Ashtanga yoga, Mindfulness and Buddhist Meditation with Ellen Johannesen

18th  - 24th September 2021

About the Retreat

This is a unique chance to meet Ellen Johannesen, a KPJAYI level 2 authorized Ashtangi living in Nepal, and study Yoga, Buddhism and meditation with her. Ellen, who owns a Master Degree in Tibetan Buddhism and Himalayan Languages, will share with us the central ideas of Buddhism and introduce us to some of the life-changing meditation techniques practiced by the yogis of the Himalayas. The serene and quiet setting of YogApulia and it surroundings form the perfect setting for this retreat !

The day starts with yoga, where Ellen teaches Ashtanga in her characteristic way: supplying the serene Counted Vinyasa method with her playful approach to movement - inspired by dance and functional anatomy. With more than 20 years of teaching experience and a background as a professional dancer, Ellen is an extremely skillful Ashtanga practitioner and teacher, from whom you guaranteed will pick up some new moves! The class will start with meditation, then Mysore- style self practice and pranayama.


In the afternoon the classes will alternate between Ashtanga technique and Buddhist philosophy and meditation. We will delve deeper into the physical and mental aspects of practicing Ashtanga and look at how it prepares us for the higher limbs of yoga. We will also learn the philosophical foundation for meditation that makes possible the transformation of the mind. This we will put this into practice during meditation sessions. Our aim will be to approach all aspects of yoga as a sadhana practice that can bring depth, a sense of purpose and joy into our lives!

This retreat is limited to a maximum of 12 guests to allow for a more personal and intimate experience.

What's included?

  • 6 nights accommodation

  • 2 delicious vegetarian/vegan meals daily, to include breakfast/brunch and evening dinner

  • Light snacks and refreshments including, a selection of teas, coffee, water & fruit

  • Wi fi internet connection

  • 6 mornings of ashtanga yoga

  • Meditation and pranayama

  • Ashtanga technique workshops

  • Buddhist philosophy 

What's not included?

  • Flights

  • Transport to/from the retreat centre ( YogApulia can help organise local taxis, this will be an additional cost paid direct to the taxi driver)

  • Travel/medical insurance

  • Massages - available upon request at additional cost

More about Ellen

Ellen Johannesen, originally a professional dancer, has practice Ashtanga yoga for more than 20 years. Her first meeting with Ashanga Yoga took place during a tour to New York in 1994. Since then this has been her daily practice, and Ellen first visited Mysore and Pattabhi Jois in 1997. She is now Authorized Ashtanga level 2 by Sharath Jois, and she has also completed a two-year Teacher Training with John Scott.

In 2002 Ellen became one of the founders of Ashtanga Yoga Oslo, one of the first studios offering daily Mysore practice in Norway. Principal teacher at her own studio, which also offered TTC/apprenticeship in Ashtanga Yoga.

An increasing interest in Buddhist practice brought her to Bylakuppe, South India, where she spent almost tree years in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. She since moved to Kathmandu where she first completed an education as a Tibetan interpreter before she obtained a Bachelor degree in Buddhist studies and Himalayan Languages at Kathmandu University. Ellen presently teaches Ashtanga and Buddhist Practices internationally as well as at Pranamaya Yoga, Kathmandu. Ellen speaks fluent
Tibetan, has a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy and practice as well as Sanskrit and Indian

Accommodation and Facilities

Our retreat centre is set in 2.5 acres of grounds in a valley filled with olive and almond groves.  


Accommodation consists of six twin rooms and one double room all with private ensuite bathroom. All rooms have been renovated to a high standard using locally sourced materials, to create a luxurious yet simple and understated feel. A large outdoor courtyard provides the main communal eating space, and several outdoor terraces offer a place to relax in the sun or the shade.


Situated at the heart of the complex, the swimming pool acts like a colourful meeting point – with the blue water combining with the green olive trees and the red soil.

Food plays a central role in both our yoga practice and life. We believe food should be varied, unprocessed and nourishing to promote energy and wellbeing. The food we serve is predominantly plant based with some vegetarian options.  All produce we source and grow at YogApulia is local, seasonal and organic wherever possible. 

Refreshments are also available throughout the day and include tea, coffee, water & fruit.

The international airport at Brindisi is approximately 40 minutes drive away and Bari is further to the north approximately 55 minutes drive. Hiring a car in Puglia is relatively inexpensive and provides a great way to explore the surrounding countryside, local historical towns and beaches. Both Bari and Brindisi airports have a large selection of hire car companies including Avis and Hertz. It is recommended to book a car before your arrival. Alternatively, we can arrange a taxi to collect you on your arrival.

To book this retreat or if you have any questions please contact Mark at or include your details in the form below.

Find Us

Contact Us

YogApulia Retreat Centre

Contrada Zaccano 5b,


72014 Cisternino 

BR, Italy


Tel: + 39 39131 35668

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon

Connect with Us