At the retreats of Kailo you are outside, in community, diving deep and connecting with your inner & outer nature. There is so much to discover. What is behind all these aspects, how a retreat works, what makes them tick and more insights you will learn here in the Q&A.
What is a retreat and what is it about?
It is a kind of time out and rest. It is about a retreat from the usual environment. This can be in a spiritual context or it can work towards relaxation and stress reduction.
For me it means taking time for yourself. With my retreats I offer spaces to look and see what wants to be seen. They are retreats that are about transformation. Whatever that transformation may be for you right now.
So you are on a journey with a group of like-minded people, both literally and metaphorically.
Who are your retreats suitable for?
For people who lack contact with nature in their everyday life, especially those who live in big cities. People who want to (re)enter into resonance with nature and themselves and also people who want to further deepen their connection are in my focus. Many are also interested in slowing down, getting closer to nature and learning more about it.
My participants can expect to have a very emotional experience where they can rise above themselves. They are reminded that they themselves are part of nature.
Outdoors, they enter into a dialogue with nature and thus find a different language, begin to show themselves more authentically and also more vulnerably. One achieves a different dynamic and finds access to oneself and the things that occupy and surround one.
What issues do people come to your retreat with?
Sometimes they have a very specific concern as to why they are coming: Maybe there was a breakup, a death, something that needs to be processed, maybe they feel dissatisfaction at work, are in a crisis, or there is a decision to be made. The issues can be very, very different.
Sometimes it's much less specific and someone can't even put their finger on what it is. The person simply feels called by the retreat, needs a time out, wants to see what is there subconsciously or wants to do something good for themselves.
So you can participate no matter if your topic is concrete or not so concrete:
you need a time out
you feel stuck in your life
you are facing a crisis or a decision you need to make
you feel the call to connect more with nature, the elements and yourself
you want to explore what wants to be seen
you are curious to make the unconscious visible
you want to connect more with your body
you feel the call to connect with other people
you want to dive deeper into a certain topic
you just know that this is what you need right now
How does a retreat work?
Each of my retreats runs a little differently. But what they all have in common can be summarized as follows:
we spend the night (at least a few of the nights) outside, without a tent, only with a tarp for shelter or under the stars
we make fires to cook on and gather around for fire circle dialogues
we are often nomadic and change our environment again and again (be it different beaches in Greece or the change between hotel, desert and villa in Egypt)
through all this we create connection to the nature around us, to our inner nature and to the others who are with us
each one dives into her or his own story during the retreat through my practice invitations and 1:1 accompaniment
At the one-week retreat JOURNEY TO YOURSELF in Egypt, for example, we are first one night to arrive in a hotel by the sea, then two nights in the desert and then four nights in a private villa with pool directly on the water.
We spend the days with fixed components, such as cooking together by the fire and dialogue rounds, and a situationally and intuitively appropriate program of group exercises and 1:1 accompaniment. This includes nature experiences, creative techniques, metaphorical work, movement practices, breath work, meditation and embodiment. All interwoven in a free way.
At the very beginning, when we come together, we take a first look: What is each individual here for? That can also change, but each person has something in mind about why he or she has registered. As a therapist, I look at the different themes that are in the room and look for patterns.
So far, the group has always come together harmoniously, even with often similar themes. I firmly believe that the group always falls into place exactly as needed. It's about finding trust in your gut feeling and your own intuition again, and feeling exactly where it's often difficult in everyday life.
How large is the group?
This varies somewhat depending on the retreat. We are never more than twelve people. I like to keep the group small, because everyone goes into a process - which is accompanied very closely by the whole group and especially by me.
What is your attitude as a retreat leader?
I always tune into what the group brings, what their issues are, what patterns I can discern, and also what the space around us contributes to all of that - at the beginning of the retreat when we all meet for the first time, and also afterwards. So it's a lot about mindfulness and intuition. That's what I build my retreats on, and that's also what I try to pass on to my participants.
What methods do you use?
My work is based on systemic nature therapy. In the foreground is the space that surrounds us, which plays a very strong role, and which I strongly involve. It is about connecting you with the space, the nature, the landscape. I invite you to do this through various nature therapy methods.
These are, for example, creative design methods through which you enter into a dialogue with the space, with nature. Also cooking at the open fire, being in the community, being on the way, sleeping outside and being in contact with the four elements does something with us. It teaches us a lot.
I love to combine it all with movement and dance practices inspired by the 5Rhythms and Gaga, breathwork, meditation, embodiment, systemic constellation and much more. These are all things that I have learned or that life has given me or made deeper through my own experiences and adventures.
What makes Kailo Retreats different from most other retreats out there?
I do not offer a structured retreat that follows a specific timeline. There is also no exact description of the sessions or a specific theme that I give.
I am about accompanying people with their concerns and processes. I am really concerned with what everyone is here with. I feel right into it: What is in the room, and what does it need as a method for us as a group or perhaps for an individual? Not only do psychological principles play a role in my work, I lead the group through the journey in a process-oriented way and also let myself be guided by my intuition and the dynamics of the group.
Most of the time it doesn't take a lot of extras to have a deep experience, especially out in nature. Less is more. And it actually takes courage to stay with what is and trust that it is enough - and not fill the time out there with set routines and program points planned from home long before the retreat.
How long have you been offering retreats of this kind?
I offered my first retreat JOURNEY TO YOURSELF (8 days) in Egypt in 2020. Since then, this retreat has taken place twice a year and has been followed by various retreats in Greece and Brandenburg. In total, I have already accompanied over 30 group formats in various settings and landscapes.
Are there any references from previous participants?
In my journal you can read voices and visual impressions of participants of previous retreats.
There is also a page with Google reviews and ratings.
What is systemic nature therapy in a nutshell?
In nature, people are demonstrably more relaxed, more present and more mindful. Systemic nature therapy builds on this and goes one step further: nature is understood above all as a healing space, traditional healing knowledge is linked with contemporary forms of psychotherapy and counseling. The psychotherapist Astrid Habiba Kreszmeier is considered the founder of this form of therapy.
Any other questions?
I hope this gives you some answers, insights and curiosity for a journey to nature and yourself in one of the retreats.