7 Days Aikido and Meditation Retreat in Morocco

  • Sahara Desert, Morocco

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Overview

Contact Improvisation and Meditation Retreat Morocco

Imagine staying in a Berber tent under the beautiful desert sky in Sahara for your well-deserved break. And how about a week of aikido, storytelling, music, contact improvisation dance, and meditation? With Road Junky Retreat, find your true colors and connect to a sense of inner joy, as you connect to your breath in the silence of the dunes, and then dance and sing beneath the full moon at night!

Highlights

  • Aikido workshops
  • Group meditation workshop
  • Singing together around the fire
  • Walking and climbing high dunes
  • Voice and contact improvisation dance workshops
  • Sharing circles and storytelling session
  • Daily Moroccan traditional meals
  • 6 nights accommodation

Group sizes

The maximum participants in the group is 20.

  • 6 days with instruction
  • English
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During this retreat, you will be staying in traditional Berber tents in the heart of the dunes.

The Sahara retreat is something quite unique. Every year, an eclectic mix of travelers, students, professionals, and free spirits come together for a week in the dunes to disconnect with their busy lives and just be here, now and with each other.

Every year, Road Junky Retreat sees people open up as the week goes along and everyone leaves as a slightly different person. The meditation, yoga, dance, and voice workshops help a lot in giving people another perspective and new tools to use in their everyday lives, but if the retreat had to be summed up in a few words, it’s all about opening the heart.

In the sharing circles at night, you hear each other’s stories and learn a new empathy towards others, and also feel the support and understanding of the group as you express where you are at in your lives. More importantly, you learn to feel a new empathy with yourselves, with your bodies when you dance, and with your spirits when you sing.

Looking up at the millions of stars overhead stretching into infinity, you will be reminded of how precious each moment of your lives is. Forgiving yourselves, you come to peace with the world and leave the desert light both in heart and mind.

For Road Junky Retreat, each retreat has been a learning experience and each year they learn to bring in new elements to bring the group together and allow people to find a new self-expression, a new potential. They try to feel the pulse of the retreat and introduce a meditation, an ecstatic singing circle, or just some fun games around the fire according to the mood.

The retreat is a unique space, as you will be interested in the spirit, not the spirituality. You don’t need to believe anything to come or be any kind of person in particular. People often try to exclude themselves, asking in emails if they’re too old, young, inexperienced, or shy to come and Road Junky Retreat's answer is always the same, everyone's a beginner in the retreat and the richness of the group is in its diversity.

Apart from the meditation, dance, and yoga sessions, the retreat is also a place to take some time out to think and walk in the desert, tell stories around the fire, and make some music with 20 other interesting people from around the world. It’s up to you how you experience the retreat. Either way, you’ll be blown away by the majestic dunes, the brightness of the stars in the desert, and the magic of the Sahara.

The desert is the perfect place for transformative experiences on a personal level. Just watching the moon rise at the same time as the sun sets, casting new nuances of shadow over the dunes, watching scarab beetles leave tiny tracks across the sand; it’s like being in another world.

While this is a meditation retreat, you won’t be jumping up at four to chant mantras; rather, you will have a morning group meditation for those who wish to join and also when you climb the high dune in silence at sunset. The retreat has more of a gentle focus on mindfulness and connecting with the heart through all of your activities. You’ll find that just being in the Sahara increases the awareness of your mind, your breath, and your feelings. Just taking a walk in the dunes is like a meditation.

On Sunday night, you will meet for a dinner in a village of Hasalbied. You will sleep there for a night and in the next morning, you will put your bags on the camels and walk to the desert camp. From Tuesday to Saturday, you will enjoy activities such as meditation, dance, sing, and sharing circles in the camp. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, you will load your bags onto the camels again and head back to town. You can stay an extra night in the village or take the night bus out.

Aikido

Aikido can be seen as the art of negotiating the challenges you face in your lives and creating a middle way between resistance and surrender. Through gentle physical exercises, Durward will show you how to bring the mindfulness of meditation into each of your movements. It makes a perfect complement to the contact improvisation sessions.

Contact improvisation

Contact improvisation is all about finding new ways to communicate, move, and express yourself without words. It’s an amazing journey of discovery that can be slow and subtle or free-flowing and acrobatic. There are no steps and no experience is needed, just a willingness to listen, feel, and discover.

During this retreat, there will be some time to hike the high dunes nearby.

  • Elisa Ghion

    Elisa Ghion will be teaching contact improvisation dance in the afternoons. Elisa brings a playful, spontaneous spirit to the dance and you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun even as you learn and discover.

  • Durward Burrell

    Durward Burrell will be teaching the art of meditation each morning, helping you find the spaces between your thoughts and connect with who you are beyond the surface agitation of habitual mental chatter and worries. Durward will also be running aikido workshops in the afternoon.

This retreat will take place in Sahara Desert, Morocco. The location is 10 kilometers away from Merzouga by the Erg Chebbi dunes.

