I have been on and off with yoga for years now: I love the feeling I get after yoga, but I always struggle to find time for it. So when my mum invited me to come along with her to a yoga retreat, I got really excited about the whole experience as I wanted to learn more about different types of yoga and also just have a break from everything.
The Laughing Buddha retreat is located on a beautiful country estate in East Sussex, surrounded by fields and skies. It is spread over two properties - a scenic three story manor house and a modern renovated barn house. The guests can stay in either of the properties, your rooms are usually allocated (we stayed on the top floor of the manor house). The days are scheduled with activities, however there is a very relaxed attitude towards times and attendance of activities which is great as you really feel at home. The hosts, Alexis Garnaut-Miller and her partner Martin, are fantastic and make you feel very comfortable from the moment you step through the door.
We arrived a little late on the Friday night, but we did get to the farm in time for dinner which was a delicious mix of chickpea and spinach curry, Goan fish curry, quinoa with veg, red lentil dahl and kale with roasted seeds. You can pick and choose what you want and the hosts are very good to anyone who has allergies or other dietary requirements and provide them with alternatives. The food provided throughout the weekend was absolutely fantastic - it was healthy, but so delicious! It's inspired me to cook more healthy meals at home and definitely got me on board with raw veg meals and juices!
We started Saturday with a 2hr morning session of Dynamic Detox Yoga in the The Laughing Buddha yoga studio in the barn and I have to say there's nothing better than doing yoga and watching the sun come up. It felt great to start the day like that, and it's something that's inspired to turn our conservatory into more of a yoga space so I can enjoy yoga sunrise at home.
We then had a late breakfast which consisted of porridge, fruit, eggs and other yummy healthy goods.
After breakfast we had a couple of hours where we were encouraged to go for a walk or just relax - me and mum decided to go for a short walk around the countryside surrounding the farm. We came across the horses and ponies who lived on the grounds and gave them some cuddles and apples! I fell in love with the ponies - they were so small and cute!
After the walk, we went to a Yin Yang yoga sessions which was a much more relaxing session and really calmed your spirit down. It was really nice to unwind like that and take away some tips and tricks you can use every day to relax your muscles. I remembered some moves to relax the face and the eyes for when I'm spending long periods of time in front of the computer.
After a delicious dinner, we had a meditation session which was absolutely incredible and I would recommend trying out meditation to anyone who does get stressed or just finds it difficult to relax. You feel like you are generally in and out of consciousness and I even felt like I was asleep at one point. I have even started practicing meditation at home when I get a quiet moment - just for a few minutes, so I can clear my head. The positive vibes and affirmations you concentrate on during meditation can really help shift a negative mindset which pulls a lot of us down day to day, and help you envisage the things you really want in life.
We spent Sunday much like the Saturday, except instead of going for a walk we stayed in the house and chatted to some lovely women who all had incredibly interesting stories to tell. At the end, it felt like we had been there for ages (in the best way possible) and it was a really familiar place - almost like a safe, cosy bubble. After a delicious lunch of raw salads and roasted veg, we said bye to all our new friends and it was time to set off home.
I took away a lot from this weekend yoga retreat: healthy lifestyle tips, an obsession with yoga, a more positive attitude and a general feeling of freshness - it's been a weekend to remember. I think it's easy to get carried away with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but when you go away somewhere where you can connect with yourself, everything finally falls into place and the most important things in life stand out so much you just can't ignore them.
Thank you to my wonderful mum who took me on this amazing weekend break, it was absolutely lovely to spend time with her and have some laughs! xx