Skinny Buddha – a retreat far from the Madding Crowd

Its early on a Sunday morning, 7.30 am.  Those of you who know me will appreciate that for me to be up at such an hour (and not coming home from a night out) it has to be something good.

I am off to a taster day being held by a new Company called Skinny Buddha.  I found out about it on good old Facebook, please take a look at their site  The location for this day & their future retreats is Tofte Manor in Bedfordshire, just twenty minutes from Luton Airport, so only 50 minutes from my Hertford home!

Its a beautiful day, the sun is shining, JT is playing away on my stereo in the Audi, I am in fine voice (always) so off we toddle….

I arrive a little early, but thanks to the perfect direction’s from the guys I am there stress free.  I am greeted with a warm smile & a well needed cuppa.

I am a little nervous, I have never done anything holistic like this before!  Previous blog readers will know I have only taken up Yoga for the last few weeks and I am a newbie to it all.  But, I also have made a promise to myself that each week I will try something new that pushes my boundaries – so here we go!!

Its a great group of people – some who are well practiced in Yoga or Meditation, and some of us who are total novices (thank goodness)!  Everyone is friendly and throughly looking forward to the day ahead.

We start the day with an introduction to meditation.  This is the part I am less than convinced about.  We take our seats in a beautiful summer house set in the Manor grounds, and the lecture begins.  It is thoroughly motivating & intriguing, probably because of the wonderful gentleman giving the talk – such a calm, friendly, funny & inspiring guy.  He talks us through the theory – which all makes perfect sense.  Now, for the practise.

I close my eyes and begin to clear my mind.  The trick is to not fall asleep, but not think of anything – don’t listen to any sounds, don’t think whats for lunch (hhhhmmmm – stop it), just clear your thoughts.  I only manage it for a few minutes, it is something that really will take some practice, but I am looking forward to giving it time in my life to help me manage my life.

Next stop is a peaceful walk around the Labyrinth Garden.  Guided by Scott, it is a wonderful day to do such a calming thing.  A lovely touch.

Lunch – now as we all know I love my food.  I am trying to clean up my diet, and eat quality, healthy foods – I am pretty much vegetarian these days, not because i don’t want to eat meat i just really enjoy how the good stuff makes me feel.  And wow, what a stunning spread! I am NOT a fan on Quinoa – no matter how much I try, but I ate the most tasty Quinoa salad – I must get the recipe! Also on offer was a lovely spread of breads, salads & my favourite – Coodles! Courgettes spiralled to look like noodles – delicious! I honestly am going to do that one…. watch the recipes on the sight soon!! Desert is a amazeballs cheesecake – dairy & sugar free.  This has just strengthened my desire to get home and start eating like this for good (the odd burger of course!).

After an hour to digest, and a walk around the beautiful grounds and a dip in the heated pool its the main event for me – Yoga.  As someone who has only been to 2 beginner classes I am truly a novice.  As someone who runs occasionally and sits at a desk my flexibility is not the best.  But here goes…..

Our teacher is totally mesmerising – her voice is so calming – I want it as a ringtone!! We go through the basics, then onto some more challenging moves – I may not be very good but I absolutely love it, and the hour and a half flies by in no time.  The whole group seems to have loved it, all levels.  At the end of the main practice we then try a small session of Yoga Nidra – Yoga sleep.  You don’t sleep, but I honestly don’t think I have ever been so relaxed! Must do this again!!!! Although I am physically tired, I am full of energy.  A refreshing green smoothie awaits us before we head home for the day.

After a good chat with the organisers, I am inspired.  So I jump back in the German whip (one for the youngsters there) & head off back down the M1 – singing even louder & happier.

Thanks to all the group & the Skinny Buddha team, it was great meeting such a lovely bunch!!! I will be back!! Now, an early night beckons…….



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