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Yoga retreats at Ockenden Manor in Cuckfield

PUBLISHED: 15:35 27 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:37 27 May 2014

Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa

Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa

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The yoga retreats at Cuckfield's Ockenden Manor are a breath of fresh air, says Alice Cooke

As someone who lives a pretty rural existence, the idea of ‘retreating’ to a hotel for a few days sounded relaxing, sure, but what awaited me at Ockenden Manor on one of their new yoga retreats took me very much by surprise.

The thought seemed pleasant enough – I was thinking wheatgrass, meditation and a bit of group humming (I’m not a seasoned yoga bunny – is it obvious?). But I will happily admit that it was not without the merest hint of trepidation that I packed up my trainers and leggings (not my usual attire of wellies and jeans), and headed
for Cuckfield.

The spa is tucked behind the Elizabethan Manor House of the hotel – all clean lines and glass – no bustle of crowds to be seen here. Having enjoyed a delicious smoothie (no wheatgrass to be seen) and been settled in to my dwelling for the next two nights (all the rooms are contained within the spa building), I enjoyed a massage that I really can’t help but enthuse about – let’s just say that I was ready for a good long nap the moment it finished.

The first restorative yoga session followed, which I honestly thought might be beyond me, but to my delight our instructor, Sal, informed the group that this was intended to be relaxing rather than strenuous.

Next morning was definitely more uplifting than restorative, but I left for brunch feeling upbeat and ready for the day. This included a Nordic walk across the fields – bracing in the spring winds, but again, oddly restorative and life-affirming; more yoga; unbelievable food; and a massage that again aided the sort of slumber you imagine only happens in fairy tales. I defy you not to leave feeling infinitely more calm and balanced than you were when you arrived.

Yoga Retreats 2014: 15-16 July; 16-17 September; 18-19 November

Single occupancy of a Junior Spa Suite is £1,124, double occupancy is £1,884

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Closer to home?

Dynamic Hot Yoga - Hove

A friendly, inclusive hot yoga studio just behind Hove station. Owner Stuart Tranter began practising hot yoga many years ago to heal back problems and has studied in India. A second studio opened in March, offering pregnancy yoga and pilates. Devotees include professional athletes.

01273 707777; dynamichotyoga.com

The Yoga Garden - Storrington

Created to provide a dedicated place for the practise of yoga and fitness in a harmonious and tranquil environment, founder Nina, inspired by her love of practising yoga in nature, opened up the centre to create a peaceful healing space and an alternative to getting fit in a noisy gym or crowded sports centre. It has now been open for four years, offering a wide range of yoga classes in a variety of styles.

01798 669154; theyogagarden.co.uk

Just Yoga - Worthing

A stone’s throw from the beach and the pier, Just Yoga was established in 1993 by Cathy Rogers-Evans. The Centre is run by Melanie Palmer and Jill Fuller, who have been teaching for many years. The Worthing studio has been specifically designed for yoga and is fully equipped. They also run classes at Findon Village Hall.

01903 820888; epkvh.co.uk

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