Mindfulness & Qigong at The Coach House

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Develop your mindful awareness through Qigong, an age-old practice that harnesses the power of the breath, movement and intention to create health, vitality and balance within the body.

retreatants practising on the lawn in sunlight, framed by yew tree

Qi means 'subtle breath' or 'vital energy' and Gong translates as 'skill cultivated through steady practice'.

Qigong is a practice deriving from The Tao - an ancient school of Chinese philosophy of living in harmony with 'the source of everything'. But you don't have to be a devotee nor experienced in the practice to benefit.

This retreat features dedicated Qigong sessions alongside meditation: connecting both practices to deepen your sense of mind/body awareness and nature connection.

Retreatants practising qigong on the South Lawn at Sharpham

Experienced leaders are there to support you, plus you'll enjoy periods of free time to rest and reflect on your learning, in a place far from the busy-ness of every day life.

You'll be staying full-board in The Coach House - our retreat centre specifically aimed at connecting you with nature.

See the Leaders tab above for teachers and their styles.

This retreat is for you if you are:

  • in need of some time away from day-to-day distractions and demands
  • new or experienced in qigong and/or mindfulness
  • keen to work with mindfulness principles in your qigong practice
  • looking to spend some time connecting with nature in beautiful surroundings


You’ll be guided through two different Qigong routines: the Five Element Flow and a Three Treasures Form. Both are comprehensive practices for increasing energy and vitality, and enhancing one’s connection to Shen, Qi and Jing (mind, heart and body).  

During this retreat you'll:

  • experience qigong practice perfect for both beginners and the more experienced
  • cultivate your mindfulness through guided meditation sessions
  • have opportunities to reconnect with nature, including guided walks on the stunning Sharpham Estate and some light mindful gardening sessions in our 18th century Walled Garden 
  • have free periods each day to relax, reflect and rejuvenate
  • enjoy delicious and healthy home-cooked vegetarian & vegan food

Retreatants dining outside at The Coach House

Your physical and mental health

Although meditation, yoga, qigong and mindfulness can be helpful in managing stress, depression and anxiety, our retreats might not be suitable if you are experiencing major depression or other clinically-diagnosed psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder, psychosis or current self-harming. Click here for more information and for our booking process.

This retreat is for adults aged 18 and above.


Silence whilst on retreat

All of our retreats usually include some short periods of silence as a way of deepening into mindful awareness. If you are new to spending time in silence in the company of other people, it can feel awkward to begin with. However people usually find this to be a useful experience and we encourage you to explore the silent periods in a spirt of open-ness and curiosity. The retreat moves into silence each evening from 9pm - 9am the following day and until 2pm on day 3 (see also Schedule tab above for typical day).

A retreatant mindfully gardening in our Walled Garden

Getting your hands in the earth

Coach House mindfulness, nature and gardening retreats feature morning sessions helping in our ornamental and Walled Garden in the grounds of Sharpham House, alongside our experienced garden staff Frances and Chloe.

We manage the gardens organically and the produce we grow supplies the kitchens in Sharpham House and the Coach House.

There are a mixture of tasks on our nature-mindfulness and gardening retreats, depending on the season. We invite you to bring your awareness to the land, plants and the nature surrounding you at Sharpham.

You don't need to know anything about gardening to participate - our team will support and assist you.

It is important that you are willing to participate in doing this as part of your mindfulness practice (we can find suitable tasks for people with health difficulties – let us know in advance) and that you try to commit to all the scheduled activities during the week.

NB: If you're less able to do gardening, a Sharpham House retreat may be more suitable

Facilities in The Coach House

The Grade II-listed Coach House has been sympathetically converted to create accommodation in four wings surrounding a central courtyard.
The Coach House has 18 bedrooms, 12 of which are en-suite. The 6 others share 3 bathrooms, one for each pair of rooms. 

We have an accessible ground-floor bedroom with en-suite bathroom in the Western Wing of The Coach House. Please contact us to book this.

The Eastern Wing features a lounge, library, kitchen and has a contemporary timber-frame extension which serves as a dining room and meditation/meeting space. The extension has large French doors which open out on to a patio and garden with direct access out on to the south-facing lawns.

Not all of the gardens or the estate have disabled access, so do contact us to discuss your needs and what is possible.

A retreatant outside her double bedroom in The Coach House

Mindfulness in nature at Sharpham

When you experience Sharpham's inspiring and nourishing environment, we hope you'll
connect spiritually with the natural world, so you’ll:

  • become aware of how we are all part of nature - not artificially separate from it
  • pay attention to and appreciate the natural world surrounding us
  • explore nature through your senses and your natural creativity
  • tread more lightly on our finite planet, developing a respect and reverence for all living things

Click here to read our ethos and principles

Coach House retreatants doing qigong on the South Lawn at Sharpham

What you need to know

If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter that we send out after you've booked.

You can also find out more about staying with us on our Frequently Asked Questions page, including:

  • accessibility information
  • why we encourage you to come on your own and not with partners or friends
  • what the difference is between our retreats

See our Coach House Covid-19 measures here

Our food & your dietary needs

A vegan cake, prepared by the Coach House cookWe have a fully stocked, mostly organic and vegetarian kitchen. The main meal is at lunch time and is prepared by our Cook supported by retreatants. We try to use produce from our gardens as much as possible which retreatants help grow.

