Yoga and Yurt Retreat in Cornwall with Shine Yoga
Find a comfortable seating position, sit up tall and drop your shoulders, bring yourself to the present moment and start to pay attention to your breath. On your next inhale take in a deep breath through your nose and hold it there at the top. Then slowly sigh out the breath through your mouth. One your second inhale, as you breath in slowly reach your arms up with the palms facing each other to touch at the top. As you exhale, turn your palms in and slowly bring your arms back down with the breath. Now close your eyes and repeat. Ah…feels great to let go of your day like this does’t it?
During our busy lives, we often find it difficult to take the time out to relax and let go. We are always rushing around between work and our social lives; and sometimes forget that it’s really important to make time for ourselves. I have been practicing yoga regularly for over a year now and I feel that the time I spend on my yoga mat, is the only chance I get to have time to myself. As well as the relaxing benefits of yoga, it can also be physical and mentally challenging where you can build core strength and learn how to completely switch off…sometimes the latter is always the most difficult part to the practice.
When I found out that Shine Yoga was running a yoga retreat in Cornwall this year, I thought what better way is there to take my yoga practice to the next level other than being be totally immersed in it for the weekend?
The yoga retreat in Cornwall was for three nights and it was held at Tremeer Farm in the beautiful Cornish countryside, which is situated in-between the South coast and Fowey river. The accommodation was just incredible, we slept in 18ft Mongolian-style yurts which for me was one of the highlights…maybe I’m a big kid a heart. The yurts were furnished inside with comfortable beds, chairs and twinkly fairly lights. They were plenty warm enough to sleep in and if you did get a bit chilly, they had a small wood burning stove installed… it was so cosy. You could say it was more like a luxurious way of camping, however personally I feel you can’t beat the feeling of getting back to nature and feeling totally removed from your every day life.
Surrounding the yurts were the boundaries of the family-run farm and it was hard not to bump into some of the farm animals who enjoyed wandering the grounds. Rosie the pig was adorable and provided us with endless entertainment. When feeding her food scraps she would sit like a dog and if you rubbed her belly with her own special brush she would roll onto her back with a great big grin on her face…she was just beautiful.
Any way back to the retreat…the retreat began on the Friday evening with a one hour gentle yoga practice, which felt perfect for setting the vibe for the weekend. It was nice to meet everyone else who had booked onto the retreat, who had all travelled from different places and had different reasons for being there. Some were new to yoga and wanted to be totally immersed in it for the weekend and others had been practicing for years and simply wanted to get away to feel all the benefits a retreat has to offer. Either way it was nice meeting new like-minded people who had a similar philosophy to life as you and who wanted to spend the weekend enjoying yoga.
The first yoga session of the day was really invigorating and would typically start at 8am and last for two hours. Each day we would start the class by writing a gratitude list (which is a list of things you are grateful for in your life at that moment in time) as well as setting an attention for the day. I remember that my attention on the first day was: ‘today I want to feel well and great’. It felt good to set an attention, having a moment to focus on what you wanted to achieve that day. Throughout the practice we would build heat and energy through dynamic flow sequences as well as focusing on key areas for strength such as hip openings.
Afternoons would be similar, although the sessions were more much restorative and calming ending with some guided relaxation and meditation. I always struggle with meditation, it feels like my mind is never quiet and it is amazing how having a busy mind can take up so much of our energy. I have to admit the meditation was much easier at the retreat because again you are away from your normal routine so it is much easier to switch off and stop worrying about things that don’t matter.
I really enjoyed the yoga, it was great being the main focus for the weekend. I must admit by the last chaturanga (a yoga push up) my arms felt like jelly and I struggled to stay awake for the last meditation. However, in a really strange way I also felt completely revitalised.
I found that during the yoga classes you would build up a good healthy appetite, so in-between I was so satisfied to be able to indulge in the delicious and nutritious food that was provided. For example, before the first yoga class we would help ourselves to a beautiful carrot, apple, lime and ginger juice, which instantly made you feel awake and ready for the class. After the first session we would have brunch which consisted of soaked over night oats and fresh bread with homemade jams. Mid-afternoon we could help ourselves to tea and a healthy snack such as a vegan carrot cake. In the evening we had a hearty meal such as veggie pasta to give us energy the next day.
The healthy food during the weekend also felt detoxing. Just by removing all the sugar and caffeine and not eating in-between meals alongside the yoga was enough to make your body feel like it had been reset.
On the first day I went to explore the Cornish countryside in-between the classes. It took just under one hour of walking along traditional Cornish lanes to get to one of Cornwall’s most idyllic beaches called Lantic Bay. It was a perfect activity to do during the weekend because I found feeling the wind on my face, the touch of the sand on my bare feet and the taste of the ocean on my lips enabled me to connect with nature again. I sometimes think we often spend a lot of time focusing on ourselves, however when we connect with nature we see things from a different perspective and you remember that you are part of something much bigger. The walk was invigorating and by the time I got back to the retreat I was ready for more relaxing.
After dinner one evening, some of us jumped in the wood fired hot tub…it was so good to relax the body after a day of yoga and walking. It felt pretty wild actually due to a big thunder storm that had started, there was so much raw energy around with the wind and claps of thunder. I love being able to witness things like this whist being outside. At some point we thought that being in a hot tub during a storm probably wasn’t so clever after all…so we all got out and ran to one of the barns for shelter.
I had a really amazing time at Shine Yoga’s yoga retreat in Cornwall this summer. It was a really unique experience and there are so many benefits to booking yourself onto a yoga retreat. I highly recommend you doing the same for your next holiday. I gained a real sense of achievement from working on my yoga and freeing my mind for the weekend.
Top 5 benefits of a yoga retreat:
- Make yoga be the focus for the weekend
- Eat healthy
- Re-connect with nature
- Be removed from your daily grind
- Gain a new perspective
For more information about the yoga retreat, check out Shine Yoga’s website.