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Reading the Body Retreat 2018


Reading the Body

Retreat in the French Alps

Toby Brothers and Ann Moradian join forces once again, with Reading the Body, an embodied literary retreat in the idyllic setting of Lake Annecy in the Haute Savoie


•  Cultivate your mind with salon-style literary study of transcendental essays. 

• Nourish your body with healthy, delicious and authentic French and vegetarian dishes. 

• Fine-tune your body with yoga style movements and meditation.

This retreat will be enjoyable for anyone looking to immerse in nature, great writing and deep connection to the moving body. An extraordinary escape that includes room, board and a full program of activities. (Swimming optional.)

The magical surrounding of this Alpine environment will inspire and amaze you. During free time, go on a hike, cycle around the lake or escape into your own lovely solitude.

Ann and Toby have each been exploring in their work the movement from personal understanding to connection and global engagement. They have designed this retreat to further their mind and body work towards a deeper understanding and experience of our shared relationship with the natural world.


 The champagne starts here.

The champagne starts here.

 Daily yoga with Ann

Daily yoga with Ann

Each day will include a few hours of Salon-style literary study of Transcendental essays (Emerson & Thoreau) leading into Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson's powerful meditation on identities broken and healed in the icy reaches of the deep woods. Participants will have two yoga-based movement sessions each day. The afternoons have been left open for walking, swimming, reading... whatever participants require to replenish and re-source during this inspiring retreat. 

In addition to a 2-hour yoga class each day, along with more free form physical explorations based on Ann’s work in dance, the martial arts and energy work, we will spend four hours considering representative writing by the American transcendentalists, Thoreau & Emerson. The philosophical inquiries of these writers re-imagined the individual’s relationship to society and the natural world. Our self-reflection through our physical practice will parallel this process of questioning. Thoreau in his Walden Pond experiment sought to strip away the influences of society so as to more fully and deeply connect to his divine nature—not as an end in and of itself but towards greater clarity so to return to society wide awake. This is a question we set ourselves in this retreat, through the literary, the discursive and the embodied physical.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms...”  -- Henry David Thoreau

We will turn from the Transcendentalist writings to the incredible work of Marilynne Robinson. Her sublime novel, Housekeeping, explores the journey of two women who depart from societal norms in a broken and transcendent journey that overturns assumptions about home, parenting and healing.

Toby’s approach to the literature, as developed in her years of running literary salons, offers unique and inclusive discussion-based studies—weaving the ideas of participants with questions the writings raise about what it is to be human. You will be asked to read approx. 12 pages of Thoreau & Emerson and to complete the short novel, Housekeeping for the study.  The Salon offers support for all ideas & questions in response to the literature—the work has been described as a lively journey together into the depth of ideas and words.

Ann’s approach to yoga and embodied movement exploration allows anyone, and any body to work at their own rhythm, allowing the body itself to serve the role of primary guide and wise teacher as we learn to listen to, speak and act with our full and embodied being. With over 30 years of experience teaching, Ann’s approaches are influence by her work in dance, yoga, choreography, improvisation and the martial arts and her work has often been described as gentle, deep, empowering and transformative. 



Toby Brothers

Toby is the founder and director of the London Literary Salon. Toby guides unique and inclusive discussion-based studies of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama—weaving the ideas of participants with questions the books raise about what it is to be human. 


Ann Moradian

Ann Moradian

Ann Moradian is a movement artist and director of Perspectives In Motion. Ann integrates yoga, dance, the martial arts, systems thinking and sustainable practices. Her workshops focus on deepening our sense of self, relationship, health and wholeness. See an interview with Ann on her last yoga retreat in Ireland. She was voted Best Yoga in Paris in 2016 by Expartriates Magazine. 


No experience or formal preparation is required. The preparatory reading comes with supportive and guiding notes


Where: All sessions take place in the Lake Annecy Villa , located at the foot of the Medieval Chateau of Menthon Saint Bernard, in the mountain village bearing the same name, Menthon-Saint-Bernard, Haute-Savoie, France, on Lake Annecy.   

Lake Annecy Villa is ideally situated to accommodate all the members of our group. Over 350 sqm (3800 sq feet) with magnificent views of both Lake Annecy and the Alps. The lively town of Annecy is just 15 minutes away by car;  5 minute walk to the village shops, 10 minute walk down to the lake or head up to the mountain for hiking or paragliding. Bikes are a available for your use to explore the area. 

When:  Friday October 19 - Monday October 22. 

Cost: This is an all inclusive* event at Lake Annecy Villa. Your study materials and Transcendentalist essays are provided. Please bring your own copy of the book Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson. 

  1. Shared twin room:  849€ 
  2. Single room:  899€ 

Bonus for Early Registration: You can extend your stay by checking in a day early or a stay a day longer.  Value of 99.00€ 

To take advantage of this bonus, your full deposit of 250€ must be paid by September 1, 2018.

*your room all food and drinks.








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Lake Annecy and Haute Savoie