Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Center for Presence workshop in Costa Rica - testimonials and pics!

Hi everyone!

We had a magical expandance and Omprov workshop in Costa Rica this year. Thank you to Johanna and Stefanie at Living Forest; Lake Arenal Retreat Center, and to Stefan Wenger for a joining me and teaching the improv section of the course. We've had some incredible feedback since the workshop (see below!), and we're both looking forward to teaching upcoming expandance and Omprov classes in Sonoma County, California. Stay tuned for details, and if you'd like to know about upcoming workshops and retreats, please e-mail me at 

- Rachel 

"Dear Ravishing Rachel and Snuggly Stef,

In the weeks since the expandance-Omprov retreat, I’ve been reflecting on what you created for our group in Costa Rica. I think I can best describe it as “igniting the life force." You intuitively led us through a series of experiences that tapped into parts of ourselves that many of us had forgotten: parts that hold our vitality, our energy, our vulnerability.

You held those tender, young parts of us with deep respect and care, allowing them to grow and flourish, so that by the end of the retreat we felt integrated; renewed.

The best part is that you accomplished this through FUN! It was like getting healthy by eating lots of chocolate. Healing through laughter and movement?  Check. Learning scary life skills through play?  Yeah, baby!  Being held, seen, and appreciated for exactly who I am?  The best part. Sign me up, please, again and again.

With Love and Gratitude,
Prudence Tippins"

"My week in Costa Rica with Rachel and Stefan is definitely going in my memory treasure trove. I have done Authentic Movement, and thought perhaps that this would be similar, but expandance is so much more. I found myself going deeply into my experience of my body and finding unexpected places that urged me to move them, and at other times being completely filled with joy and delight as I improvised dances with others in the group. I tend to be the sort of person who feels as if I have 2 left feet as soon as I go to a dance class, but for some reason I keep putting myself there. At the age of 56, I finally found the dance class I have been looking for all my life, and am so sad that Rachel lives in California and I live in Iowa!"

"I knew nothing about improv and was a little nervous about being "bad" at it or "doing it wrong", but Stefan made it clear throughout the week that everything we did was welcome. As the week went on I found myself taking more and more risks, and having a total blast. The warm-up games are being shared with my friends and I am wishing I could find a place to do improv here without having to worry about being around a load of well-practiced funny people from the Theatre department on campus who know what they are doing!"

"By the way I have several people who want to come next year, so you may need to do 3-4 weeks of workshops, if you are up for it!!!!"

- Joanna Lawson EdS, LMFT, CYT (Psychotherapist and Ontological Coach)

"I was thinking about how the retreat has impacted me, and I realised that since then I've stopped worrying so much. expandance got me really connected with my body, I rest when I feel to, play much more, enjoy doing exercise because I can feel how much my body expands, even if it's a quick boogie in the kitchen! I don't push my body so hard to work, I feel the flow more. I realise when I do that, it's ok, the world doesn't end! I realised I'm not supposed to feel like I'm trying to push an elephant up a hill. expandance was a gentle, fun and playful way to get in touch with my body again, let my inner child have some fun, be in the moment, and best of all not worry what anything looked or sounded like! 

Omprov has given me confidence, I speak much more freely. I used to overthink what I was going to say, but given the safe space to explore not doing that, I realised I didn't need to worry, I could just let it come out! And I got to laugh so much, and I love to laugh! I feel so Blessed because I got to share this with some truly Amazing and hilarious sweet people, and everyone just took the leap and trusted they'd be met, and they were.

I got to make some Beautiful new friends from different parts of the world, and became closer to those I already knew. The closing circle was the perfect ending to a Truly Wonderful week, Thank you Dear Hearts Rachel and Stef, for your willingness, openness and your trust."
- Caroline Smith

"Rachel's expandance classes and technique was so adaptable to where we were feeling as a group so at times you found yourself gleefully leaping and dancing for joy and at other times deeply connected within your own body in movement that was gentle and profoundly healing, especially for me as I went into it having some physical injuries. My favorite aspect of the dance classes was the working in small groups of three and how amazing it felt to connect with others and feel the movement between people as one unit flowing together effortlessly while always being perfectly supported by Rachel's loving guidance. I really appreciated Rachel's gentle approach and that she somehow always seemed to know exactly how to guide us in every moment so that I always felt in safe hands and was encouraged to connect to my own center, to flow and do what I needed for myself no matter what movement exercise we were engaging in." 

- Lauren Auricchio