HOSTING MY FIRST EVER YOGA RETREAT - AND A RECIPE

The Acorn

We arrived at the Acorn on Saturday morning a little early and very nervous. My Mum had driven and, being the amazing human she is, was going to help me over the weekend. This meant I had rabbited on about nothing the whole way there, when I am nervous I talk even more than normal, which is really saying something (trust me).

The Acorn is situated just outside of Harrogate and is pretty hard to put into words, because it is just so damn beautiful. I would maybe describe it as an uber cool log cabin, except that it’s so much more graceful than that. There is wood everywhere, light everywhere. Beautiful open spaces, cute cubby holes, so many books, a sauna, a spa. There is a yoga studio, beautiful bedrooms, and even a table carved into the shape of an Acorn. Everything from the countryside it is surrounded by, to the smell of essential oils as your walk through the front door, is perfect - I can't believe I was lucky enough to host my retreat there.

How We Spent Our Days

I wanted this first ‘Nourish Always Retreat’ to be ‘nourishment’. We spend so much time rushing around in our day to day lives, that for me this meant slowing down and taking some time to be a little selfish. It meant lots of yoga, relaxing, pampering, treats, and delicious wholesome food.

Here’s a run down of what we got up to:

Saturday

Arrival.

On arriving everyone staying was shown to their room. There were goodie bags on their beds, complete with ‘bliss balls’ a-la Georgina and a load of goodies that the beautiful people at Sweaty Betty Harrogate were kind enough to help me put together.

Yoga class 1.

This was a stronger vinyasa flow, focused on core and movement and a little arm balance play at the end. It was. So. Fun!

Lunch.

My mum and I created huge bowls of vegan salads, there was courgetti and dairy-free pesto, quinoa mixed with basil roasted veggies, cinnamony butternut squash and chickpeas, and chargrilled broccoli. Everyone piled these high on their plates and topped them with a mixture of hummus and/or crumbles of feta.

Free time.

This was whatever everyone wanted it to be. You could snuggle up with books or lounge about, walk in the beautiful countryside, chat, nap, spa, or get a treatment: literally anything anyone wanted!

Yoga class 2.

A softer flow, more grounding and slow, and lots of yummy hamstring and hip stretches.

Dinner.

I made a homemade vegan tarts, which were admittedly a little more ambitious than expected, but SO worth it. The pastry was made from ground almond, chickpea flour and coconut oil, and were filled with caramelised red onion, butternut squash and spinach, with a cashew nut ‘cheese’ stirred through. We served this with sweet potato wedges and a big bowl of greens.

Dessert.

Raw cheesecake (of course.) Salted caramel, raw and vegan! And so, so good!

To end the day.

Chill, mugs of tea and sleep

Sunday

Optional meditation.

I guided us through the most simple of meditation methods. The idea being to follow the breath for 10 minutes in order to slow down before that habitual ‘rush’ could set in.

The final yoga class. Class 3.

Another stronger and playful flow. This time we focused on back-bending and shoulder openers.

Brunch.

I gathered together all the jars I have collected over the years (seriously, I have SO many), and in them made the most delicious overnight oats. We topped these with blueberries and homemade granola. I have shared the recipe for the overnight oats at the bottom of the page if you want to remake them at home.

Home time.

And kind of (hugely) wishing we could stay forever.

A Reflection

The whole weekend was so great, admittedly I was on the go more than I had anticipated - there was a book in my bag I never got the chance to open - but so worth the effort because I loved every single second (and next time I just won't spend 3 hours making tarts… but you learn…).

I loved the chance to spend more time sharing my favourite things - the fun, sometimes challenging yoga, and the delicious and nutritious food. I loved talking and laughing and learning with and about the 12 beautiful humans that came along. A huge thank you to them for supporting me the whole way.

And, if I had some advice for myself for next time, or for someone embarking upon their first retreat, it would be this: trust yourself. Believe you have planned it right, believe in your teaching ability and, to be honest, just your whole self in general. You worked hard to create something amazing, now watch it unfold. Enjoy it. It’s going to be amazing.

The Overnight Oats Recipe

Ingredients {serves 1}

50g oats

40g coconut yogurt (I used this one)

1 tbsp chia seeds

150ml almond milk

1/2 banana

Blueberries

Granola (try this one)

Method:

The night before.

Pop all the ingredients in a jar or bowl and mix well.

Leave to stand in the fridge overnight. The oats will soak up all the liquid and become thick and creamy.

In the morning.

Check the consistency. If they seem super stodgy add more almond milk or water until they are as you like them. Top with toppings and enjoy!

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