The Autumn Herm retreat
So the Universe has now made its message really clear...the Yoga & wellbeing retreats on Herm should never start on a Friday evening! Yes, there was a great sense of deja vu last Friday when the winds were high and I received a phone call from my Mum saying the boat to Herm had been cancelled and so we would not be able to get across to Herm for the much planned retreat until the next day. I had to smile.
Of course I was semi-prepared this time and know that there is absolutely nothing I can do to change the situation and so there is little point worrying about it. Of course all the attendees were totally understanding and I am sure they enjoyed the opportunity for a quiet night in as much as anything else (plus the relief of not having to venture out on rough seas!). Unfortunately I was so unplanned for what turned out to be a quiet night that I honestly did not know what to do with myself, all a bit strange!
So we travelled over on the Saturday morning in the rain and while everyone set off to unload their bags in their respective rooms at the lovely Mermaid cottages, I hot footed it to the White House to set up the Yoga space in the conservatory for the morning class with the help of Hayley and Chris (thank you ladies). The light in the room seemed brighter than last February and the room was certainly warmer and more ordered somehow.
Thankfully my Mum had actually accompanied us this time so as well as doing all the organising, she was also on hand to set up the treatment rooms and ensure everyone was settled in their rooms as well as liaising with the Herm staff to ensure everything ran smoothly...which it certainly did. A huge, huge thank you to Mum, she was certainly my star over the weekend.
There were 15 practitioners and everyone had practised Yoga previously so the classes were an absolute dream, we certainly filled the room with one light vibration and over the weekend the weather seemed to reflect the change in our enery arriving from Guernsey in the wind and rain and leaving with the sun breaking through the clouds and the winds having calmed right down.
After class on Saturday morning Chris and I managed a swim in the sea, a proper swim too, and while it wa s little bit of a shock to the system we both felt great afterwards and it was lovely to chat while swimming around the harbour like that! Others took the more comfortable option of wrapping up in warm clothes and enjoying the peace and tranquility of Herm with a walk around the Island or simply chilling in their rooms.
Actually after lunch, while some were enjoying massage with Hayley, reflexology with Chris and Reik with Eugenie (thank you again ladies) Mum led a few of us on a walk out to the statue at the north of the Island and through the centre, past the enormous Herm cows and around the coast back to the Mermaid via the silver mine, which is super cool as you have to walk off the main path and down the cliff so you can access the entrance into the mine, which reaches back to the main path underground. All rather exciting; my Mum is a wealth of unusual Herm knowledge!
The afternoon Yoga programme kicked off with thirty minutes of chanting and while I am not sure how others felt about this experience, I could certainly feel the uplifting energy circulating throughout my body and tingling in my heart and fingers, let alone leaving my mind clear of thoughts (well for a few minutes in any event!). This was followed by a pranayama and meditation session before a gentle and restorative evening class so that we were all chilled out in time for our evening meal.
As always Tom and his staff did us proud and we enjoyed a combination of mushroom risotto, a sweet potato dish, rice and salad. Yum, yum. I went back for seconds and had to resist helping myself to thirds. There was the usual laughter as Hayley led the i-ching session and the angel cards were available to those who wanted to indulge, before tiredness set in and both Mum and I were tucked up in our respective beds with the lights off before 10pm - that has to be a first on a Saturday night for some time!
Sunday morning and Sarah and I set out for our early morning Yoga practice before we were joined by everyone for the morning class. I led a kundalini based class, focusing on releasing the spine and grounding the energy and setting us up nicely for breakfast. Chris, Hayley and I say by the open fire and indulged in warming porridge and poached eggs on toast washed down with lots of herbal teas, what a joy for a Sunday morning!
While others went off to relax in their rooms or enjoy another treatment, I managed another swim in the sea, a rather quick one this time, more of a dip I guess you could say before warming myself with a relaxing bath and spending an hour chilling with Mum in our room before we joined Eugenie in the conservatory for general chatter over herbal teas with magnificent views towards Guernsey.
Luhcn was earlier than usual and Mum and I decided we were still full from breakfast so spent the time helping Hayley and Chris pack up their treatment rooms instead as well a packing up what we could of the Yoga space in preparation for our return to Guernsey.
The rain had eased by the end of the lunch break so we were able to follow through with the mindful meditation walk. Mum led the walk, challenged by the fact she had to walk slowly and in silence too. Anyone passing us would have wondered what was going on, 16 women walking in silence up past the church and down the other side. There were moments where I had to resist a giggle as I considered that this was probably as challenging for everyone else as it was for my Mum and yet there is a certain joy which comes from being totally present while walking and having the chance to observe your surroundings without being distracted by chatter.
We finished the weekend with a Yoga Nidra which seemed to leave everyone rather spaced out and it was perhaps rather appropriate that as soon as the boat docked into Guernsey the heavens opened drenching us all in rain, and thus helping to ground us before the car journey home.
I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, it was completely organic and seemed to take on its own energy and it was a privilege to spend the time with such a fantastic group of women. I can't wait for the next one in March...it will certainly be one night next time, and how special to have Herm to ourselves at any time of the year but especially when Spring is springing and all the spring flowers are beginning to blossom.
A huge thank you to all of you who attended and helped to make this such a special weekend.