Yoga Retreat with a talk about Ayurveda – April 20th -22nd

Yoga & Ayurveda Retreat
Duration: 2 nights
Cost: €395 – €420 for a twin room, €450-€465 for a single Room
Friday 4pm/5pm- Sunday 14:00
April 20-22nd
Teacher: Liz Richards and Dr Donn Brennan
Type: Yoga with a talk on Ayurveda
Levels: All levels

One of our most exciting retreats to date! Dr Donn Brennan (Ayurvedic Doctor) and Liz Richards (Yoga teacher) will collaborate to bring you this potentially life changing retreat. Once you have had this introduction to Ayurveda you will have the opportunity to join us for a full Ayurveda Retreat at The Courtyard with Dr Donn Brennan on October 26th-28th 2018 for a more in-depth program and the opportunity for private consultation with Dr Donn.

The weekend of the 20th 22nd April will include 3 yoga sessions which will be carefully integrated with the ayurvedic approach and 1 Ayurveda talk with Dr Donn Brennan. Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences, the 2 go hand in hand.


Note from Liz:

The wisdom of Ayurveda determines that each of us are very unique in our constitution and makeup and therefore we all have specific and different needs in the management of our overall health and wellbeing.

As with diet, herbs, colours, aromas, seasons, etc – Ayurveda sheds light on which specific Asanas (Postures) are best for each individual based on his/her constitution.  With some knowledge and understanding of Ayurveda, a practitioner of Yoga can learn how to refine his/her practice so it is in harmony with their internal balance of energy while remaining in synergy with nature and the ever-changing cycle of the seasons. These valuable tools can be used also to restore balance whenever life takes us off course.

In the three Yoga sessions over this weekend we will take a look at the many different approaches and styles of yoga on offer in the western world and their suitability in relation to the three doshas and their various combinations.  We will look at the parallels between what are known as the three Gunas (qualities of nature) of Rajas, Tamas and Sattva in relation to the three Ayurvedic doshas of Vata, Pitta & Kapha and exolore  how they  interplay with one another.  We will also discuss how to honour our unique Ayurvedic makeup and individual needs in a “one size fits all” public yoga class setting where more often than not many of the sequences, asanas and pace of the class may be unsuitable for many if adhering  to the principles of Ayurveda.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to be share this weekend with Dr Donn Brennan and excited to bring together these two extraordinarily powerful practices into one experience which together will assist to empower you to tap in to your own innate wisdom and take back your power to live a healthy and happy life!

 Dr Donn Brennan will give an inspiring talk on the above topics.

Ayurveda (from the Sanskrit root ‘Ayu’ meaning life and ‘veda’ meaning pure knowledge) is the traditional health care system of India.

It is the worlds most ancient system of natural health care, 6000 years old and over time much of the knowledge of this system became fragmented but, more recently, leading Ayurvedic experts pooled their knowledge into a comprehensive body of knowledge called Maharishi Ayurveda – A prevention oriented, time tested and holistic natural health system.

Maharishi Ayurveda helps you take control of your life by:

  •  Giving you understanding of your particular physical and psychological needs.
  •  Explaining the effects of foods, environment and experiences on your mind and body.
  •  Providing better understanding to give you the motivation to make the changes needed for better health
  • Knowing where you are going wrong, how it affects you, and how you can restore health.
  • Offering many strategies for health such as food and lifestyle changes appropriate to you: Transcendental Meditation, yoga, cleansing treatments, specific herbal and mineral preparations, aromatherapy, music therapy, etc.- to suit your needs.
  • Helping you co-operate with your own innate natural healing mechanisms.

“Introduction to Maharishi Ayurveda”

This introduction gives a very comprehensive insight in to all aspects of Ayurveda.  It deals with Consciousness, as the source of health, and outlines causes of unhappiness and disease.  Vata, Pitta and Kapha, are fundamental principles of Maharishi Ayurveda.  This introduction covers what these are and shows how they are balanced to create health.

A clear explanation is given of what is a good day-to-day balanced lifestyle and of how to balance for the changing seasons and for the different phases of life.   It covers the amount and type of exercise which is appropriate to your nature.

This unique perspective of Maharishi Ayurveda gives an inspiring vision of how to promote health and happiness and how to prevent disease.

