My Down-Time Adventure With Adventure Yogi
My worst nightmare at the moment? Losing all the data on my iPad which would leave me without access to my calendar. Juggling studies, work, social drinks and dinners and sneaky getaways come at a price - big FOMO (fear of missing out) and little time for myself. Experimenting with my need of down-time time, I went on a WellBeingYogi wellness retreat by Adventure Yogi in East Sussex with my friend and lifestyle blogger Sarah who in my eyes manages to strike a perfect work-life balance. Not knowing what to expect, I prepared myself for a rough regime of something like a yoga bootcamp, strict diet, spiritual get-togethers, and all of that on a tight schedule. Contrary to my expectation, WellBeingYogi Retreat is a very friendly place that helps its guests embrace the time one can spend with themselves and enjoy the downtime.
A train to Stonegate, East Sussex, took us to a peaceful countryside where 15 people get together for four days of yoga, healthy eating and time to unwind (minus wine and coffee) under insightful guidance of Adventure Yogi. Having had a warm welcome from Michelle King, one of the founders of Adventure Yogi, we were taken to a beautiful converted farm in the English countryside that had a big house with spacious rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and an absolutely amazing relaxing ambience.
Having arrived at the WellBeingYogi retreat on Friday afternoon, we were taking it easy - exploring the area, sunbathing (we were absolutely lucky with the weather catching the last warm sunny days!), chilling by the pool, playing with a restless local dog and chatting to Michelle and Rachel, a yoga teacher who later that evening introduced us to Adventure Yogi yoga experience.
The yoga weekend schedule looked busy (see the picture of our welcome letter with the schedule below) - kicking off at 8 am with silent walks in tranquil surrounding countryside, with 2 hours of yoga in the morning, holistic massage (I went for Thai massage which was incredible), guided country walks, delicious vegetarian feasts and 2 hours of yoga in the evening.
With such a busy timeline for the day, we still had plenty of time to explore the surroundings, read, talk to the retreat guests, and just chill and sleep. What I really enjoyed about Adventure Yogi approach is that there was no pressure for us to stick to the suggested schedule and we could enjoy the retreat at our own pace. After 2 hours of light yoga on the first evening I was ready to sink my head into the pillow. With countryside nights so dark and air so fresh I had a good deep sleep and every morning woke up well-rested like never before and was looking forward to 2 hours of yoga in the morning.
The Yoga Experience
Hosted by a charming and insightful yoga teacher Rachel Johnston the classes presented restorative form of Hatha yoga, suitable for all levels - whether you are an experienced yogi or just starting your journey.
I found Rachel’s style very welcoming and friendly and the classes were very informative. Unlike yoga studio classes in London that run on average around an hour or an hour and a half and therefore feel rushed, with teachers sometimes going through the routine rather than giving people insights on why certain positions should be done one way and not the other and how a certain way of breathing makes an impact on your yoga experience, Rachel took her time to explain to us how she recommends approaching certain yoga moves, why she does so and what variations people could perform depending on how advanced they are in yoga.
All of the classes started with breathing exercises that helped ventilate the lungs and get rid of stale oxygen which I always find refreshing and relaxing. Lying on the floor, we were warming up our muscles with gentle moves that prepared the body for dynamic yoga movements and transitions between asanas. Having treated yoga more as an exercise in the past, with Rachel’s help I became much more aware of how, in yoga, the body connects with the mind and how by practicing yoga more I can improve my mindfulness and start living a more fulfilling life. This might sound too idilic but that’s exactly the way it is.
While yoga was clearing up my mind, my body was enjoying the rejuvenating effect of vegetarian food.
The Vegetarian Feast
Being big on seafood and huge fan of Bob Bob Ricard’s Beef Wellington, I could not imagine running on vegetables only before. After four days of vegetarian meals prepared by a super talented chef Tatu Bearcroft - I now have the proof that vegetarian food is not only good for you, but also nutritious and absolutely delicious! From vegetables soups to crunchy green salads and even mouthwatering desserts, I was blown away by WellbeingYogi menu and appreciated the way it made me feel - light, fresh, and full of energy. (It was hard to manage without coffee and a sneaky glass of wine for the first couple of days but the positive impact the new meals were making helped me overcome the cravings.)
It’s impossible to cover Tatu’s vegetarian magic in one paragraph, so look out for a separate blog post from me focusing on Adventure Yogi's WelBeingYogi retreat food!
Three days at the WellbeingYogi retreat felt like two weeks of an amazing vacation and I naturally didn’t want to leave this wellness shelter. I however took back something that will always stay with me from now on - the knowledge of how important it is to have me-time, tips and tricks on breathing and relaxation, new yoga moves, amazing vegetarian recipes and of course heart-warming memories from the fantastic WellbeingYogi weekend.
I also know that with dozens retreats AdventureYogi run every year, there is always a way to experience it again, whether in the UK or around the world. If you want to do the same, check out the schedule for 2014 and 2015 here:
and full calendar of retreats is available here: http://www.adventureyogi.com/calendar/
November 7th – 9th | 2 nights | Oxfordshire with Rachel Johnston and Anna Bywater November 14th – 16th | 2 nights | Somerset with Wenche Beard December 5th – 7th | 2 nights | East Sussex-Stonegate with Carolina Smilas and Eloise Minton
January 30th – February 1st | 2 nights | Oxfordshire February 6th – 8th | 2 nights | Oxfordshire February 20th – 22nd | 2 nights | Somerset May 23rd – 26th | 2 nights | Norfolk June 19th – 21st | 2 nights | Surrey July 24th – 26th | 2 nights | Surrey August 14th – 16th | 2 nights | Sussex-Lewes August 28th – 31st | 3 nights | Norfolk
August 28th – 31st | 3 nights | Surrey October 23rd – 25th | 2 nights | Oxfordshire
*Prices from £245pp to £375pp for 2 nights, and from £325pp to £445pp for 3 nights, depending on Buddha Rating*