Retreat and Restart

Hello.  It’s me.  No, its not an Adele karaoke, but still it is a happy Saturday. Well it was, as I laid in a hammock, rocking gently side to side listening to the breezy/borderline windy air flow over me. Typical British Summer hey.

At the time of writing I’m currently horizontal on a wonderful weekender. No, not the kind that I used to go to (well I think I did, all a little blurry) but a calm and tranquil yoga one somewhere near Eastbourne, at a place called Gayles retreat.

We arrived yesterday. I was not quite so zen having got a little lost and being the last one here, as my need for a coffee and Justin Timberlake blaring whilst I drive led me to sailing past the place without realising. Deep breaths Al, deep breaths.

However once here, bunk bed made (yep I was on top) it was time for a relaxing two hour class with the delightful Jo to get the old seized up body going. It certainly did that! My hips were pulled in every direction (no sniggering please) and after a challenging few hours I felt as chilled as Mr Frosty. (80’s children will understand).

After a wonderful dinner, including some epic brownies, I found the hammock. Now, if you have read my Jamaica blog you will know once I find one it really will be a struggle to move me. There’s is nothing better than gently rocking watching a beautiful sunset (ahem), as below.

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My one concern about this trip had been sleeping in a dorm stylee. My spoilt self likes her own room. I rarely share with my own pals let alone strangers no matter how lovely! So bedtime took a little while for me to settle, especially with a squeaky bunk bed – there was not a lot of movement I can assure you! (Stop the sniggering now). After an initial hour of worries I drifted off beautifully. I did wake a few times (more as I’m used to sleeping alone so any noise woke me) but all in all GOOD SLEEPING! Yay!

Fully restored I leapt (quietly) out of bed, pulled on my gym stuff and went for a run across England’s green and pleasant land. How truly beautiful is this Country of ours! Feeling very smug I sat down to a huge brekkie of granola, eggs and toast. Yum.

My smugness was short lived half way into our next 2 hour yoga sesh with Jo. My legs were aching before we started, so I huffed and puffed my way through it. Then the moment of dread – “let’s try Headstands”. Possibly as bad as telling me the Gin has run out…….

I tried them a while ago with no success and a bloomin sore head. So the prospect of this was as about as appealing as dinner with Donald Trump. A poor old Melana finds though,  mind over matter though, quite literally.

After a couple of attempts that looked liked a failed 80’s breakdancing move (see me in the back row), I DID IT! What a good feeling to do it. But not a feeling I enjoyed AT ALL. Sorry Headstands, me and you will never be pals! Much love to my poor head, I won’t be that mean again….

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Post a lush lunch of soup and salad, it was time to STOP – HAMMOCK TIME! (Sorry, poor joke). As this is England, I did need a jumper and cardi to keep warm, but it didn’t matter. It is truly amazing how time flies when you are chillaxing. Before I knew it, it was time for my massage. First world problems indeed.

The marvellous Monique offered me the chance to read some Oracle cards reading your life purpose. My immediate response was ooh no, but after I realised these were not tarot cards I decided to give it a go, very sceptically. I am not a believer in predictions etc, but it couldn’t do any harm could it?

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Wow. Wow. Wow. As a reminder the people here are mainly strangers and there are a few who I see through yoga. None of them know me that well or my job or life set up, let alone my brain musings. Let’s just say I was rendered speechless as to the accuracy of these cards and what they say are my way forward. EXACTLY what I am currently thinking and feeling, and if I wasn’t convinced before of Al’s next adventures I am now!

Next up was a massage with Monique. If you live near me, I highly recommend her. Based In Herne Bay, she is a fabulous woman who always makes me feel wonderful inside and out. Needless to say I floated to my next yoga session.

After 2 hours of yoga and meditation, dinner was well needed. A sneaky G&T (thanks Cathryn) beetroot risotto and a hidden bit of chocolate later, I was ready for a bedtime walk to the Cliffs. It wasn’t overly warm, but walking and chatting with an absolutely amazing woman and just shooting the breeze made my day complete. My head hit the pillow at 10, and I was in snoozeland before I knew it!

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My nights sleep was not the best (my own coughing and snoring along with sleeping with 10 others) meant I woke fairly early a little stiff from the previous day, so I wasn’t the happiest yoga bunny on Sunday. Yoga felt painful to start with (mainly my own brain not letting go) and I have so much tightness in my hips (due to running and emotional stress) IT BLOODY HURT. But, with a great teacher in Emma, by the end (despite many grimaces) I felt much better. Even fell asleep at the end and took the snoring in class crown. (Sorry Graham).

After an amazing swim (if not a little chilly) with a fab lunch, it was time to leave. I headed home with the lovely Cathryn for company, chatting and mooching through Kent’s amazing countryside.

Rested, and very happy. The reset button has been pressed. Thoughts confirmed. Friends made.

Biggest thanks and love to Emma from Whitstable Yoga and Jo from Yoga Bubble for the organisation and relaxed vibe.  I love my yoga but not too strict or preachy.  These ladies have that balance spot on, and their professionalism and love for their art never fails to impress me.

Also the biggest love to all the girls and guys thanks for being so lovely.  Its the people that make these fun, believe me that is not always the way!

Stay tuned for the next episode…  Summer is here!

Love

Axxxx

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