Circle Holding Retreat: 26-29 February 2023, Ashley Court, Tiverton, UK

Mon, 26 - Thu 29 February 2024 | Ashley Court, Tiverton, Devon

Circle Holders Retreat

February 26-29 2024

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Time & Location

Monday 26 - Thursday 29 February 2024

Ashley Court, Ashley, Tiverton, Devon EX16 5PD

About This Retreat

Imagine the setting…

Entering the gateway and up a narrow track, past the sheep in the field and into an open space that reveals the house: Ashley Court.  Clematis covering the veranda and the double doors opening to a warm welcome inside.  With fires blazing, find a space to settle with tea and meet the others.

On this retreat, you will experience being held in circle over four days by Julia Davis and Tessa Venuti Sanderson, both experienced circle holders.  The creation of a container will start on the first evening as we get to know each other and build over the subsequent days, before closing with a beautiful ceremony.

You will experience multiple beautiful ways of opening and closing circles, co-create a mandala centrepiece, share in a fire practice, discover different listening and settling practices to provide circle cohesion and individual comfort.

During the retreat you will be held in deep connection with others and also have space for yourself. You will experience the wonderful nourishment that comes from being fully listened to in a supportive space.

You might come because you want gorgeous ideas and careful guidance on running your own circles or for some deep nourishment all for yourself.  For those wishing to take home a CPD Certificate in Circle Holding Skills, active participation in the co-creation of a circle on the penultimate day will be required (for which you will be well-prepared).

Nigel Jones and Tara Fraser are the hosts at Ashley Court and cook deliciously with produce from their walled garden and local foraging.  It’s a home from home.

The retreat fees include the full programme, accommodation, meals and the CPD certificate if you wish - as well as online pre-study with access to recorded support material.

This course is open to all.  There is no prerequisite to be a yoga teacher.  Therapist, hypnotherapist, coaches, circle holders, birth educators & meditation teachers welcome.

Booking Details:

£250 Non refundable Deposit

TRIPLE or TWIN  with separate shared bathroom

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Early Bird Price: £650 (Pay deposit by 1 Nov - with final payment due 6 weeks before retreat.  Payment plans available) Full Price £725

SINGLE ROOM with separate shared bathroom


Early Bird Price: £695 (Pay deposit by 1 Nov - with final payment due 6 weeks before retreat.  Payment plans available) Full Price £770

If you would like a single bedroom and all spaces are taken please contact us at for other options.

DOUBLE or TWIN with ensuite

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Early Bird Price: £695 (Pay deposit by 1 Nov - with final payment due 6 weeks before retreat.  Payment plans available) Full Price £770

All bedrooms have their own sink.

Travel not included (if using transport links you will be picked up from the station)

The first session will begin at 2pm on Monday and the retreat will close at 2pm on Thursday

Retreat Venue

You will be staying at Ashley Court.  A small country house nestled deep in the Exe Valley, with 19 acres a hidden gem of Regency Devon's history that has been lovingly brought back to life by owners Tara & Nigel.  Julia & Tessa stayed there recently and loved the home from home feeling and spent time in various rooms imagining how they would share circle time in each - and outside where Nigel can prepare a huge bonfire and fire pit.  In February there will be cozy fires lit in each room.


The retreat will be fully catered with vegetarian and vegan food.  Almost all of the food will be home grown, organic and/or locally sourced. Highlights include apple and pear juice from the orchards, wild garlic pesto from the woodlands, pumpkins, cherries and heritage varieties of soft fruits and vegetables.   Ashley Court can accommodate a maximum of 12 people.  See booking section for variety of rooms choices available.

Special dietary requirements will be catered for.  As all the food is prepared in a kitchen where nuts regularly used we cannot guarantee a nut free environment.  

"Julia & Tessa..held a beautiful, nurturing space that encouraged and developed our understanding of the course.  We were able to participate in all aspects of the learning and there was flexibility too...I enjoyed the fact that we were encouraged to trust our own instincts and inner guidance.. a great course"

Catherine Jefferson, Attendee, Yoga Nidra and Circle Holding

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The retreat will include:

  • Multiple talking circles and listening partnerships
  • Creating and participating in ceremony and the beauty of centrepieces
  • The power of fire in circle time
  • Fireside chats and how to weave circles into your work and lives

Course Certification

If you are a yoga teacher you can gain CPD/CE Points/Hours from attending this Circle Holding retreat. Your success will be celebrated with a Yoga Teachers Forum certificate.

You will have many opportunities to practice  circle holding skills throughout the retreat.

Once you have registered you will be sent enrolment details.

Contact for financial hardship discounts and payment plans.

This retreat is open to:

  • all people who would like to take part in and learn more about circle facilitation
  • qualified yoga, pilates and movement teachers
  • coaches, group leaders & circle holders
  • midwives, doulas and birth educators
  • hypnotherapists

Course Fees & Retreat Costs:

The full cost of this all inclusive Yoga Nidra & Circle Holding Facilitator Training & Retreat is £650 Early Bird  (Full Price £725 - this is based on shared room - other options available see above for booking details)

This fee includes:

4 days tuition with Julia Davis & Tessa Sanderson will will be staying with you on the retreat.

