About the Retreat
Dorien and Natasha welcome you to join them for a week at Samahita Retreat exploring movement and our relationship to it both literally and more metaphorically. No prior experience in yoga or belly dance is necessary, although if you have some that’s fine too! All levels and ages are welcome.
In the morning sessions Natasha will introduce and gradually build up a pranayama (breath work) practice. Emphasis will be placed on learning correct and efficient breathing technique with the hope that it informs and supports the yoga practices and in turn, the dance practice, and daily life.
The asana practice will mostly be in the Ashtanga Vinyasa method. As the week progresses, the sessions will shift from fully guided to Mysore (self-practice) to allow for individual growth and expression. The asana practice will focus on proper alignment both external and internal using the breath, and other yogic techniques which will be introduced appropriately to everyone.
Prior to the afternoon session you will have time to enjoy the delicious, healthy brunch offered at the retreat, go for a dip in the sea, or take a nap by the pool!
Each afternoon Dorien will take the metaphor of movement off the mat into her lively, engaging discussions on various topics. Such topics are: forcing vs. flowing, pushing vs. allowing, on transcending the mind into states of mediation through movement using techniques such as yoga, dance, and qi (chi) gong. The afternoon sessions will consist of an open forum, encouraging group participation, as such, if there are other topics that people wish to discuss those will be covered too.
In the late afternoon there’s a literal move off the mat into the belly dance session with Natasha. She will teach elements of both Egyptian style as well as Tribal Fusion style belly dance that she has been introducing into her dance repertoire. After some basic drills which will be repeated daily, she will introduce some short choreography to give space to some flow and fun with the dance routines. To allow for further individual expressivity, there will be time set aside for free movement to different music.
Finally, Natasha will wind down the class with a few restorative yoga poses, after which you can enjoy some time walking along the beach, taking in the sights and sounds of beautiful Koh Samui, and then later connecting with others in the retreat group over dinner.
Dorien and Natasha look forward to seeing you, both on and off the mat.
About the Teachers
Natasha Devalia practices and teaches pranayama (breath work), yoga asana, and belly dance. She has been deepening each practice individually and has found the interrelation between them to be of particular interest – how each practice potentially informs and supports the other.
As a teacher, Natasha welcomes and supports each practitioner to develop and expose themselves to the practice at their own practice at their own pace and level, with guidance from an experienced teacher. She strongly encourages the development of a regular, sustainable self-practice.
Yoga and Natasha
Natasha is a student of Paul Dallaghan. She completed her yoga teacher’s training with him in 2006 at “Centred Yoga at Samahita Retreat”, and has been teaching yoga since then.
She attends continuing education workshops yearly with Paul Dallaghan, Sri OP Tiwari, pranayama master of the Kaivalyadham Institute in Lonavala India; as well as Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor.
The Dance of Life
Natasha has been studying and practicing Bharatanatyam, a classical South Indian dance form, from the age of 6. At 16 she performed her arangetram (graduation) in Lusaka, Zambia where she grew up, and soon after spent 3 months training at Bharata Kalaanjali, the Dhananjayan’s dance academy in Chennai, India.
She has continued to integrate Bharatanatyam in her various fusion dance performances.
She was introduced to belly dance 13 years ago by her Lebanese mother-in-law in Montreal during her mother-in-law’s visit. Natasha’s love for belly dance only increased when she moved to Beirut where she took dance classes with teachers, including with the world-renowned Lebanese dancer, Amani.
More recently Natasha has been studying dance with Rachel Brice – Tribal Fusion Belly Dance performer, choreographer, and teacher.
Dorien Israel started practicing Ashtanga yoga with Paul at the young age of 60. She spends most of the year on Koh Samui and spends her time as a retreat advisor to our guests. Most people have never been on a “retreat” so having Dorien to give personal guidance is a great support. She also teaches other non-yoga related classes such as Qi Gong.
She is the author of three books; UnBound, Tao Passages and The Way to the One I AM. She is a Reiki Master, Yoga teacher and Qi Gong practitioner.
In 1984 after a “near death” experience resulting from a severe automobile accident Dorien discovered she was given the ability to access ascended information (channelling or direct revelation).
In 1997 Dorien came to Koh Samui on a one week vacation and never left. During that week she had a “transcendent experience” (satori). Now at the age of 65 she is a remarkable reflection of what is possible in body, mind and Being when one aligns their life with their highest values and real identity.
