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Being Present”  - The Essence of Shiatsu with Suzanne Yates and Fran Robinson

 Deepen the quality of your touch and your connection to yourself by taking time to be more present to yourself, to nature and the rhythms of the outer world as well as other beings.

Explore your creativity and presence with shiatsu, massage, movement, sound, dance and other expressions as appropriate to the group.

This course will also be taught at the Orchard, in Herefordshire, UK, in May 2025. This is where Suzanne and Fran studied with Sonia Moriceau in the 1980's.

Suzanne and Fran both studied shiatsu in the 1980’s with Sonia Moriceau, completing 4 years of training and assisting her on the Diploma course. Although they have worked with other teachers, the essence of Sonia’s work remains at the heart of their practice. Working with Sonia was mostly in residential formats where time was given to deeply explore the nature of connection with touch and with ourselves. Mindfulness was at the core of Sonia’s teaching and all aspects of shiatsu and Chinese medicine were explored in a mindful, embodied, open-hearted and playful way. Fran and Suzanne have both observed that this deep essence is not always taught as profoundly in other shiatsu trainings and want to share it with more therapists through this course.

For more information on Sonia Moriceau and her way of teaching, read the blogs written by Suzanne.


Sonia Moriceau


The difference, and benefit, of being on a retreat is having the space to connect more deeply with where we are at personally, as well as in our therapist role. We will have time to exercise, meditate, reflect and relax as well as longer practical sessions which allow the work to be geared to your needs. Although we cover relevant theory, the focus is more on the experiential aspects of the work.

The retreat is open to any shiatsu practitioner and also to massage therapist and midwives who have studied with Suzanne or another Wellmother teacher.

Teaching Pavillon Sunflowers

Activities to deepen the presence of our touch

Explore the backward circle of the Hara and its connection to the past as well as the present

Deepen your Hara to hand connection

Investigate different qualities of touch – earth, water, metal, wood, fire and space

Dance with the body through mobilisation and stretches

Immerse yourself in following the body’s energy and its different rhythms

Find stillness and integration.

 Activities to deepen our presence to ourselves

Become more embodied through mindful activities in nature and open to a deeper connection to the support of Heaven and Earth

Explore the backward circle of your Hara and how you connect to your past as well as your present

Investigate different qualities of being – earth, water, metal, wood, fire and space

Dancing with your own body through movement and stretches

Immerse yourself in following your bodies different rhythms

Find stillness and integration.

Evening fire celebration at La Source retreat

Your location: La Source, near Mielan, Gers,

The teaching room is a hexagonal pavillon by a linden avenue. There is plenty of outside space. We will be a small group of 8 people plus Suzanne. It is where Suzanne lives and accommodation is in the main house with a couple of camping spaces. There are 3 hectares of land to explore around the house.

The food is provided by a local vegetarian cook. It will be organic and vegetarian. We are in the middle of the countryside with a lake nearby.

Course structure

Times: Arrive on Wednesday for an evening introduction and meditation and finish Sunday evening for a closing gathering. Final times will be decided depending on people's flight times but the main teaching is Thursday to Sunday.  You can arrive from Tuesday night and stay until Monday morning.

A Typical Day
07.15-08.15 Exercise & meditation with focus on day's theme
08.15-09.00 Breakfast
09.00 -10.00 Meditative activity outside
10.30-13.00 Practical Session inside
13.00-16.00 Lunch, Siesta, Walk, Activity, Integration
16.30-18.30 Practical Session inside
19.00 Supper
20.00 Exercise & meditation
One evening an "event" : a celebration/ceremony depending on needs of group.


I have really enjoyed the CPD training over the years , in particular the residentials. These are 5 days of bliss, meeting wise women, inspirational teachers and therapists and allowing myself rest and physical, emotional, social and spiritual nourishment in an idyllic setting. They have introduced me to Qi Kung and yoga, which I now incorporate into my daily life and into my teaching sessions.

Catherine Tugnait

Massage therapist

Dates and location

  • La Source, 32170 Mielan, France
    08/05/2024 - 12/05/2024


Suzanne Yates

Suzanne is the founder and principal teacher at Wellmother, established 1990

Fran Robinson

Fran teaches with Suzanne on the "Essence of Shiatsu" courses

Entrance Requirements

  • Open to any shiatsu practitioner as well as massage therapists or midwives who have already studied with Suzanne and are looking to develop their touch skills


Cost: teaching £430 (early booking £400)
Cost: Accommodation: 260 euros for the 4 days’ full board
Nearest airport Toulouse: one and half hours drive: transport can be arranged (approx 15 euros each way depending on numbers).

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