VANCOUVER, BC | August 10,11,12





More and more research is telling us that to have a healthy brain and life we MUST put the focus on our body!  

This 3-day retreat will be a blend of Feldenkraisian awareness through movement lessons, deep inquiry into the mind-body space via playful movement and lively discussion. 

Each day will be rich and full of opportunity to get active and moving in a creative way and to quietly investigate and explore your body and mind with the support of myself and my expert co-teacher, Elia Mrak. 


  • Gravity, weightlessness and navigating challenges with curiosity via movement.
  • Finding strength via the skeleton for effortless movement.
  • Emotions & expressions via movement and following the impulses.


  • The aspiring mind-body Jedi who wants to harness their deepest powers for healing and happiness.
  • The most devoted scholar to the healing arts who knows body intelligence is the way forward in health and healing.
  • The “never-stop-learning-&-growing-geek" who simply wants the best for their body, mind and soul.

Have you ever been fully in the moment and in your body? Like enjoying a really great meal when you're hungry or stretching into a dance with your whole heart and body or truly savouring the sand between your toes as you walk on the beach? My time with Irene & Elia at their workshop, UP&DOWN, was THAT for days.  

Because of the space Irene and Elia created, I was able to relax and settle into my own self and my own body. The work was deeply connective and while the impact seemed subtle, it was a subtlety with power. This alone would have been immensely satisfying, but then on my second full day, a deep, old trauma came to the surface, invited by the gentleness we'd been moving with. For the first time that I can recall in my life, I stayed present to this trauma, to myself, and to letting the experience of it flow through my body, giving it as much space and time as it needed. I didn't change it, force it, or hide it; I let tears flow, I stayed present.  

I was also surrounded by other people who were able to respect my space and bear witness, and when the time was right, I let myself be seen by other members of the group. That fact of community support, the power of the collective being greater than the sum of it's parts, turned an already powerful healing moment into an experience that has shifted something fundamental inside of me and months later, I'm still discovering the impact of this work. I am deeply joyful and so thankful for the experience. 

-- Violet Redkop. New Westminster, British Columbia


We won’t be doing gymnastics and judo rolls, and you certainly do not need not be an athlete or a dancer, but we do ask that you have the capacity to get down onto the floor without needing any aid from a wall, or a chair, or cane. 

You can be shaky and off balance, that’s NOT a problem, we’ll work on that! But I want to ensure you have enough functional and aerobic capacity to get onto the floor solo, and return back to standing solo.


We’ll be doing things that look a lot like this…. and then some! Come PLAY with us!  

ps – people from this workshop didn’t want to go home! (and neither did we)

I have participated in the Up & Down live workshops twice. Each time I was in very different places both physically and emotionally.  

The first time I was thawing from an emotional blockage. Upon arrival Irene and Elia greeted everyone with warmth and smiles and snacks! The process to unfold was very gradual, beginning with time to familiarize with the room and an exercise to help notice how our bodies felt in the space. The timing of everything was perfect. We learned layers of movements and neuropatterning concepts that became fluid and integrated over our time together. After the second day though I became incredibly nauseous. But Irene had already mentioned that sometimes shifts happen in unfamiliar ways. The third day I was still queasy but then something happened. There wasn’t an exact moment but through the gentle movements and awareness it let go. I let go. By the end of the day I was beaming. I hadn’t felt that good… ever? My cup was full and I was hooked on exploring the plasticity of the mind. I proceeded to join Irene’s 12-week course.  

The second time participating I came in on a different level. My rheumatoid arthritis had gone into a giant flare and though I had started to unravel stored emotion and was feeling more emotionally connected my body still had other ideas. I was worried about weight bearing on my hands and getting up and down from the floor and being on my feet a lot (problems I’d never had to consider before). But the movements are so personal that I could still fully express myself even in my less mobile state. I found myself enjoying being quieter in the group and not “trying” so hard. I found the support of others in the room to bolster me and inspire me to be authentic when sharing with the group. I even cried in front of the whole group- something I’ve never done in my life. And though I was embarrassed at the time, later I was proud of my new vulnerability. There is a strength that comes from working with the softness of our hearts and mine was no different.  

