5pm Friday 17 – 3pm Sunday 19 March at Rocklyn Yoga Ashram, Daylesford, Victoria.

Join us for the first retreat of this kind, specially crafted for activists.

This retreat will:

  • Provide space outside of everyday life for activists to relax and reflect
  • Help activists connect with their whole selves, be in their bodies and aware of their own needs
  • Share a range of tools for ongoing reflection, relaxation, stress management and sustenance
  • Foster supportive relationships and community

workshopThe retreat will include walking in the nearby forest, yoga, guided deep relaxation, review and goal-setting, activities to explore activist burnout and self-care, songs, stories and play. To see the program and get a sense of the flow of the days, click here.

About the presenters

The retreat will be led by Holly Hammond (Plan to Win and Plan to Thrive) with sessions from Steph Gesling (Rest and Play) and yoga and yoga nidra sessions by the Rocklyn Yoga Ashram

HH_mugshotHolly Hammond is an experienced activist educator with a life-long commitment to building community power and supporting activists to live well. She is the director of Plan to Win, providing facilitation, training and mentoring for a wide range of campaigns, organisations and individuals. She is also founder and co-convenor of Plan to Thrive and has written numerous articles on activist wellbeing. This retreat will draw on her 2016 research trip exploring activist health and wellbeing.

steph-smiley-pic-largeSteph Gesling is an artist and a facilitator who leads playful workshops that reconnect artists, activists and sometimes-over-thinkers with their sense of fun, freedom & clarity. Steph will lead us through a series of simple activities using story, stillness and movement to practice being in the body, noticing what you enjoy and allowing your inner wisdom to guide the way.

Check out the testimonials below for some of what people are saying about working with Holly, Steph, and visiting the Rocklyn Yoga Ashram!

About the venue

Rocklyn2The Activist Wellbeing Retreat will be held at Rocklyn Yoga Ashram near Daylesford. It’s a peaceful and pretty setting with forest nearby.

The ashram will be running its own program on the weekend while we run ours in parallel. We will access the ashram’s morning yoga (gentle and suitable to all levels) and yoga nidra (guided deep relaxation) classes on Saturday and Sunday, and you have the option of a second yoga class on the Saturday afternoon. The ashram holds Havan, a chanting ceremony, at 5:30pm on Saturday evening. All visitors are welcome to attend but this is your choice (if not you have free time).

Rocklyn Yoga Ashram observes silence from the close of evening sessions until after breakfast the next day. Please respect this – it’s a great chance to spend quiet time with yourself! The ashram operates according to a clear schedule. Please be timely for all meals to help things run smoothly and be thoughtful about the staff, residents, and other guests at the site.

AccomA Venue Hire Location _160modation

Accommodation will be in shared rooms (2-5 people per room) with shared bathrooms. You are also welcome to bring a tent. Solo accommodation may be available if you have a particular need. Bring your own bedding. See the ashram’s suggestions on what to bring here. Bedding hire is available.


All food provided is simple, healthy and vegetarian. Vegan and gluten free options are available each meal. Fructose intolerant meals can also be prepared. If there are dietary requirements outside of these, individuals may bring their own food items that do not require cooking. Let us know your dietary needs in the registration survey.  

This retreat is alcohol and drug free (besides medication you need to take).

Getting to the venue

We’ll be connecting people for carpooling. Details about how to get to the ashram are here. N.B. Google maps is not a reliable guide so follow these instructions instead!

To arrive by 5pm on Friday leave Melbourne by 3pm to avoid bad traffic (if you leave a little later you’ll arrive a lot later). If you are travelling from interstate for this event please check in with us about your travel arrangements before booking flights, trains or buses.

What people are saying

Holly Hammond is easily one of the best activist trainers in the country. Her facilitation is warm, comforting and patient – allowing participants to go deeper and explore without barriers – while also challenging participants to get the best results and make the most of each learning opportunity. Without Holly’s excellent training and mentorship, I would not be the activist I am today. – Maxwell (climate activist and community organiser)

I attended Steph Gesling’s session as part of the much needed Election Recovery Afternoon. Her playful activities were engaging and fun. It was so good to have a laugh with people and get our minds working in a different way. – Denisse (community organiser)
Steph’s open hearted generosity allows even the most anxious introvert to feel safe and welcome to participate: my introvert appreciated the warm invitation to play, and play in safety.
– Nicki

I really loved how peaceful my short visit to Rocklyn Yoga Ashram was last year. Surrounded by Wombat State Forest, with lots of birdlife around the dam, their own bountiful produce gardens and short walks nearby it was a really restful place to stay. The early morning yoga and focus on mindfulness in daily life were also very relaxing, and lasted well beyond my stay.  – Naomi (Victorian Greens)


Complete this registration survey by Wednesday 1 March.

Know someone who would enjoy the retreat? Invite your friends on our Facebook event page!

Fees are on a sliding scale of $200-$500 per person for the full retreat. Please think carefully about your means and relative privilege when deciding what to pay. $200 is a subsidised rate which covers basic food and accommodation but none of the other costs of putting the event on; $350 also contributes to fees, accommodation and transport for facilitators and organisers; $500 helps us cover all of our costs and makes subsidised places for others possible.

Pay the Rent spaces are available (free attendance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activists). Some free or lower cost spaces are available for low income activists, subject to the overall budget. Let us know your needs and we’ll make every effort to make this event accessible.

Select the relevant option in the survey and we will issue an invoice for your fee or be in touch to discuss options.

Any queries?

If you have any queries get in touch with the event organiser, Jolene Elberth: 0400 675 310 or jolene(DOT)elberth(AT)gmail(DOT)com