Kundalini at the Abbey
OM enjoys an amazing weekend yoga getaway at Abbey Studio, a haven of peace and tranquillity in Devon. By Hannah Irons
Driving into the picturesque village of Buckfast in Devon, you are met with the sight of beautiful old houses and sweeping views of the magnificent English countryside. There is a wonderful sense of calm and stillness all around: it is the perfect location for a weekend yoga retreat at Abbey Studio.
But we’re not talking here about the Abbey Road studios immortalised by The Beatles. This is the amazing yoga studio, run by the lovely Sarah Angilley, that’s set in the pristine grounds of Buckfast Abbey, a spiritual haven for thousands of visitors each and every year. With its working water mill, green lawns and charming gardens, the location is a real breath of fresh air for all city-dwellers, providing the time and space to recharge and relax.
We started our weekend by heading straight to the accommodation, a house in the grounds of the Abbey, where we met our housemates for the weekend. Shortly after, the retreat began in some style, as we headed to the studio for a gong bath meditation. The majority of the guests (ourselves included) had never experienced this type of meditation before and didn’t know what to expect…especially when we were told it would last for a whole hour. We were told to get comfy on our mats with bolsters and blankets and to close our eyes, as Ruth Lerew from Sunbeam Healing began with the gongs. Even though there were only three gongs, it sounded like a whole orchestra was in the room. Lerew played deep, resonating notes that washed over the whole body to send you into a deep, meditative state. It was a truly magical experience and one I hope to repeat soon.
During the weekend we participated in a number of Kundalini yoga workshops full of reflective mantras, energising breathwork, gentle movements and nourishing meditations. With every session, we understood a little more about the world of Kundalini yoga, and even more about ourselves. Our host guided us through exercises such as the Five Tibetans and taught us about the Ten Bodies, showing us how we can easily incorporate simple techniques into our everyday lives to continue feeling the benefits of what we had been taught. We were also lucky enough to be sharing the weekend with Kate Maynard, a trainee tuning fork therapist. She was generous enough to let us ‘play’ with the forks and experience their cleansing powers, which was a nice addition to what was already a weekend of deep healing and nourishment.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a trip to Riverford Field Kitchen, located a couple of miles away from the studio, where we had a delicious lunch on the Saturday afternoon. After an energising workshop that morning, we were looking forward to filling our bellies with some wholesome grub and, of course, Riverford did not disappoint. We munched our way through various courses: freshly baked sourdough, burnt peas with chilli salt, charred cos and courgettes with broad beans, white asparagus and radishes, grilled squash, white bean and oregano, new season carrots, greens, fennel, artichoke and onions. If that wasn’t enough, we were then presented with a mouth-watering dessert: vegan chocolate torte, served with ice cream. With the restaurant’s garden metres away from where we were dining, the vegetables were super fresh and flavoursome. The kitchen staff were also more than happy to accommodate us as vegans.
Not only was our leisurely lunch at Riverford Field Kitchen a delicious way to spend a Saturday afternoon but it was also a great chance to get to know the other guests on the retreat. It was the perfect place to exchange ideas and chat about the lessons we had learnt throughout our time with Sarah at Abbey Studio. We were lucky enough to share the weekend with a lovely group of people from near and far, all of whom had different reasons for making the journey to the retreat centre. Some wanted to discover more about Kundalini yoga as they had never practiced it before, others were yoga teachers who were looking at taking the next steps in their journey. One lady was from the next town and explained that she was a regular at Abbey Studio’s retreat weekends
Sarah Angilley is a wonderful retreat host, and her studio in beautiful Buckfast is a great space to practice and discover Kundalini yoga. It’s also the perfect spot to reconnect with yourself and to others. At a cost of just £250 per person (which included lunch at Riverford Field Kitchen) it’s also a reasonable price for such a rejuvenating weekend. To enhance your stay, there are also a range of different holistic treatments to pick from (at an extra charge) including reiki healing, aromatherapy, LA stone therapy, reflexology, angel therapy and massage.
For more information and to book visit: abbeystudio.co.uk
During the weekend we participated in a number of Kundalini yoga workshops full of reflective mantras, energising breathwork, gentle movements and nourishing meditations. With every session, we understood a little more about the world of Kundalini yoga, and even more about ourselves.