Health & Fitness

Another Way Wellbeing Yoga Retreat Review

DISCLOSURE – THE REVIEWER WAS A NORMAL PAYING CUSTOMER FOR THIS REVIEW

Reviewed by Rebecca Wong

I needed a bit of respite from life and was seeking a challenge; I wanted to press the reset button.  I discovered Another Way Wellbeing Yoga Retreats and knew this was exactly what I needed.  The retreat was to take place in Nab Cottage over-looking Rydal Water in the Lake District National Park over a weekend in November.  The program promised lots of yoga sessions, meditation, breathe-work, sound healing, cold-water swims, hiking, a hot tub, sauna and festive wreath-making workshop.  All fully catered and with different room options including single rooms, en-suites, shared twin rooms and shared bathrooms with prices reflecting the accommodation choice.  Prices start from £350 with concessions available for Public Service Workers and students.  It sounded like just the ticket.

Booking and paying was straightforward via email and the host Mandy Chacksfield @mandy_chacksfield_yoga was very responsive and provided me with all the information I needed ahead of the arrival date.  Including a full itinerary and a packing list to ensure that I was fully prepared and had everything I needed.  It was easy to pack as I didn’t need any specialised equipment but I did make sure I had plenty of layers for the time of year, towels for the swim and hiking boots.  Mandy also made it clear that I didn’t have to take part in all activities, that was a matter of choice and if I wanted to go for a walk or sit by the fire and read a book or just have a lie-in, then that was totally up to me.

The Satnav took me straight to the cottage on a dark Friday evening, parking was directly outside which made it easy to unload the car; ready to explore my home for the weekend.  I was greeted by the lovely Mandy who gave me a tour. Nab cottage is a quirky little place with lots of little nooks and cranny’s to explore.  The cosy fire in the front room was so inviting and a separate building next door housed the yoga studio and more chill-out spaces, finding peace and quiet wouldn’t be an issue over the weekend.  Outside was a hot tub which, despite the sun setting I could make out the most tremendous view over Rydal water.  There was also a little cave-like sauna that would be my go-to after a wild swim (if I could brave it).

Back in the house I was also greeted by the lovely Sophie Panting from @projectpauseclub who was there to coordinate all activities, assist us and generally ensure our stay was as comfortable as possible.  I was shown my room.  I was to be sharing with someone in our twin bedroom, which had a sink and plenty of storage space for our belongings.  We each had a goody bag and a handwritten note welcoming us – this was a lovely and unexpected touch.  It was small and cosy and had a view looking straight over Rydal water.

The cottage itself was the perfect back-drop to the weekend, although I’d say it was one of the main characters! Steeped in history, it was originally built in 1556 with a rebuild in 1702, which is commemorated above the door.  It was once home to the opium eater Thomas de Quincey and is a little rabbit hole of interesting rooms and cosy places to sit.  There has been lots of attention to detail with constant access to hot/cold drinks and snacks, hot water bottles should you need one and blankets.  One of the owner’s gave us a little talk about the history of the building which added to the intrigue and character of the cottage.  More information can be found at https://nabcottage.com/.

That evening, whilst people began to arrive I sat by the fire, drank tea and ate beautiful vegan cake and chatted to Mandy, Sophie and the others as we spoke about what we would be doing over the course of the weekend.  I instantly felt at ease and relaxed with them.  Before bed we were to do Yin and Yoga Nidra followed by dinner.  Everything was supplied for us in the yoga studio which had a fire and yoga mats laid out complete with blankets, yoga blocks, lavender-infused eye masks, straps and a notebook and pen for us to record our thoughts and intentions in.  Each day, we were asked to set intentions around a theme that Mandy would set for us and it was so nice to have the headspace to really explore these things about yourself.  Mandy was a fabulous Yoga teacher, giving poses for every level of practice and making it accessible to everyone from the beginner to the more practised Yogi.  Mandy also introduced us to different breathing techniques over the weekend and made it a safe and comfortable space to try out new things. We also experienced our first sound bath of the weekend, which was a beautiful immersive experience that left us feeling relaxed before we headed for dinner.

Dinner was prepared by the staff within Nab cottage and wow we were treated like royalty over the weekend, it was 5* restaurant standard.  All food was homemade and vegetarian with vegan options if needed.  It was so delicious and plentiful.  Our first night was a beautiful meze and was followed by a delicious fruit pie dessert.  We went to bed that evening with full bellies, relaxed and content.