The workshops have been a beautiful condensed leaping point to embrace a new way of being in the world. They have left me forever changed and with brilliant nuggets of skills to move forward. I’m deeply grateful to Irene and Elia for sharing their knowledge so freely and emphatically.

-- Meghan Aris. Victoria, British Columbia 


Irene Lyon, MSC, is a nervous system specialist and therapeutic coach who helps everyone — from the mom next door to the next big thought leaders — transform their bodies, businesses, relationships and lives through regulating their nervous systems. She helps people release their deepest traumas from their nervous systems, allowing them to finally heal from chronic mental, physical, and emotional conditions they’ve tried everything to fix. Irene uses these same tools to help entrepreneurs break through the mental, physical, and emotional blocks that arise when taking big leaps in their businesses. As a result, together they create a huge ripple effect across the planet. Irene has intensively studied and practices the work of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, Peter Levine (founder of Somatic Experiencing) and Kathy Kain (founder of Somatic Practice). Irene has a master’s degree in research in the fields of biomedical and health science. She regularly appears on podcasts and online summits teaching all things nervous system health, healing trauma and neuroplasticity.

Elia Mrak has performed, taught, and directed dance and movement throughout the last decade of working in Europe, Central/South America, and the United States. He includes in his list of masters: David Zambrano (BELGIUM), Park Young-Cool (KOREA) and Break-dancer FeverOne (USA/Rocksteady). His practice fuses Breakdancing, Qigong, and dramaturgy of the theater. After graduating from Pomona College in 2006-07, he was awarded the Watson Fellowship, which began his career performing, creating and teaching in Europe. In 2010, he was the only American to be invited by Zambrano to participate in his intensive workshop “50 Days in Costa Rica.” This began his career performing, creating, and teaching in Latin America. Beginning in 2010, he began leading workshops for movement professionals and non-professionals at Club ZUM in Seattle, a boutique movement gym. Since 2012, Elia has collaborated with Irene Lyon, leading their own intensive workshops that honor the nervous system and rhythm as the epicenter of a healthy, happy, and intelligent body. Their workshops tell an anthropological story of human evolution for contemporary times. Elia blends his artistic work with his collegiate sports background and somatic knowledge to create unique workshops accessible for all.


FLOW. Ease, effortlessness and fluidity.  

Discover how to move and groove your body with greater resiliency (don’t worry, no contortionist yoga poses or fancy dance moves required!).

FUNCTION. Skillful, savvy and solid.  

You’ll discover the secrets of functional skeletal alignment that has nothing to do with core strength and endless boring strengthening exercises. You’ll learn how to tap into your organic movement intelligence so you can create your own movement routines that’ll help you stay strong and supple without any fancy equipment, just you and your body.

FUN. Smiles, belly laughs and play.  

Learning and playing in groups is medicine, yet as adults we rarely find time for this. Experience the joy of connection with others who share a similar passion for health, healing and happiness. 

FREEDOM! Move You. Sense You. Be You.  

Develop the self-knowledge to break through old habits and set a new tone for living life that is free from inhibition and toxic limiting beliefs. 

Exploration, Discovery, Play, Connection... Reconnection

March 2017 I gifted myself Irene and Elia's workshop, a gift of time, space and guidance to play, explore and discover movements, connections and understandings my body-mind was unaware of, or had forgotten. At the end of the workshop I was surprised and delighted to acknowledge that the event had met all the points listed on the website description plus my own hopeful expectations! 

-- Ingrid Goodall. Vancouver, British Columbia 


The Old Barn Community Centre at The University of British Columbia (UBC)

6308 Thunderbird Blvd Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

This is a stunning location away from the hustle and bustle of the city but close enough that you can head into downtown Vancouver in the evenings for meals and sightseeing.

The University of British Columbia is a massive campus and is a city in itself; there are accommodations for non-students on campus, grocery stores, restaurants and lots of walking trails in the woods as well as paths to the ocean. 

