It’s 6.45am and I am taking advantage of rising early by doing a little writing before I start my daily yoga practice. You may be thinking, ‘I had no idea Leigh practiced yoga on a daily basis’, and you would be correct…it’s a new thing!
Taking you back a few days I set off on Monday for a tranquil few days with my daughter. A Yoga retreat in the beautiful French countryside just outside Chateaubraint in North West France was our destination, and, apart from the frustration of delayed flights, we both enjoyed a totally relaxing, and re-charging of our batteries, break.
The retreat takes place at the home of the Yogi (Nikki Harris) and is called, ‘Yoga.Th.M.’ I guess this is an abbreviation of ‘Yoga Therapy (and) Meditation’ because those are the characteristics of the business: Cleo and I enjoyed several sessions of Yoga and Yoga Nidra – which is a deep meditation lasting for over an hour, although it certainly didn’t seem that long.
I made a promise to myself (and voiced it to Nikki and Cleo, to ensure I keep the promise) that I would practice ten minutes of Yoga daily – for several reasons:
1. I want to keep my body fit, healthy and supple.
2. I am a runner – which means I need to stretch my muscles because they easily become tight.
3. I felt the benefit of the stretches in just 3 short days, so imagine how I can improve my flexibility and general well-being if I practice this daily?
Not only did I enjoy the Yoga and the meditation but Nikki and her mum, Sylvie, were great company. We enjoyed long dinners chatting about life, travelling and ‘stuff’. Sylvie is a wonderful cook and has a great sense of humour; Nikki is an accomplished Yogi, a superb instructor (explaining every move, the reason behind it, and how to make the move ‘active’ as opposed to ‘passive’) and is really good company.
Both ladies love their pretty cottage-type-garden and Nikki is an excellent seamstress – she is in the middle of making a stunning wedding dress for her son’s wife-to-be.
Coincidentally, Nikki and Sylvie used to live in the adjoining town to mine, and Sylvie actually had a shop in my town before moving to France. I had no idea of this until Nikki asked where we lived in the UK, exclaiming, ‘Oh my goodness, Mum and Dad had a shop there and I had my boys in the local hospital’.
Of all the Yoga retreats I could have booked (when searching) I was simply drawn to Nikki’s…life is strange isn’t it?
It was also simply wonderful to spend quality time with my daughter too. She is very easy company (a little crazy at times) and we both enjoy activities like going for walks, looking at buildings, discovering little individual shop, reading and chocolate!
Each time we went out for a walk we lost track of time and ended up walking back for lunch at a super-fast pace – almost breaking into a run when we spotted Sylvie and Leo (one of the cute pooches that reside at Yoga. Th. M.) waiting at the gate – I think she thought we had got lost!
Something Nikki mentioned several times hit home with me. As those who know me will know, I am a very positive person (almost too positive at times) and I absolutely believe we can change our mindset by forming new habits (after all, only we can control our minds – although we may allow others to do so – controversial but this is my personal belief and a big, big subject). Nikki teaches that by taking three long, deep breaths in and out your brain learns that this is a signal to calm things down, so not only good to do before you meditate but extremely useful in stressful situations too. We all encounter stressful situations so why not give it a go?!
Off to get my Yoga mat out now for my Sun Salutations…