A weekend in the country with Adventure Yogi:
Escape the rat race and take some time out for yourself in the Sussex countryside…….
My London life is full of fun but the daily grind of work and family life can take its toll. Once the winter months set in I get a little weary especially in the face of all of the Christmas festivities, which lie ahead.
What better way to take time out than to escape to one of Adventure Yogi’s yoga retreats in the beautiful Sussex countryside for some ‘me time’.
I had chosen to attend a yoga and well-being retreat to indulge myself in restorative yoga, meditation, country walks, massage and healthy nutritious vegetarian food but above all some real time out from my hectic life.
I arrived at Barndown Farm on a cold and frosty evening as darkness fell, after driving through the Friday rush hour traffic. I was delighted to be welcomed into the warmth of my accommodation which was in a beautifully converted old barn with exposed beams, rustic wooden floors, and traditional floral bed quilts. There are three separate cottages on the farm grounds. I was sharing my room, as is the custom on these retreats, and in keeping with life on an Ashram, so I do recommend if you want single occupancy to be sure to ask in advance or alternatively come with a friend as several people seem to have done. Luckily, my roommate Hannah couldn’t have been lovelier.
Our weekend began with a 2-hour restorative Yin yoga class with our yoga teacher Simona. The spacious, lowly lit studio is inside another converted barn, which was warm, and inviting, there were mats, cosy blankets and blocks provided.
Yin is a passive practice, which is designed to help you sit longer, and more comfortably in meditation by stretching connective tissue around the joints (mainly the knees, pelvis, sacrum, and spine). Poses typically are held for 3 to 5 minutes in the process of deep breathing which accesses the deeper layers of fascia. I’m an absolute convert for this form of yoga, which feels very soothing for both the body and mind, plus it’s a wonderfully peaceful practice to do in the evening and proved to be the perfect antidote to the stresses of my London life.
I met with my fellow yogis over dinner, which was rustled up by our chef extraordinaire Charlotte, who became a bit of a celebrity over the weekend and gave an enormous amount of value added to the retreat. Her wonderfully warming nutritious vegetarian meals, along with her innate understanding of the benefits of eating a well-balanced diet inspired us all and had everyone vowing to go away cooking and eating healthier meals in the future.
Throughout the weekend we ate a superbly well thought out menu with a range of nourishing food, including wholesome soups, delicious inventive salads, a mung bean dal, with perfectly sautéed black kale with cumin seed, crunchy lettuce Tacos with black beans, pickled radishes grilled beetroot and tahini, Asian inspired Miso glazed aubergine plus some divine healthy treats including gluten free brownies served with a date caramel sauce that literally had everyone drooling and some rather cute looking baked apple stacks –stacked high with oats, pecans and raisins topped with vanilla oat cream, which I can thoroughly recommend as a great alternative to regular cream. Brunch was a choice of hearty porridge, fruit, eggs and grains.
After the evening meal at 10 pm silence fell, I felt very content and happily retired to bed with a chamomile tea.
Saturday morning I awoke to see for the first time the true beauty of my surroundings. We were taken on a silent guided walk as the sun rose over the South Downs and I was able to fully appreciate the luscious Sussex countryside and breathtaking views.
Simona teaches a mixture of Yin and Vinyasa Flow. Our morning sessions were more energizing and dynamic, waking up my tired body and challenging it to some new postures. I have a shoulder injury, but Simona was mindful of my personal needs during my practice.
Vinyasa is a vibrant, soulful yoga practice, characterized by creatively stringing a variety of postures together so that you move seamlessly from one to another, using your breath. No two classes are ever alike.
Vinyasa dates back to the Vedic age – the earliest period of yoga thousands of years ago, it referred to a series, or sequence of steps, to make something sacred. As a philosophy, Vinyasa recognizes the temporary nature of things. We enter into a posture, are there for a while and then leave.
Simona’s gentle approach encouraged students to connect with the natural flow of energy and practice from a place of self-acceptance and compassion.
The morning Vinyasa yoga practice awoke all my senses and afterwards, I was more than ready for the hearty brunch in store.
The rain arrived at midday but it didn’t put off a group of us going on a leisurely country walk; there’s nothing quite like breathing in the fresh air whatever the weather and luckily I had come suitably equipped with boots and rainwear. Yoga and country walks make a fabulous combination of activities, although here at Barndown Farm the choice is all yours, whether you fancy taking a walk, reading a book, having a massage or maybe an afternoon nap?
Sunday morning, I had a deep tissue massage with experienced therapist Jane, which was a real treat and left me floating on air and ready to return home.
My whole experience was hugely positive, I met some very lovely, warm people, enjoyed the benefits of Simone’s meditation and yoga practice, revelled in the peace of the beautiful countryside and have eaten food that warms the soul but ultimately I have had the rare opportunity to take time out for myself and believe that I’m worth it.
I headed home feeling revitalized and more focused, as if my batteries had been recharged and my body nourished, and vowing to myself to make sure I went on another yoga retreat with Adventure Yogi again soon.
Adventure Yogi runs a variety of different retreats in the UK and abroad throughout the year.
For more information check the Adventure Yogi website
or call 01273 782 734
If you are thinking of booking a yoga retreat why not pin this post for later!
Disclosure: I was a guest of Adventure Yogi but all comments are editorially given.