20th May-26th May or 28th May-3rd June 2017


Variety & Entirety: finding your own dynamic yoga practice

This retreat will offer you glimpses into different dynamic styles of yoga and various relaxation techniques.  While we will look at different aspects of Vinyasa Yoga, the focus will be on how what we learn serves our personal practice and if it might help us to (further) incorporate Yoga into our daily lives.

       Investment of €450 per person

(including all meals, yoga, workshops & equipment.  Not including flights or transfers)


Reserve your place today with just €140 deposit.

Your teacher: Dania Iskenius


I was first introduced to this amazing thing called Yoga by my Mum when I was five.  But it wasn’t until my late twenties that it became a crucial part of my life and that I found a style of Yoga that I really wanted to be friends with.

In 2010 I participated in Intensive Teacher Training at the Ashtanga Yoga Studio in Freiburg, focussing on alignment and assists. To further my education in dynamic styles of Yoga, I received my Yoga Alliance certification from Frog Lotus Yoga in beautiful southern Spain in 2012. The curriculum offered a wide variety of styles with the main focus on Vinyasa Flow, anatomy, and yoga philosophy. I’ve been teaching in different places and surroundings since then. My classes are mostly a dynamic mix of Vinyasa and Ashtanga style and I enjoy creating a welcoming and encouraging atmosphere for beginners as well as advanced students. Especially since we are so used to scrutinizing and depreciating the body in our daily life, I consider yoga to be a great mind-body- toolbox for becoming friendly with our bodies again. In my classes my passion for anatomy and alignment gets mixed with the joyful aspect of perceiving and focussing on sensations. Always remaining a student, I try to incorporate those balances that keep me grounded in my own practice into my teaching as well.

Currently, I am based in Cologne where I am teaching regular classes and annual workshops for Teens and School Teachers.


Styles of yoga to be taught:


The morning classes will be Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga inspired. This means that the classes are going to be more dynamic and focused on strength.  We’ll warm up our bodies and work some sweat with a faster paced sequence to re-energize after the night and to prevent injuries when going into deeper, more static poses at the end of the class.


In the afternoon, classes will be more relaxed, we’ll hold poses for a longer time and the emphasis will be on the alignment of specific poses.  This will create more of a restorative practice, so in contrast to the morning class with its cardio aspect, we let time , breath and gravity work for us to let us ease deeper into the poses.




Sample Daily Timetable (times will vary slightly on each retreat)


07.30 Pranayama or morning meditation

08.00 Morning Yoga practice
09:30-10.15 Breakfast
11:00 Workshop (practical/theroretical) or free time
13:00 Lunch

15.00 Free time
19.00 Evening Yoga practice

20.30 Meditation or Yoga Nidra
21.00 Evening meal

*There is one workshop a day, it may be in the morning or afternoon.  There is also the option to visit local markets on Wednesday and Sunday.


Your Rustic Retreats Journey

This retreat will offer a journey into the practice of dynamic yoga styles.  It will swing between familiarity in poses/techniques and curiosity to experience new aspects of our Yoga practice.

The workshop program will focus on the Variety-aspect:  In our workshop, we’ll explore different forms of sun salutations, various mindfulness techniques, some self practice options, and the diverse modifications for neck and shoulders.  While variety does give us new input, new perspectives and the pleasure to choose, there needs to be a grounding, steady aspect in Yoga to serve as our anchor.


That’s why the daily classes will stress the 'Entirety' part:  We’ll explore our own, personal Yoga practice as a fusion of the three pillars that will continue to guide us through this week of moving meditation: breath (pranayama), posture (asana) and concentration (dharana).  Each day will provide a specific topic to establish or deepen our Yoga practice and work on our poses, but there will also be continuous elements in the classes each day.  This retreat will focus on building internal heat, increasing strength and stamina, as well as the mental aspect of bringing our attention onto what’s happening within us when we’re on our mats.


