer support networks and interactive skills than women. Perhaps that was useful when fighting for the last bison on the plains, but it doesn’t help most men in 2015.

These days, most of us need high emotional intelligence and collaboration skills just to get through the average week. For men, these talents need to be learned in adult life, but where? Men’s groups provide a safe, supportive space for what can be a vulneraElder and the Ashble process.

I have been co-leading men’s groups for 20 years, and I am repeatedly moved by how the safety and simplicity of a circle of men is so affirming. Women don’t realise how much self-doubt most men carry: in a group of men, the first big gift is realising you are ok and accepted as you are. It’s also a great place to learn how to express, hear and interact with feelings.

A weekend retreat with no more than twenty men is long enough for a deep exploration, and there’s also a lot of fun and playfulness that emerges when a bunch of men, even strangers, feel free and safe.

Hazel Hill is a 70-acre conservation woodland retreat centre, near Salisbury, which I’ve been running since 1987. Being outdoors with plenty of space to hang out together round a fire, roam alone, or do some physical conservation work, is an ideal setting for men’s groups, and this wood has been used by many over the years.

On the August bank holiday weekend, I am co-leading a men’s group at Hazel Hill with Nick Mabey. Nick has lots of experience with Mindfulness, and almost none with men’s groups, and I’m the opposite. We’re excited by this combination, and because even we don’t know what we’ll be doing. Our aim is to create a sense of fellowship among the group and with the wood, and then explore the issues and questions which are hot and current among us.

Tap into your own ‘Wellspring of Wellbeing’

wellbeing skyMarcos Frangos will be leading a constellation retreat at Hazel Hill Wood, Thursday 15 October 6pm – Friday 16 October 4.30pm

Both Spring and Autumn bring an amazing energy of renewal. These retreats will give you the time to explore the essence of your own wellbeing, and the habits and patterns that no longer serve you,  as well as what you can do to nourish the wisdom and strength in your personal ‘wellspring’.

Constellations provide a fascinating way of looking at an issue as a ‘whole-system’; participants in the group will physically represent aspects of your system or question and create a living 3-dimensional map. This can help reveal things as they truly are, not just as we’d like to see them!

Wellpring 1

Costs £95 per person includes food and basic sleeping accommodation, or single rooms available for an additional £20. For further information contact Marcos Frangos (m) 07881 425 804, e: marcosfrangos@rocketmail.com

‘Like One Big Family’

conservation weekendHazel Hill’s Conservation and Wellness Weekend

All 16 of us had a lovely time on this weekend, and did a lot for our own wellbeing and the wood’s. Many of the group were new to Hazel Hill, and made a really deep connection with the place and with other people.

We did some great conservation work, landscaping and planting the outdoor cooking area by the main buildings: this included planting a wide range of woodland shrubs, trees and flowers, and creating an amazing large wooden bench, masterminded by Roger Bingham.

Other highlights included large amounts of fantastic food, woodland games, and two great evenings around a campfire, with scary stories, and some lovely poems and songs.

These are some great quotes from the people on the weekend:

“I’m going to take away all the fun, and the love, and the family we’ve made.” (Joshua 6)

“I will take away the feeling of everyone chatting and chatting while they were working and spading. Five stars.” (Theo, 10)

“I had a lovely weekend and made some big life decisions. The community feeling and the mindfulness ideas all helped.” (Maggie, 20)

“I take away a sense of peace. I’ve reconnected with nature, and built a really nice bond. (Mandy)

 

50 Shades of Twilight: The Magic of a Wood in Spring

twilight in woodsTwilight is a special time for me in nature: and especially so at Hazel Hill Wood in Springtime.  Very recently, I sat on the deck of one of our buildings, facing west as the light very slowly faded.

Whilst the stages of the dawn chorus are well known, twilight too is a great time for birdsong: in different corners of the wood, I could hear a range of birdsong, with calls and responses.  The trees are not yet in leaf, so the bare outline of the branches provides exquisite sculpture against the last of the light.

The best bit of the whole experience was when the owls started calling, which was when night had almost fallen.  From where I sat, I could hear them calling as they flew in a huge circle around the wood: such a beautiful, evocative sound.  In traditional folklore, the owl is often seen as the gatekeeper between the worlds of the dark and the light, and this is certainly when their presence is strongest at Hazel Hill.

We go through several phases of spring flowers at Hazel Hill: from the snowdrops, through the primroses and wood anemones, with the climax being huge areas of bluebells, vibrant in colour, and sweetly intoxicating with their scent.  The bluebells are at their best in late April and early May: so if you would like to share this and many other woodland delights, join us for the Natural Roots of Resilience weekend, April 24-26.

Unwinding with Trees

HHW Women under treeMany of us find it hard to relax and switch off these days: busy lives, change and uncertainty, hours connected to smart phones and the rest, all contribute.

Spending time at Hazel Hill Wood is a great antidote. We don’t have mains power to charge your appliances, the mobile signal is poor, Wi-Fi hasn’t been invented in this neck of the woods.

This week I arrived at the wood after a busy, exciting day in London, with my head buzzing.  I took myself off to sit at the foot of a favourite beech tree, and within 10 minutes I was really unwound.

I can’t explain why sitting with your back to a tree (or hugging it!) is so relaxing, but many people find that it is.  Maybe it’s just being in a beautiful woodland setting with clean air and lots of birdsong, but I believe there is a wisdom in trees which can nourish us if we let it.

This is just one of the many sources of resilience which we will be exploring on the Natural Roots of Resilience Weekend which I am co-leading at Hazel Hill Wood, April 24-26.