“A time of endless dazzlement, masterfully orchestrated through a spiritual work cleverly distilled by times of meditation, dancing, walks in the vastness of landscapes, creativity, deep and rich sharing with the mercy and listening with which you accompany us at every moment. I give you all my gratitude, Aya, for this.”
Béatrice Corbier, Normandy September 2018, March 2020 and Norway 2019
“In the silence of the retreat, I am always amazed to see the bonds being forged between the women in the group, a harmony being created and the beauty of each one being revealed. It is a great joy to participate each time. Deep bonds are forged, the heart opens and reconnections within myself are made. With great gentleness, guided by Aya and the various exercises she offers, with the grace of each woman, an immense force emerges and I gradually felt the vertical axis in me unfold. What a joy!”
Clémence, Normandy September 2018, April and September 2019, March and September 2020
“Through experience, knowledge is anchored and rooted, something that no single book can transmit. This is what the spiritual retreats have allowed me to discover, surrounded by the benevolence of women who have become friends and sisters of the heart. Often perceived externally as a closure, the circle – or group – is on the contrary a foundation where trust can develop serenely, blossom and then be enjoyed on the outside, towards every being and every thing in this world.
Step by step, the spiritual practices, such as the chakra breathing and the dervish whirling, deconstructs what I took for granted, awakens me to my inner energy and connects it to its true nature – a space where the mind evaporates. The evenings dedicated to dhikr are probably the moments I particularly enjoy; the singing and melodies of our voices, which rise to the same point, transcend all forms of reality and materiality. We are here, and just here.
Living the moment and letting go are difficult steps, yet so decisive on an inner journey. In my opinion, they are key ingredients in learning to accept oneself and to show oneself as we are; to move away from the roles and assignments that are projected and which, as women, too often lead us to put on costumes that are not our own. With gratitude and love, I give thanks for all these moments spent with wonderful women, a mirror for the soul and on the world.”
Morgane, Normandy September 2018, April and September 2019, March and September 2020
Beauty and Majesty … amazing words of sweetness and power, the perfect balance between the Feminine and the Masculine. A spiritual break to recharge your batteries, find peace, meet beautiful majestic Souls! In a world where “doing” takes precedence, how good it is to let yourself meditate in harmony with Nature, to unlock this narrow body in a costume of limiting beliefs, to pronounce mantras that open the heart and to find Unity with these wonderful, generous and humble women all this under the gaze of Love and the benevolent protection of Aya …
A word comes to me for Aya: Nūr! Infinite gratitude for these magical moments that last once home. The emotions come out, the Soul expands … how good it is to feel it take its rightful place! Peace and love,
Caroline, Normandy September 2020.
I just spent some days in Normandy with 10 beautiful women, 10 red roses with whom I meditated to the sound of nature, the sound of the flute & the violin, the sound of our unified voices and the sound of the silence that accompanied us throughout this weekend. The theme was “Beauty and Majesty”. Through guided meditations led by Aya, and dance, we plunged deep into our hearts, we encountered darkness, sometimes even ghosts, but above all we discovered our inner light, the one that makes us shine . With modesty and trust, we placed our wounds, our fears, and our joys too, in front of this circle where we found kindness and love, so that we could finally shine with our beautiful light. How resourcing !!!
And how beautiful were all these women of different ages, from different social backgrounds, from different origins, from different religions. It was not our differences that we shared, but love, nourishment of the soul. It was a soul-to-soul encounter in this magical place, among trees, streams and animals. Back in the Paris region, my heart is still filled with these beautiful lights and continues to vibrate, happy to be alive.
Nassima, Normandy September 2020
“At each retreat, I felt regenerated and transformed. I experienced a gentle serenity and rest. With Aya, beauty and balance are present in every corner. She welcomes us into a warm space. There are the different elements of nature, art, dance, teachings and practice. Aya introduced me to the dervish whirling, among other things. I have always felt difficulties in learning, but it has been quiet different with her support. She made me aware of my preciousness and beauty from the first time, and then she guided me touch by touch on my journey. As different as the participants may be, the weekends in Normandy makes us each find our place as different jewels on the same necklace. These weekends are precious times when I revive my inner diamond and radiate beauty and majesty.”
Nadia B., Normandy September 2018, April 2019 and Norway 2019
I attended a retreat offered by Aya Annika in September 2020, surrounded by the benevolence of wonderful women of all ages, faiths and backgrounds. This invitation to Beauty & Majesty was for me at the same time deep, poetic and just. An enchanted break in an idyllic setting, orchestrated with finesse and flexibility.
Time in silence, meditation in motion, invocation, dance, rest, contemplation and concentration… Concentration in contemplation. Thank you for this beautiful and majestic discovery. Our voices, which rose in unison to sing on the occasion of the dhikr, still resonate with me.