Your workshop programme:

Vinyasa Styles

We get to know Sun Salutations from different yoga traditions and practise them to get used to the different sequences.  This might help when frequently going to different classes/ studios at home.  We will explore grace and gratitude towards the Sun energy as we wake up the major muscle groups in the body with 12 powerful Yoga poses in the form of Surya Namaska.  Literally translated into Sun Salutations, this workshop will deconstruct the traditional sequences and you will form a foundation to take away with you when you explore other classes beyond Rustic Retreats.  Surya Namaska A  is a basis for beginning our Yoga practice, the movements are rather slow, the energy will be heating up slowly.  Surya Namaska B  is a bit more strength-based and fast-paced.  We will heat up Agni, the internal fire, or - in physiological terms - there will be sweat.  We’ll also work on a Jivamukti-inspired Sun Salutation which is a blend of both with its own twist, and is often employed in Vinyasa Classes.  The latter Sun salutation is practised slightly more flowingly, which means the focus is less on strength and more on lengthening major muscle groups.


Autogenic training  vs. meditation.

In this workshop we’ll explore differences and benefits of both mindfulness techniques— so that afterwards, students’ can incorporate one (or both) of them into their daily life if they wish to.  In the meditation, we will employ breathing techniques, drawing in our senses and our attention away from outside stimuli. The autogenic training consists of conscious relaxation, auto suggestion and directing one’s attention to a focus.

There are a lot of different ancient styles of meditation, but all are ways of calming the mind.  Meditation is not a state of doing, it is a state of thoughtless awareness.  Because this is very hard to achieve, even for advanced practitioners, there are certain techniques that help us slow down and stop the incessant activity of our minds. This may be mental concentration, awareness of thoughts or observing where the mind wanders.

In contrast, autogenic training, developed in 1932, deliberately directs the thoughts towards a mantra (commonly repeated word or phrase, especially in advocacy or for motivation or concentration).  It also may involve a set of visualisations that induce a state of relaxation.

Both techniques are designed to be practised regularly (preferably daily) and we will be trying both in our workshop.

Neck and Shoulders

We’ll have a look at the shoulder and neck area. In this workshop we’ll start by learning some asanas (poses) to help reduce neck and shoulder pain.  Afterwards we’ll work on variations and modifications to protect our neck area.

When working long office hours or being busy with our various schedules, we often find ourselves suffering from a tight neck area that can easily lead to headaches or a stiffness that might result in a decreased range of motion in our shoulders.  Yoga can help ease these symptoms.  Feeling spaciousness in these areas of the body helps us alleviate congestion and promotes healthy circulation to the heart and brain increasing energy and vitality on a cellular level.

We’ll work on increasing the range of motion in our shoulders with a warming up shoulder sequence.  Furthermore, we will be looking at delicate Asanas (Postures) such as Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) or, if this is part of your practice, Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand) and explore how we can make this a safe practice.  For this, we’ll employ props like Blankets, Blocks and belts.

Please note;  if you experience strong, permanent neck pain, be sure to consult with your doctor or health provider first.

Self practice:

We’ll work on a little Yoga sequence that each student can practice at home in the mornings; to take a little Bagend-Yoga-feel back home.  This workshop will include a theoretical part about basic principles of a yoga sequence and a journalling option for home practice.

By self practice we mean to establish a certain routine in our practice at home without having another person present.  This may be three times a week, ideally daily.  It does not have to be a 90 min practice, 15 minutes can suffice, and the benefits will be immense.

During self-practice you have the opportunity to truly listen to your body and what it wants.  Self practice is the best way to connect to your breath without assimilating to the speed your teacher dictates).  You can choose your own pace and time (according to your internal rhythms and daily schedules).   It reminds you of the Guru (teacher) inside of you; that you are the  expert of your body and mind.

With the knowledge of the first workshop (Sun Salutations), we’ll expand the sun salutation practice and add a forward bend, back bend, twist, and an inversion to the sequence.  It will end with Savasana (final relaxation).  So that at the end of the workshop, each student will have his/her own customised sequence.

The next morning practice will consist of, in part,  the individual's sequence.