Switch Off in the Scottish Borders: Yoga Retreat

With the internet overload that surrounds society these days, we believe at House Of Coco that it is very important to dedicate some time to switching off and just……BREATHE. We couldn’t think of a more fitting way to work on our “zen” than escaping to the Scottish countryside and perfecting that downward dog at the Leithen Lodge Yoga Retreat. Travel writer Melissa returned feeling recharged and replenished, this is what she had to say!
Whether you have become a slave to the internet and in need of a digital detox, fancy a break from the busy outside world or simply want to reconnect with your inner self – mind, body and spirit- then a yoga retreat could well be the answer to your problems!

Let me start by setting the scene. Leithen Lodge, a Grade “A” listed mansion, nestled in the hills of Innerleithen Scotland, the estate is captivating and instantly transports you to the 1800’s. The surrounding woodland and grounds are oozing with tranquillity and filled with an abundance of wildlife, it doesn’t take long before you feel at one with nature and a million miles from reality.

We arrived Friday evening after a rocky drive down (raining all the way with an unresponsive sat nav  = anxiety overload) and it certainly didn’t help that we were running late! With a million pointless thoughts running through my mind, I was tense to say the least; this was another reminder of exactly why I needed to be there.

The yoga classes were held in the ballroom, not too shabby at all may I add! Log fire burning, candles lit, grand high ceilings, hand painted murals covering the walls, a room full of exquisite antiques and a beautiful grand piano just to put the icing on the cake. Zoe, Hot Yoganic’s main teacher, was guiding all the classes throughout our stay. She eased us gently into our Yogi weekend with a relaxing but challenging Yin class. Yin is a slower paced practice with poses that are held for longer periods of time. This style targets the deep connective tissues and is also used to help regulate the flow of energy in the body. I loved the fact that I could meditate and focus on my breathing; it really helped me get in to the zone and set me on the right path for the rest of the retreat.

Ball room
Food : now this was and is always at the forefront of my wondering mind. This retreat was all-inclusive vegetarian and alkaline based; I love the fact that the majority of the fruit and vegetables were sourced from the land or locally from other farmers. They even keep their own hens for the very freshest eggs. However I wasn’t quite sure I would be completely satisfied without having meat or fish with any of my meals (and no alcohol – don’t judge).  Well I take it back! I enjoyed every dish and not only did my body feel an absolute temple, I left feeling quite inspired in the kitchen department. All it takes is a bit more preparation and a spoonful of creativity for your veggie options to be limitless. So thank you for opening my mind and expanding my taste pallet. Below is just a small selection of produce that had just been picked fresh that day.

Organic vegatablers
Saturday 9am we started the morning with an energising dynamic Vinyasa flow – my favourite class! I love the way the movement constantly flows complementing the deep inhale and exhale from one pose to the next. Not only did I feel like I had worked up more of a sweat but I felt utterly engaged throughout. From yoga to breakfast to a full body massage in the salon, if only every day went like this! The salon is attached to the main house and offers a variety of beauty treatments, laying on the bed in total bliss I was so relaxed and cosy I almost asked if I could take a nap.

Beauty Room

After that we were shown around the stunning acres of land and not forgetting their very own organic vegetable garden located in the grounds. I felt like I was in a rendition of the Secret Garden movie, nature at its finest.

Organic Veg Secret Garden
Final class for the day and it was time to have some fun experimenting with inversions and arm balances (yikes), well I managed to keep all bones intact and even made it to a head stand just to leave on a euphoric yogi high. Then onto the “last supper” held in the main house another romantic and enchanting setting with food to nourish your soul and spice up your taste buds. We each received a lovely trinket box from Love & Tulips which was personalised and included chakra healing stones to open your heart to give and receive love, such a special little touch.

Sunday morning the sun was shining the birds tweeting and the hens chucking; another day another practice before we headed back to the real world. Not only had the whole experience been incredible for my health and wellness but a great way to notice just how much we all rely on technology and how often we just pointlessly scroll missing out on the real beauty of life. Nowadays we often feel a sense of guilt if we don’t immediately answer that “important email” or reply to that whatsapp message. A yoga retreat is the perfect way to form that detachment from the digital world. I will definitely be embarking on more regular retreats in the future. Health is certainly wealth. Namaste.
For more information on Leithen Lodge visit www.leithen-lodge.co.uk or call 01896 830 297
To find them on social follow Instagram @leithenlodge & Twitter @leithenlodge
Email: leithenlodgehouse@gmail.com to find out upcoming retreat dates and what else they have in store.
Also Hotyoganic have a studio based in Ashton upon Tyne , Manchester. Check out their timetable www.hotyoganic40.com / Instagram: @hotyoganic

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