WAREHAM is a Saxon town. Beastewell is Medieval, and the farm where the retreats are held is listed in the Domesday Book. It is on North Bestwall Road (a corruption of Beastewell) I love the old name Beastewell, it brings to mind happy healthy animals drinking at the nearby river. Deer roam the fields throughout the year. Every night I see them in the field behind the garden, where we are planting a Bluebell woodland. I wanted to give them places to hide and feel safe. When I ask people what their dream peaceful environment would be, the idea of a bluebell wood comes up a lot. We are also 20 minutes from the excellent beaches of Studland, Swanage, Lulworth, and Poole.

Ever since I started teaching yoga ten years ago I dreamed of creating a sanctuary where people could hide and feel safe too. Where we could re-balance the elements in our bodies with nutritious food, yoga, and company. Where we could be playful and in touch with nature. Where we could have time to think and be, and intuit our priorities. It’s been ten years of saving up, searching, travelling the south coast and Wales, and eventually discovering the beautiful Fourfields Barn (Which I call Beastewell on account of its history) Over the last 14 months work has been continuous to bring Beastewell to its role as that sanctuary. I planted a vegetable and herb garden, got the barn walls and beams spanking clean by professionals from Devon, had heated floors laid out in both the yoga barn and the games barn by a great local contractor, and made sure the rooms in the house are as comfortable as possible.

Beastewell is only made meaningful when it is shared, and you are always welcome. The next retreat is from AFTER NOON SUNDAY 24 MAY – BEFORE NOON THURSDAY 28 MAY

For this Nourishing Yoga Retreat we are working with the moon phase to instil great habits.

DRAFT SCHEDULE:

Sunday 12 noon start to arrive & explore/ 3 pm tea/ 4 pm Vinyasa/ 5 pm Gong Bath/ 7pm supper/ 9pm Celestial Communication

Monday 8 am Vinyasa/ 9:30 am shake & brunch/ 12 noon Restorative Yoga with singing bowls/ 2 pm Kundalini/ 3 pm beach or walk/ 7 pm supper/ 9 pm celestial communication

Tuesday 7:30 am Vinyasa/ 9:00 am shake & brunch/ 11 am beach or walk/ 4 pm Kundalini/ 5 pm Yoga Nidra/ 7 pm supper/ 9 pm Celestial Communication

Wednesday 7 am Vinyasa/ 8:30 am shake & brunch/ 10:30 am beach or walk/ 3-6 pm Aerial Yoga sessions 7 pm supper/ 9 pm Celestial Communication

Thursday 6:30 am Vigorous Kundalini/ 8:30 am shake & brunch 10:30 Gong Bath/ Love & light Goodbye Circle.

Sunrise in May is about 5 am Sunset is about 9 pm

Full moon is May 7, New Moon May 22

Phase during the retreat will be new moon waxing.

It is a small group orientated retreat, so if you vote to alter the schedule we will. If you would like to take a picnic lunch to the beach you can. If you want to do the Mantras under starlight with a campfire you can.

There are lots of fluffy towels to take to the beach for your swims in the sea!

Full access to the kitchen: indeed, you are encouraged to participate in the food prep. All snacks and drinks from water to alcohol are included. Food is organic and vegan, some is grown in the kitchen garden.

The Yoga Beat retreats are boutique, relaxed, and if you enjoy tranquility but also like to have great conversation over dinner with like minded people, then this is for you.

This is a dog-friendly retreat.

PRICES:

Full Retreat, all inclusive £450.

Returning Retreaters have 10% discount automatically

Yogis who attend my classes have 5% discount

All are welcome, number of guests is limited to 6 (or 8 if there are any couples) so booking early is recommended.

For those who would like to drop-in it is £150 per night.

TEXT TO BOOK: 07402 126826

It usually takes a person from science who has called out its limitations and turned to ancient wisdom, presenting it in a modern stylish way, for us to sit up and take note. Though there is nothing in Feel Better in 5 that I hadn’t read thirty five years earlier in books such as The Advanced Course in Yogi Philosophy that I found one day in that beautiful near extinct creature the second hand book shop, it is still a pleasant enough artefact.

The colours are lovely and bright, there is lots of light on the pages, photos are arranged to give us a tantalising taste of what the life of someone who has all their stuff together looks like.

Fair enough, if that lights you up for a moment. But it is just that moment, generally just when you have the book in your hand, that you can be inspired by such a thing. I tend to avoid books, videos, and people when what they present seems to imply that my life is not good enough, or that I am not good enough. Absolutely it is excellent to look after your well-being turn things around so that you are living with ease and vibrant health, arrange your environment so that it supports your efforts at every step, assess and re-asses your thoughts, feelings, and needs on a regular basis. That is all brilliant. Everyone should be encouraged to get the most out of their life. Everyone can benefit from images that inspire them too. For me I think it is a bit like the slim gorgeous models in magazines that people object to, because it is thought they might encourage anorexia. I’m not sure they necessarily do. In most cases I found the images something to aspire to in terms of keeping myself fit and relatively pleasant looking. It’s the same kind of ambivalence I feel with books like Feel Better in 5. Part of me thinks great, it gives us something to aspire to. It kick starts a re-think about our approach to life. Aspiration always sells doesn’t it? Another part of me thinks these images are staged, like all expert Instagrammers and all seemingly gorgeous models in fashion magazines. They ultimately probably make us feel worse for not continually having our houses, clothes, food choices, and lives arranged with such a flawless aesthetic.

I don’t know about everyone else, but my life is so messy. I shamble from one activity to another with ridiculous spontaneity, usually running on intuition, hardly ever planned, hardly ever poised, and certainly never picture perfect.

Hold on though. Rangan Chatterjee does say some good things, I would love the book if the photos were less prominent (although I do enjoy the pictures of Rangan doing yoga in his garden) and reflected the true chaos of life. Indeed most of the things Chatterjee says have always chimed with me and I appreciate him for encouraging everyone to take a more holistic, more proactive less palliative approach to health.


Our genetics are not our destiny. When I heard Dr Rangan Chatterjee say this it struck a chord. A long term advocate for epigenetics, I know that we can change our course by optimising our environment and habits. It is one of the basic premises of Kundalini Yoga that we can change our genetic expression up to seven generations back and seven generations forward. Astro physics, quantum, and mathematics say it is more difficult to travel back in time than forward, but they are yet to prove that it is impossible.

Epi-genetics is where the ability to time travel counts. Our destiny is up to us. It is the destiny of all beings on the planet, and if we can be healthy, happy, and whole, then so can the planet. Rangan Chatterjee is that rare thing a modest doctor who admits he does not know everything. Humility was a tough lesson in his case – he tells the story of how he suddenly found himself in a position where he feared for the life of his baby son and could do nothing to help him as a doctor and as his father. It turned out his son was suffering from vitamin D deficiency. It was not something Chatterjee knew anything about even though he was a doctor.

The experience struck him so deeply that he went on to research and study to conclude what yogis and Ayurvedic practitioners have been saying for centuries, that the root causes and individual needs of each being must be addressed before things get out of hand, because by the time you are expressing a chronic disease, conventional doctors have fewer answers. A medicine may work for dealing effectively with an acute disease, such as pneumonia (antibiotics) but a chronic disease such as diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, is a slow build up of many elements, some more salient than others in any particular person: diet, exposure to environmental toxins, sleep quality, stress levels. Obviously continual sugar use will eventually cause insulin resistance in some people, but it is also the case that a night without sleep can equate to the insulin resistance caused by six months on a junk food diet. High stress levels, work stress, or emotional stress will raise cortisol levels, which in turn releases sugar and insulin. Depression can be caused by inflammation or an imbalance in gut microbiome. The most successful way for doctors to treat chronic diseases is to trace back the root causes in each individual and deal with them one by one.

It is sound advice: It is mainly the title that I object to. I don’t think we should feel pressured to be continuously productive. We need times when we do absolutely nothing, that is natural, but 5 minutes implies we have to be quick about our self care. “Do something you love for five minutes a day” F#** that, I’ll spend two or three hours doing what I love thanks, and if possible all day every day. Yes time is running out. But time is running out whatever you do. Most people would tell you if they have a regret it would be not having pursued what they love to do, regret for missing out on things they might have liked if they’d had the time to try them – live in a rented room and forget about acquiring a big place or scrabbling after cash. I have heard that from people many times. Keep it real.

Feel Better in 5 has a lot of white space on the pages, large inspirational photographs, lists of ways to tackle daily existence, and that generic look typical in this sort of motivational book, if you can get past that without smirking, of course his basic advice makes sense. It always has done, for centuries. The problem for most beings is that life is messy and however beautifully you arrange your kitchen or your desk, accidents occur, loved ones die, we run into problems from all directions. There is always something that will throw a spanner in the works. Let’s hope we have all the systems in place that Rangan Chatterjee suggests, and we might just be prepared for them.