Admittedly the weather was not as Spring-like as I would have liked but nonetheless the Beinspired Spring yoga wellbeing retreat was hugely enjoyable.
In fact with many of the same people joining the retreat year after year it is getting to be quite a familiar event, so that each year seems even more relaxed, enjoyable and “in the flow” than the one previously.
Of course much of the enjoyment of the weekend comes from simply being on the magical traffic-free and out-of-season Island of Herm with all its natural beauty to ourselves, and trusting in the process and allowing these retreats to take on their own beautiful energy.
The yoga itself was marvellous, and I was truly humbled by the commitment and focus shown by those attending - the classes which were suitable for all levels of ability and were filled with lightness and humour. It was an inspiration truly, students taking the leap of faith and practicing poses they have never practiced previously (on their own or assisted by Vicki and I). What a joy, limitations challenged and transformation taking place before our very eyes.
And what a joy too to join together in such a beautiful setting, with stunning views from the yoga space over to the East Coast of Guernsey and us coming together to consciously breathe, move, meditate, chant, relax, let go and laugh. What a wonderful way to spend a cold March weekend.
There was plenty of time away from the mat too for relaxation or activity. Eight joined the invigorating led run with JP Macé and Debbie Stokes, nine joined the led walk (including some foraging!) with the very informative Herm guide Lesley Bailey, and six of us managed the lunchtime swim in the sea at Hotel Beach (it was indeed freezing!).
There were treatments on offer too, holistic massage with Hayley Le Marquand, reflexology with Christine Shepherd, Reiki with Joanne Henton and food insensitivity testing with Sophie Shand. Needless to say all the ladies were fully booked with waiting lists and the treatments/testing were a real compliment to the weekend for those indulging.
The Mermaid excelled themselves again this year too and the vegetarian food was really yummy and was enjoyed by everybody. In fact Ewan, who is a connoisseur of chocolate brownies, concluded that the Friday night chocolate brownie was the best he has ever tasted! I particularly enjoyed the chickpea and spinach curry with brown rice and the rather tasty roasted vegetables and rye bread, to say nothing of the scrummy greens. What a treat not to have to cook too!
For me, after weeks of preparation and the usual last minute rushing around, the weekend always passes far too quickly, especially now with Elijah joining the weekend. Still Ewan, Elijah and I managed to fit in a couple of brisk walks to soak in the Herm energy and take in the views across to Guernsey and check out the moo moos and the ancient stones. We even managed a sandcastle on the beach in spite of the rather chilly weather!
I wish we could manage a couple of retreats on Herm each year, this beautiful Island really does have such a special spiritual and relaxing energy so that even though we were only away for 2 nights, life had most definitely slowed down a pace by the time we got home. There is something so primal and heartening, grounding then, and enlivening about being so in touch with the elements and nature like you are on Herm, it really is so nourishing for the soul.
I am really grateful to my Mum for all her help with preparing for the retreat, to Vicki for both assisting in the classes and her general support, to JP, Debbie, Lesley, Hayley, Christine, Joanne, Sophie, Sion, Tom and his team and of course Ewan and Elijah for helping to turn dreams into reality and help make a weekend on Herm very special. Om Shanti.
Needless to say we have booked Herm for the 2016 retreat, 11-13 March 2016.