Our approach

Opening and Deepening

The word Alalaho comes from the Tibetan Buddhist lineage and encapsulates the joy and wonder  that arises when opening to what is, when embracing and celebrating all aspects of reality. It acknowledges the great Mystery, the immensity… and the simplicity of it all.

Alalaho is about cultivating this all-embracing attitude as a way of life, which happens through a continuous interplay of opening and deepening. Peak states, such as those experienced on psychedelics, can open us to what is important in life, and steer our course, but they alone aren’t enough to transform insights into lasting change. Our conditioning quickly lures us back into entrenched behaviours. To deepen the insights gained during a peak state into a new way of life, we must address what is blocking us from experiencing our full freedom, wholeness and potential.

We do so by attending to the various dimensions of our human experience: the relationship with ourselves, with others, with the natural world and the mystery of life. This is the underlying principle woven into all our work and every one of our retreats.

The Four Pillars


Relationship with self

As children, it’s unlikely that we felt unconditionally accepted, or validated in our authentic experience and expression. Over time, we may have learnt that certain emotions are not welcome, and therefore suppressed them.

To truly connect with ourselves, we must learn to feel again. Our feelings contain vital information that can help guide us towards a more authentic, aligned and fulfilling life. Allowing the energy in emotions to flow in a healthy way can also make us feel more alive.

Connecting with ourselves also means learning to sense again, by recovering our ability to ‘be in our body’ (as opposed to only in our heads). Our body and emotions are intricately linked: (think of how your heart starts racing whenever you get nervous). In recent years, much research has emerged on the mind-body connection, showing how unprocessed emotions are held in the body. Embodiment practices can help us access these deeper layers of our subconscious, bringing them to awareness so that we can begin the healing process.

Learning to be in our bodies again allows us to better hear, understand and respond to the messages it is constantly sending and receiving. Being truly embodied is also our gateway to enjoying the sensuous world, to really fully be here, as a human on planet Earth.

Relationship with others

The majority of our wounding and challenges in life stem from our issues in relating with others; whether it is our parents, siblings, children, partners, friends, colleagues, employers or employees. Because we are social, relational beings, a significant part of our healing can only happen through relating, authentically. By this we mean learning to communicate honestly and vulnerably what we feel and sense. True connection and intimacy, which we all crave, can only be created by being honest. At the same time, relating with others in a mature way also means learning to take responsibility for our feelings and needs.

We often fear that we will be rejected if we show the parts of ourselves that like to remain hidden, parts we deem unacceptable or shameful. But ironically, when we muster up the courage to do so, it generally creates more connection, not less. It is the hiding that creates distance, not the truth. True connection and intimacy, which we all crave, can only be created by being honest.

We strongly believe in the value of group settings, where we can safely explore relating to one another in a held and loving space. Tremendous healing comes from being witnessed and accepted as who we are. The group also provides a container for deep insights by acting as a mirror: it reflects back to us aspects of ourselves, and reveals to us what we project onto others. Relating with others in a mature way means becoming aware of and taking responsibility for how our psychological make-up influences our experience, both of ourselves and of others.

Relationship with the natural world

With our modern, digital lifestyles it is challenging to feel our interconnectedness with the larger web of life. We might understand it intellectually, but to actually feel and live it we have to reconnect with the natural world. Spending increasing amounts of time away from nature, we are missing out on a well of teachings that has been a source of wisdom throughout the ages.

The disconnection from outer nature goes in tandem with the disconnection from our inner nature: the physical, elemental, animal dimension of our being. We are nature: we are made of water, earth, air and fire; we go through cycles of birth, growth, and death; underneath our conditioned, civilised layers, we are wild and free.

Observing nature, we learn about the way of life, and we learn about ourselves. Being immersed in it, we reconnect with our own life force and regain access to the creativity and resilience that flows through all life. When we truly feel our inherent and intricate connection to and ultimate oneness with the web of life, love and compassion naturally flow.

Relationship with the Mystery

As much as we develop the relationship with ourselves, with others and with the natural world, there is an element to our human experience that will always be ineffable: beyond the grasp of the conceptual mind. If we want to attend to the whole of our being, we also have to cultivate a relationship with this intangible, mysterious thread invisibly woven into every aspect of our lives.

When we engage with the big questions such as “Who am I really?”, “Why am I here?”, “Where did I come from?” or “Where am I going?”, we are reminded that we are part of something much vaster than our tiny selves. Broadening our awareness to the impermanence of all things, including our own lives, reorients our relationship to our day-to-day struggles and helps us rejoice and be grateful for all the simple details of being alive.

Accepting that we are not in control of, but in a relationship with life, can open the door to trust, freedom and creativity. Only when we allow ourselves to let go, to open and soften, can we have the experience of being held. And when we feel connected to and held by something larger than ourselves, our actions can come from a place unconstrained by fear. When we live with intention but without attachment, we can really begin to dance with life.