I had been in need of a relaxing retreat for sometime. The lead up to christmas saw the return of my anxiety, I would wake up in the middle of the night, in cold sweats worrying about what the next day would bring, I lacked motivation and felt tired and sad all the time. It is no secret that I have suffered with some serious episodes in the past, I have spoken about them here before, but this particular time I was trying to keep secret. There is nothing worse than opening up to the world about something like this, claiming to now have a hold of the situation and then it hits again! It was Bespoke Bride’s second birthday when Jayne noticed something was wrong, she said she could tell from my lack of breath and the speed at which I spoke, that I needed a way to relax, reset and recharge my batteries and she couldn’t have been more right! With that Jayne invited both myself and Jess to spend a day at the ‘She is Wild Relaxation Retreat’, of which she is the founder.
Jayne did things a little differently this time, usually her retreats are held at the She is Wild Urban Retreat, a luxurious, huge, white clean space however this time she wanted to keep it intimate as we were only a very tiny group and we would be visiting for the weekend. So we were greated into Jaynes home in London. There is something about Jayne that instantly makes me feel relaxed and calm. Everything always feels much better around her and she gives great hugs!
We arrived the night before the retreat as we needed to be up early the next day. That evening we chatted with Jayne for hours about absolutely everything (we hadn’t seen each other for a while so was in desperate need of a catch up!), she also told us what we could expect the next day from the retreat and it is needless to say we went to bed eager for the day ahead.
That morning we woke at 8:00am…. Jayne made us a special breakfast of porridge oats, with fresh banana, topped with sunflowers seeds, berries and maple syrup, which was absolutely delicious!! I have always eaten porridge but never thought I would like it with fruits and seeds, but I am now a convert and would never look back!
After breakfast Jayne needed to smudge the house, this is a process whereby the home is cleansed the with burning sage, said to be a way of removing any negative energies, so we took a short walk in the beautiful winter sun, where we had a chance to chat with another woman from the group about her experiences and how she had come to meet Jayne. Arriving back at the house, Jayne showed us into the relaxation room, where we were each cleansed with sage before entry. I don’t know about anyone else that has shared this experience but there was something about the process that automatically made me feel lighter?
We were now ready to start the day which began with a chat about our intentions for the day and placing our sacred objects on the altar. I loved this idea, as the items I chose to put on the altar were objects I knew I would see every day and would remind me of the practices I had learnt. Once everyone had done that we warmed up our bodies with a yoga session that would awaken all our chakras and then relaxed with some meditation.
There was time to take a quick break before we headed into our afternoon session which was guided by Jayne with which she wrote down passages from a book that addressed our love for ourselves and one another. I found this aspect of the day particularly stimulating as I have some pretty deep opinions on the way we are made to feel about ourselves and others and it seemed I wasn’t the only one as every member of our group had some very significant opinions to express. It was amazing to be in a room with so many like minded women, very often I feel it is easy to feel isolated as a woman but I began to feel as though I belonged to this amazing sisterhood.
After, Jayne asked us all to take a postcard and write a note to our future selves about the things we had learned from that discussion. We then put them in envelopes and was told we could expect our postcards to be returned to us sometime in the future, most likely at a time when we needed to have a stern word with ourselves. I couldn’t help but marvel at such an incredible idea, I obviously can’t tell you what was on my postcard but I think everyone could do with having a stern word with themselves now and again, even if it is only to remind you, to give yourself, a break.
By now we were all hungry and the smell of food coming from the kitchen was phenomenal! Our group of 5 guests sat down for our first meal together. We were about to embark on a raw food culinary treat! I am already vegetarian and in the past have been both dairy and gluten free but had never really had the imagination to cook alternative foods therefore my experiments were often short lived. There were bowls of Beetroot, coconut & lime soup, life changing bread, Kale and apple walnut salad with Tahini dressing, butter bean and rosemary hummus and Roast butternut squash & quinoa salad with coriander dressing, all washed down with a green juice of Spinach, cucumber, celery & pear – everything was gluten, dairy & refined sugar free and 100% delicious!
After dinner we kick started our digestion with another yoga and meditation session and finished with deep relaxation! This had to be one of my favourite sessions of the day.We were led by Jayne into a deep state of intense relaxation, said to be similar to the state you experience just before sleep. It was the most beautiful feeling ever! I have dreamed for years about being in a state where I can think of nothing, to completely switch off and be only aware of the ‘now’. This was the first time I had ever experienced that state and it has something that has stuck with me ever since. Pure bliss!
To round off the day we finished with an almond milk smoothie with banana & maca and the most yummy Salted Caramel Chocolate. This was a nice surprise from Jayne, who knew you could eat chocolate that was actually good for you – what a wonderful revelation!
Me and Jess left that night feeling completely revitalised, motivated and full of energy, we didn’t stop chatting the whole way home. Jayne warned that the sleep we would experience that night would be the deepest we have ever experienced and she wasn’t far wrong, I slept like a log!
Many of the practices and recipes we learnt that day have stuck with me ever since and this week I made the first steps towards a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free diet. The foods we ate at the retreat were inspiring and made me realise that food doesn’t need to be boring. Homemade almond milk has completely changed my world and I am addicted to experimenting with homemade soups, only this week I made a curried potato, carrot and onion soup and it was amazing! As for Jess, she was also inspired to get creative with cooking and has since experimented with whole new variety of dishes and also become somewhat of a juicing queen!
You might remember at the beginning of this post that I mentioned how I would wake up in the middle of the night worrying about anything I could possibly find to worry about? The deep relaxation techniques we learnt that weekend have certainly helped with this, on the occasions that this still happens I am now able to shift my thoughts into the now and switch off so that I can drift back into a peaceful sleep, which certainly beats hours of staring at the ceiling.
Before I visited the retreat I was in serious need of relaxation, I was suffering from anxiety which was causing a whole host of other problems such as sleep deprivation, lack of motivation, bad diet and a sluggish bowel (nice!) which in itself was enough to make you want to curl up and a duvet and never come out. When I came home from the retreat I felt completely different, I had changed my way of thinking, learnt relaxation techniques and had nourished my body with the food it had so badly been craving. The retreat was exactly what I needed to make me feel strong again and I couldn’t recommend it high enough!
If you would like to visit the ‘She is Wild Relaxation Retreat’ the next event will be held on Saturday 10th May in Stoke Newington, North London and Jayne is offering a special price of £60! Go on treat yourself, you know you want to!
All thats left for me to say is a huge thank you to Jayne, I can not express how much that weekend meant to me!
Much Bespoke Love