julio 26, 2019 | 2:00 pm julio 31, 2019 | 2:00 pm
Smalhoorn, Orvelte, Holland

Language: English

Deep Rest and silent meditation retreat

26-31 July 2019, Orvelte – The Netherlands

Facilitated by Gemma Polo Pujol

(See the last page for practical information)


For many of us life often feels like an ongoing race from one action to another with the aim of completing an ever-growing to-do-list. In our heart, we know that unless our actions come from a place of connection and fluidity, life is going to be tiring and draining for both our body and our soul.

We long to meet a place of nourishment and aliveness from where our actions can flow and ultimately happen from a non-forceful place within us.

When we give ourselves time to truly rest without limits and renew ourselves fully, we can meet the vibrant source of wisdom and creativity that resides within.

This way of resting, not only repairs tiredness, but also becomes a doorway to the soul, and brings us closer to ourselves, heals us and transforms us.


The invitation

This retreat is a beautiful opportunity to take some time out of the pressure or fast pace of our daily lives and discover the power of going inwards, like a seed gestating in the dark warmth of the earth, awaiting a new burst of growth.

Within the context of this retreat, we understand that meditation is not something we do or achieve, but an inner state that we slip into when we become relaxed, open, and receptive to much more subtle forces, beyond our own efforts.

Each individual is held in a genuine way, through personalized guidance, and also experiences the silent support that comes from resting and meditating in a group context. The loving and trusting atmosphere that will be created on this retreat enables the inner journey to take place in a gentle and joyful way.


What this retreat includes

Here you can have a sense of the different tools and proposals that a Deep Rest retreat offers throughout the daily schedule:

  • Surrounded by nature and held in silence, with the luxury of being cooked and cared for, you will have the chance to be in touch with beauty and simplicity, breathing in fresh air and reconnecting with the elements while the outer noise becomes quieter, giving space to hear the whispers of your own heart.
  • You will always be encouraged to be lying-down while meditating, to step out of any rigidity related to an upright position and cultivate deep relaxation and ease. We will combine group meditation sessions with instructions and guided visualizations, as well as silent meditation.
  • In the mornings, you will have the chance to join a led yoga session, soft connected movement based on Chi Kung or other ancient traditions, or enjoy conscious group walks in nature.
  • Every day there will be time to listen to words of inspiration, where Gemma will offer her reflections on a subject related to the spiritual journey, and where questions and experience-based dialogue will also be welcome.
  • There will be time for creativity in order to integrate your own experience from a place of joy and playfulness.
  • Optional one-to-one interviews with Gemma are also provided and are sometimes essential to deepen and get some support in moving through different stages of your inner journey.
  • Devotional singing will soften our evenings and often will become a doorway to a wider experience of our being and stilling of the mind.
  • With the aim of bridging deep rest and connected action, everyday will include about 45 minutes of Karma yoga or meditation in action, in which everyone will practice the art of “doing from the heart”, and offer some help in the daily practical tasks of keeping the retreat going.


The fruits of a Deep rest retreat

After facilitating deep rest retreats for more than 17 years and observing the fruits that they bring into our lives, I can say with certainty that among many other things, Deep Rest meditation offers us:

  • A doorway to creativity and joy.
  • The opportunity to drop our beliefs around effort and discipline, and allow life to flow more.
  • A sense of being deeply rested and slowly dissolving the layers of tiredness that we carry.
  • The possibility of becoming much more productive or effective in our actions as they emerge from an inner alive place.
  • A safe and wide space within form which to embrace all our feelings and emotions.
  • A loving acceptance of ourselves as we are.
  • A rediscovering our deepest longings and the urge to honor them.
  • The ability to acknowledge the small and simple practices that keep alive our connection to the sacred.
  • The experience of connecting to softness, gentleness and kindness.
  • A flavor of living from a place of trust, abundance and generosity.


Testimonials from participants

“I am deeply, deeply grateful for the retreat. I am still so much impressed by the softness of the week, and the depth of the changes. Thank you, thank you, thank you for you kind and loving presence, creating this safe heaven to open up my soul and let the sacred light in.”


“The retreat was very touching and watered a long forgotten seed in me.»                                                                                      Katri

 “I felt my hand softly held while I find my way back home…”


“Your presence in the retreat holds with security, wisdom, and compassion.”


“I’m grateful for your beautiful and inspiring talks, and your absolute commitment to the path.”


“Your words are still with me… they touch me, they inspire me. Now I lie down with the intention to become intimate with myself…what is there, beyond the mind? What does it mean to be alive?”



Gemma Polo offers one to one spiritual guidance and has been facilitating Deep Rest meditation retreats in all continents with Open Dharma* since 2002. Theologian, beekeeper, poet, and mother. Her passion for the question of life led her to start practicing Zen at age 16, became a contemplative and activist catholic nun, and lived in India for a decade immersed in the Hindu tradition while deepening her practice. Her strong connection to nature brought her back to Spain to create an eco-retreat centre, dive into the ancient nature-based wisdom traditions, and serve locally.

You can see more about Gemma by exploring her website: www.gemmapolo.com

*Open Dharma is a non-profit that offers retreats and teachings around the world since 1999, encouraging people of diverse backgrounds to light up in their own unique way. http://www.opendharma.org


Daan Karsten will be the manager of the retreat and alongside that he will also be offering the morning connected movement as well as being partly avalaible for personal interviews. Daan has been practicing mindfulness and bodywork over the last 10 years and he has been joining Open Dharma retreats since 2008. In daily life Daan works as caretaker in mental healthcare with adults with various stressregulationproblems.


Practical information


The retreat starts on Friday the 26th of July 2019 and will end after lunch on Wednesday the 31st of July. We will meet Saturday the 26th at 2 p.m. at the train station in Beilen.

The retreat will be held at the retreat- & trainingcenter Smalhoorn (www.smalhoorn.nl) in the village of Orvelte, Drenthe in the Netherlands.


Accomodation and food

  • There are shared rooms and also space to camp in the large garden surrounding the house.
  • The food will be vegetarian and organic. The preparation of our food is in the caring hands of Jetske from Tribal Bite (tribalbite.nl)


Costs and Donations:

  • The basic cost for the retreat will be € 320,- for the early bird participants if you register before the 20th of May, and € 360,- if you register later than this. This includes accommodation, meals, and other expenses that are necessary to make this retreat happen.
  • Refund policy: Due to the financial risk we take by organizing this retreat, € 50,- of your down payment is non refundable if you cancel before the 15th of June. If you cancel later than the 15th of June, € 170 will be non refundable.
  • Donations: The retreat program is offered completely on donation basis
    Please notice that Gemma’s teachings and Daan’s managing work are offered entirely on donation basis. This means they offer their time, energy and wisdom freely. At the end of the retreat, you will have the chance to feel in which way their offerings have been nourishing to you, and express your gratitude by giving a donation* to them. Your support makes possible Gemma’s full dedication, and the continuity of her retreats. Thanks for your generosity!
    *Donations can be given in cash at the end of the retreat.



  • Please e-mail the subscription form to opendharmaholland@gmail.com
  • Transfer the right amount of subscription fee to the bank account number mentioned in the form


After receiving your subscription form and payment we will send you a confirmation by e-mail and later on another e-mail with a proper route description, a what to bring list and all the other information you need to enjoy these days in July!

For questions and registration you can e-mail to opendharmaholland@gmail.com