Access to an online dedicated training module with pre-course study material

Certification of completion recognised by a wide variety of CPD/CE awarding bodies including all major yoga accrediting bodies

Accommodation: full room and board/ meals/ hot drinks, access to grounds

Not Included:  Travel to and from the retreat venue

Max 10 places.  To secure your place please use this booking page to pay a non-refundable deposit of £250.  You will be contacted by Julia to ask about dietary requirements and if you are coming with a friend shared room choices.  (Rooms are allocated on a strictly first come first served basis)



Junction 27 on the M5 is 15 minutes from the house

From Junction 27 head to Tiverton

From Tiverton take the A396 signposted Bickleigh. After approx. 1 mile turn right at the small sign to Ashley and then immediately to your left, you will see the small white gatekeepers Lodge under the big oak at the bottom of the drive. 

From Exeter take the A396 to Tiverton. Turn left at the small sign to Ashley and then immediately left again, you will see the gatekeeper’s lodge under the big oak at the bottom of the drive. 

The house is at the top of the 200metre driveway. (Do not head on up Ashley Back Lane to the right of the cottage where the Sat-Nav might try to send you!)


Get a train to Tiverton Parkway station.   If you are coming by train, we can pick you up from Tiverton Parkway.   Taxi from Tiverton Parkway to Ashley Court is approximately £30.  Nigel can pick you up by arrangement for £5 - we will create a whatsapp group to share contact details for those of you arriving by train so that you can co-ordinate pick up.


You can fly to Exeter Airport.  Getting from the airport to Ashley Court.  You can take 2 buses, the number 4 from the Airport to Exeter City Centre, then a number 55 or 155 from Exeter central bus station to Ashley, then a 10 minute walk.  The total time on bus from the airport to the house can take up to 2 hours depending on bus frequency.  Cost is around £15.  Taxi from Exeter Airport to the house is about 30 minute drive but can cost up to £100 one way.  It is possible for us to pick you up from the airport for a fee of £50 by arrangement.


Mega bus and National Express come to Tiverton town centre.  Taxi to the house from the town centre is about £5 and takes 5 minutes.

Terms & Conditions

A non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your place. The balance is due no less than 6 weeks prior to the event. You may also pay in full at the time of booking if you prefer. Payment is by bank transfer – we will contact you with bank details on receipt of your booking form. Bookings made less than 6 weeks prior to the event must be paid in full.
All bookings are final, and for this reason we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of any need to cancel. If it is possible to sell your space, then it may be possible to transfer your booking to another guest or you are welcome to transfer it to a friend if you are unable to attend. Please note that whilst we will do everything possible to adhere to the programme as given, some things are outside our control, and therefore we reserve the right to make changes if necessary.

If a course is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances at the venue or illness an alternative date will be offered.  Please ensure you have travel insurance in place.  

house from garden
Eva Sacchi-2
Tessa Sanderson
Julia Davis

About the facilitators:

Tessa Sanderson

Tessa has run online women's circles throughout the lockdowns and this format can work very well, including the use of breakout rooms.  She has been running her women's circles for 7+ years, mostly in person, and girls / mother and daughter circles for 4 years.

She has also taught Pregnancy Yoga for 15 years and has 12,000+ teaching hours under her belt, including Well Woman and Mother & Baby Yoga, Restorative and Birth Preparation workshops.  She has taught yoga in four diverse cities: London, Southampton, Bristol and Reading. She is the author of Pearls of Birth Wisdom: An Inner Journey with Stories, Insights and Practices.

Tessa is a member of her local Maternity Voices Forum at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and runs the Everything Baby Berkshire network for antenatal and postnatal professionals.  She has a PhD in Medical Sociology and loves using balloons as props in her pregnancy classes.  IG@tessa.venuti.sanderson and @birth_wisdom_pearls

Julia Davis

Julia has hosted and run online Yoga Teachers Circles throughout and after the lockdowns.  She integrates circle holding into all of the trainings that she runs and also into the classes she runs from her Finchley Yoga studio.  Her circle holding skills originated in the youth groups she facilitated as a teenager.

Julia first encountered deep relaxation practices while at university where the yoga she practiced was a combination of gentle movement and yoga nidra.  At this time she also embarked upon Autogenic Training - a clinically recognised form of deep relaxation.  She continued to practice Yoga Nidra in the tradition of Bihar School for a number of years both practicing and sharing deep relaxation practices with students (please do look at Yoni Shakti The Movement for more on Bihar School).  Her experience then broadened to supporting the perinatal community and she continued her learning by training with Uma Dinsmore Tuli and Nirlipta Tuli’s Total Yoga Nidra School.  Her teaching of yoga nidra and deep relaxation is deeply informed by her own experience of chronic illness and the power of yoga nidra to provide therapeutic rest and help with recuperation.  She also shares yoga nidra regularly in group settings, continues to practice and explore in her own life and enjoys co-creating yoga nidra in one to one settings.

She is founder of Yoga Teachers Forum and runs the Perimenopause Training & Mentoring programmes with Jane Dancey.

To see the extensive range of CPDs we have designed to give you practical tools that can further develop your teaching practice, please click here.  Can we support you in choosing your course?If you are unsure about your suitability for this course, or if you have any queries please let us know at & Procedures For the full course policies and terms & conditions please click here.