We picked this spot strategically to help create a space to retreat, learn, make new friends and have as a home base if you should choose to stay and be a tourist for a few extra days.  

See The FAQ Section for accommodation suggestions and what Vancouver and beautiful British Columbia has to offer.

Going into my workshop experience with Irene and Elia I was curious but also oddly nervous. However I shouldn't have been instantly these two amazing teachers put me at ease, gave me full permission to tap into my creativity and reminded me that beginner's mind is always the best place to do that. What a beautiful combination of structured movement and free playful movement it was a perfect balance. All of the instructions were clear and simple even, in my opinion, if you have never done any kind of movement before. After my time with them the learning kept coming. I was so present in my own body that my awareness kept building and expanding. I had zero pain in my body. I felt no tension ramping up any longer. Best of all I learned a practice so elegantly simple I still do it everyday. Thank you Irene and Elia I will attend again until then I'll keep getting down and getting up.

-- Libby Chambers Kluttz. Charlotte, North Carolina 


Due to the nature of our work together, Elia and I curate our teaching and progressions based on the individuals in attendance and the group dynamics, but this will give you an idea about how the day will flow.  

If you’re coming from out of town, we highly recommend giving yourself ample time to arrive, settle in, and check out the beauty that is Vancouver, British Columbia.  

We strongly recommend that you be IN Vancouver the day before the workshop begins. In all our years holding workshops and events we’ve found that there’s nothing worse than rushing in to a workshop and rushing out without having any time to soak up the new surroundings and integrate the time (and money) you’ve invested in yourself.  

We also recommend planning NO TRAVEL the night after the workshop, so you keep the transformation your body and mind has experienced during the workshop. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a car and driving (or flying) for 5 hours after spending two days moving, grooving and learning. When you give yourself the time for arriving before and added integration afterwards you’ll deepen your learning experience in so many ways.  

For those who live in Vancouver and surrounding areas, I recommend the same. Schedule your night before the workshop to be open and free of stress and allow for plenty of travel time to the venue during the workshop. After the workshop ends, have your time open for YOU so you can also integrate and let the workshop sink in. 

Elia and Irene made my experience very enjoyable. They are both personable, kind, easy to be around, and have a gift for teaching movement in an easily understandable way. Coming from different movement disciplines actually worked in their favor and it was amazing to see how seamlessly their teachings blended. I have a love for movement in my life and my love was nourished in their class. We were able to get to a lot and experience a lot in a short amount of time. I look forward to taking another intensive with them again in the future. I think about them and the things I learned in the workshop every single time I move towards the floor and get up again.

-- Mark Read-Smith. Asheville, North Carolina


#1: What kind of stuff will I need?

For Class:  

A water bottle. Pen and paper/notebook/journal. Camera/phone to take pictures.  


Because we’ll be doing a blend of movement (low and medium intensity), subtle and quiet self-awareness floor work and good ‘ol chatting and Q&A, I recommend dressing in layers for our time in class. Comfortable clothing that you can move in that isn’t too baggy and isn’t too tight.  

(In my opinion, good old cotton is the best fabric for this work. Tight stretchy yoga gear limits your pelvic movement, ironically).  

I suggest bringing socks in case your feet get cold during our quieter exploration.


Your enthusiasm and desire to learn, laugh and love movement.

#2: Traveling into Vancouver


If you are arriving from out of town, you’ll want to fly into Vancouver International Airport (YVR is the airport code.)  

If you are driving from the USA give yourself extra time in case of border waits and highway traffic coming into Vancouver.

#3: Where should I sleep?


You are responsible for your own meals and accommodations and travel arrangements.  

On Campus Accommodation  

There are three main accomodation spots for non-UBC students and you can find them all on this site.

(FYI: Triumph House is the closest to our venue, The Old Barn Community Center. I’d suggest securing accommodation sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.)  

Off Campus Accommodation  

There are many hotels in the greater Vancouver area which are only a Google search away.  

Or give Airbnb or VRBO a try for affordable and homier accommodations:  


#4: Getting around in Vancouver


The closest UBC parkade from The Old Barn Community centre is a 4-minute walk.  



