Metsolantie 39, Rasivaara Rääkkylä

In Villa Ruusula, Guided by Helena Karhu and Jenni Örn

Winter nature is very quiet by the frozen lake in one of the most beautiful places in North Karelia. The stars are twinkling, and the northern lights have been given a chance to spread over the northern sky.

At this retreat, we are far from the electric lights and traffic sounds of the population centers. We get the opportunity to listen to the whispers of winter nature and quiet down by our own mind and body. We slow down the pace and give space to our well-being.

The darkest season is the best time to descend into rest and silence, to slow down. Winter is one of the seasons that allows us to rest - but exactly resting feels alien in our performance-oriented world. We need time to just be. When we are in silence - the meditative quality of being comes out better; we notice the nature of our own thought patterns and creative thinking has space to flourish. Surrendering to the rhythm of nature, rather than fighting against it, can be the key to strengthening inner balance.

Two experienced retreat guides from North Karelia will be with you as we fall in love with the shades of North Karelia's winter nature. We start the retreat with a sauna (voluntary possibility of winter ice swimming). In the sauna, we enjoy herbal foot treatment. From the sauna, we move to the wonderful hall of Villa Ruusula, where we sit by candlelight and join an evening meditation.

The program includes guided meditation exercises indoors and outdoors. We also join self-care exercises suitable for the season, to which each participant can bring their own healing presence or caring skills.

The focus of the retreat in the quieter time of winter is a warm presence during nurturing exercises. We quiet down to the inner wisdom, and let it guide us during the retreat. We can let it flow during self-care exercises, healing touch, and all creative activities. In this retreat, you have the opportunity to take care of yourself and others with your hands, you also get to create something beautiful with them. Crafts have been part of the slow and quiet rhythm of winter. In this retreat, you get to create a ritual craft according to your own needs and intentions.

We have sauna in the evenings, and in the gentle care of herbs, you can receive sauna treatments. After the sauna, we massage ourselves with herbal oils and creams to give ourselves new strength.

The heart of winter is the time of dreams and silent knowledge, then the energy turns to draw from the depth of the inner source. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet and gather in a common circle at this stage of the year cycle, where often we are perhaps deep within ourselves without the opportunity to share these dreamy spaces with others. Now we have a safe and gentle space for it, a winter nest, and the light of a candle that nourishes the dreamer inside us.

The incredibly atmospheric setting of Villa Ruusula is an experience in itself. Legendary folk musician Sari Kaasinen's kanteles are something we admire, and her home region is as beautiful as her soulful tunes. We rest well in the pleasant rooms, the food is delicious, and we get to get to know this unique North Karelian culture home. Villa Ruusula is surrounded by natural silence and the infinite beauty of winter nature.

Retreat guides:
Helena Karhu:
I am a wellness and nature entrepreneur from North Karelia, a mother of twins and a cultural researcher. I work at Karhu Talo (, which I founded, which aims to produce services based on connection with nature, cultural empowerment, and inspiration, as well as holistic well-being in my birthplace in North Karelia. At retreats, we use ancient and reliable methods to increase holistic and natural well-being. I have  studied and practiced intensively in different fields of holistic well-being, from shiatsu to herbal courses, traditional blood cupping, shamanism, reiki therapy, and practiced Tibetan Buddhist mind exercises for about 15 years.
Jenni Örn:
I am a connoisseur of herbs and a dreamer from North Karelia. My work is to train people to use natural plants in different ways. I have studied herbal therapy, flower therapy and various methods of intuitive plant medicine, as well as Chinese medicine, i.e. energy medicine. The biggest teachers for me have been plants and nature itself. In my work, the most important thing for me is to help strengthen a person's connection to the living environment and thereby strengthen the connection to themselves, and to encourage everyone to use their creative power boldly.
More information:
Retreat destination:

Villa Ruusula
Metsolantie 39, Rasivaara, Rääkkylä, Finland.
About 45 minutes from Joensuu.

  • Villa Ruusula is Sari Kaasinen's cultural home on the shores of North Saimaa in a wonderful powerhouse in the heart of North Karelia. Villa Ruusula's incredibly bright homeliness, motherly care, the freshness of the local nature, and the beauty of the entire courtyard create an unforgettable weekend experience. A wonderful beach sauna enables a dip in the waters of Pyhäselkä. Our course circle meets in a wonderful and high-ceilinged course space called Lato.

More information:
If you come to the course location from further away by public transport, you can arrive, for example, by train or bus to Joensuu, from where we can arrange carpools to Rääkkylä.

Is the retreat right for me?
The retreat is suitable for everyone who can participate for the entire duration of the retreat. Our retreat time together is alcohol-free and drug-free. Meals during the retreat are vegetarian.

Price: from 600€/person
Incl.: Retreat, accommodation with full board (breakfasts, lunches and dinners according to the program)

Preliminary program of the retreat:
16.00- Arrival of participants
17.00 Start of the retreat in the sauna
19.00 Dinner
20.00 Evening meditation

08.00 Breakfast
09:00 Retreat program / Morning meditation and treatments / Nature trip
12:00 Lunch
13:00-15:00 Break
15:00 Retreat program / Meditation and treatments / Winter and dream vision
19.00 Dinner
20.00 Sauna

08.00 Breakfast
09:00 Retreat program
12:00 Lunch break
13:00-14:00 end of the retreat
14.00 Return home