Wendy Saunders

Heart & Soul Care - trauma healing retreats for domestic violence survivors

Heart & Soul Care is a not-for-profit charity empowering women to heal from past trauma, particularly those who have experienced domestic violence (DV). Holistic practices held in a supportive environment give them the confidence to step into the present and reclaim their power and femininity.

Beginning in 2019, with two retreats in 2020 and two in 2021, the September 2022 Heart & Soul Care Retreat was generously supported by the Yoga For Good Foundation (YFG), with another two partially supported. In total, nearly 100 DV survivors have benefited.

Wendy Saunders is the organiser of the Heart & Soul Care trauma healing retreats, held at the Heart & Soul Retreat Centre at Otford in 20 acres of native bushland adjacent to the Royal National Park. Women find peace of mind in nature, wildlife and organic gardens. They are surrounded by pristine forests, ocean beaches and sea cliff walks with open space to recover and awaken their authentic selves.

Wendy’s team are qualified volunteer professionals from the fields of psychology, yoga therapy, music, nature, dance and art therapy, who support growth and change.

“Generous, encouraging, informative, positive. A good mix of practice and theoretical activities.”

“Committed, gentle, soulful. An astounding experience, rich. complex, moving. Eager to try again and learn more.”

Recovery from domestic violence

Everyone has the right to be free from violence, which can affect anyone regardless of community, age, culture or gender. According to ABS, 2.2 million Australians have experienced DV and 3.6 million have faced emotional abuse from a partner. In 2020, over 50% of recorded assaults were linked to family and domestic violence. The goal of any DV is to exert control over the victim through tactics such as dominance, isolation, humiliation and blame.

Victims often delay leaving abusive partners, taking years to find the strength. Prolonged abuse increases the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress-related mental health issues, fostering difficulty in trusting others. DV survivor retreats provide a healthy opportunity for regaining respect.

It is important to know help is available at Heart & Soul Care. Clients initially connect through an agency or Women’s Health Centre in Sydney or the Illawarra region, where they receive counselling and housing assistance. The counsellor refers clients to Heart & Soul for holistic life skills when they are ready. Agency counsellors follow up with clients to assess outcomes, yielding amazing results.

“Where do I start? The whole program was just amazing and opens you up. You really find yourself. I have found my voice and am forever grateful. It was all mandalas, nature-driven really strong, caring support. I can’t explain how wonderful it was. I got to take a tai chi class on one of the days. I could really relate to it. It has pushed me to consider some yoga in my future. Thank you.”

Community yoga classes

We are passionate about sharing the joy of practising yoga and offering you an opportunity to connect with your true self on a regular basis.
View previous classes or book now for our next class.

Free
22nd March 2024 12:30pm (AEDT)

Hatha Community Class with Ahimsa Helen Cushing

Ahimsadhara is an expert teacher and author in yoga for trauma survivors. After teaching War Veterans for many years, she is now focusing on international programs and further writing. In this class, she uses asanas to help with healthy breathing and as a preparation for pranayama and yoga nidra.

Free
22nd April 2024 12:30PM (AEST)

Dru Yoga Community Class with Angela Baker

Angela is an experienced Yogi and Dru Teacher Trainer, environmental campaigner, peace educator, and avid traveller, always seeking the best methods to promote health through Dru Yoga’s practices. Join Angela on the mat for a simple journey through energy block release, alignment with sequence, asana and mudra to leave you feeling refreshed, inspired and welcoming change.

Testimonials

Our sole mission is to create opportunities to do good for others through yoga.
And we’re making an impact.

A huge thank you to the Yoga For Good Foundation...

…for their incredible contribution to our Life Now Yoga and meditation programs!

This generous donation will mean we can buy new yoga equipment, run a new yoga class in Broome, and enhance our meditation program for cancer patients and their primary carers.

Cancer Council Western Australia

Sending out gratitude to the Yoga for Good Foundation.

Their grant is enabling me to offer FREE trauma informed therapeutic movement and relaxation to frontline mental health and social services staff in Bega.

Participants are really valuing the time out for themselves and experiencing integrated poly vagal theory. And I get to be in a teaching space, yay!

PremKranti Counselling

The generous grant we've been awarded from the Yoga For Good Foundation...

…allows us to reach more underserved and vulnerable community groups who can benefit from a trauma-informed yoga and embodied mindfulness practice at zero cost to the participants.

Some of the community groups we’ll be serving in the current months include 000 Foundation, Men’s Walk and Talk and WAGEC.

Yoga on the Inside