From YVR.  


Our primary light rail transportation system in Vancouver is called Skytrain. It can get you to major areas of the city and suburbs. And it connect from Vancouver International Airport to central Vancouver and downtown. It does not go to the University of British Columbia.  



#5: What's there to do in Vancouver?


The best suggestion for sightseeing in Vancouver is to Google it, and see what pulls your attention and interest. We have a few art galleries, one of the main ones is on campus at UBC, The Museum of Anthropology

Local Beaches: Kitsilano Beach, English Bay, Spanish Banks, Wreck Beach (Notice: Wreck beach is a clothing optional beach.)  

Best Views of Vancouver CityScape:  

Grouse Mountain: You take a gondola to a local ski area. Bar and restaurant and walking trails are up on top. If you have a car, you can drive up to Cypress Mountain and sit at the look-out for a city view.  

Foodie Districts:  

Vancouver’s food scene is definitely on the up and up. Asian cuisine is stellar here, as is the our classic West coast fare (seafood and fish), not to mention good old Irish/English comfort food in the many pubs.  


Parks are everywhere, especially on the North Shore which is North Vancouver and West Vancouver.  

Lynn Headwaters is my favourite park to walk and hike in. Busy on the weekends, but worth it.  

For the avid hikers, Grouse Mountain is famous for its steep “Ground Grind” hike. Only for those with fairly medium to expert fitness levels. The trails near UBC in Pacific Spirit Regional Park are vast and easy with gentle inclines.  

Deep Cove is lovely spot to visit for kayak rentals and to experience a cozy little seaside village.  

Ambleside is a trendier area with a seawall that looks to the South and towards Vancouver. Dundarave is even quieter, more retirement energy :).  

Stanley park is Vancouver’s version of Central Park. There’s a walking path that circles the park, and trails within the park.  

Mountain and Alpine Viewing:  

Head to Whistler for a day or overnight excursion and take the Whistler gondola up the ski hill into the high alpine.  

You can sightsee on top and have a beer and a burger, or both. 🙂  

Ocean and Island Life:  

Vancouver Island is a 90-minute ferry ride away from the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen (about 45 minutes outside of Vancouver.) From there you can sightsee in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia (it’s very British over there), or drive up island to Long Beach and Tofino (where the surfers hang out).  

Saltspring Island (you must access it via Vancouver Island) is known for its artisanal goods, cheese especially, and its quintessential island/hippie feel.  

The Sunshine Coast is another popular destination, which is technically mainland BC., but it has the small town, island feel. You need to take a ferry to access this part of the mainland.  

So many more!!  


Have more time to stay and explore?  

:: The Okanagan is British Columbia’s Wine Country. If you’re a wine lover, you can spend a few days visiting wineries and tasting all the delicious fruits and juices grown in this desert hot climate.  

:: Go even further into British Columbia and make your way into the Kootenay region of BC. (my personal favourite) where you’ll find stunning lakes and mountains.  

:: Go even further and you’ll reach the Rockies (bordering the province of Alberta)!  

OK, there’s just SOME ideas that might whet your appetite for visiting BC.

#6: Snacks 

I’ll be providing light (finger food) snacks.  

I know everyone has different preferences when it comes to their coffee and espresso needs, so you’ll be responsible for your morning coffee. There’s a quality local cafe below the room we’ll be in that has all the options. This cafe also has treats and light deli-style meals.

#7: What is the refund policy?

Please understand there is a high demand for our Up & Down Live classes, and we limit class size. Once you have enrolled, your spot in class is secure. You may cancel your enrollment up to 14 days before the start of the course and receive a full refund. 

If you cancel less than 14 days prior to the commencement of the course, we will still issue you a full refund IF we can fill your spot. If we cannot fill your spot you will NOT receive a refund.  

We STRONGLY suggest that you set your schedule up so that you do not miss a precious moment of this experience. Do not be late. We’ll see you very soon!

Truly was a life changing experience!

-- Barb C, Vancouver, BC.