The bedrooms were very comfortable and despite our room overlooking the road outside it was very quiet.  We arose early ready for our first wild water swim.  This of course was optional but it was one thing that I really wanted to try despite feeling very apprehensive.  I’m not a fan of the cold!  We prepared by doing some Wim Hoff style breathe-work that Mandy skilfully talked us through so that it would aid us in entering the icy-cold water calmly.  We gathered our things and headed down to the lake.  It was a very frosty morning.  Despite my nerves, there was a camaraderie amongst the group that helped me to remain calm and focused – for some it was their first time whilst others were more experienced.  Mandy answered any questions, reassured us and was there to give support throughout the entire experience.  We entered the water.  I did it!  The wild water swim was like nothing I had ever experienced; like little electric shocks all over my body, we stayed in for a few minutes before heading back up to the house for a hot tub and sauna – the best bit!

I can honestly say that without the preparation and support from Mandy, I would never have done it.  The feeling of elation and sense of achievement afterwards cannot be matched.  What a buzz! Sharing this experience definitely helped us to bond as a group even more.  We shared our worries beforehand and how we felt afterwards.  The hot porridge afterwards was the best we had ever tasted.

Once fed and dressed we did a Vinyasa Flow workshop with Mandy followed by another beautiful meal of soup and bread before heading out on a hike to see Rydal Cave and waterfall.  The scenery was so beautiful and there were plenty of opportunities to take photos and simply ‘be’ in the moment – our senses all heightened from our wild swim experience.  Our group bonded further, through the conversation and laughs we shared whilst admiring the scenery that the Lake District offered us.  A quick stop for a hot chocolate at Rydal Mount to warm us up and then we headed back to ‘our’ cottage.  Nicky, at the cottage, had a couple of available slots for massage treatments that evening so of course I had to take advantage of the offer!  I booked a deep tissue massage for £50.  It was amazing and just what I needed; any tensions and knots released – even those I didn’t even know I had.

That night we had another beautiful meal – vegetarian curry, prepared by Nicky’s team.  It was nearly time for our Yoga Nidra and sound healing, some of us got our pyjamas on as we now knew how relaxed we would be afterwards and wanted to float straight up to bed in our relaxed state – I slept like a baby that night.

Sunday brought our second wild swim experience, there was no frost but it still felt just as cold.  We now all knew what to expect and it certainly gave us that same buzz and sense of achievement that we had experienced on the first swim. Following breakfast was a Vinyasa flow class that got the blood pumping and kept us present on our mats.  Lunch was a beautiful Nut roast – did I mention how wonderful the food was!  I’ve never eaten so well.  That afternoon our final activity was to be a wreath-making workshop.  Now as someone who isn’t especially crafty, I didn’t have high hopes for what I might create but our teacher Michelle from Flower Buddys https://www.instagram.com/yourflowerbuddy/ was just so helpful and knowledgeable and made sure we were all able to come away with a beautiful wreath that would pass any ‘pull-test’ and that could be hung on our doors for Christmas.  I was very impressed with myself.  The quality of materials that were supplied and the level of one-to-one attention Michelle was able to give was just perfect for our group and we all had a beautiful wreath to take home at the end.  Another first for me, which was the perfect way to end the weekend!

Over the whole weekend, even though we fit a lot in, I still came away with a sense of space.  I had time to reflect, but I also had the opportunity to take part in activities that nourished my mind, body and soul.  Good people, good food, yoga, meditation and Mother Nature.  I pushed myself out of my comfort zone in a healthy way.  I was happy and content.  The weekend gave me exactly what I needed and still allowed for people to lean into or out of any of the activities as they wished.  Mandy, Sophie, Nicky and team and Michelle all brought positive, warm energy and were so welcoming and the cottage truly felt like home for the weekend.  I’ve never done anything like it before but I WILL be doing it again.  I think it is something that everyone should experience once.  Another Way Wellbeing retreats are truly nourishment for the ‘whole person’.  They are focused on what you need and the quality of the retreat was beyond my expectations I give it a 5/5.

Another Way Wellbeing do regular retreats throughout the year with their next one being in March.  More information can be found at https://www.anotherwaywellbeing.com/, you will not be disappointed, it’s an investment in your well-being for a lifetime of memories and a chance to step off the treadmill and simply be.

Rating: 5/5

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