Perfect retreat for body and soul
There can be few places better suited to a relaxing yoga retreat than the Cotswolds.
The stunning backdrop of patchwork fields and rolling hills provides an idyllic setting for a weekend of yoga, meditation and quiet contemplation.
So it comes as no surprise that yoga guru Daniella Dines chose Farncombe Estate, near Broadway, as the venue for her first UK yoga retreat.
Daniella, who has taught Britain's Got Talent judge and former Strictly Come Dancing star Alesha Dixon for 12 years, runs regular yoga retreats in Goa, India, but wanted to bring her teaching closer to home.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Thisi is Dyson's smallest upright vacuum cleaner with the performance of a full size upright machine. The DC50i has Dyson's most advanced cleaner head technology and 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones.
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
Yoga became a part of Daniella's life 16 years ago while travelling in India, where she met two elderly yogis who invited her into their private shala, or studio, to join them for a yoga session.
She ended up staying with them for four weeks, discovering that yoga is more than just a series of poses and exercises, but a way of life.
It is this message Daniella hopes to pass on to her students at every retreat, and this one was no exception.
The weekend was a carefully planned mix of yoga practice, meditation, lectures and good food.
Yes, that's right.
Far from the image conjured up by the idea of a yoga retreat, where only dried fruit, nuts and detoxifying smoothies in an unappetising shade of green are allowed, this retreat happily fed body as well as soul, with delicious home-cooked food – including huge plates of homemade biscuits between every session.
The retreat began on the Friday evening with a gentle restorative yoga practice followed by an evening meditation session to help blow away the cobwebs.
The following morning we were up with the lark for our morning yoga session, which, despite the early hour, was the perfect way to start the day.
After a sumptuous breakfast of pastries, toast, yoghurt and fruit, we were back in the calm surroundings of the studio for the day's lecture, exploring what yoga actually is and ways to enhance a yoga lifestyle.
As someone who has practised yoga for many years without ever really embracing the spiritual element, I found this fascinating.
Daniella was truly inspiring as she spoke about positivity and how harbouring negative thoughts benefits no one, providing us all with food for thought. We chanted, sitting cross-legged, holding hands with strangers and meditating away the bad things in our lives.
We wrote notes, which we set fire to in the garden for good measure.
From all this, to a wonderful introduction to the joys of reiki, this retreat was a genuinely eye-opening experience.
I came back refreshed, energised and determined to be a calmer, and generally better, person.
Praising Daniella's outlook, Alesha Dixon told Weekend: "She's so passionate about yoga and that comes across in everything she does which is what makes her so special.
"She's quite unique." I tend to agree.