Getting my Zen on

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Two weeks ago, I felt so blessed to be invited to join a beautiful yoga retreat just outside of Byron Bay. Despite only being able to stay for 48hours, it was for me a life changing experience, so I wanted to share it with you.

The invitation, which came from the wonderful Sue Hawkins of Yoga Health Retreats, Byron Bay and Bali, could not have come at a better time. Fried and frazzled is the only way I can politely describe my mental and emotional state.

Before we knew it, we found ourselves in the secluded beachfront property of Tallows Beach Houses, with geckos singing and birds chirping, bunnies hopping through the grounds and a temple-like yoga studio that was to become our haven of relaxation, meditation and joy, for the next two days.

The retreats themselves run for six days and five nights. I felt the stress from Sydney melt away as soon as we made our way down the ambling driveway. After the 48 hours we spent there, I was more relaxed, with a greater inner peace, than I can ever remember. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would have felt had I been able to enjoy the entire week.

When we arrived, Sue, a lit-from-within soul, whose energy is just radiant, greeted us. She beamed hello and gave us a loving hug and an invitation to join the rest of the group in a vegan feast. The many-options-meal was painstakingly and passionately cooked by Sol and Jesse, two of the most amazing chefs I have ever had the pleasure to meet!  Every morsel was mouthwatering, more-ish, clean and energising. There was perfectly cooked polenta, a light, but filling garden salad with the sweetest, freshest vegetables and a flavoursome beetroot and carrot salad with coconut oil dressing (it’s the health world’s new black, I’m sure you’ve heard). For dessert, a dairy-free apple and rhubarb crumble that had the entire retreat heading back for seconds.

The next day began with a 6am meditation. The 20minutes silence and calm was blissful. We followed it with the most beautiful 90minute yoga class, which included solo stretches, postures with partners, assisted and both unassisted asanas, and a beautiful Shavasana at the end. The class left my circulation flowing and my body feeling limber, lithe and so flexible. My complexion was glowing. We then enjoyed a heavenly vegan breakfast of oats porridge, fresh fruit, homemade spelt bread and organic spreads.

There was plenty of time to relax, either laying in a hammock reading a book, having a remedial massage with the super talented massage therapist, or having an intuitive healing and Reiki session. I had the latter, and found it uncanny and jaw dropping in its accuracy. I hadn’t told the healer a single thing about my life, however she nailed everything and helped me learn how to better cope with the various stresses that life brings with it.?The exercise class before lunch was a little more energetic, than the morning’s, with an upbeat trainer who had our hearts racing and our toes tapping. She played some fun, high intensity music while we worked out with resistance bands and really got our muscles and hearts pumping.

Another amazing vegan lunch, a blissful massage that melted away any tension and an afternoon rest, set us up for a calmer, restorative yoga class, which we topped off with a swim in the crystal clear ocean. Dinner that night had never tasted so amazing, and we slept the most peaceful, beautiful sleep.

The next morning, we enjoyed a beachside meditation before our yoga class, which was then followed by even more delicious food and a walk on the beach, and a swim with three beautiful golden retrievers that came to say hi.

Seriously, it was an experience that I can’t wait to repeat. I found myself wishing I could live each day as though I was on a yoga retreat, and now I try to incorporate as much of that lifestyle as I realistically can in a bustling city.

I’ve learned to live in the moment more, to listen to my body, to stretch it out and move it as much as possible.

I have a cleaner conscience, cleaner mind and cleaner body. I love it!

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