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A Q&A with Heart & Soul Care: Retreats for Domestic Abuse Survivors

We sat down for a chat with Wendy at Heart & Soul Care, one of our recent YFG grant recipients. We wanted to find out a bit more about her wonderful work running yoga retreats for women who have been through trauma and what she has been able to achieve with her grant. Read what she had to say:

  • Can you give us a bit of an overview of your project and the good it’s doing in your community?

For the past four years Heart & Soul Care have provided Women’s Healing Retreats at Govinda Valley Centre, situated on 20 acres of lush surroundings at the base of the Royal National Park.

The weekend retreats have been run from two to four times a year.  They include vegan meals, accommodation, and all activities offering a nurturing, safe environment for women who have experienced trauma including domestic abuse.

Our retreats are an opportunity for the participants to be introduced to a healthy yogic community way of life. All retreats are drug, alcohol and smoke free.

The retreats are run by experienced practitioners who volunteer their time to support and provide self-care strategies including: Trauma Informed Yoga, Meditation, Nature, Dance, Art and Music therapies, Reiki, Ayurveda, Crystal/Tibetan Healing bowls and local walks.

  • What difference has the YFG grant made to the project?

The YFG grants have allowed us to reach a wider community through the marketing/social media program and by offering fully sponsored retreats to women who have sought help through agencies such as SASSHI, YWCA, Women Illawarra, Shelters and womens health centres in Illawarra and Sydney.

  • Do you feel like you have achieved/are achieving the outcomes you set out to?

Yes.  Since receiving funding from the Yoga For Good Foundation we have hosted 3 retreats, providing the women from numerous agencies and shelters the opportunity to experience a unique healing experience.

  • What kind of feedback have you gotten from participants?

We have had excellent feedback including the following:

  • “Generous, encouraging, informative, positive. A good mix of practice and theoretical activities.”
  • “This was an amazing experience and I felt so moved and deeply relaxed. Such a talented and sweet woman.”
  • “Committed, gentle, soulful. An astounding experience, rich, complex, moving.   Eager to try again and learn more.”
  • “A cleansing and interesting experience. I would do this again.”
  • “Fantastic experience.”
  • “Loved the facilitator’s warm nature and great sense of humour.”
  • “I enjoyed our chats and found her sessions very helpful. She made me feel welcomed and comfortable.”
  • “Engaging, welcoming.”
  • “I appreciated the introduction to breathing exercises and gentle yoga postures.”
  • “Great to bring me more awareness of how to feel my intuition and follow my gut feelings.”
  • “Great information, empowering and lovely.”
  • “Loved the card activity.”
  • “I found this most helpful and a lot resonated with me. Trust your intuition more. Women have a 6th sense.”
  • What advice would you give to people who are thinking of starting a project that will do good in their community through yoga?

There is a big need in the community to provide women with the knowledge, skills and experiences to assist them in attaining a more peaceful, happy and healthy lifestyle based on yogic principles.

It’s a great program that has been well-received – I can thoroughly recommend it.

At the Yoga For Good Foundation, our mission is to be a platform for innovative programs and projects benefiting communities through yoga principles and practices for a purposeful, peaceful life. One of the ways we do this is through our grant program so keep an eye out for it opening again next year. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, you can sign up for our free community classes here.