Don’t Expect A Spa
So those who follow me on Instagram would have seen some of the most incredible pictures from a recent weekend retreat. The venue? Hillerson House. Surrounded by 200 acres of land there’s plenty of woodland, lakes and deer (no, really) to help calm your mind and offer that true ‘escapism’ from the hustle and bustle of London. Don’t expect a spa resort because this is something else, something so much more. It’s a programme, incorporating the core elements needed to rebalance your life.
I crave time out to reconnect with my mind and body. Living in London can take its toll and while I have an enormous love hate relationship with it, it’s my home. But I’m originally from Wales. A place where there are endless hills, open countryside and a smaller population. So I’ve often an intense desire to become grounded again. It allows me to be more in tune with myself. I need to cut out the noise and focus, remember my good intentions and what makes me feel balanced. Pure Balance Retreats has been designed to do just this. It’s a program designed to help us be in the ‘now’, to educate on how to reconnect with ourselves and to create awareness. So guests are invited to stay in a breathtaking venue with some incredibly interesting people and instructors for a weekend. Or, you can go for five days.
Prices for this weekend retreat start from £875 per person (£1,250 per person if alone) so given the cost, you already know from the outset it’s going to be pretty memorable.
The coaches and healers are known for their erudition and teaching skills. They’re each on hand to share their experience and wisdom to help you become a better you. And that’s what lovely about the retreat. It’s all about you. The cleverly designed weekend programme enhances mind, body and spirit through an amalgamation of people and nature. It’s packed with lots of mind and body rebalancing lessons including yoga, gongs for sound therapy, meditation, mindfulness and (one of the best bits), nutrition. If you want change, positivity and rebalancing then this retreat is so worth the price.
Hillersdon House is a Georgian style manor house, located between the market towns of Tiverton and Cullompton in Devon. Not too far from London, the peacefulness and tranquility is unparalleled. The house itself is stunning, impressive from the moment you walk through the door. With extravagant features like huge chandeliers, free standing baths and magnificent open fires, it offers a home from home comfort on a completely different level. It’s totally private. On the retreat itself are just the group, instructors and you – no one else. Numbers are purposely kept low so you can be confident you’re among high profile individuals with a huge amount of care and attention from each of the coaches.
Programme and nutrition aside, the setting is spectacular. It’s all about the land and the interior. Not a nook or cranny has gone unthought of. Full of lush green grass and old trees. And there are lakes and deer; even a walk around the building will have you feeling spaced out and relaxed. And boy are the deer impressive when you see them running past. And yes, that bear above is real.
Where It Began
It’s founded by Woody Edmiston, a professional yachtsman who has raced in many places and has lived in Monaco, Ibiza and London. As a result of his life and given his experiences: “We live in a world that is driven by success, be it physical or intellectual, and because of that drive we neglect one of the most important aspects. That which gives us a connection, not just to others, but most importantly, to ourselves.”
Co-Founder Charlie Jouning has also drawn on his own personal life experiences. After selling his publishing business and becoming increasingly passionate about sailing, he met Woody and expressed his desire to also develop a retreat for high profile individuals. “(After) the stress of my own circumstances both through work and emotionally, I was hooked and wanted to explore how his collective techniques could help me deal better with my own situation.”
Each are considered top in their field. The lovely Kathryn Fielding is a qualified Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher (one of the best I’ve had). Morning yoga classes with her energetic style are great for helping you feel truly energised for the day. In addition, Rosie Millen (aka Miss Nutritionist) is on hand to offer guests nutrition advice. This I also found useful; discussing my (bad) eating habits and learning how to detox. Then there’s Lucie Lemay, a life coach/health/wellbeing consultant. Lucie listens to your struggles and offers ways to help that you haven’t tried before. I’m totally taking up bullet journaling after this! Having worked on board super yachts and running her own culinary business in Mallorca, Jane Catchpole focuses on clean, fresh flavours during the Pure Balance Retreats using seasonal produce so you feel your best in body and in mind.
Additionally, the wonderful Catherine Tucker is on hand for meditation and hypnotherapy. Catherine is so interesting and many people benefit from her services on London’s Harley Street. The meditation before bed completely left people in sleep mode. Furthermore, Jo Akester teaches all about the Alexander Technique which helps with posture and mindfulness when going about your day to day lives. I found this super useful given that I’ve a very sore neck and shoulder complaints. Then we have author of several books including ‘Medical Oneness’ and ‘The Nature of Classical Chinese Medicine’, David Nassim. His mindfulness talk gave advice to people dealing with issues, incorporating physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of their wellbeing. There are more coaches too.
One of the most unique experiences for me was the ‘Sound Healing’ session. Unlike anything I’d tried before, this was certainly something I’d do again. On the first day we bathed in the sound of ‘gong’s, as we lay on the floor cuddled up with our pillows and blankets. For an hour we lay soaked in candlelight to the sound of gongs. Designed to ‘release the light within you’, the gongs aim to help your physical, mental or spiritual problem.
On the second day, we were treated to the unique sound of the Didgeridoo sound healing. Designed to lift an individual’s vibration back to a less chaotic and natural rhythm, the sound can promote wellness during depression and anxiety. This was by far my favourite. Ultimate relaxation.
If you want to stimulate your imagination with good company, break through the noise and finally see clearly, this retreat is for you. You crave a new approach to healthy living or a desire to connect with yourself on a higher level? It’s for you. If you want an experience that will stay with you for time afterwards, that will truly change your perspective on life and attitudes towards dealing with things then it’s definitely for you. For under £900 per person (sharing, £1,250 if alone), what you get from this weekend will stay.
Five Day Course Dates 2017 | Yoga, Wellbeing and Mindfulness Retreat
January 29th-3rd Feb — February 26-3rd March — March 26th-31st
Weekend Course Dates 2017 | Yoga, Wellbeing and Mindfulness Retreat
February 3rd-5th — March 3rd-5th — March 3st-April 2nd
Have you been on any quality retreats recently? Xx