View south from the roof terrace of the Santosha Centre

A Retreat with Stephen and Barbara in the Foothills of the French Pyrenees

Deep Presence in the Footsteps of Mary Magdalene

May 20-27, 2017

We are excited to invite you to join us for a very special retreat at the Santosha Yoga Centre in the heart of French Occitania. Looking south, gently rolling hills give way to a spectacular backdrop of the high Pyrenees. This is the land where Mary Magdalene and her followers lived, leaving sites dedicated to her memory even today and a tangible presence rooted deep in the earth. It is also the Pays Cathare, that part of Europe where a fertile culture of peace and understanding flourished in the 12th century between the Cathar people, said to be the descendants of the original followers of Jesus, and the local Catholic and Jewish communities. It was a golden age of culture, tolerance and understanding in the 12th and 13th centuries which ended with the so-called Albigensian Crusade, a brutal genocide of the Cathars. The eternal flame of spirit and sacred way of love which they embraced could not be extinguished and lives on in the land to this day.

This retreat will be a time to open to and deeply embody this same spirit. The core of our time together will be inner work based on the Freedom Through Releasing process of Dr Isa and Yolanda Lindwall (, and also on the Mutual Awakening Practice of Patricia Albere ( which allows us to take Releasing even further into the space of our mutual connection with one another and with all life. In addition, we will also take time to visit a few of the many nearby sacred sites where outer form and energies complement and enhance the inner work we will be doing.

Sacred sites and places of exceptional natural beauty we will visit include mysterious Rennes-le-Château, where the Mary Magdalene church was magnificently renovated in the late 19th century by the enigmatic priest Berenger Saunière; and the ruins of the Cathar castle at Montségur, one of the last refuges of the Cathars which fell after a long siege in the massacre of 1244.

The Santosha Centre ( offers a small intimate setting for our residential retreat. Recently and lovingly renovated by the owners, who will be our hosts, it provides simple, ecological and tasteful accommodation which will bring us together in a way we are all sure to enjoy. All meals at the Santosha Centre are vegetarian and prepared with local organic ingredients. Sleeping accommodation is in shared rooms.

Optional morning yoga will be provided by our hostess Gillian.

The retreat will be in English and German with translation where appropriate.


Saturday, May 20th will be a travel day with no formal program. We encourage you to arrive early (or even the day before) and enjoy Santosha and its surroundings and rest after your travels. There will be dinner at 19:30 in the evening.

The workshop will finish with lunch on Saturday, May 27th, leaving time to get to Toulouse airport for those leaving on afternoon or evening flights (16:40 to Berlin Schoenefeld; 18:20 to Munchen; 19:00 to Frankfurt) or an afternoon train to Carcassonne. It is also possible to stay an extra day at Santosha and leave at your leisure.


Barbara and Stephen, assisted by Antje Krahforst ( and Gerda Moedinger, will be offering the retreat guidance and facilitation as their gift to you. For those who wish to do so, there will be the opportunity to make anonymous donations at the end of the retreat.

The cost of accommodation, workshop room, local transportation, entrance fees and all meals inside and outside Santosha (from dinner on Saturday May 20th through lunch on the following Saturday, May 27th) will be €725 per person. Drinks and refreshments for meals outside Santosha are not included.

Space is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. A deposit of €250 towards your accommodation at Santosha will secure your place and is refundable until 4 weeks before the start of the retreat. The balance is payable in cash on arrival at Santosha.

Participation in the Retreat and all outings is at your own risk.

Registration and Information:

Contact Barbara Kroll at email (← click to reveal email) or call +33-468-694658 (France) to register and for more information. This will be a small intimate retreat, so sign up as soon as possible to avoid disappointment and of course to get the best air fares!

Suggested reading:

  • “The Expected One” / “Das Magdalena-Evangelium” (2006) is the first novel in a series by Kathleen McGowan which was both written in and to a large extent takes part in the area around Rennes-le-Château where we will be located. The German edition is currently out of print but may be bought inexpensively second-hand on Amazon.
  • “The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity” by Cynthia Bourgeault (2010) (English language only) is a modern Christian mystic’s academic and mystical perspective on Mary Magdalene.

Getting there:

You can find location and directions on the Santosha website:

In addition to free pickup by Santosha from Limoux Central Train Station, if there is sufficient demand we will arrange a pickup at Toulouse Airport late on Saturday afternoon for arrival and a drop-off a week later (choose your flights appropriately and let us know the exact times) for an extra cost of €50 per person each way.

For those renting a car at the airport, in addition to the airports of Toulouse (2 hours), Carcassone (45 minutes) and Barcelona (4 hours) mentioned on Santosha’s site, other possibilities include:

Girona airport (Spain) is about 3 hours south and mainly served by Ryanair.

Bezier airport is about 2 hours drive and serves budget airlines including Easyjet and Ryanair

Montpellier airport is about 2½ hours away and serves various airlines.

If you are thinking of driving or renting a car and would like to share the costs with others, please let us know, including your intended date and time of arrival.

Extending your stay:

It is possible to arrive a day earlier or stay a day longer at Santosha – let us know and you will be able to pay the extra at Santosha when you arrive.

In addition, if you have the time, we suggest you take advantage of some of the very special places nearby, which include:


The magnificently restored medieval Cité of Carcassonne is worth a one- or two-night stay either before or after the retreat. In addition to various classes of hotels inside or just outside the Cité, we recommend the 1000-year-old former monastery and Camino de Santiago pilgrimage resting place Notre Dame de l’Abbaye ( ) as a simple but special place to stay, offering both private rooms and budget dormitory accommodation just outside the walls of the Cité … and your own private chapel! There are local trains from the town of Limoux, near Santosha, to Carcassonne and a direct connection from Carcassonne to Toulouse and other national and international destinations.

Girona, Spain

For those coming by car from a Spanish airport, the old city of Girona with its Jewish quarter is well worth a visit. Our favorite place to stay is Casa Cundaro right next to the Cathedral and in the heart of the old Jewish Quarter: