Happy and Wild yoga retreat: finding balance with yoga and food
The Happy & Wild yoga retreat made me realise how much I find comfort in food and how it helps me to rebalance, as I am connecting to a creative activity. I enjoy the process of preparing food from peeling to chopping, to putting together a dish and considering the contrasting colours, textures and flavours.
The Happy and Wild yoga retreat was a birthday present to myself and a chance to enjoy my favourite things, beautiful nature in the Shropshire hills, yoga, time to write and home-cooked healthy food. It was also an opportunity to have less screen time and I am guilty of having my phone in my hand too much. Frequently, my attention is splintered many ways and I can waste hours down random internet rabbit holes.
Deanne led the yoga classes, Kim ran meditation sessions and workshops and the food was all made by Jayne, Deanne’s mum and a yoga teacher for over 30 years, with the able assistance of Charlotte. The focus in this post is predominantly on the food, if you want to find out more about the Happy and Wild yoga retreats you can here.
Food connects us
All of the food which was prepared for us was plant-based, using the best of the seasonal produce from local markets in Ludlow. Everything we had gave me joy, I was frequently hanging out in the kitchen and chatting to Jayne to find out what was on the menu. We shared our favourite dishes, talked about chefs we admire and what we liked to eat. I did find myself weaving food into pretty much every conversation I had with others on the retreat as we all have to eat.
Whether you like cooking or you don’t, you will have a go to dish you love, a cafe you always return to or a memory of a meal that sticks with you. One evening we did have a conversation about what our death row meal of choice would be! I went for a long list of meze dishes so that I could delay my impending end.
Colour brings joy
We had so many delicious things to eat from turmeric balls, several cakes – the pineapple one and almond, orange and thyme were winners. The breakfast smorgasbord of overnight oats, fresh fruit, blueberry pancakes, smashed avocado and a selection of bread was awesome. Plus there was always coffee, a must for me.
The warm cucumber soup for lunch was a food revelation, I chose it as I was intrigued, it was so refreshing. The beauty in food is that it doesn’t have to be complicated, the hummus with a colourful array of crudités was ideal for a light lunch.
The vegetarian paella with preserved lemon and artichokes was so good. I spotted some Ottolenghi influences on the menus and that chimed with me as he’s one of my favourite chefs. The variety of salads made me happy, luscious green peas, beans and pomegranate seeds, fennel and vibrant beetroot…
Cooking is nuturing
I cook for just myself and I make this kind of food, which has made me realise that is a nurturing thing to do. That nurturing connection is magnified when you cook for others and enjoy food with people. When we sat together around the kitchen table, chatting, eating and connecting, I found myself feeling that joy again. Technology is great, I love it but it can’t give you this kind of nourishment for your body and soul. It seems really obvious thinking about it now but human contact is irreplaceable and our connections with each other, to food, and sharing the experience is important.
I learnt a lot on the 4 days of the retreat, I bathed in the space and the sunshine, connected with amazing and inspiring people, my body thanked me for the yoga and my mind was grateful for the chance to slow down. Without sounding preachy, the experience has made me feel a deeper love for creativity and food, which I didn’t think was possible.
Deanne, Kim, Jayne and Charlotte and to our collective of strong and awesome women on the retreat.