Open Mind Retreat
5-12 October 2018
This retreat will learn you the art of being present, compassionately embracing and deeply observing. A week to expand the possibilities in perceiving the world in and around ourselves...
We will investigate how expansion can take form on the different layers of experience (brain, body, mind, heart and subconsciousness) so that a holistic understanding is established.
The intention for this retreat is to connect to a particular kind of attention and open awareness - able to observe thoughts, emotions, stress, tensions, and learn from them, without letting them define reality.
Developing an awareness that favors the process of thinking to the content of thoughts, and deal differently with what is truly there. Letting go of all the layers of the mind, and reactions, and simply be here, enjoying life, and taking in the moment.
***Mindfulness-based meditation (mbsr-mbct) forms the core of the open mind sessions, and will complement heart-, and positive neuro-plasticity meditation practices. MBSR-MBCT is a combination of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive training (MBCT).
Heart-, compassion- and positive neuro-plasticity practices are the most recent researched fields and complements mindfulness in strengthening positive neural pathways. A Lotus Seed integrates both and adds insights from neuroscience and deep ancient Buddhism (Theravada and Tibetan) to deepen the practice.
Meditation, mindfulness, compassion, neuroscience, yoga, massage,
reiki, organic food, community, free afternoons...
The retreat consists of...
What will you learn?
See if you can read this with an open mind though as this list could be longer or shorter depending on what you bump into.... this retreat is foremost an experience ....
Why would I go on a retreat
Going on a retreat allows you to become fully emerged in the program without distractions or thinking about time, food or others. It allows your brain to train for an open awareness, essential for deep rooted transformations.
This is not always easy. It requires intention, even when you don’t 'feel like it’. These moments is often when we get stuck because we are so often enslaved to our thoughts and feelings.
Going on a retreat can give you the extra support you need and is a powerful step in the exploration of your inner journey.
Participants say a process started after joining the retreat, bringing clarity and focus to their thoughts, emotions and life, while new habits were formed.
But A Lotus Seed Retreat is also vacation... located in the midst of Portugal's most beautiful nature, within the Natural Reservation Park of Costa Vicentina, and 10 mins drive from Portugal's wild scenic coast lines.
It has everything you need: garden surrounded by 75 hectare of nature to make beautiful walks, a bio-pool to refresh afterwards, a massage hut in the middle of nature, and a meditation-, yoga- and relaxing hall.
On top of that, you'll be served amazingly fresh and healthy biological food.
And in the surroundings you can also go surfing, horse riding, walk parts of the 'Rota Sao Vicentina' trail along the coast, or just stay on the retreat spot to enjoy a lovely masage, read a good book and take a well-deserved rest.
Apply for your place HERE...
*** Please specify your motivation for participation. Places are limited. ***
Mindfulness - Meditation - Self-compassion - Coaching - Neuroscience
Hello! I'm Geraldine and I started A Lotus Seed with the believe that each of us is its own best teacher, but can use guidance in making the mind fit for its purpose. I believe in tackling the root cause instead of symptoms, and in learning to observe deeply enough to investigate inner and outer experiences. I believe in the plasticity of the brain, and the importance of connecting body with brain.
The first retreat I did 12 years ago changed my life. It gave me the tools for an immense freedom in thoughts and actions. Not being a slave anymore of what I think, and intentionally choose to what I want to give attention and in which way.
I have facilitated trainings and retreats for at least +2000 people, including companies like Louis Vuitton, Liberale Mutualiteit, Colruyt, Rogers Corporation, Odissee University of Brussels, CM, Provincie West-Vlaanderen, Thomas More, OCMW Brugge, Manager Magazine
(in cooperation with I AM)
I followed a 3 year teacher-trainer course in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction from the Institute of Mindfulness.
Besides that I also followed teacher trainer courses in self-compassion, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, positive psychology, life coaching, trauma therapy coaching, yoga (200 hrs ytt), reiki and energetic healing.