The Daily Schedule
|6:30am||Morning herbal tea and early breakfast|
|7:30 – 9.30 am||Breath work and yoga with Natasha|
|9:30 am – 1:00 pm||Brunch buffet|
|3:00 pm – 3:30 pm||Snack and refreshment|
|3.30 pm – 6:00 pm||Discussion with Dorien and Belly Dance with Natasha|
|6:00 pm – 8:00 pm||Dinner buffet|
|6:00 pm – 8:00 pm||Steam room available|
|8:00 pm||Optional evening program: movie, satsang, meditation|
Testimonials Natasha Devalia
Yoga with Natasha is restorative and invigorating. She is an intuitive and responsive teacher who skilfully gauges the right balance for each student, knowing when to push them further in their practice and when to help them relax. Before I met Natasha I used to just take yoga classes, but she encouraged me to develop my own practice and I will always be grateful for that gift.
~ Catherine Platt
I’ve been dealing with hamstring pain for nearly three years and Natasha was one of the first yoga teachers who helped me to finally let go of that pain. She taught me how to let go of the desire to go far in a pose and instead helped me to find the place in the pose that was comfortable and authentic for my body and my practice. She did this teaching in a compassionate and humble way. Her touch was a kind of listening and observation of my body and even my mental state, as opposed to pressure or orders. She helped me take responsibility for my own learning and growth but was an experienced guide who was able to show me a healthier and much more enjoyable path.
Her teaching reminds me of the pedagogy of an aboriginal elder, someone who guides, who observes and who builds curiosity. I felt cared for and safe under her tutelage and from her mindful and informed teaching I was able to change a pattern that had caused me pain and injury for so long.
~ Erica Killick
I had taken yoga classes sporadically for 5 years but when I met Natasha, I found a teacher that inspired real devotion and commitment. I began attending Natasha’s classes once a week at Yoga House Chengdu, but very quickly I started attending three weekly classes and continued to do so for over 2 years.
Natasha has a safe approach to each pose and encourages us to move gracefully in the practice. She guides us skilfully in the discovery of our body. She manages to challenge us without pushing us beyond our own limits, encouraging us to seek strength first.
Natasha handles every situation and individual’s needs with care. When I was pregnant she took the time to help me build a routine adjusted to my needs. During this sensitive period I felt like I was in good hands.
Doing yoga with her was an inspiration. I always left her classes feeling peaceful, grounded in the body and expansive in the heart, mind and soul.
All of these learnings are now guiding my daily routines. It’s been now 2 years she left China for Thailand, but the motivation and commitment to practice yoga and pranayama regularly is still here no matter how many years go by.
I took yoga classes with Natasha for about two years when we were both living in China. I had done some yoga before that, but hadn’t found it interesting. Natasha told me about Ashtanga yoga, and to my surprise, I loved it and ended up going to classes three times a week.
Natasha really gets to know the physical capabilities of each of her students as early as possible. That meant that she was able to push me when I needed pushing, hold me back when I probably needed holding back, and deftly provide me with alternative postures that helped me eventually come close to achieving the full posture. My strength and flexibility were not the only aspects of myself to benefit. Natasha’s personality and energy during the class are such that I always left class feeling mentally ready to go back into the world. I would recommend her classes to anyone looking to start, continue or get back into yoga.
~ Kirsten Allen
Natasha taught me yoga in Zambia; she is an attentive instructor with a natural ability to read her students. Being new to yoga this really helped. She makes adjustments kindly and accurately and communicates with her students in a way that’s engaging and enjoyable.
~ Flor Meledez
Natasha was amongst the first yoga teachers I’d met. I attended 2 of her classes, both of which I personally enjoyed and appreciated very much. She is knowledgeable in her teachings and presents an ambiance of peace and calmness in her that is shared during her classes. She is able to read and understand the needs of her students very quickly during classes and adapt her teachings according to the level of proficiency and needs of her students.
As a yoga teacher, Natasha brings along the passion and love from her own personal practice into her classes. I also found her to be extremely humble and down to earth as a person, be it during or outside of her classes, which makes her very approachable and available to her students.
Thanks to the inspirations, motivations as well as endless support from teachers such as Natasha that I am very much still practicing and growing in my own relationship with Yoga today.
~ Jas Asyiken
Attending Natasha’s yoga class in Lusaka was incredible. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to relax, focus and de-stress. Natasha’s calming and uplifting nature is felt in her classes.
~ Jody Adonis
I wanted to tell you thank you so much. Your One-to-One retreat really changes my life for so much better.
