Breathing Bow courses are open to all string players and are led by Ruth Phillips and the cellist and yoga teacher, Jane Fenton of Release and Breathe.

Amateurs, students, teachers and professionals are all welcome. No previous knowledge of yoga or meditation is required. Each course has a maximum of 12 participants.

There are three sessions each day.

Away from your instrument:

Working with simple Scaravelli-inspired yoga and mindfulness practices that apply directly to our playing. These include exploring gravity, grounding, tensegrity, presence, listening, non-judgement and balance.

With your instrument:

What changes in our body, in our breathing when we bring up the cello, violin, viola or bow, or when we ‘add’ music? Through a set of simple exercises we learn how we can draw on the natural expansion and contraction of the ribcage to understand the nature of physical and musical tension and release, how we can use gravity and rebound to our advantage so that we can access our full power, and how to move from our core to avoid strain.

Performance Masterclass:

The last session of the day is given to short masterclasses in which participants who wish to perform in front of the group may do so, receiving a coaching with Ruth.

Group Closure

To close each day there is time to share any observations, fears, mental, emotional or physical blockages or insights we may have. As a trained therapist, Ruth provides a safe space in which to explore these issues, however challenging they may feel to us, helping us to realise that we are not alone.


Delicious nutritious breakfasts, lunches and dinners are prepared by the whole food Mediterranean chef Tara Lee Byrne, herself a cellist and yoga practitioner. Meals are accompanied by local bio- dynamic wines and are important moments of relaxation, laughter, debate and exchange.

Our Commitment to the Environment

In line with our holistic approach, The Breathing Bow is committed to the environment and, as much as we can, to zero waste. Food is locally sourced, seasonal and organic wherever possible.

Next workshop:  24-28th May 2020, Provence

‘Tensegrity is a structural principal of geometry where shapes benefit from strength and flexibility due to the push and pull of their parts. Tensegrity is at the heart of fractal geometry and the works of Buckminster Fuller. As human beings we are holistic compositions of components, in a dynamic dance of tension and compression, or push and pull.’
– Will Nagel


Individual coaching is held in Ruth’s home in Provence and is open to all string players, whether amateur, student, teacher or professional. On an individual retreat you will discover a new approach to practice so that not a moment is wasted, and each moment feeds the whole of you and the whole of the music. Immersed in the beautiful countryside of the South of France you will have the unique opportunity to reflect, rest and refresh your relationship to your playing and to music.

Some of the things you will cover are:

How to practice performing so that you are comfortable with what arises in the moment on stage.

How to practice letting go so that a sense of freedom replaces the fear of being out of control.

How to prepare yourself for a performance physically and mentally.

How to approach your instrument as an extension of your own body.

How to unify the physical and the musical gesture, and the left and right sides of the body.

How to practice in a way that is efficient and serves you as a whole musician and all the music you play.

As a trained therapist, Ruth is an expert listener, creating a safe space in which you can explore all aspects – mental, musical or physical and emotional – of your life as a musician.

The timetable on an individual retreat is up to you. You can come alone, and work intensely for four hours a day, or you can come with your partner, friends or family and have a short session each day whilst exploring the delights of Provence. Whether you are a beginner wanting to learn how to play in the most economical way possible, a string quartet wanting to learn how to communicate better, or a professional musician wanting to reconnect with your love of music, everyone is welcome. Whatever it is you bring, you will rediscover fluency and ease in you playing and the possibility, so unimaginable to so many, that concerts can be an act of generosity and joy at all levels.


Discovery‘  sessions with Ruth are available on-line. After an initial session to see if you and Ruth are a good fit, a minimum of six coaching sessions is recommended to get the full benefit of The Breathing Bow. In order to book your first session, please fill in the form below with details of your experience, explaining what it is you would like to get out of the work. If you have a website and/or a video of your playing, please include links to these. You can then pay on the Book A Discovery Session Button.

‘I came across Ruth at a difficult time for me with my cello playing, and started having lessons via skype on a regular basis. She is extremely thoughtful and caring, and helped me gain a lot of insight into my playing and my attitude to my cello, shaping the relationship into a healthier and happier one. She is a wonderful cellist and teacher, and can offer valuable technical as well as musical advice.’ – Marina, cellist

Once you have organised the date and time of the first session please make sure your webcam is set up so that Ruth can see you and your instrument clearly.

First session, 60 minutes – $90

Following sessions of 75 minutes – $110

Breathing Bow Web package (6 sessions of 75 minutes) – $640

Cancellation policy: Up to 7 days before – full refund. Up to 48 hours before – 50% refund.

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Accommodation is offered in a beautiful Provencal village house in the hamlet of Les Baux, near Bedoin.

Price for coaching per day:
80 euros per hour.
Three day package for three days of three hours coaching per day:
650 euros

To book, please contact Ruth directly on

Travel Info.

Marseille Airport
Easyjet, British Airways, Air France, and Ryanair fly to Marseille and Nimes airports.

Eurostar goes from London St Pancras to Avignon TGV. Eurostar

Direct TGV (Trains Grand Vitesse) trains go from Paris, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Brussels, Aix en Provence (Marseille airport shuttle) and Marseille train stations. Rail Europe

The accommodation is 2km from the nearby village of Bedoin. Car hire is recommended and is available at all stations and airports.

Cello hire may be arranged.

Map of where the individual retreats are held

The house where individual retreats are held


Ruth Phillips is available to hire for conferences, coaching and workshops. If you are an institution, a college, an orchestra, a chamber or amateur music group or a festival, Ruth would be delighted to come and work with you, either for a day or as a member of your faculty. Please contact Ruth directly HERE

‘In order to really be, you have to be free from the thinking…non-thinking is an art and, like any art, it requires patience and practice.’

-Thich Nhat Hanh (Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise)

– Next Workshop –

May 24-28th, 2020

With Ruth Phillips & Jane Fenton

[Ltd. spaces available]

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