Some of my guides on the path were Dr. David Dewulf, Dr.Mark Williams - designer of the MBCT program - University of Oxford (UK), Christina Feldman & John Peacock - Insight Meditation Society (US), Dr. Chris Germer - Harvard Medical School (US), Dr. Kristin Neff - Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (US), as well as monks in various monasteries across Europe and Asia. In Belgium I worked for the Institute of Mindfulness; coordinating projects, and scientific research about mindfulness.
Before that, I lived in Portugal for several years. Studied economics and innovation. Facilitated business and start-up events and supported community development for MakeSense.org in Gent and Brussels. I also lived in Sao Tomé (West coast of Africa), where I helped developing a microfinance program to support entrepreneurs.
Hatha - Iyengar - Yin - Nidra - yoga
Yoga is given by Anna. She is a certified Yoga teacher and teaches slow flow Hatha classes with a strong foundation in classic, alignment-based Iyengar yoga. In the afternoon she also gives wonderful relaxing Yin yoga and Nidra yoga sessions. Her style is powerfull, as well as gentle, and always compassionate and authentic.
Anna's journey on the yoga mat has brought her closer to herself and opened her heart to her inner truth. Her insights are profound and she loves to share them with others. Besides that, she's a gentle and loving human being, nature and peace lover, and a great inspiration!
She's originally from Poland, but has been traveling, working and meditating all over the world - especially in Portugal where we have met!
Geraldine de la Vigne
Massage & Reiki therapist
Geraldine has been working as a holistic massage therapist for the past 5 years in Brussels and on different retreats around the world. She followed a 3 year intensive body-mind therapist education at Atmaram school in Brussels, she is a certified Reiki Usui practitioner and has a certification in Equine therapy from Louvain-La-Neuve.
But more than that, she has an inspiring personality embedding an exceptional kindness and compassion. During her treatments she can provide you with a deep relaxation state and dissolve deep physical or emotional blockages that may be there.
She has a special connection with Portugal too and goes surfing and traveling there whenever she can.
What others said about the retreat
Camille Ghekiere - Rewilding Heart Retreat - April 2018
This retreat made connect with my body again, my breath, but also with my insecurities and pains. Géraldine helped me plant a seed to deal differently with them, to speak another language with myself. To stop to seek control and instead give myself the tolerance, trust and love I would give to a loved one. The location is gorgeous, but the most outstanding aspect of this retreat is the integrity, knowledgeability and care of the trainer.
Claudia - New Years Retreat - December 2017
It was a very special week for me. A week that concluded a very special year. More and more I realize the difference between a good spiritual guide/leader and a natural spiritual leader. The natural spiritual leader incorporates the words, the thoughts, and extrapolates it into a body of experience that comes from the heart to reach all hearts, from the body to reach all bodies, from the mind to reach all minds. You are, Geraldine, a natural spiritual leader. And I feel blessed to have had the beautiful opportunity of knowing you, seeing you, and feeling you. As Pema Chadron says: "Nothing ever leaves you untill it teaches you what you need to know". This week with you and the group have helped me immensely to tune my "bodies" and my heart, and to open up to learning more. You contributed a great deal to my path towards liberation and breaking chains. Thank you.
Anouk Thill from Luxembourg - Rewilding Heart Retreat - April 2018
Joining a retreat of meditation and yoga was for me a first experience.
I expected that week to get to know myself, but also to avoid a physical and psychic reaction of overwork. During my 20 years of professional independence, I put myself fully at the service of my clients and I put my couple, my friends and myself after them.
Through meditations I discovered features of my personality that I was not aware of. Géraldine knows very well how to guide through meditations. Her tips made me dive deep inside me. The theoretical part before or after each session helped me to understand my reactions and emotions. Yoga, more energizing in the morning and calmer in the evening, supported me in my request. It's been two weeks since I came back and, against all odds, I still enjoy this positive energy, and most importantly, I learned to respect myself and listen to myself. I can better balance my private and my professional lives.
This retreat has completely changed my life, my perception of what is really important. I cannot thank enough Geraldine and Anna for allowing me to become aware of what really matters to me in my life.
I was also lucky to find myself in a group of wonderful people. A big thank you also to all the participants for their kindness, their tolerances and their love.
A big thank you also to the whole team of the retreat center who, with their smile, their kindness, their wonderful vegetarian cooking makes you feel like being at home. This place is a magical place, away from everything, in the heart of nature ... a real haven of peace and serenity.
