I am getting very excited about the forthcoming Herm Yoga and wellbeing retreat at the end of February. I absolutely love Herm and I absolutely love Yoga and Wellbeing rereats so the combinination of the two should be hugely enjoyable! I wrote the followig for the Guernsey Press but due to space and time constraints they were only able to publish a small article in Friday's paper:-

Yoga and Wellbeing retreats are becoming increasingly popular these days and with good reason; life is often hectic and stressful so what better way to take time out to nurture, de-stress, detoxify, rejuvenate, restore and increase your general sense of wellbeing than enjoying a weekend getting away from it all and focusing solely on your mind, body and indeed soul.

As a Yoga practitioner and teacher I have enjoyed attending a number of these retreats over the last few years but my carbon footprint has suffered as a result and that doesn’t seem right somehow. Travelling all the way to Bali, for example, to retreat in a fantastic environment – admittedly – but of course any benefit I gained from the Yoga and restorative aspect of the retreat was seriously tested by the long-haul trip back to Guernsey, to say nothing of the cost to my bank account and the environment.

Keeping it local is all the rage these days and it makes sense, seriously, okay the weather is not so great – think not only Bali but Goa, Nepal and even Italy as a weather comparison– but the inner experience can be just as beneficial and without any of the hassle of all the travel and the resulting cost to your bank balance, and let’s face it, it is not that we are lacking natural beauty and indeed expertise here in Guernsey.

In fact for many years now I have considered Herm as an ideal location to get away from it all, my parents have been staying at the White House Hotel twice a year for the last few years to do exactly that – albeit as part of wine tasting events – but they always return refreshed and invigorated, despite, or maybe that is due to, the wine! So I was delighted when Jonathan Watson, the Manager of Herm, shared my enthusiasm for hosting Beinspired’s first Yoga and Wellbeing retreat on the Island, particularly during the quieter winter months.

“Yoga is associated with meditative practices in order to promote well-being. Herm Island, with its unhurried pace of life, peacefulness and tranquillity provides the perfect setting for a Yoga and Wellbeing workshop. The perception of remoteness, although only a 20 minute ferry ride away, adds to the detachment from participants’ normal daily routines and so acts as a significant factor in the success of such events. The winter months offer even more tranquillity, and gives the opportunity of Yoga sessions amongst the natural beauty of the Island in a number of beautiful locations!”, says Jonathan Watson.

This is echoed by Michelle Johansen of Johansen Executive Coaching, who will be assisting on the Retreat, “in our search for inner peace and tranquillity, Herm Island provides the ideal setting. Never more so than in February when the elements will also ensure we are reminded that real life has much more to offer than sitting in front of a computer screen.”

“For me a Yoga retreat gives the opportunity to get away from my everyday life, where I live mainly in my head and reconnect with my body and soul. The Yoga retreat is a chance for us all to refresh, renew and reconnect with ourselves and other like-minded souls.”

The retreat certainly intends to increase the connection between mind, body and soul with and I will be joined by Sheila Maubec and Vicki Eppelein, also qualified and experienced Yoga teachers, so that we can provide a variety of classes over the weekend incorporating Yoga poses (asana), breathing exercises (Pranayama), chanting (optional), guided meditation and relaxation (Yoga Nidra) throughout the weekend.
During the afternoons, participants will have the opportunity to try their hand at art with Sheila, who is also an art teacher, or relax with a Reiki treatment as we are all qualified Reiki practitioners too. Of course there is also the option to simply chill out or take a walk around the Island and connect with nature – we tend to underestimate the healing and grounding effect of spending time in the open elements and this can only help to enhance the positive effect of the Retreat.

Susan Norman, a self-employed Company Secretary who has already reserved a place on the retreat says, "for some time I've been considering booking a long weekend Yoga retreat abroad but after taking the cost of getting off Guernsey into account it often just isn't financially viable for such a short trip. Attending 1-2 hour Yoga classes whilst on longer holidays abroad has been my only opportunity to experience different teaching styles and surroundings.

When Emma suggested a weekend Yoga retreat in Herm I jumped at the change to go, after all, what better location to get away from the daily routine for a few days. The seclusion and tranquillity of Herm should lend itself perfectly to a Yoga and Wellbeing retreat and the lack of other distractions will allow us to focus fully on the programme Emma puts together. I hope to improve my Yoga practice through the more intensive / focused nature of the classes taking place over the weekend. Best of all, getting there and back won't take any more than half an hour!!”

Participants will be accommodated on a twin-share basis (a supplement is available for single rooms) in the Mermaid Cottages and nutritious, vegetarian buffet-style meals catered especially for the Retreat will be provided by the Mermaid Tavern. Classes will be held each day in the conservatory of the White House hotel, (which is closed to guests during the period) offering a fantastic location to practice with beautiful views of the sea, Jethou and St Peter Port in the distance.

As Jonathan says, “Herm has so much to offer with this kind of specialist break. The Island can be used as a blank canvas for painting, wellbeing, writing retreat, photography, and any manner of tutorial sessions as it simply retains a charm that nowhere else can offer”.

My sentiments echo those of Vicki, “I hope people will try the different classes available to get an insight into the different styles and practices available and see the weekend as a chance to go for it by trying something new and perhaps taking their own practice deeper, whatever their level of ability or experience – Yoga is non-competitive and this will give people a chance to really go within. However, most importantly, everyone needs to remember it is their weekend, a time to relax and hopefully make some new friends”.

Not forgetting of course we can opportune the creative energy of the full moon over the weekend, so there is every chance of shining on the boat back to Guernsey!

The retreat takes place from 4pm (boat leave 4.15pm) on Friday 26 February to 3.40pm (boat leaves 3.20pm) on Sunday 28 February 2010, costing £190 per person including return boat, 2 nights’ accommodation in the Mermaid Cottages, all meals and all classes. The art and Reiki will be optional extras.
Ross DespresComment