A Yoga School Brings Life Back to Longeval Castle

Longeval Castle was bought by Hridaya Yoga France, which wants to make the site its European center. For the past few months, volunteers from all over Europe have taken part in the renovation project. The Center is expected to open in May 2018.

The Center is expected to open in May 2018. Photo Jessica BISSAY

Little by little, the new identity of Longeval Castle is emerging … its a new soul too. On sale for several months, the building of 3200m2 and its seven hectares of land, which were owned by the Department, finally found a buyer last spring.

The association Hridaya Yoga, which sought a foot in the ground in Europe, has taken up residence there.

“We would like to go from fuel to wood”

“We wanted something big in nature,” says Arnaud Philibert, one of the project’s pilots, living in Vaux-en-Beaujolais. “I stumbled upon an article that talked about the sale of this estate. I came to take some pictures, and the team was immediately seduced. ”

To concretize the transaction, the association Hridaya Yoga France is born. Arnaud Philibert takes over the presidency. And the work begins. “The fundamentals of the buildings are good, but there is a big work of interior renovation, of bringing it up to the standards. At the same time, we are thinking about our energy transition: we would like to go from fuel to wood. We will also rethink sanitation. We would like to minimize our ecological footprint. ”

A dozen volunteers from several European countries are currently taking turns on site to advance the work.

“We are lucky to have people around us who are ready to offer their time for the project. Everyone pulls in the same direction and believes in what we do, “says the president.

At his side to steer the case, he can count on the support of the secretary of the association, Déborah Blin, arrived from the Paris region a few months ago. “It’s a big challenge,” she said. We would like to open an ERP (N.D.L.R: institution receiving the public,) in May 2018. ”

Volunteer programs of at least three months

This space will include two yoga and meditation halls, a vegetarian restaurant, a wellness center “which will offer for example therapeutic fasts, workshops around nutrition”, as well as a hundred places of accommodation. And probably much more…

“We are also working on a permaculture project. It fits well in our concept… In short, we do not miss ideas,” concludes Deborah.

Ideas to make the Longeval estate a reference in the Hridaya community.

“We currently have branches in several countries in Europe, but we lacked a place to live permanently,” says the president.

Volunteer programs of at least three months have already been proposed. Interested people can come to practice yoga by being housed and fed for free in exchange for a few hours of work a day.

To build such a project, the French association benefits from the financial, human and technical support of the Mexican branch of Hridaya.

“We have a school there, it’s the largest in Mexico. It is followed by 6,000 people. A school that Arnaud Philibert knows well since he directed it for five years.

However, even if this experience is precious to him, he must constantly adapt.

“We are discovering the administrative complexity of France. And this is the first time that we renovate a site. So we learn, we call on competent people … We are constantly learning. ”

And every day, the project becomes more concrete. “The path is unfolding little by little. We learned to trust and let go. «

 

“We are not lunatics”

He is a freelance worker in tourism, she was in charge of the cultural management of a theater company. Arnaud Philibert and Déborah Blin have put their professional lives on hold to develop this project. Jessica BISSAY Photo

While aspiring to become a European crossroad for practitioners of the Hridaya method, the association does not want to cut itself off from the locals. “I know that our installation will raise questions, Arnaud says. We do not want to become a secluded enclosure with people living in their world. We remain open to the local population. “.

And Deborah confirms: “Moreover, some people on a walk often stop to ask us questions. It’s nice, we are delighted to be able to explain our project, we are very open. ”

Adherents know it, they will also have to wring their necks to certain clichés: “We are well aware that yoga can be perceived as an activity for the old, or for hippies disconnected from reality, but we are not lunatics. We are just people who want to live with what they think is good.”

 

What is the Hridaya method?

In the meantime permaculture, a small garden was installed at the back of the castle. Jessica BISSAY Photo
How to define the Hridaya method?

Elements of response with President Arnaud Philibert: “The Hridaya method is based on a plurality of practices. Techniques are used that come from different traditions and cultures. The goal is to focus the attention on the heart, in order to put it back in the center of our being. We practice exercises that disengage energy at the level of the mind. We want to make people feel, instead of think. Because of our education, technology, the world today makes us work almost forcibly by mental activity. We focus on that, but we have lost some of our inner peace. We suffer more and more from disconnection: with ourselves, with others, with nature… ”

 

This article originally appeared in Le Progrès Tarare (French newspaper)