Jessy Zander - Radiant Heart Retreat - October 2017
MAGIC!!! Although I already did a lot of workshops/courses but the content of this course was new to me and very appealing & inspiring. Geraldine adapted the content and the pace to the group, which was amazing. Beautiful booklet, which makes it easier to treat some themes again later on or at home. The location was absolutely magic. The food was nourishing for body & soul. With so many, so different people Geraldine and the team managed extremely well to have a loving & caring group dynamic. It was heartwarming to connect deeper and I felt really safe. The possibility of having a massage was a gift from heaven! What Geraldine dlV does with her hands is really magical.... I very much enjoyed the yoga classes by Ana, especially the yin yoga. The location were the yoga took place was really amazing, and I enjoyed the energy of sunrise/sunset even more! As I told you before we left, my 3 personal intentions for this retreat at the beginning of the week all came true: connect with others, self care, more clarity about my life goals. I even got a bonus: since I long time I was able to really FEEL again and not to be scared when I feel an emotion coming up... this made me stop smoking finally (I liked to literally burn my emotions before because I was so scared to be overwhelmed). Conclusion: I left Portugal with a radiant heart full of love, compassion, hope and inspiration, for which I am so grateful and A Lotus Seed deserves all the credits for this, THANKS!
Lore Verdin - Rewilding Heart Retreat - April 2018
I attended the April retreat in Portugal, and it was just everything I had hoped it would be. I had a truly nourishing week full of compassion and selfcompassion, in an amazingly beatiful nature location, filled with silence, nature sounds and beautiful views. An amazing team cooked delicious and healthy food for us, Geraldine guided us into meditations that helped me break down important barriers towards myself. All of this in a very natural fluent way. I experienced a lot of freedom to follow my own rhythm, to be silent when wanted, to engage in group activities when wanted. It was actually pure joy to me, even though sometimes I was processing deep grief. The pictures and movies on the website give a true representation of the retreat as it is. I would say, if it appeals to you, take your chance, it is really worth it!
Melanie Golay Sunier from Switzerland - New Year's Retreat 2017
An amazing week, that will remain forever in my soul, spirit & heart. Extraordinary organization and content, from practice to theory, meditation, yoga, delightful food in a beautiful place. I have learned so much about myself as an individual, whilst being part of a fantastic diverse group of people coming from all part of Europe. Thank you so much A Lotus Seed, and thank you Geraldine for being such a kind, loving, knowledgeable and compassionate person. I would definitely recommend anyone still hesitating in joining one of your retreat to go for it!
Fabian-Carlos Guhl from Germany - New Year's Retreat - Dec 2017
This retreat was life changing for me. I met beautiful souls and minds including mine :) Geraldine and the entire team were doing an exceptional job at making us feel comfortable. Food was amazing healthy. I can recommend this experience to everyone who is seeking a deeper connection.
Sylvie Rockel from Brussels - Heart Radiant Retreat - October 2017
Having avoided being confronted with myself and my feelings for most of my life this week was exactly what I needed and maybe subconsciously looked for: A week of bliss yet intensive work on myself. The retreat was excellent in every way from beginning till end: the organization, the duration, the remote location in a stunning environment, the delicious and nutritious food, the daily meditation and reflection sessions with Geraldine, the daily yoga sessions with Anna’s soothing voice, the option to get a Reiki massage as well as the love and care from all the people at the retreat center and in the group. I came with the idea to take a week off for some relaxation, slowing down and disconnecting from my daily life, including the Internet. I returned more connected to myself and with the realization that I can create my own “safe haven”. I had hoped to find answers to questions I never really dared to ask and left with insights about myself that go beyond these questions. I learned to accept myself the way I am and that this is not the same as not trying to improve and grow every day. Thank you for everyone, who helped, guided or just surrounded me during this journey! It would have not been possible without you.
