Let’s get a couple of things straight here, right off the bat.
I’m a steak-eating, gin-drinking, sometimes-trashy-TV-watching type of person. I love eating bacon sandwiches and getting drunk and dancing on the table. I love cake and over-indulgence. My bottom wobbles and I don’t dust my trainers off half as much as I could.
So. You can imagine the shock I gave myself, when having the chance to be husband and child free for a weekend for the first time in years, I chose to spend it at a vegetarian, no booze retreat, with silent walks and meditation.
The truth is, that for the last 10 years, in some kind of total contrast to the rest of me, yoga has been an on and off thread that’s run through my life and kept my brain on the straight and narrow. It’s where I’ve turned to switch off during difficult times and find stillness in wonderful, but manic moments.
Yoga makes me believe that I can be that, calm, serene person I dream I am. Yoga brings out all the bits in me that I love. Yoga makes me feel strong, positive and peaceful. So why the bloody hell don’t I do it more?
Life gets in the way. So, in need of some Mumma recovery time, Kate and I hatched a plan. On a blustery weekend in January, off we went with Adventure Yogi for a weekend of spiritual nourishment, day-time naps and gossip.
We were greeted at Pennard House, by warm smiles and a pack of super friendly dogs. The house felt instantly like home. It feels like visiting your (jolly posh) grandparents. Everything is a little worn around the edges, but softer and more welcoming for it.
We met our fellow yogis, a lovely group of 16. All people like us, just looking for some inspiration and peace in busy lives. We got settled in for the night in super comfy beds.
In the morning we all sneaked out of the gates together for our silent walk. It was a bit surreal, but totally refreshing to look around at the stunning scenery, walk into the sunrise in silence together.
Breakfast was fruity, spiced porridge, compote, yoghurt and delicious juices with a side order of an Angel Card to read. I loved these little thoughts for the day. Mine were alarmingly intuitive. Clearly someone had their eye on me.
Over the weekend we took 5 yoga classes, each 2 hours long. Some were relaxed, some were strenuous and some were challenging. Parts of the class were meditation and some chanting. (Yes, I said chanting.) They are held in a beautiful converted barn of Pennard House.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)
Our teacher for the weekend was the lovely Tammy. She was super knowledgeable, didn’t take herself too seriously and put us all at ease. She understood that we’d be trying things we’d not even considered before and held our hand in getting us to take a leap of faith and have a go. Her classes were some of the best I’ve ever been part of.
Forearm Balance (Pincha Mayurasana)
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Between classes, reading, sitting in front of the fire and having naps (packed schedule) we ate more delicious, homemade vegetarian food. All 16 of us sat together in the dining room, chatting about what we’d done that day and vaguely wondering what was going on back home.
Before we left, Kate and I found time for a quick spot of ‘welly yoga’ outside. There was quite a lot more giggling than yoga.
I finished the weekend feeling physically tired, but utterly refreshed. I completely surprised myself by loving the chanting (really, go to a class, keep an open mind and give it a try, it made me feel crazy good). I’ve been inspired to eat more vegetarian food (which helps with my non diet) and carry on trying to meditate. Yes, my husband thinks I’ve joined a cult. Do I care? Do I heck.
Namaste my friends.