Lou, Normandy September 2020
“In the group of women, of all origins, whose ages ranged from 30 to 60 years, contact was easy and human warmth subjugated the clarity of the sky. The gazes crossed and posed as if they had known each other for a long time; no escape, no secret. A fluid group that seemed to be reduced to a single person, so much were the affinities merging and the wills dissolving into one. God being One, Aya did not hesitate, depending on the moment and the inspiration, to invoke Him as much through dance as through dhikr, but also through singing, drawing and breathing. In fact, everything was a pretext to invoke God and the unity of Being.
The emotion of the dhikr becomes overwhelming when we try the dervish whirling, the one that connects heaven and earth and makes us a simple object in the universe. At the same time, we feel tiny and immense, star and earth, air and flame. A whirlwind that we hesitate to stop for fear of losing the station that reaches the Perfect one. By the end of the retreat, Aya managed to transform us into humble praying women, yet flooded with happiness at the thought that we were not totally useless and without talent. She allowed us to revive the divine part that lives in us and that we tend to bury.”
Fouzia Oukazi, Norway 2019
Anette, Norway 2020
“I did 3 retreats in Normandy with Aya and a group of women, all more beautiful and humane than the other. The setting is an enchanting, green place, near an old mill and a stream, with a protecting weeping willow tree.
We were in a bath of beauty, sweetness and also demands on ourselves, always in benevolence. The meditations, the dancing, the different physical and spiritual exercises never imposed, allowed me to feel One. By rediscovering my deep self, my strengths and my weaknesses, without these being an obstacle, but on the contrary a support for healing, I felt in my heart a work being done; a beneficial unifying reconnection… And above all, I whirled for the first time, and what I felt that day was a deep anchoring in the roots of the earth and heaven… I give thanks to you Aya, to this place, and to all the women for their warm, living presence, in the greatest simplicity.”
Nadia S., Normandy September 2018, April 2019 and September 2020
The retreats are healing on several levels. The place is magnificent, like at home. We prepare meals with conscionsness and conviviality. Each woman gives her personal touch; by a special culinary know-how, some poetry or originality. I have made beautiful encounters with different women. What connects us is the opening of hearts.
Aya offers her personal qualities, her knowledge as a therapist and a spiritually committed woman. She offers presence at all times, a flawless listening quality; both gentle and demanding. All our senses are awakened thanks to the exercises offered by Aya. I found myself facing myself and my responsability for the direction I want to give to my life. A big thank you Aya.
Souad Lamniai, Normandy April 2019, March 2020
“On the water, from the depth to the foam, in the heart of the meanders, among the dams, thanks to the fording passages, bridges, solid hundred-year-old trees, a few days and nights full of moon, on the edge of the sword, feet in the dew, on beaches of solitude, or moored, in the heart, or shouting, in front of the light, in the shade, with willows crying and apple trees carved, at the mercy of our losses, our wounds, our fears, our words spoken, silenced, or felt, our buried, tenuous, or generous tears, our fathers, our mothers, our children, our men, our loved ones, our desires, our movements, our voices, our joys and our dense and fragile humanity, we have sailed together, cleaving the waves, knowingly marked…”
Axelle, Normandy April 2019
“Everything is perfectly orchestrated, with free time for everyone. Every day Aya transports us to a different universe with meditation, invocations, songs, dance, creation around a theme, indoors and outdoors. Aya has been able to adapt brilliantly to each individual by accompanying us with her light and wisdom to finally form a unity where all differences complete one another. And then, praying while dancing, singing, creating, once you’ve tasted it, it’s hard to stop… At the end of this inner journey, the soul is nourished, the mind is liberated, oxygenated, the body is alive, in harmony with nature. Thus I left the place strengthened, resourced, enriched and ready to pursue this quest for Self in a different way.”
Sarah, Norway 2019
“I deeply loved this suspended moment of disconnection and reconnection with oneself, which transforms and regenerates in a gentle manner. Aya’s subtle and caring guidance is very enveloping and reassuring. The organization of the stay is meticulous and the surrounding nature dazzling. A great experience to be repeated.”
Djamila, Normandy September 2018, April 2021 and Norway 2019
“The days at Nøsen were intense and enriching. It was good to feel included in such a nurturing and caring women’s community. Despite different age and cultural backgrounds, I felt a great affiliation in the group (we were 2 with a Christian background). Aya has an inclusive and comfortable leadership style. It felt good to know a spiritual community – completely free of dogmas and condemnation. It plays minimal role, as I see it, whether what we seek is referred to as Allah, God, Everything or the Self. Here I experienced ecumenism in a specific sense. Besides, I have long wanted to experience the combination of dance/movement and prayer/recitation. It was good to experience this in the middle of the Norwegian beautiful mountains.”
Lise, Norway 2019 (Norwegian, French speaking participant)