April 14th, 2012

Glastonbury Autumn Retreat

Yoga, Voice, Stillness and Light – September 28-30 2012

Vanessa Hodge, Lisa Sanfillippo & Narayani

Join us at the sacred Chalice Well on a playful and powerful journey of yoga, voice-work, body awareness + meditation.

We’ll align to our natural internal rhythms echoed in a mystical setting, attuning to the natural rhythms of the Earth.

Deepen your insight and intuition- connect to a universal power that’s always flowing, always available, always stable and deeply joyful.

This autumn weekend is a perfect time to gather together in the abundance of harvest- in the stunning surroundings of sacred Glastonbury, at the foot of the tor, bathing in the waters at chalice well.

Friday 28th, we begin with a 6pm welcome, followed by dinner and evening workshop

Saturday 29th starts with optional morning meditation, breakfast, AM workshop followed by lunch and free time. The afternoon workshop is followed by dinner, and an evening of dance and song under the stars at Glastonbury Tor.

Sunday 30th starts with optional morning meditation, breakfast, AM workshop followed by lunch and closing session. We conclude and depart by 5pm.

*limited places are available to stay an extra night at chalice well for contemplation, meditation + integration


Vanessa Hodge

Vanessa is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist who brings a profound understanding of body rhythms, the power of presence + deep listening to a unique awareness of our embodied experience. Her treatments are a journey of stillness and discovery. She trained with Franklyn Sills, the founder of craniosacral biodynamics and helps him to train other craniosacal therapists. Vanessa has been a student of Tibetan Buddhism and yoga for more than a decade and is training to be a core process psychotherapist, as she’s fascinated by how our early experience influences our patterning throughout life.


Lisa Sanfilippo

Lisa teaches yoga as a path that empowers us to care for ourselves and to live with increasing honesty, awareness and love. Lisa collaborates with healers, artists and fellow yogis, seeking to expand our collective power to live authentically and holistically. Lisa has practiced yoga for 15+ years, and has taught since 2003, throughout and after a ten year career in the service of social justice. Having studied for many years in the Anusara style, she has become one of Europe’s most experienced teachers in this style, mentors other teachers, and is a passionate conveyor of deep body alignment, Tantric philosophy and the sacred journey.



Narayani is well-known throughout the UK and Europe for her powerful devotional singing and for facilitating voicework that opens the heart and encourages your highest expression. Over the last 10 years, her journey of yoga led to her to discover her own resonant voice. Leading her first Kirtan had such a profound and transformative impact on her life that she chose to offer that same gift to others through Kirtan and voice workshops around the world. Narayani studied voice work with with Chloe Goodchild and the Naked Voice and has learnt yoga and trained as a teacher through the Krishnamacharya Yoga and Healing Foundation and the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. Narayani’s frequent travels to India enrich her practice and infuse her workshops and events.


Info and Payment

The Chalice Well, Glastonbury


Journey is about 1.5 hours by train from London Paddington to Castle Cary +  a brief taxi to Chalice Well. From London driving is about 3 hours.

Delicious Vegetarian Food is being prepared by Bridget Wilkinson + team from the Rainbow’s End Café, local, wholesome, homemade food.

To book contact Narayani on: 07976 016 103 -or- 01323 871 523

Tuition ranges from £340-425 based on room type for all delicious meals, three amazing presenters, and loads of personal attention on this sacred journey. Single and couple rooms are available, as are rooms for groups of 3 or 4 friends- these limited so please book early.

March 9th, 2012

Taoist Principles

No. 51

Tao gives life to all beings.

Nature nourishes them.

Fellow creatures shape them.

Circumstances complete them.

Everything in existence respects Tao and honors nature – not by decree, but spontaneously.

Tao gives life to all beings.

Nature watches over them,

develops them,

shelters them,

nurses them,

grows them,

ripens them,

completes them,

buries them,

and returns them.

the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu – translated by Brian Browne Walker

March 8th, 2012

Beautiful Quote

Every subatomic interaction consists of the annihilation of the original particles and the creation of new subatomic particles.

The subatomic world is a continual dance of creation and annihilation, of mass changing into energy and energy changing to mass.

Transient forms sparkle in and out of existence, creating a never ending, forever newly created reality.

Gary Zukav

April 14th entry

‘Glimpse After Glimpse’ daily reflections on living and dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

February 28th, 2012

Genes, Epigenetics & Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy can change the way we view the role of genes in modern medicine.

It is based on the principle of genetic determinacy, a belief that essentially states – at our core we are our genes. Before we go further into examining this concept and its relevance to Craniosacral Therapy, we need to first examine what a gene is and what it does.

Proteins are the primary components of all plant and animal cells.  A human being is composed of approximately 100,000 different proteins, comprised of only 20 constituent amino acids.  These different proteins combine to make elaborate 3-dimensional molecules.  Groups of interacting proteins work together in carrying out specific cellular functions.  Proteins have many different functions:

  • Regulatory e.g. hormones such as insulin
  • Physiological e.g. cellular digestion, excretion, respiration and reproduction
  • Structural e.g. collagen in connective tissues, myosin and actin in muscle tissue
  • Immunological e.g. antibodies and interleukins
  • Transport e.g. haemoglobin

These protein chains are not long lasting.  They wear out once they have been used.  Therefore, there needs to be a constant supply of new proteins, coded for each of the specific functions that they are utilized for.

In 1953, the genetic code of DNA was discovered to be the blueprint that defined amino acid sequences comprising a protein.  The DNA blueprint responsible for each specific protein is referred to as a gene.

Since proteins define the nature of the organism, and since DNA is responsible for the nature of proteins, geneticists have concluded that DNA “controls” the structure and function of living organisms.  This is the essence of genetic determinism.

In the late 1980’s to early 1990’s scientists undertook a massive project to map the entire genetic code of a human being.  This Human Genome Project was expected to revolutionise medicine.  It was expected that, within a number of decades, genetic medicine would be able to “cure” such diseases as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cystic fibrosis and many more.

The reason for this is that it was originally thought that the body needed one gene to code for each of the different proteins that are utilized for everyday body functions.  Many genetic disorders arise because of problems with one or more proteins, and therefore one or more genes.  If geneticists can identify the individual gene(s) that are involved, they may be able to engineer them in such a way as to create healthy versions. Because there are approximately 100,000 different proteins that the body needs to manufacture, it was expected that the project would find the same number of genes, together with an additional 20,000 regulatory genes.

However, the Human Genome Project found that human beings only have approximately 25,000 genes. This is approximately the same number of genes that are possessed by less complex organisms, such as nematode worms, fruit flies and even rodents.  Because of this finding, the concept of one gene coding for one protein has had to be scrapped.  Even the notion that the nucleus is the brain of the cell is being challenged.

If the nucleus and its genetic material were the control centre of the entire cell, then removing them should kill the cell almost instantaneously.  However, this is not the case.  If a cell has its nucleus removed, it can continue to function for up to two months or more.  What does happen however is that without the genetic material, the cell is unable to divide or reproduce any proteins that are essential to cellular repair.  Therefore, mechanical dysfunction ultimately becomes the cause of cell death in enucleated cells.

Recent research shows that the conventional view that our genes are set at birth and don’t change from one generation to the next, unless through cellular mutation, is wrong.  Our genes are constantly being influenced by different factors in our environment.  These environmental signals can therefore be considered to be the primary control of genetic activity.  In other words, the in-depth focus on “nature” of geneticists over the last few decades only reveals half the story.  The effects of “nurture” are as, if not more, important.  This was highlighted by research in 2003 that showed that an enriched environment could override genetic mutations in mice[1].

Genes have no intrinsic ability to turn themselves on or off.  In other words, they are unable to fully regulate themselves (they are not self-emergent).  Rather, the genes are induced to replicate proteins when they receive information from the cytoplasm and extra-cellular environment. It has also been shown that forces in the cytoplasm, extra-cellular environment and even the environment outside of the body signal the gene to replicate.  These forces are biochemical, bioelectrical and biomagnetic in nature and are little understood by the scientific community.

This concept of extra-cellular forces affecting the expression of genes is known as Epigenetics.  Within the genetic sciences, the field of epigenetics is slowly starting to emerge as a more holistic orientation to the more reductionist paradigm of genetic determinacy.

Dr. Eric Blechschmidt, a German embryologist, has for many years pioneered research into an epigenetic understanding of embryological development.  His work has enormous relevance for our study of Craniosacral therapy.  In his work, Dr. Blechschmidt highlights the importance of innate forces found within the fluids of the embryo.  He has stated that the genes are like a jumble of letters, and the epigenetic forces within the fluids makes the words.

“…the development of the human form as a whole is based on processes that are both epigenetic and the action of genes.  Health at its deepest level is epigenetic. …These forces form the embryo and are in constant motion throughout life.”[2]

This understanding is paralleled in the biodynamic tradition of Craniosacral therapy, where we talk about the inherent organizing forces at work within the fluids of the body.  It is an intelligence within the fluids, rather than the genes that is the decisive factor causing the organism to differentiate.[3]

“The Original design and function is in the fluids of the embryo”[4]

Genetic expression, and therefore the form of the organism, is due to the action of specific forces, within the fluids, acting upon the developing embryo.  In our early embryological development, the genes play a more passive role, while the forces have a more active role.

“Emmanuel Farge, a physicist at the Curie Institute in Paris, found that when he briefly flattened three-hour old fruit fly embryos, their top surfaces switched on a gene normally only expressed on the bottom.  Writing in Current Biology, Farge concludes ‘You can reprogramme the embryo mechanically at the beginning of its life’.  His work challenges conventional wisdom that, at least in the first hours after fertilisation, only a hard-wired genetic programme drives tissues to bend, twist and bud into head, limbs and internal organs.  Rather, shape changes during the earliest stages of life can influence which genes are switched on.”[5]

“We know both from our clinical experience and from research done in embryology that the Innate Wisdom in the body is not contained within any cellular structure.  The Innate Wisdom which gives the body form and maintains its existence is not a function of any system of the body.  Our health is only secondarily controlled through the central nervous system and the cell nucleus.  Our existence is totally dependant upon this Original Matrix expressing its intention.”[6]

[1] Waterland R.A, & Jirtle R.L., 2003, Transposable elements: targets for early nutritional effects on epigenetic gene regulation, Molecular & Cell Biology, 23(15), 5293-5300

[2] The Way of the Embryo – Part 2: Movement Patterns. Michael Shea

[3] Taken form Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy: A Primer by Michael Shea, Ch. 5 The Way of the Embryo

[4] Dr. J. Jealous, Around the Edges, 1994

[5] Manipulation can alter embryo genes.  Article from the Guardian 28th August 2003

[6] Dr. J. Jealous, Around the Edges, 1994.

by graham kennedy

February 28th, 2012

what are resources?

Resources are the aspects of a person’s make-up which support and nurture their welfare and ability to adapt to change and traumatic experience. They are strengths that a person can draw upon in threatening or dangerous circumstances. Resources are the environmental, spiritual, psychological, emotional, physical and energetic elements that support wellbeing and adaptation to stress and challenging experience.

Resources allow a person to meet the experience of life in ways that are appropriate and skilful. They can be anything that gives strength and ground to the person’s ability to move through life in ways that are fulfilling and satisfying. They ensure that he or she can meet life as it comes, deal with what arises and not become re-traumatized by their experience.

When a person experiences trauma, the quality and availability of their resources are critical. The ability to mobilize their resources may be the essential factor in determining whether traumatization occurs. It is important to realize that it is how a person perceives and experiences stressful circumstance that is important, not just the situation itself.

Resources are both external and internal. External resources include our environment and the people, places, activities and things in our life. Resources may be about how a person creates their home environment, or the friends they have and the associates they share their experiences with. They also include the therapeutic and healing work they enter into.

Internal resources are about our inner life. They are about our internalized working model of the world, our ability to feel secure and relate to others, and the nature and quality of our feelings and emotional life. They may be about inner attitude, a sense of strength, or a belief in ones ability to meet challenging conditions. Although resources are both external and internal, in essence all resources refer back to our inner process and internalized world.

Within a craniosacral biodynamic context, the most inherent resource is awareness itself. The ability to be fully present and to rest in awareness is our most fundamental resource, no matter how compromised that may be. An ability to witness ones inner and outer experience in a non-dissociated way is a key resource and skill for both therapist and client to cultivate. When a client can hold a witness consciousness as difficult thoughts, memories, images or feelings arise, then we know that the opportunity for healing is present.


October 31st, 2011

History of biodynamic craniosacral therapy

October 31st, 2011


October 31st, 2011

Pre + peri natal paradigm

October 31st, 2011


October 31st, 2011

Clinical work

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