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Summer & The Heart: A Yoga, Qigong & Meditation Retreat in Andalucia, Spain

July 1 - 8, 2017 (7 nights)

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Join Sifu Matthew Cohen and Mimi Kuo-Deemer for a weeklong yoga, qigong and meditation retreat at Centro Santillán, a stunning retreat centre nestled in the open hills of southern Spain.  Days will include morning and afternoon yoga/qigong sessions, meditation, and three delicious meals. There willalso be plenty of downtime for relaxing, walking the hills, swimming in a salt-water pool, therapies and having a siesta. Mid-week, there will also be a chance to visit the sacred Alhambra and historic city of Grenada.

Centro Santillán is a secluded, Andalucian paradise that is surrounded by mountains overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Located in Rincon de la Victoria, it is 20 kilometres from Malaga, the capital of Spain’s Costa del Sol. Malaga has an international airport with many direct flights from London, New York City, Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris.  

About Classes, Practices and the Heart:
Throughout the week, Matthew and Mimi will explore the season of summer and the qualities of the heart, which in Chinese medicine is the supreme sovereign of the body. Matthew and Mimi will offer teachings that reflect aspects of the heart’s function as well as its related season of summer and the element of fire. Mimi and Matthew share a love for integrated systems of healing. Drawing from Yoga, qigong, Buddhism, Chinese medicine and martial arts, their teachings invite students to explore authenticity, awareness and intentionality in a safe space. Their integration of practices works with the interplay of effort and ease, movement and stillness, softness with strength, and the sacred with the practical. Both teachers are always available so you receive more individual attention, hands-on adjustments and modifications as needed. Through deep, lighthearted, playful and inspiring practices, Matthew and Mimi will explore how the richness of ancient teachings can be incorporated into our contemporary daily lives.   

The Daily Schedule:
Days will begin with a light breakfast followed by gentle qigong, pranayama and meditation inside Santillán's stunning, state-of-the-art studio with views of palm trees and the clear, Mediterranean waters. After a full breakfast, we will have a long morning session including a dharma talk and active practice of yoga, qigong or a combination of both.  There will be options given for all levels of practitioners. 

After a nourishing lunch, there will be free time to nap, book therapies, sit in the salt-water pool, chill out on a sun bed, play paddle tennis, or take a taxi to the beach which is just 7 km away. The afternoon yoga sessions will be gentle, relaxing and quiet.  After dinner, there will be an evening meditation session to close our day. 

Mid-week, we will also have a half-day off.  Participants are welcome to  rest or visit the historic city of Grenada and visit the sacred Alhambra, a Unesco World Heritage site. Tickets must be booked far in advance for this.  You will be asked upon booking as to whether or not you would like to join on this excursion.  Please note, the cost of entry ticket and shared luxury coach, appox 15 euros for the ticket and 20 euros for the bus per person, is not included in the retreat costs).

As these seven days are about meeting your personal retreat needs and practicing svadhyaya (self-study), all activities are optional.

“Matthew's teaching deepened and strengthened my practice on so many levels. The rare addition of Qi Gong has added a profound stillness to my life and is an inspiring, moving meditation. Most teachers I've known articulate their knowledge in a steady and cerebral way, Matthew takes it a graceful step further by connecting that knowledge through the emotional, physical and spiritual and allowing it to settle without force.” –Minnie Driver

"Mimi's very lighthearted and deeply serious in her style. So don't expect any standard practice or off-the-shelf truisms in her classes, rather expect the meaning to emerge from the practice itself. There's nothing shocking or off the wall about her style - it's vinyasa there's no doubt about it - but there's a constant reaching out to things beyond the yoga tradition - qigong, movies she's just seen, books she's just read, stuff she's just done. Safe but always stretching out beyond the commonplace and comfortable. And at times, simply daffy." –Steve McQueen

The Accommodations
The spacious and beautifully decorated Spanish rooms at Santillan accommodate single, double, and triple occupancy. We will match you with roommate/s if you are coming by yourself and would like a double or triple room. 

