Tai-Chi with Michelle’s Circles of Magic 

Friday 8 March 2019 (6pm) – Sunday 10 March 2019 (2pm) 


with Michelle Festus 

You are invited to join us for a magical weekend Tai Chi Retreat. Come and feed your soul by listening to silence, relaxing the mind and re-energising the body.

You will be introduced to :
– deep abdominal breathing
– Tai Chi and Qigong exercises and meditation
and explore Tai chi principles, which can assist with personal and social transformation.

The retreat will include nature walks, free writing / journaling and an evening bonfire circle. It will be held in joyful silence from Friday night until Sunday before lunch 


About Michelle Festus

Tai chi has transformed my world and it can do the same for you. I’ve been a practitioner for close to 20 years and I am still in awe at the way tai chi can transform individuals as well as small groups. I have worked with people battling cancer and people living with anxiety and depression. I have had the immense privilege of training with Dr Michael Lan [The Asian Wellness Experience] and Shirfu Eddie Jardine. I combine 20 years of work in the development and justice sector with tai chi  and have worked with teams in South Africa and abroad.



For this retreat we ask for a contribution of R1900 (per person sharing) or R2100 (per person in a single room)*. This includes two nights accommodation, all meals (vegetarian) and a fee for the facilitator.

*If you are keen to join the retreat but this is beyond your means, we do offer limited discounts and accept other kinds contributions in the form of work, stuff, or a combination of things. Get in touch to figure something out.

Writers Long-weekend Retreat

Thursday 21 March (3pm) – Sunday 24 March 2010 (2pm) 


Over this long weekend, we invite writers as well as others who would like to use the space for their own quiet practice.There’ll be no guided writing practice, rather we offer a space to facilitate creativity through:

– 3 vegetarian meals a day

– morning and evening meditation sessions

– guided walks

– swims in the river and pool

– silence from after dinner until after breakfast

Amidst the wild silence, Lalela offers the perfect environment for resting, settling and getting deeper into your work.



R1860 per person in a single room (R620 a night) or R1560 per person in a shared room (R520 a night). This includes 3 nights accommodation and all meals.

*If you are keen to join the retreat but this is beyond your means, we do offer discounts and accept other kinds contributions in the form of work, stuff, or a combination of things. Get in touch and we can figure something out.

‘Your one wild and precious life’: A visioning retreat

Friday 28 June 2019 (6pm) – Monday 1 July 2019 (2pm)

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Mary Oliver


with Mbali Marais and Maia Marie 

We all carry dreams in our bones. This 3 day retreat, in the Magaliesberg mountain region, is a journey into remembering, re-visioning and re-imagining those dreams so we can live more fully through them.

We will begin by creating a space of holding to excavate the stories that have kept us stuck and on automatic – stories that have been passed down ancestrally and those that have been nurtured in this life.

Going into deeper territory and being held by stunning natural surroundings, we will immerse ourselves in gentle practices to reconnect to the thread of our own story, the diamond in the rough and uncover the gifts within us, that we long to share with our communities.

Lastly we’ll integrate these visions into the present, so that we may follow this thread as we bring our dreams into how we live our new story and re-imagine our relationship to our world.

You will be guided in this journey through a range of holding practices: Rituals in nature; Guided Meditation; Poetry and storytelling; Writing; Artwork: Sculpture; Vision boarding; Circle sharing; Nature immersion; Restorative yoga (optional)


About the facilitators:

Mbali Marais

Mbali is a global medicine woman and wisdom keeper, a voice for and awakener of the ancestors.

Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Mbali is a descendant of the Khoi Khoi peoples and the Amaghebe, Xhosa clan. Her ancestors are also French Huguenots, Bushmen, Dutch and Portuguese.

At three years old she was taken by her parents to live in London and in 1998 she moved to the USA. She is an initiated stick diviner in the Dagara tradition and worked with Dr. Malidoma Some from West Africa, who is a brilliant transmitter of African cosmology in the west. She is an also initiated an Igqira in the South African Xhosa tradition. Other teachers include, the late Dr Angeles Arrien, cross cultural anthropologist, and Michael Meade, mythologist and storyteller.

For the last 15 years Mbali has facilitated workshops, retreats, and deep nature quests that draw from ancient African practices. She has also spoken and taught internationally on holistic health and indigenous medicine. She is a writer, sacred journey, ritual and ceremony leader. Read more about Mbali on her website: ourdivinemedicine.com


Maia Marie

Maia is a co-founder of lalela. a place of listening and guides its retreat programme. Her spiritual practice is as diverse as her identity, including meditation, writing, yoga, breathwork and being in nature. All these practices are vehicles for listening – to her body, spirit, ancestors and nature so that she can practice living with an open heart in her daily life.

Maia has worked with people in a variety of ways and contexts, in schools, NGOs and on retreats, through storytelling, writing and self expression to bring about connection to the Wild in ourselves and our environment. Her basic aim is to create spaces of holding, gentleness and kindness where we can all just be ourselves. Lalela is a living dream for her – beautiful and challenging.


Your contribution

R2997. This includes: 3 nights accommodation in a shared room and all meals, tea, coffee, snacks; a teaching fee and contribution towards the travel of the teacher.

We have one discounted space available for this retreat. Please get in touch if you would like to attend and this is beyond your means.

Previous Events

You Are Worth it with Oya: Body-Mind-Spirit Retreats 

The retreat will include Kundalini Yoga, Yoga Nidra, mindfulness, workshops, meals as well as leisure for exploring, resting and relaxing.

what is yoga? soft outside, strong within

with Vishanthi Arumugam 

This weekend retreat is an opportunity for beginners and advanced yogis to revisit the question, “What is yoga?” We will re/introduce ourselves to pranayama (breathwork), asana (posture), mantra (sound), vedanta (knowledge) and karma yoga (selfless service) in simple, easy-to-understand ways.