We can accommodate gluten-free and/or vegan dietary needs. However, our kitchen is not gluten, dairy nor nut-free. We do not provide gluten-free bread, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Please make sure you include dietary restrictions and any food allergies on your Booking Form. We may need to communicate further with you about specifics. The booking form is sent as a link once you have booked and paid for a retreat.

Our water is provided from our own spring, UV treated and filtered.


A 5-star setting with the added bonus of really being grounded in nature

                                    - a Sharpham retreatant 

Retreatants practice qigong on the lawn at Sharpham

Typical retreat schedule

Day 1: Arrive between 3 - 5pm for Welcome Meeting at 5pm and settling in

Mornings Afternoons
6.00am wake up  12.30pm meditation
6.30am – morning qigong/meditation 1.00pm lunch
7.30am household tasks 2.00pm – free time or group walk
8.00am – breakfast 4.00pm 5.30pm - mindful qigong
9.00am – home groups (silence ends)  6.30pm – supper
10.00am gardening 7.30pm meditation
  8.00pm meditation and qigong
  9.00pm – personal time (The Coach House moves into silence until 9.00am the next day)

Final day: depart by 11am

The retreat will move into silence each evening from 9pm – 9am and on one full day in each retreat.

Not only was I able to slow down, re-energise, become more mindful and rekindle my Qi Gong practice, but I thoroughly enjoyed full board, a lovely single ensuite room (great shower!) and the most stunning location overlooking the river Dart (a beautiful 2.5 mile walk from Totnes).


Absolutely wonderful if you just need a reset.


What an absolute treat. Such a beautiful setting in stunning grounds, with lovely en suite bedroom for proper rest. The coordinators were genuinely kind, caring, and friendly, and the food was astonishing. I feel wonderfully rejuvenated and can’t recommend a stay here highly enough.


Life changing as always


Wonderful stay at the Coach House. I was nervous about what I was 'letting myself in for' but once I got into the rhythm of what Sharpham is all about, I didn't want to leave!


This retreat takes place in The Coach House, a historic Grade II-listed building behind Sharpham House set in a Capability Brownian landscape with stunning views over the steeply-wooded River Dart.

Click here for our How to Find Us page on this website.

Click here to view, print or download directions and a map to The Coach House

Click here view and download walking/cycling directions to The Coach House

Aerial shot of The Coach House behind Sharpham House beside the River Dart

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact our Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-served basis.

Just to let you know, we have poor mobile phone coverage – which we see as a virtue. While there is wi-fi in The Coach House, we encourage you to disconnect from ‘the network’ so you can fully retreat when you’re here.

We are 3 miles from Totnes – famous for its Transition Town movement

We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty



We take sustainability seriously.

All of the hot water and heating in The Coach House is produced by a state-of-the-art biomass woodchip boiler and we have 2 large photo-voltaic solar panel arrays on barn rooftops feeding into Sharpham energy.

Eco-gardens at Sharpham

Our gardens are managed organically and we only use bio-degradable cleaning products.

The Sharpham Trust is committed to ensuring that retreats at The Coach House are accessible to all - regardless if income. 

All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with either an ensuite or a shared bathroom. All meals, bedding and towels are included. Rooms are randomly allocated, unless you have medical needs relating to your room allocation. If you have such a need, let us know on your booking form which will be sent to you once you have booked.

Supported Rate: £495

The Supported Rate is for those unable to pay the Standard or Benefactor Rate 

Standard Rate: £545

Paying the Standard Rate means you will be contributing towards our running costs, supporting the work of The Coach House and helping retreatants of lower incomes to access our retreats.

Benefactor Rate: £625

If you are able to pay the Benefactor Rate, you'll be supporting others who cannot afford to benefit from a Coach House retreat on The Sharpham Estate. Your choice to pay this rate will help us with the running costs of The Coach House, enabling us to continue our charitable work connecting people to nature and fostering mindfulness and wellbeing, as well as caring for the land, wildlife and wider estate.


Limited 50% bursaries offering reduced-price retreats are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Please contact the Programme Administrator at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.

Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another person to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here


Caroline Low

Caroline Low

Caroline Low first encountered the Buddhist Teachings at Gaia House in 2006 whilst she was undergoing treatment for cancer and found them to be a real game changer in her quest to restore health and vitality. Since then she has attended many retreats and has trained as a Buddhist Mindfulness Teacher at Sharpham House with Martin Alyward and Mark Coleman in 2015. 

From 2016 until the present day she has been offering service in Retreat Centres - including Gaia and Sharpham. Her interest in Qigong began whilst pregnant with her Daughter, Chi, now 26, and she has studied in Australia and the UK, and is currently on a Teacher Training Programme with Lee Holden whose Teachers include Mantak Chia amongst other Qigong Masters.

Her wish is to make Qigong more accessible to people of all ages and abilities, to help people de-stress and increase their own internal energy so that they experience more health and harmony in their lives.

Retreats & Events

How to book easily and securely:

  • online on this page
  • by phoning 01803 731803


Ring us or email us on [email protected] if you've got any questions.

Please click here to see our booking and cancellations policy.

Do check our Calendar to see and book for our events - or join our mailing list by clicking here to hear first about Sharpham Trust retreats, events and news.