Diary of a Trainee Yoga Teacher: The Magic of Yoga Retreats

Last weekend I went on a yoga retreat with Wellness Space and it was amazing! I wanted to share the experience with you and all the reasons why I really recommend going on a yoga retreat and taking time for yourself.

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The Retreat

Nestled amongst farms and tiny villages, the cottage and barn conversion where the retreat took place was a tranquil spot, not far from Newcastle city centre. I chose a yoga retreat within easy travelling distance – just 45 minutes from where I live. This was partly because I was travelling on my own and didn’t want to go too far and partly to keep costs down – you don’t have to spend all of your savings to have an amazing yoga retreat!

The location itself was spread over three buildings with a large kitchen dining area for our meals, a spacious yoga room, very comfortable bedrooms and plenty of nooks for reading, relaxing and socialising. There were also two hot tubs which were a major bonus. My room was super cosy and had been recently decorated, with a private ensuite, very comfy bed and loads of light pouring through the large window.

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Each day included yoga sessions, delicious food, time to relax and use the hot tub, as well as a group, walk and a nutrition session during the weekend. The itinerary was great, it never felt rushed, nothing was crammed in but you definitely got your money’s worth with the number of yoga classes throughout the weekend. Plus, from the start there was no pressure to do everything or spend all of your time with the group which was really nice, particularly as an introvert travelling alone!

The Yoga

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Claire Lormor is an amazing yoga teacher and studio owner of Wellness Space. I had been hoping to go on one of her retreats as I have been to a few of her classes and find her style of teaching really inspirational. I was lucky that there was a cancellation and so booked on to this retreat very last minute.

Claire taught various styles of yoga including slow flow, vinyasa and yin as well as plenty of time to work on inversions between classes out on the sunny field that surrounded the accommodation. All of the classes offered plenty of opportunities to either take it easy or push yourself and try new things – I definitely feel stronger after the weekend and have learned some new tricks!

The Food

A big part of any holiday is definitely the food. The retreat was fully catered with brunch and an evening meal each day as well as a very well stocked communal kitchen with tons of delicious snacks throughout the day and things for lunch if you wanted to make yourself a bite to eat.

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I have quite a tricky diet, with a gluten and lactose intolerance and other intolerances due to my low FODMAP diet. When I booked onto the retreat (bearing in mind that was only a few weeks before) I let Claire know and very soon received a call from Jess, the nutritionist who would be making our meals and running the nutrition workshop. She spent loads of time understanding my needs and asking what I would like to eat and when I arrived at the retreat all of the meals were delicious, satisfying and perfect for my needs. Plus the snack fridge and cupboards had been filled with food I could eat, such as lactose-free yoghurts and gluten-free snacks. It was amazing to have been so well catered for and just made the weekend all the more special.

Going Alone

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I have wanted to go on a solo weekend away for a while and a yoga retreat was the perfect way to do it. I was a little nervous going into the retreat and wondering if everyone would be in friendship groups and I would feel like a spare part, but I was truly made welcome from the very start. The workshop was organised in a way that meant we all very quickly got to know each other as a group, with meal times, the walk and time in the hot tub and in the garden practising yoga was time to get to know each other. At the same time, there was plenty of time to read and go for a walk on my own.

It was the perfect mix of time getting to know others and enjoying my own company and has really given me a confidence boost to go on future retreats on my own. I like my own company, but I never felt like I was really on my own at the retreat as there were so many lovely people there and plenty of things to do. At the same time, I thoroughly enjoyed an hours walk on my own, taking in nature and having some time to think and be truly mindful.

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I would highly recommend going on a yoga retreat on your own. It’s a great way to travel solo and being on your own you really can just do what you want when you want. I took my book and my laptop and got some writing and lots of reading done and felt truly relaxed. I would say it was far, far better than any spa break I’ve been on!

Recommendations

I would definitely recommend going on a yoga retreat on your own or with friends. Wellness Space has another retreat coming up this year that I’m sure will be just as amazing as this one.

If you’re not quite ready for a yoga retreat but are in the North East then there is the upcoming Sunderland Wellness Festival which I’m really excited to go to.

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If you’ve never tried yoga before then I definitely recommend signing up for a slow flow or beginners class or course at a studio near you. Although practising yoga at home is amazing, when starting out it is best to go to a class for help with alignment and being safe in the postures.

If you are a trainee yoga teacher like me, I really recommend taking the time to go on a retreat like this. It has really deepened my practice and I was able to spend time talking to Claire about being a yoga teacher and also to see how many different forms of yoga there are. It was also just a great way to chill out and do the thing I love most – YOGA!

Just so you know, I wasn’t asked to write this review or recommend any of these things. I just had an amazing weekend and wanted to share the experience (and photos) with anyone who is curious about going on a yoga retreat!

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