3 What is it like to attend a retreat?
Inner Peace at West Lexham

What is it like to attend a retreat?

March 10, 2018

Drawing visitors from across the UK, West Lexham Manor gave those in need of a little inner peace a chance to learn from the experts. Led by a neuroscientist, a meditation specialist and the editor of Psychologies Magazine, the Inner Peace Retreat built on the success of the first Stillness Retreat in 2017, writes LUCY RUTHNUM.

Taking place over a full weekend, the event was packed full of workshops focusing on psychology, mindfulness, creativity, meditation and movement set against the backdrop of the stunning grounds. I joined the retreat for the day, to find out more about how to find stillness in daily life. Driving up to West Lexham Manor through frozen fields and breathing in the crisp morning air, you instantly feel refreshed and ready for restoration of your mind, body and soul.

On arrival, the organisers gave a warm welcome and ushered us into morning tai chi in the beautifully restored barn which has been purposefully created for group events and weddings. With sunshine beaming through the windows and birdsong in the background, we started the day with a delicious and healthy meal of locally sourced ingredients. The first workshop of the day was with Dr Tamara Russell and focused on practical models for exploring body and mind, a fascinating explanation with a real life context that was easily accessible for anyone new to the topic.

Later, we joined a workshop with Suzy Greaves, editor of Psychologies Magazine, which took a look at the process of journaling, and finding stillness in nature. This one was a particular favourite of mine as it incorporated psychology with mindfulness and writing, with some very interesting results as many of us found some unexpected thoughts flowing out of our pens.

Breaking for lunch and dinner in the barn provided a perfect opportunity to speak to the men and women attending, and to hear how much they were enjoying the workshops. With many going through great changes in their lives, it was just what they had needed to help get back on track. During the afternoon, we had the opportunity to explore the grounds on a tour with Edmund Colville, as he discussed the retreat and the lay-lines around his family home.

The retreat came to a close with what was easily one of the best workshops of the whole weekend, the 5 Rhythms Movement workshop with meditation teacher Chris Connors. The session forced the group to throw away all inhibitions, stresses and worries, and to really let loose. By the end of the session, everyone was exhausted but liberated, making their way out of the barn with smiles on faces and a new sense of peace.

Whether you need stillness, a chance to slow down or if you are searching for inner peace, these workshops give you a chance to take a time-out in the unspoilt beauty of West Norfolk. Luckily, for those who were unable to attend, there will be many other retreats taking place this year which focus on yoga, mindfulness and body confidence, and another Psychologies Inner Peace Retreat is in the pipeline. Tickets are available now for their Yoga and Walking Retreat next weekend, which includes yoga classes, meditation, walking and even massage.

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