  1. Description of body’s intelligence.
  2. Maharishi Ayurveda – reconnecting with that innate wisdom and the ability to use it to heal from within.
  3. The Doshas
  4. Lifestyle


  1. Body’s Intelligence

The description of the body’s intelligence takes us beyond the intelligence of the body into that Transcendental field, Pure Consciousness, which is it’s source.  That Real Essence of one’s innate nature becomes lively as one’s intelligence which organizes the atoms we eat and breathe into the physical structures. So we are constantly crating the mind/body as the instrument through which we live our lives.

The body is conceived and constructed and organized by this immense intelligence.  When we are out of touch with that inner being, through imbalance within mind and body, we no longer feel ourselves. The expression is common:  “I am not myself”.   Also the whole flow of life is obstructed and we lose our energy, our capacity to love and our happiness.  Symptoms and signs of imbalance arise as the body tries to inform us and encourage us to change our ways.

Maharishi Ayurveda helps us to understand what we need to do. Without this knowledge of life we suffer.

  1. Maharishi Ayurveda

Veda is the Consciousness, Ayus is life or lifespan and Maharishi’s perspective is to allow us to reconnect our span of life with it’s own source, Pure Consciousness.   Health is the expression of our total innate potential vitality, intelligence, love and happiness, and that’s achieved through balancing mind/body.  Our potential starts gets more richly expressed when the mind/body is integrated

  1. The Doshas

Maharishi Ayurveda simplifies balancing mind and body by handling the three fundamental dynamics: vata, pitta and kapha.  Vata is the process of movement;  Pitta is the process of transformation;  Kapha is the cohesion, or glue, which holds mind/body in the state of integration.

These three are found in every aspect of mind and body because they arise from the deepest level when our innate being, or consciousness, starts to structure and become mind and body.  Vata is responsible for movement everywhere in the mind and body, and when balanced brings inspiration, creativity and dynamism.  Pitta gives rise to all transformations such as changing your mind or generating energy from food. When balanced it gives a very warm intelligent and organized nature.  The innumerable movements and transformations going on in our mind/body are integrated and function as a cohesive whole through the functioning of kapha.  When balanced, kapha brings equanimity, compassion and strength.

  1. Lifestyle

Maharishi Ayurveda understands that we are intimately connected with the universe around us and we are actually created by the same laws of nature, by the same structuring dynamics of nature, as life around us.  If we live according to the laws of nature or the principles that organize life we maintain the state of integration or balance.  If we choose lifestyles or foods or recreations which are out of tune with our nature, or which go against our grain, we disrupt mind and body, and health deteriorates.

Maharishi Ayurveda helps us to recognize our own unique nature and what are the appropriate ways of living, daily and season routines and appropriate exercise, in order to enhance vitality, efficiency, happiness and longevity.

The 3 Hatha Yoga sessions with Liz Richards will include:
Correct use of the breath will be introduced and intelligently sequenced classes of classical yoga postures will be taught using modifications and variations when necessary through structured and safe teaching methodology known as Vinyasa Krama.

Building sequences of asanas (postures) which are suitable for this time of the year

We will take an in-depth look at the invigorating and heat building sequences of the traditional Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations)

We will also explore Pranayama (Breathing) practices

We will work to unlock some of the blocked, tight and restricted areas often present in our bodies due to the stresses, strains and demands of modern living through targeted and generall warm up sequences

We will address the issues that can arise in the platforms/stabilising junctions of the ankles & feet, hips & pelvis, and shoulders and neck and work to free up the spine so we can open up once more to spring and new beginnings through this beautiful, ancient and powerful practice.

You will leave at the end of the weekend feeling rested yet energised, calm, grounded, open and light with a deeper sense of connection to yourself and the world around you.

Dr. Donn Brennan MB, BCh, BAO, MRCGP, MSCI


Doctor Donn Brennan, from County Kildare, was one of the first western medical doctors to train in India in Maharishi’s Vedic Approach to Health. He qualified in medicine in 1979 at UCD and spent the following decade working in different specialities in hospitals throughout the island of Ireland before becoming a General Practitioner (GP) in the UK.


However, over the years Donn became disillusioned with the conventional medical model. ‘I have always    had the utmost of admiration for the compassion and industry with which my medical colleagues work to relieve suffering,’ he says. ‘And of course I recognise the benefits for the many who need these treatments  but I was always searching for something more. I was disappointed that the emphasis was on ‘disease’ rather than on ‘prevention’ and health.’