All rooms include a bathtub and shower, toiletries, hair dryer, and  air conditioner and/or fan. There are telephones for internal use, a safe deposit box, and a desk. Each room has a balcony or patio with sea, garden or mountain views. 

The Cuisine
The meals at Santillan are lovingly prepared and are influenced by the Spanish and Italian cuisines. Tea, coffee, and still water are available 24 hours a day. Complimentary soft drinks, beer and wine are available on the first and last day. At all other times, beverages can be purchased at the bar; pay on check-out.  

Common dietary requirements will be honoured.

Activities and Excursions
The retreat includes one afternoon excursion to a nearby village where we will enjoy a seaside lunch of grilled fish and vegetables (the restaurant is right on the beach).  Mid-week we will also have a day off! On this day, you can do anything, but an excursion will be offered to the historic city of Grenada, including a visit to the sacred site of the Alhambra ( Costs and entry tickets will be provided upon booking.  Other options for free time include:

  • horseback riding
  • go-karting
  • the beach (you can see the beach from Santillán but it's 7 km away by car)
  • swimming in the salt-water pool, or lounging on the sun beds
  • playing paddle tennis
  • a visit to Malaga, Marbella, Alhambra, Cordoba, Sevilla, Alpujarras, Ronda, Nerja, Frigiliana, Gibraltar or Morocco with an English-speaking guide. The staff can help arrange this.

Therapies and Treatments
Many therapies and treatments are available and can be booked on arrival and payable in euros directly to the therapist. These include: 

  • Massage
  • Shiatsu massage
  • Osteopathy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Regression

Arrivals and Departures
Arrival day is Saturday, July 1, 2017. You are welcome to check in at 3:30 pm. If you arrive earlier, you're welcome to lounge by the pool  until your room is ready. Check-out is 12:00 noon on July 8th.  

Santillan is about 36 km east of Malaga international airport which is serviced by a number of international and budget airlines.  Shared taxis and minivans are available and group rates will be offered (usually approx 20-30 euros per person each way). We will help organise this service, should you wish, once we have your flight details.  You can depart on July 8th after our final brunch. Return taxis will be arranged once at Santillan.  

From London and the UK: 
We recommend booking a flight that arrives at before 2pm. For returns, we recommend a flight that leaves anytime at/before 2 pm.  
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Suggested Easyjet flight:
Departs Sat 1 July 2017, from London Gatwick to Malaga
EZY8603, Dep 08:00 - Arr 11:50

Returning Sat 8 July 2017, from Malaga to London Gatwick
EZY8608, Dep 16:50 - Arr 18:40

Suggested British Airways flight:
Departs Saturday, 1 July 2017, From London Gatwick (LGW) To Malaga (AGP)
BA 2714, Dep: 09:45 – Arr 13:35
2h 50m, Direct

Returning Sat 8 July 2017, from Malaga (AGP) to London Gatwick (LGW) 
A2715, Dep: 14:20 – Arr 16:10
2h 50m, Direct

From the US (Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago): 
There are direct flights from several US cities (JFK, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas) to Malaga.  Please note that because of the time change you will need to leave the US on June 30th to arrive in Spain on July 1st. Good websites to check for flights are and

About Mimi and Matthew

Matthew and Mimi bring together a love for the healing practices of Yoga, qigong, taichi, martial arts, Buddhist meditation and Chinese medicine. Their friendship, which began in 2003 after Mimi invited Matthew to China to teach at her Beijng yoga studio, has been fostered through a mutual appreciation for sharing these ancient practices in ways that can support and enrich our everyday, contemporary lives. Both known for their love of storytelling, a good laugh and introspection, Mimi and Matthew aspire to teach safe, sacred, inspiring and transformative practices that are accessible and open to everyone. For more information visit (Matthew), and

Bookings/More Info:
Tel: +44 7794 251309 Email: