Simplicity and Joy – Katrin Offers A Retreat At Dharmagiri (Dec 16 – 20)

Meet Katrin, as she offers some thoughts about meditation, and her forthcoming retreat at Dharmagiri.

katrin 16 August

Katrin Auf der HeydeKatrin is a long time practitioner of yoga and meditation. She is particularly interested in exploring ‘practice’ as a skillful means whereby we respond to/engage with the world around us, and how this informs our day to day living. Trained as a physiotherapist Katrin works with a national child and youth care NGO providing services to children/youth with disabilities across the country and offering disability training to child and youth care worker.

When and where did you start meditation practice?

I began meditation many years ago in Cape Town, as part of my very first yoga training and also at the Zen Centre. While in India during the late 80’s, I practised with various teachers at a number of different meditation centres and ashrams.

You have meditated for many years, what have been the struggles, insights, benefits?

It seems to me that most of my struggles are related to the struggles of a mind that will find each and every excuse not to meditate and the myriad of forms that this can take.

What has been inspiring are those moments when I am aware of being more at ease with the way life is from day to day, occasionally experiencing myself being less “reactive” and more “responsive” and not taking myself too seriously.

What encouragement would you give to those starting out?

Mediation is a bit like learning any new skill, it requires practice, discipline and guidance.

Can you say something about the retreat you will be teaching at Dharmagiri in December?

In this retreat, we will explore what happens when we slow down, calm down, settle into our bodies and “simply” observe the movements of breath, thoughts and feelings in an unencumbered way. We will be guided by our direct experience from moment to moment rather than by external forms or rituals. There will be formal and informal practice, being alone and being with others, time for sitting in the meditation hall and walking on the land, and periods of both silence and talking. The emphasis will be on keeping our experience immediate and clear.

How can a retreat like this help us in our everyday lives as we negotiate a complex world, particularly here in South Africa?

I would say that any practice that consciously develops an attitude of questioning what it might mean to lead a life that is less determined by personal greed, fear and misperception is a useful “life skill”. The potential for change and transformation lies of course in the attitude we adopt in relation to the particular conditions we live in, be that in South Africa or anywhere else in the world. For me, retreats “in general” are vital in this process. They provide opportunities to reflect deeply on our lives and our relationship to the world we live in.

This particular retreat with its emphasis on “keeping things simple” may be useful in creating an increased awareness of those habits and tendencies that complicate our lives unnecessarily.

Details of the Retreat:

December 16 – December 20, 2015
Keeping it Simple. Meditation and the Practice of Joy

On this retreat, we will explore what happens when we keep our meditation practice simple and uncluttered, returning our attention again and again to our ordinary experience from one moment to the next. We will integrate sitting and walking meditation with some gentle movement throughout the day. By containing the impact of our habitual tendencies and usual distractions we open to the possibility of experiencing clarity and joyfulness.Katrin is a long time practitioner of yoga and

R1,900 – single ensuite
R1,470 – shared twin room
+ Dana for teachers and managers

To book, please contact Deborah at