book now: sussex day retreat

Imagine a space that brings calm as soon as you jump out of your car? A space that allows you to leave any stress at the door as you lean into a day for nothing other than time with you. Sound good? Oh it was, and located 40 minutes from Brighton right here in Sussex, it’s waiting for you too.

Holly and Deanne, the yoga instructors behind the online member’s portal Wellness Works are back with their in-person retreats and we were lucky enough to nab a ticket before the first one sold out. Here’s what you need to know.

Located in the most idyllic setting close to Arundel, it’s not far from Brighton but it feels worlds away. The sun was shining and on arrival we were greeted with smiling faces, serenity and…. smoothies. They team up with amazing local chefs to bring a plant-based menu of dreams to their guests and Nicola from Kleen Kitchen knows how to create the tastiest dishes (savoury and sweet) that are so inviting in their colour pops and presentation, you’ll be filling your bowl to the brim!

The yoga space at the site is an old converted stable, with views out onto the green, a huge door framing the view as a beautiful scene to ground you in your practice. The first practice of the day started with some grounding breathwork and a yoga flow with Deanne of Wild Thing Yoga, one-half of the retreat leading duo, Wellness Works. Having missed in-person yoga a lot this past year or so, there was something very special about being in such a beautiful space with other women again. No rules, no judgment and no previous yoga experience necessary. Just one big invitation to listen to your body and move intuitively. You’ll find me in childs pose when others are doing headstands, and that’s okay.

After warming up our bodies with some movement, we had some chill time, with the option to enjoy the on-site heated pool. A beautiful space to sit, walk, read, swim and chat to some new faces. We then gathered at a beautiful dining table in the sunshine, where the lunch offerings over-flowed with plant-based goodness, from roasted veg to homemade hummus, there were lots of ‘yums’ around the table. And the chocolate and mango balls were the perfect desserts too. The best thing about having the chef on-site is that you get to ask them for their recipes…

After lunch some of us headed off for a walk on the downs while other chilled by the pool, climbing a gorgeous buttercup-covered hill that took us to beautiful views of rolling hills over Long Furlong. We are lucky here in Sussex, aren’t we?

Back to the hideaway retreat space and we settled in for a restorative practice with Holly, founder of Brighton’s Studio IO and the other half of Wellness Works. Such a nourishing practice, it’s hard not to be taken to another brain wave state when Holly finishes a practice with yoga Nidra (aka yogic sleep). An invitation to just be… something we all need to give ourselves permission for now and again.

There was something very special about the energy at IO in the Woods and it definitely helped that the sun was shining for us. If you’re feeling the need for a little escape and the space to reconnect with yourself, and nature, this is the place to do it.

Holly and Deanne will be running regular in-person retreats again now, with the next on Sunday 4th July. Head over to their site to book your space as the last one sold out pretty quickly.

Sunday 4th July, 9.30am welcome to 5.00pm close, £120 including lunch and refreshments
Location 40 mins from Brighton

(Image credit: China Cooper)