“When you do yoga, three things happen. You become bountiful, blissful and beautiful” Yogi Bhajan
It was a still, calm and slightly chilly morning in rural East Sussex and nature had just begun to tease us with hints of its autumn glow; burnt orange and ruby red hues dancing in the shattered light reflecting off the lake.
Pumpkins, gourds and autumnal blooms, in all their glorious earthy tones flecked with vibrant bursts of sunshine provided the warmest of welcomes.
I’d never had the pleasure of attending a retreat before so it was really wonderful to be invited along to be a part of the Kudalini Yoga Retreat Day with Galit Hughes at Lime Cross Nursery in Herstmonceux.
Wellbeing in the Wild is a unique opportunity to take part in classes in the outdoors. The lake area is such a peaceful and tranquil space; the various sounds of rustling leaves, melodic birdsong accompanied by the lilting water provide the perfect setting to help clear and re-balance the mind and body and evoke feelings of serenity.
“Your strength is how calmly, quietly and peacefully you face your life” Yogi Bhajan
There’s something about being in the heart of nature that really helps us to connect with ourselves on a deeper level and this truly special environment with its wood-fired hot tub, mirrored ööd and secluded deck area serve to promote wellbeing in mind, body and soul.
Kundalini Yoga is a branch of yoga that is based upon reconnecting, re-aligning and opening-up ourselves to our amazing potential and aligning us with beauty, grace and radiance. This particular retreat day was specifically designed for women and the Kriya or ‘set of movements’, helps to support the spine, organs and nervous system.
The day began with a delicious herbal tea and we placed our mats in a semi-circle around Galit facing the lake. Galit introduced the day; the schedule had been tweaked slightly so that we’d avoid the rain.
Although there was a distinct nip in the air, our layers of blankets cocooned us to keep our warmth in and we did a rousing warm-up!
“Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements. Once you understand the grammar of yoga; you can write your poetry of movements” Amit Ray
The purpose of this particular Kriya was to get back in-touch, release, shine, find peace and allow ourselves to ask “what do I need”. I took this away with me and I have been asking myself each day what do I need at this moment? What’s going to help me to get to where I want to be? What do I need to release to move my life forwards?……We sat with our thoughts for a few minutes then introduced ourselves to the group.
We were invited to say one word; something we felt we needed and what we’d like to take away from the day. My word was Courage.
Galit guided us gently through each motion from Rock Pose to Cat then to Archer Pose (my favourite and one I’ve been practising daily), and we finished with Stretch Pose then Corpse Pose for 10 minutes.
Being completely still for 10 minutes surrounded by the sounds of nature felt wonderful. It reminded me that nature can teach us so much and that we can benefit on so many levels by taking the time to get out in the great outdoors!
Next up, a dip in the lake which was built by owners Helen and Vicky’s father who sadly passed away in 2014.
“My sister and I think it’s magical because our Dad created it and it’s got more and more beautiful each year. The water is so clean so there’s so much wildlife in and around the lake so we are careful not to overuse it but we love how it transforms people. You can be really stressed or sad and it always washes away negativity and makes you feel really refreshed and enlivened.” Helen.
It most certainly is magical and what an amazing legacy and gift to all who are fortunate enough to swim in this peaceful, calming and healing water. I took the plunge, quite literally and subsequently hot-footed it into the wood-fired hot tub! Yes, this actually exists and it warmed me to my cockles; the perfect way to round-up the morning.
Helen and Vicky’s vision for the future is to create weekend retreats with the ööd and on-site cottage being rented as accommodation. There’s also the potential for glamping and healthy juices and food to accompany the retreats! Yes please! I could’ve stayed the night under the stars for sure!
Lunch at Olive’s Café was delicious – homemade soup and crusty rolls with frittata, bean chilli, fresh salad, hot drinks and cake! The selection was amazing and we all sat together and got to know each other a little bit better.
We all had our own stories to tell and we all had our own personal reasons for attending. It was a beautiful bunch of women and we all felt like we’d experienced something really special together. The love and care from Helen and Galit was just wonderful and we retreated to the ööd (cake in hand, of course) for a final chat and to say our goodbyes.
I absolutely adored this day, the benefits from which I am still feeling. Take a look at the Lime Cross Nursery website for all dates, retreats and events. What a truly magical place it is and I look forward to visiting again soon.
Thank you Helen, Vicky, Galit and all the wonderful ladies from this amazing day – let’s meet-up again soon for tea and cake.