We travel to Kent for a long weekend of dynamic and Ashtanga Yoga, beautiful countryside, sweeping lawns. Medieval courtyards and grand accommodation – the perfect environment for self-discovery, spiritual development and learning the joy of letting go.
Kent is deeply historical and just a stone's throw from London. It was the frontline of several conflicts including the Battle of Britain during World War II. Its copious amounts of woodland, pretty costal paths and an abundance of hops and orchards have led to it also being known as the Garden of England' – the perfect idyllic setting for a yoga retreat!
I am privileged to attend the launch weekend of Sacred Mastery Yoga – a new brand of yoga mastery workshops and retreats.
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The name Sacred Mastery Yoga' represents the divine and spiritual – ‘Sacred, the aim to learn and master something – ‘Mastery, and ‘Yoga' means union.
Sacred Mastery Yoga has been created by Sally Gnffyn and Lisa Dunn, in conjunction with some of the best yoga teachers around the globe, to bring mastery to peoples yoga practice. Through their direct experience. Sally and Lisa have unlocked the secrets of mastery in their own yoga practices and aim to inspire guests to do the same. Sacred Mastery Yoga is a mix of Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and Jivamukti.
As I pull up to the driveway of Oxon Hoath Country Estate for the launch weekend. 1 pause for a moment to take in the fantastic view. Oxon Hoath Estate was built in 1372 as a Stately Home and opened in 1999 as a Retreat and Conference Centre. The ancient manor has 73 acres of its own beautiful, tranquil gardens and parkland.
Oxon Hoath house is grand and the welcome from Sally and Lisa is warm. The house and grounds could easily have provided the setting for an old English novel like Pride and Prejudice and I half expect to bump into Mr Darcy in the library. Oxen Hoath has been renovated to its former glory by its current owners, the Tindall family.
On arrival I am shown to my bedroom which is spacious, comfortable and overlooks the grand driveway. The bedroom follows the decor of the rest of the house which is mix of contemporary and historical charm, white walls, high ceilings, long windows and beautiful dark wood flooring. I'm lucky to be given an en-suite room, but I later find out not all rooms come with their own bathroom, so it's worth checking this before you book.
Different teachers are invited to lead practices at different retreats. For the launch. Sally and Lisa have invited Joey Miles, an advanced practitioner and Ashtanga teacher. After a group welcome we have our first class with Joey. The group is completely mixed in level of advancement and Joey has a way of delivering instructions as if you were one-on-one. He takes a hands-on approach and makes his way around the group making useful adjustments to our postures, essential for progressing our practice. After dinner the group retires to the library where a roaring fire is lit.
Over the next two days the group takes part in two further practices with Joey, a dynamic Ashtanga session and yoga relaxation. The latter concentrates on letting your body fully relax. 1 find this session highly enlightening and discover that I find it very difficult to let myself truly go.
On the second full day co-founders Sally and Lisa introduce us to Sacred Mastery Yoga Flow, a dynamic led class with music. The pair work very well together and take a hands-on approach, making adjustments to our positions during the lesson. The last session of the weekend is an attunement to the elements: Air. Fire, Water and Spirit using Pranayama and a restorative practice, and is brings a calming close to the retreat.
Sally and Lisa are warm and welcoming and their passion and vivacity for their practice is infectious. They have also considered every aspect of the trip, bringing together an eclectic mix of likeminded people. Sacred Mastery Yoga's unique selling point is that every class is a master class. Yoga practice is interspersed with free time to explore the grounds, socialise with the group or retire to the library with a good book. A top-notch vegetarian menu is cooked every day. With cooked and chilled options at lunchtime and portions are generous so guests needn't fear of going hungry.
1 leave Oxon Hoath with a group of new friends, invaluable lessons and a new zest for my yoga practice.