I’ve just returned from what can only be described as a totally nourishing “Ocean of Bliss” weekend of yoga and chanting at the amazing Florence House in Seaford. Pure self-indulgence and something I would recommend to anyone- particularly mums in need of some time out!
Having been feeling somewhat overloaded of late with all the demands that come with being a working mum and general “wonderwoman”, this retreat came at the perfect time. It was actually a Christmas gift to me from my partner as I had wanted to on a yoga retreat for a long time but had never given myself “permission” to take time out from being mum, so he decided to treat me. I was very anxious about what the weekend would hold as I was going on my own and had no idea what to expect in terms of the level of yoga that would be practised and also because there was an element of “kirtan” – or chanting – during the retreat weekend with which I was not familiar. As it happens, I needn’t have worried- yes, it was daunting at first not knowing anyone, but everyone was very friendly and many were in the same position as me having travelled by themselves.
The whole weekend offered many challenges on many different levels and definitely took me out of my comfort zone (which I have been nestling in for a good many years!). The kirtan (chanting) which was led by the wonderful Nikki Slade was something completely new to me and I embraced it with an open mind. I must admit I didn’t totally understand it but I enjoyed giving my mind a rest from the usual chatter and clutter and simply focusing on singing the chants alongside my fellow “yogis” which was an incredibly relaxing and peaceful experience. In addition, the yoga was amazing and I was thankfully able to keep up. I have been practising yoga on and off for years but it was a real treat to be taught (and corrected) by the beautiful, talented (and very bendy!!) Katy Appleton. It was great to receive pointers on various positions and also to be introduced to new asanas (poses) and on a very basic level just to focus on “me” and on nourishing my body and soul. In fact, this was the best aspect of all- for the whole weekend all I had to think about was “me” and that hasn’t happened for a long time! Picture the scene: no-one else to look after, nothing to think about, no cleaning, no cooking (home-cooked organic vegetarian meals were all provided- yum!), no children or cats to look after, no work to do, just pure indulgent “me-time” and why not!? You must be convinced by now that it’s worth investing in yourself and heading off on a weekend retreat somewhere! We all deserve some time out and I have to say I returned to my family a much happier, calmer version of myself. I missed my children terribly while I was away and was physically aching to see them by the end of the weekend but it was all worth it and hopefully the shouty mum of late will have been replaced by a more chilled-out peaceful mum…..(for a while at least :-D)