Nearby places

  • Merzouga - 10 kilometers

Three daily Moroccan meals are included in the total cost of the retreat. While there will be some meat served, there will always be vegetarian and vegan meals so there’s no chance of going hungry. You will be eating traditional Morocco cuisine with bread, jam, olives, and tea in the morning, soup, biscuits and dates in the afternoon, and huge plate of tajine in the evening.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirements are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
(If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation)
  • 3 daily traditional Moroccan meals
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Aikido workshops
  • Group meditation workshop
  • Sharing circles and storytelling session
  • Singing together around the fire
  • Voice and contact improvisation dance workshops
  • Walking and climbing the high dunes
  • Additional activities
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Personal expenses

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK). You can meet the group in Marrakech and take the bus to the desert together. Road Junky Retreat can help with reserving tickets. You need to be in Marrakech by Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the latest in order to catch the bus the next morning. You can catch a night bus back from the desert the following Saturday so you could fly out again on Sunday, March 12, 2017.

You can get a return flight to Morocco for less than 100 EUR from most places in Europe and sometimes cheaper than that. Your best bet is to fly into Marrakech or Fez and then take a bus from there. Last year everyone met up on the bus and were firm friends by the time they got to the desert.

Ryanair fly to Marrakesh or Fez from Alicante, Bologna, Brussels (Charleroi), Dusseldorf (Weeze), Eindhoven, Frankfurt-Hahn, Girona (Barcelona), London (Luton), Madrid, Marseille, Milan (Bergamo), Paris Beauvais, Pisa, Porto, Reus (Barcelona), Rome (Ciampino), Seville, and Valencia. Easyjet fly to Marrakesh from London Gatwick, Manchester, Milan, Lyon, Freiburg, Geneva, and Paris. Easyjet also fly to Agadir from London, Lyon, Paris, and Berlin.

If you don’t see a direct cheap flight, consider flying via London, Milan, or Basel. You’ll probably find a combination of Ryanair, Wizzair, and Easyjet solutions. If you really can’t find a cheap flight to Morocco, send an inquiry to Road Junky Retreat and they will assist you. Alternatively, you can also go overland and catch the ferry from Spain to Tangier and catch trains south.

Arrival by bus

From Fes, you could even catch a night bus on the Saturday to Rissani, and from there take a taxi to Hassalbied to meet Road Junky Retreat before walking out to the dunes. If you miss the bus, you could catch the night bus on Sunday and meet Road Junky Retreat on Monday morning before they load up the camels to go.

  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Testimonials

  • Review by Stefania Chiorboli from Italy

    "It was really amazing being there, I feel like I am still flowing on a cloud in Neverland, and don’t have any intention of coming back down!"

    Road Junky Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Caroline Lauppe from Germany

    "Sitting here in my little student apartment watching the rain drops running down my windows, the Sahara seems really far away, but in my heart and my mind the retreat is still very much present. I am truly thankful for all the support and love I received and all the hugs and massages, which really gave me energy. I loved to join the workshops, for example being guided through a forest of trees made me feel esteemed, sitting around the fire playing “orchestra” brought tears of laughter in my eyes, listening to Tom’s stories made me become a dreaming little child, it was great to explore the space around through aikido and dance, to listen and to sing to beautiful songs, (some of them I am still sometimes humming), and much more. I loved it to meet all of you, such an exclusive mixture of different people, and felt so deeply connected everyone and was flabbergasted that one can live in such a spirit together."

    Road Junky Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Samdani Shaik from United States

    "By the end of this retreat, I had the feeling that everyone was deeply connected with me. The amount of love and caring we shared for a week is something I never experienced before. I now consider the people from retreat as part of my family, and I am sure to reconnect and rekindle our love for each other when we meet next time somewhere on this planet."

    Road Junky Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Angela Briggs from United Kingdom

    "I reflected on how far I have travelled in my own personal process and was overwhelmed that I could be part of a warm and loving group of people."

    Road Junky Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Irma No from Estonia

    "We had the most fantastic, genuine, real characters. I loved SO much that we could experiment with the crazy workshops in full seriousness. I mean, hold your hands together and sing into someone’s spine.. and then 20 minutes later just snap out of it and make the filthiest jokes!"

    Road Junky Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Katharina Wiesner from Austria

    "Without any doubt a transformational week: the desert, the group, workshops, rituals, singing, dancing… I loved it! THANK YOU!"

    Road Junky Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Erika Mancha from Spain

    "The experience was beautiful. It helped me to open my heart again and confront my fears. Sharing so much with you all is something stamped on my heart now for ever."

    Road Junky Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Aoife Hegarty from Ireland

    "The retreat allows you the time and space to pause, reflect, be alone, be with others, reconnect, laugh, sing and marvel at nature….For anyone who’s wondered what it might have been like to live in a simpler time, this Sahara retreat is for you! In addition, while unplugged from your usual life, you’ll experience the profound effects of an “information detox”. I’ve been twice and I’ll be back."

    Road Junky Retreat website, edited