So when he came across the Ayurvedan approach to health he knew that this was the method of healing which he had been seeking. Ayurveda (from the Sanskrit root ‘Ayu’ meaning life and ‘veda’ meaning pure knowledge) is the traditional health care system of India which has been around for millennia although it was repressed during the era of colonialism. In recent decades it has been revived through the teachings of the charismatic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who founded Transcendental Meditation (TM) in the late 1950’s. Maharashi’s premise is that Veda and the ancient Vedic literature are actually the fundamentals of Natural Law which Quantum Scientists also believe to be the basis of human physiology and the whole of the physical universe.


It was in 1982 while working in the casualty department of a busy Derry hospital that Donn decided to study and practise Transcendental Meditation (TM), which has been scientifically validated in over 600 research studies in 200 Universities in 30 Countries. He qualified as a TM teacher and was amazed at how many people reported a marked improvement in their health as they meditated. However, it was a subsequent meeting with Dr John Duffy, an eminent Irish Cardiologist, who had just returned from Maharishi’s first ever European course in Ayurvedan health geared specifically for medical doctors that became the turning point in his career when he made the point that the Ayurvedan healthcare system which incorporates TM connects consciousness with physiology. So Donn spent the ensuing 18 months studying Mararishi’s Vedic Approach to Health in America and in the renowned Ayurveda University in Jamnagar in Gujurat state, India.


Since 1990 Donn has worked fulltime promoting, lecturing and consulting in Maharishi’s Vedic Approach to Health. He has featured in many newspaper articles and on radio and television. He has lectured and consulted in almost all the major cities in Ireland and Britain as well as Iceland and the Channel Islands. He has also given many seminars, advanced talks and courses including introductory courses for medical doctors and pulse diagnosis courses. In addition many thousands consult with him for ongoing health advice


Dr Donn Brennan is the founding President of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association in the United Kindgdom, which is the representative body of Ayurvedic practitioners and is currently assisting in government proposals for regulating the standards and practise of Ayurveda in the UK. He is also a director of the European Herbal Practitioners Association.



Maharishi Ayurveda offers comprehensive health programmes to prevent illness and promote perfect health and long life. Ayurveda has been successfully used in the treatment of many conditions, some of which are considered chronic (long standing or persistent) disorders, these include rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, headaches, eczema, psoriasis, constipation and non-insulin dependent diabetes among others.p>


About Liz Richards

Liz is one of our resident yoga teachers at The Courtyard. She is highly experienced and is simply inspiring, her knowledge of the practice and philosophy of yoga is outstanding.  Our guests feel inspired, energised, motivated and balanced after attending her retreats.

Liz Richards is a Yoga Alliance Certified instructor with over 700 hours training and 7000 hours teaching experience.  Liz has steadily earned a reputation of excellence throughout her yoga teaching career.  Liz’s passion for yoga is preceded by a love of ballet, modern dance, gymnastics and equestrian sport in her teens.  Liz’s enquiring mind and a desire to immerse herself more deeply in the philosophy behind the system of yoga and the hugely transformative nature of the practice led her to continually progress and further her own development and understanding of yoga and it’s benefits.  Liz specialises in Classical Hatha Yoga using the Vinyasa Krama System for all levels from beginners to advanced students.


Retreat Schedule


16:00 -17:30 – Arrive at the Courtyard, relax and settle in to your allocated Courtyard house

17:15 –  Refreshments in The Dairymaids House

18:00 – Our first yoga class in The Carriage House – Duration 1.5 hour class

19:30 – Dinner  in The Dairymaids. 2 course meal. Main & dessert. After dinner guests are free to relax.


09:00 – Healthy breakfast

11:00 – An inspirational talk about Ayurveda given by Dr Donn Brennan -2 hours

13:00 – Lunch

14:00 – Free time options for Saturday afternoon

– You will be given a walk/trek route to take in some fresh Wicklow air and beautiful forestry and hills

– Visit the Tinahely farm shop & cafe (a Ballymaloe styled café selling crafts and artisan food products)

– Golf at the magnificant Coolattin Golf Club, pre-booking via The Courtyard is essential

– Chill out at The Courtyard alone or with others. Have some quiet time, go for a stroll on a country track

17:00 – 1.5 hour yoga class

18:30 – Delicious healthy vegetarian 2 course dinner, main & dessert– after dinner free to relax.


08:15 – Light healthy breakfast snack  (the breakfast snack & fruit is left out from about 8:15 but you are welcome to arrive later, should you wish to lie in)

09:30 – Yoga class 2 hours

12:00 –Lunch

13:00 – Relax

14:00 – Departure

* Fruit, tea, coffee and an array of loose herbal teas are available in The Dairymaids thoughout the weekend

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Beside Coolattin Golf Club