Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre

In 2013, I came across the Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre I was staying in an Airbnb in the town of Kinvarra (about 5 miles from Burren Yoga) and a fellow guest had just completed a week long retreat there. He had only good things to say about it. Since then, I have tried to make it there for a retreat. Even though I have been in Ireland several times since then, the timing never worked out.

This past September, it finally did. There was even an organized retreat running the weekend I had free. I immediately signed up. My goal was two fold, one to have a relaxing/learning weekend and two, to check the place out. In the back of my head, I was thinking if the place is comfortable and lovely then I would consider organizing a trip there. I kept this second goal under wraps of course and also tried to keep my yoga teacher status quiet. It helps me be a better student.

I visited my friend in Kinvara the night before the retreat, after an absence of nearly two years. It was as if no time passed, we picked up right where we left off, one of my favorite parts of my international friendships. I was able to mill around town visiting the farmers market, listening to music and hanging out by the harbor throughout the day before I headed over the retreat which started on Friday night.

The weekend retreat ( Friday evening - Sunday midday), was called  "Mindfulness and Yoga with Eleanor Dawson." When I saw it on the website, I thought it was the perfect fit for the middle of my trip. Eleanor is originally from the UK but has been in Ireland for nearly 30 years. She teaches "Viniyoga," a style that has an intense focus on the breathe and movement. It can also be considered the base of Vinyasa. Viniyoga was new to me, so I was thrilled when she gave her introduction. She was incredibly sweet and a thorough, compassionate teacher.

Upon arrival at the center, Dave, the Owner and Director met me at the door and showed me to my room. I was immediately thrilled. The room was filled with unique wooden bunks. There was ample storage space and the room seemed well thought out and made with care. Next was a  quick tour - there is a library and sitting room upstairs, a beautiful kitchen and a yoga room with a fireplace that comfortably would fit between 15- 20 people. The upstairs is also home to several more private rooms, single and double rooms without bunks. A second building out back has further accommodation. I later found out that there is a planned expansion as well.

Our first order of business was dinner and a little briefing about rooms and regulations and the center in general. It is a cooperative space, so seva around the meals is an important part of that. Gerode, the chef is unbelievable. I can't say enough about how good the food was. It was vegetarian with some vegan items, completely fresh and very well prepared.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Eleanor during the first meal and we got to talking about yoga, yoga  styles and experience. It was very nice to connect with her on the first night. There were about 15 of us altogether with varied styles and experience of yoga between us. I find lately that my open hamstrings are the dead give away of my yoga experience and that night was no exception. There was one other student in the room who had recently completed teacher training but had not yet taught, and hers were the same, ha. You know you are conspicuously flexible when people come up to you after class and ask how long you have been doing yoga.

I slept great after that first class, the beds were comfortable, the sheets were clean and soft, and the temperature was just right. Our Saturday schedule was perfect in my view, exactly the way I like to see yoga retreat set up. Mediation, breakfast, yoga, a hike through the Burren, lunch at a restaurant by the water, free time in the afternoon, yoga, dinner and restorative (if my memory serves). It was a really lovely day. The Burren hike was a little rushed because we were trying to beat the rain but it was still highly enjoyable. The yoga was full of intention and I loved the very specific breath work.
All the while the weather shifted every five minutes and rainbows could be seen at intervals from the yoga room. I skipped the last session of the night because I was exhausted and felt just right. I reach a point with my body and yoga that I know is the edge, so I knew I should call it a night and introvert for a bit.

A view from the top

views from the Burren

Views from the Burren

The Sunday schedule was again well planned with a mix of yoga, meditation and meals. I left a bit early because I had a long drive ahead and had to make a few stops but upon leaving I felt like I had 15 new friends. Many of us exchanged contact information and a number of people had offered me tips for the next place I was going, all of which I used. As the only person at the retreat not living in Ireland, there was a little confusion as to what I was doing there at the beginning, but by the end everyone could see my love of the country and deep connection to it. I truly cherished my weekend at the Burren Yoga Center and I would go back again and again.

Notes on Burren Yoga 

- Little no cell service, no wifi - get ready to unplug!
- Easier to find than you may first think, only 5 miles from Kinvarra
- Follow the directions Dave sends you
- Family owned and run
- Phenomenal food
- Comfortable lodging
- Variety of programs available
- Affordable retreats
- Peaceful and Relaxing

If you are interested in taking a workshop with Eleanor, her schedule can be found HERE .
She also teaches at Clonlea Yoga Studio and can be found on Facebook .

Thanks for reading!

(This is not a sponsored post, I just really enjoyed it :) )