When I booked this retreat I was feeling sad, and like I could not make good decisions. I listen to everyone else and try to live my life getting approval. Now, you show me many things and I know I am able to trust myself, to be fully myself, to like myself. This is the most important thing I could wish for. I can go back home calmer, happier, and ready to really enjoy my life. I have more energy because I don’t fight with my own mind.
I am glad I meet you, Dorien. You saw me, really me. You saw that I have done so many good things already in my life, that I am a survivor and deserve to be proud of my life. I now will tell many other people to come and see you.
Love, your friend,
In my more than 25 years of experience at the intersection of psychology, psychotherapy and spirituality, I find it is rare to come across someone like Dorien Israel, who sees, writes, and works with such clarity and wisdom. I highly recommend anyone with a professional or personal interest in this field to read her book Unbound and/or go and see her.
I am very grateful to have met her, and to have had the privilege to be helped along by this remarkable spirit at a very difficult time in my life. Sitting with Dorien for just one session was extremely helpful, and I thank her with all my heart for what I got from that meeting—it will stay with me forever as the greatest of gifts.
~ Z., Denmark
The results from our One-to-One retreat totally surpassed my expectations. Our daily conversations were poignant, enriching, engaging, and empowering. You have a wonderful gift to focus, center, and deliver a targeted message that comes from an other-worldly place. I loved that even though there was a loose outline of topics to cover, we could stay on the prescribed course or go off on an appropriate tangent. It made our time together real and personal and not contrived. Your capacity to teach, share, laugh and love were infectious. More than anything, I absorbed take-away spiritual and life skills that I can now use to uplift and support my future growth. My gratitude runneth over. Thank you from the crevasses of my open and gleeful heart.
~ L., USA
Prior to my session with Dorien, I was told that it is impossible to describe what she does, that I just needed to experience it. Each session is completely unique in format, content, and experience because what Dorien does is work with your individual perception of reality, your unique thought patterns.
What she did for me is turn “reality” on its head, guiding my awareness to the metaphysical, the universal, the spiritual, the ultimate truth… what she call, “thisness.” At the same time, she helped me to let go of my personal illusions of reality, my old stories, identities, and limitations; my beliefs of what I want, deserve, and ultimately receive in life were brushed aside.
When Dorien sits with you, talks with you, guides you, she brings you to “thisness.” The experience of yourself within this context is what empowers you to transform your life. The understanding of how you create your life empowers you to create the one that you really want.
~ T., Canada
There are no words to express the beauty and spirituality of the beach in Koh Samui where Dorien lives. During my retreat, I experienced the wonderful guidance that Dorien provides to take you to wherever it is you NEED to go. This is the place to “find” what you are seeking.
I am so grateful to Dorien, more than I can say. She is very gentle, holds great wisdom and knowledge, and guided me without effort to find inner peace and find my true self, which, in turn, made my “unworthiness” and lack of self-respect vanish and instead gave me my power to be who I am.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Dorien.
~ P., Thailand
Following my retreat with Dorien, I am grateful for:
* the opportunity to dig deep into myself and understand what to keep and what to discard.
* recognition of myself as a good person.
* guidance in living in the present.
* revelation of the spiritual “inner” me.
* guidance in meditation, yoga, and qigong.
* Dorien’s wonderful perception, intuition, and sharing of herself.
Thank you from deep in my heart,
~ S., Thailand
I am humbled by your presence, wisdom, gracefulness, and inner youth. I am very grateful to have been so blessed to have met you right now, when I needed someone like you the most.
Before we met, I was in so much doubt about decisions I have to make in the very near future. I had consulted astrologers, philosophers, practiced my yoga dutifully, mediated, and so on and so forth. I think, deep down, I knew all along what had to be done. But after only one session with you yesterday, I feel clarity and confidence. I am ready for a whole new life. I need not ask anyone else anymore; I am done questioning. I know now that whatever I do, it cannot be wrong, so here I go!
Many hugs, much love,
March 13 – March 20, 2016
With Natasha Devalia and Dorien Israel
The Daily Schedule
6:30am Morning herbal tea and early breakfast
7:30 – 9.30 am Breath work and yoga with Natasha
9:30 am – 1:00 pm Brunch buffet
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Snack and refreshment
3.30 pm – 6:00 pm Discussion with Dorien and Belly Dance with Natasha
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Dinner buffet
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Steam room available
8:00 pm Optional evening program: movie, satsang, meditation