Anne Bakker from Holland - Mindfulness Retreat - April 2016
"I learned that mindfulness is not something dreamy, but hands-on, intense and impactful. I learned to embrace both my focus and my distractions, to accept what the moment brings without judgment. I found new directions in life but more importantly I rediscovered myself in so many ways. I see myself with much more focus now than I have ever done before. That is the biggest gift I received”
Ineke from Belgium - Mindfulness Retreat - April 2016
The meditation week has started a whole process inside me. My awareness increased. I'm noticing more my emotions and thoughts. I learned giving space to emotions and experienced the usefulness of it. I learned to find peace!
Fleur Naudts - Manager Volvo - Mindfulness Retreat - October 2016
.... Fleur joined again in the Radian Heart Retreat - October 2017
I had the feeling no words could describe how I had experienced my first mindfulness retreat. After the retreat I actually physically felt my heart had grown and I'm accepting my thoughts and feelings with more openness and gentleness. I'm very grateful for this experience!!
An Heyerick - Researcher - Mindfulness retreat - October 2016
.... An joined again in the Radiant Heart Retreat - October 2017
I had the most wonderful week in Portugal. I came with a troubled mind and left a happier person with a lot of clear insights and tools, not only to deal with difficult feelings, but also to better appreciate the beautiful moments. This week opened up my mind and my heart. I have met some beautiful people and the combination of morning yoga, mindfulness sessions and time to relax and let everything sink in is really nice. Also the beautiful location and the tasty food make this week absolutely recommendable.
Katia G.- Entrepreneur & CEO - Mindfulness Retreat - April 2016 - October 2016
.... Katia joined again in the retreats of 2017 in Portugal and France
On my first retreat, I enjoyed the space of breathing, the strength of feeling & acceptance, the freedom of being, the joy of silence, the beauty of nature, the experience of self-compassion… I feel very grateful for it. Thank you for making me discover the mindfull path of meditation and teach me that above the mountain there is a sky that represents gentleness & kindness!
Practicals & Applying for the retreat
Program, price, transport, reservation...
Group sessions, and an exploring afternoon !
We start the day with an energizing alignment-based Hatha-Iyengar yoga to stretch our body and wake up. After a healthy breakfast, the morning open mind session forms the core of the program in which we'll meditate, reflect and learn about the broader context of brain, body and mind.
In the afternoon, there is enough free time to explore the region, go to the beach, make some beautiful walks, read a book, dive into the bio-pool, take a massage, ....
In the evening there is restorative/ ying yoga to relieve deep tension from the muscles and enter a deep relaxation. Sometimes there will also be the possibility of practicing super relaxing Nidra yoga.
After dinner, we do a smaller open mind meditative practice to relax and reflect about the day.
The program formally ends on Friday late evening the 11th of October but you'll be able to have a nice breakfast and yoga session on the 12th before leaving to the airport.
Request your room type here...
€850 pp for a shared room (3 persons, 4 persons, 6 persons*
€950 pp for a twin room (2 persons)**
€1250 pp for a suite room (double bed & in-room bathroom) - only one left!
Prices include 21% VAT
Your place will only be secured after payment. Make sure to reserve your place before booking your flight! Rooms are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis.
* Persons living in Portugal receive a 10% discount for a shared room occuppation.
** If you would like to join with a friend and share a room together, there is a 10% discount for one person.
*** If you don't have the financial means but would like to participate, let me know what you would like to bring as a skill in return. We are especially looking for web and social media gurus!
** Payments can be made by installments. Cancellation policy:
A week to rejoice your energy and clear your head!
We'll meet you at the airport
There is the possibility of sharing a rental car with fellow participants from Lisbon airport (or Faro airport if some come from Faro). This way you'll also have a car to explore the beautiful environment in the afternoons! Rental costs can amount around 55-65 euros pp for a whole week. You can also rent your own car or come by public transport.
Fly to Lisbon or Faro from all major cities in Europe.
Estimated cost: €40-150 with low-cost (Ryanair, easyjet, vueling....) or €120-250 with any other major airline.
Apply for your place here...
*** Please specify your motivation for joining ***
There are limited places available!
As we want this retreat to be qualitative and valuable for each participant, we ask you to apply for this retreat, and answer some questions.
The answers will be kept private and allow us to better understand your situation and the reason you are joining.
Thank you for your participation ♡