Rather than cleave to a yoga “style”, the practice will be freeflowing and geared at bringing us all into a place of unknowing.

writing ourselves: weekend retreat 

with Maia Marie

Writing is a means of listening to ourselves and each other. It can take us into our most longed for dreams, into other worlds, to express whatever asks to be spoken. Writing is a channel, if we allow it, to connecting more deeply to the world we belong to. It can be an experience of joy and play. It can be a holding space, of safety in which healing can happen.

In this retreat we will explore writing for ourselves, using play, silence, meditation, breathing, walking and yoga as supporting practices. You’ll be guided with exercises and prompts but ultimately you’ll have the space to write whatever, however you desire. The focus will be on the process of connecting in creation, as opposed to producing a finished product.

The retreat will be held in silence from Saturday after supper until  Monday before lunch.

connecting with silence: a winter retreat 

with Maia Marie and Niel van Zyl

On this weekend retreat, we will use silence as a ground for practice to listen inwardly and connect with nature. We will explore the mindfulness practices of sitting meditation, walking in the veld, yoga, eating and working. All practices will be guided and gentle. Beginners of all levels are welcome.

We offer an opportunity to retreat in a natural setting that is beautiful and quiet, to unplug, connect and rest. This retreat will be held in (joyful) silence, allowing us to be together while listening inwards.

listening and designing with the Land: an introduction to permaculture

with Linzi Lewis

As we live on land, grow food and use resources to sustain ourselves, how do we do so in a way that is beneficial to ALL beings, human, animal and plant? Permaculture is one response to this question. It begins with listening to the land, looking to it for inspiration and guidance of how we can co-exist, nourish and nurture the resources we have all around.

This weekend will include:

  • An introduction to permaculture, core concepts and themes.
  • A foraging walk with an expert in edible and medicinal plants to explore the treasures in the area.
  • Storytelling, writing and movement to explore our knowledge and as ways of listening to the land.
  • Morning and evening meditation

deepholding: a weekend space

with Smangele Mathebula and you, me, all of us

This weekend is an exploration into creating spaces of holding for ourselves and each other. To hold space is to allow – to allow for listening, rest and for whatever medicine we require to arise.

We will provide some foundation practices: journalling, meditation, nap time, cooking, conversation and walking – and invite you to bring your own holding practices into the space to share with us. And mostly we will be gentle.

We invite you to arrive, be warm, enjoy the surrounding nature and co-create this space with us.

About Smangele:  Smangele Mathebula (madibookeng) is a healer and teacher who develops projects and spaces around the ethos of courageous living and loving.

 see: https://deepholding.tumblr.com/

walking in nature retreat 

On Saturday we will set off from Lalela for a leisurely walk through the veld and the indigenous forest on the game-farm next door. We will enjoy a packed lunch at the halfway mark of the circular route before contemplating the breathtaking views from the top of the hill as we descend back to Lalela. The walk will be +- 4 hours with plenty of stops to soak in the serenity.

We will also offer morning and evening meditations and will attempt to nourish your belly with good vegetarian meals 🙂 There will be time to enjoy the quiet and to rest well.

Sounds like fun? You can email Maia at info@lalela.place for more info

connecting with the natural breath: a weekend retreat

with Thenjiwe Nkosi and Maia Marie

Our breath is fundamental to our physical, emotional and mental health. How we relate to our breath is connected to how we relate to our bodies, our minds, and the world around us. To be with the breath, to allow it fully is to be present with ourselves and with life as it unfolds.

Yet for many of us breathing feels difficult, tense and obstructed. At some point we lost our capacity to connect with that natural full body breath that we experienced as infants.

Over this silent weekend retreat we will connect with our breath through meditation, breathing and movement practices. We will explore our own breath, understand better how it works and through guidance open up to fuller and deeper breathing.

About Thenjiwe:
I am an artist and I have a deep interest in movement and meditation, and how the breath relates to both of these practises. I learned about the importance of breathing and breath work after a period of illness that was a direct result of not breathing properly. After discovering that my breathing was being impeded by how I was moving (and not moving) my body, I began researching and learning about how the breath impacts our wellbeing. As soon as I began focusing on reconnecting with my breath, I was on the path back to wellness. I am eager to share what I have learned in this process of healing with others

mindful cooking, joyful eating. a food retreat

with Parusha Naidoo and Maia Marie

In this retreat we will meditate on the joy of eating plants and connect with our bodies in the peaceful setting of lalela. The retreat will include:
*interactive cooking lessons
*mindful eating
*walks in the veld
*yoga and breath work

Parusha Naidoo is a food lover and chef whose work illustrates that a plant-based diet doesn’t have to feel like deprivation. It can be diverse, kind, experimental and ultimately joyful. http://parusha.com/

Maia Marie is a co-founder of lalela. a place of listening and guides meditation, gentle chill yoga and writing – creating spaces of holding and kindness when we can all just be ourselves.

breathing, listening, allowing. easter retreat at lalela

with Maia Marie and Niel van Zyl

Over this blue moon long weekend, we invite you to explore listening inwardly and mindfully allowing whatever arises.

Listening is a starting point for connecting to ourselves. As we listen inwardly, can we be aware of the thoughts and feelings that come up? Is it possible to allow all the emotions, moods and thoughts to come up and to pass away, even if they are uncomfortable, even if they are ‘ugly’?

We will connect to our natural breath and explore the mindfulness practices of sitting meditation, walking in the veld, yoga, eating and working. All practices will be guided and gentle. Beginners of all levels are welcome.

We offer an opportunity to retreat in a natural setting that is beautiful and quiet, to unplug, connect and rest. This retreat will be held in (joyful) silence, allowing us to be together while listening inwards.