Donna Southwell Yoga Retreat (2021)

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Max People : 15
Health & Wellness
Tour Details

Indulge in a daily Ashtanga Yoga practice and enhance your experience with developmental workshops, thrilling activities, educational tours and relaxing walks. All this framed by the backdrop of Bulgaria’s rich heritage and inspiring surroundings. Revitalizing meals of authentic Bulgarian cuisine and the beauty of our 2000-acre property complete your experience.

Take your practice deeper this summer with Donna Southwell.

Departure & Return Location

Flights not included


All ages


Day 1
Travel to Sofia, Bulgaria

Arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria’s 7,000-year-old capital. Meet your guides and translators and transfer to Stolat and the serene setting of the center. A fully renovated traditional Bulgarian farmhouse sitting on 1500 acres with views of the Balkan Mountains. Reflect on your experiences, enjoy talk or games with your travel companions. Prepare your body for the week with a Yoga workshop and meet the other guests whilst enjoying a delicious outdoor meal.

Day 2
Yoga and Climbing

Greet the sunrise with fresh coffee or tea and a Yoga practice under the guidance of Donna Southwell. Then take breakfast in the garden or perhaps on one of the balconies. Later, travel to Usteto Iztok gorge overlooking Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of Bulgaria’s second empire. Here you will get the opportunity to learn or develop your rock climbing abilities under the watchful eye of an instructor or simply lounge at the center in a hammock. Return to the center for dinner and an evening yoga workshop.

Day 3
Yoga and Emen Gorge

After another morning Yoga practice and nourishing Bulgarian breakfast join us for a moderate hike through the impressive Emen Gorge, a huge limestone canyon framed by forests and caverns filled with rare protected bat species. The river running through the canyon pours from a shelf and creates a pool just the right depth for swimming… or to look at whilst eating lunch, you choose! After returning to the center, enjoy a Yoga posture development workshop before enjoying a delicious evening meal.

Day 4
Yoga and Climbing

Start with a yoga practice in the cool air of the morning, and then enjoy breakfast. Today you have another opportunity to develop your rock climbing skills or instead you can travel to the Bedouin Bar, where you can enjoy a walk and swim in the clear river. Or of course, relax and soak up the peace at the beautiful, renovated farmhouse center. In the evening we will visit a local restaurant that specializes in contemporary Bulgarian cuisine.

Day 5
Yoga Workshop

Spend the day exploring the local area or relaxing at the center. In the afternoon, there will be a yoga workshop to help you deepen your yoga practice, ending with some deeply relaxing, restorative yoga.

Day 6
Yoga, Climbing, and Etara

After greeting the morning at practice and following breakfast today, you have the option of continuing your climbing development or stepping back in time; as you enter the gates of Etara, a living museum featuring a traditional craft marketplace. Waterwheels power machinery used for woodcarving, pottery, weaving, and silversmithing, among others. Try a traditional apple pastry from the bakery or Turkish coffee brewed over hot sand whilst you watch the artisans at work and shop for unique handcrafted items. In the evening enjoy a yoga workshop.

Day 7
Counted Yoga, Veliko Tarnovo Tour, and Heritage Banquet

On the morning of your penultimate day at the center you are invited to practice Ashtanga Yoga in the traditional Mysore counted style. Donna Southwell will count the breath and movements of the practice in Sanskrit whilst adjusting postures. After breakfast in the garden, you will have the opportunity to take a guided tour of Veliko Tarnovo. Often referred to as the “City of the Tsars”, Veliko Tarnovo, famed for its architecture, is located on the Yantra River and is the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The old part of the city is situated on the three hills Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, and Sveta Gora, rising amidst the meanders of the Yantra. After the tour feel free to explore and pick up souvenirs. End the week with dinner under the stars and conversation and music around the campfire.

Day 8
Transfer to Sofia and Travel Home

Have one last morning coffee in the barn and enjoy the view before traveling back to Sofia for departure home.

Partner Run Tour

This tour is run by Donna Southwell Yoga from the UK. To book this tour or find out more information fill in the form below and they will get back to you with more information. The tour is held at the Stone & Compass Center in Stolat, Bulgaria and Stone & Compass provides all the logistical support including ground transportation, transfers, accommodations, food, translators, guided tours of Bulgarian cultural excursions.

Donna Southwell

Donna found Ashtanga Yoga whilst traveling in Rishikesh, North India in 1998. She immediately saw the benefits of regular practice and committed to a traditional daily practice. In 2000 she moved to London to study under Hamish Hendry at Astanga Yoga, London. There she learned to teach in the traditional Mysore style, developing the style of hands on adjustment and learning how to hold a space for committed practice. 

After many periods of regular study in Mysore with the late Sri K Pattabhi Jois, the founder of the Ashtanga yoga system, and with his grandson, Sharath Jois, she received KPJAYI level 2 authorization. She is fully qualified to teach both the primary and intermediate series of Ashtanga. Her teaching reflects both the traditional Mysore style and her belief that postural practice must be adapted to meet the needs of the individual and their life circumstances.

Donna feels her daily practice supports her through all the challenges and changes that life throws up. Practice keeps her strong and flexible and helps her to stay focused and grounded. She often says her practice is the one constant in an ever changing life. 

Donna has been close to the mountains all of her life, carried up peaks before she could walk up them. Her childhood was spent exploring the mountains of the Lake District, the Highlands and Snowdonia. Later, as a young women she toured the Pyrenees. She has since made a point to walk in the mountains of other countries as she has traveled the world.

In 2012 she was introduced to rock climbing, scrambling and winter mountaineering; opening up a whole new way to explore the wild places. Alongside her yoga practice these activities keep her focused and living in the moment. She says although the experience takes her out of her comfort zone, the challenge always leaves her feeling more alive and confident- and ready to face whatever life demands.


7 nights accommodation in a traditional, restored Balkan farmhouse, Yoga teaching, rock climbing coaching and equipment, restaurant meal, cultural tours, guided walks, airport transfers in Bulgaria, all activity transfers, fully catered including vegetarian and vegan food and full time assistance from local guides/translators.

Airfare to/from Sofia, Bulgaria is NOT included.

Price Includes

  • Airport transfers in Bulgaria
  • Lodging
  • Meals (vegetarian and vegan meals included)
  • Translator
  • Cultural Tours and Related Fees
  • Ground Transportation
  • Tour Guide(s)
  • Yoga Teaching
  • Rock Climbing Coaching & Equipment

Price Excludes

  • Airfare to/from Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Private ExpensesSnacks, gifts, shopping, etc.

Payment can be made in full or following the payment schedule below.

Total Price




Due:  June 1, 2021

Final Payment


Due:  August 1, 2021