Spring Cleaning for the Soul
It's autumn, and it's the perfect time to look after yourself with these inspirational wellbeing retreats, courses, spas and festivals in Glos and Wilts
It’s autumn 2019 and for me, time for a reboot. Health, life, fitness, wellbeing…it’s the perfect chance to think about how you’d like to focus on wellness for the autumn and beyond. What do you fancy? A personal trainer who works with the whole ‘you’? A spa day with a difference? A festival dedicated to wellbeing and mindfulness? Whatever your goal, we have scoured Glos and Wilts (and a little bit beyond) for our favourite courses, classes and spa weekends to help you superboost your motivational mojo. Here’s to a happy summer, because frankly, we’re worth it.
The change-your-life course
Spell Your Life
Got any dreams packed away that you’ve given up on? Well, get ready to unpack them with this magical life-coaching experience which quite literally can change your life! Founded by former corporate travel director Claudia Unger, Spell Your Life is a life-coaching experience designed to help mainly women (not exclusively though, you men can come too) change their lives for the better. How? By tapping into the inner wisdom that lies at the core of every person. If this sounds a bit airy-fairy, don’t be fooled, finding out what makes you tick, grounding yourself and harnessing the magic you hold within you is the key to unlocking your potential and making your dreams come true. It’s about a holistic approach to your life-enhancing goal, looking at five core areas – body, mind, soul, movement and nature – all key to unlocking your potential. You can set up coaching sessions with Claudia that are bespoke, but what makes this experience special is that you can also opt for one of the ready-made courses. We love the Magic Mirror, a course all about loving your reflection and who you are. www.spellyourlife.com
One Grove, Cheltenham
There’s something a bit different about Pilates and yoga studio One Grove in Cheltenham. You feel it as soon as you walk through the door when it’s like you’ve turned up for lunch with your bessies – everyone is so friendly and the reception space is more like someone’s living room! But this warm atmosphere belies the serious mission that One Grove is on: to help everyone who comes to them to achieve a strong, supple and balanced body. As they put it: “We are not a gym, we are an education.” From gentle Pilates to Jump HIIT Express classes, beginners and advanced yoga to ballet barre workouts, all levels of intensity are on offer with a team whose impressive skills and experience (there are on-site physiotherapists and a massage therapist) will ensure you stay out of trouble, while you hone that super bod you’ve been dreaming about! onegrove.co.uk
Stroud Yoga Space, Stroud
We love this oasis of calm where you can practise yoga, meditation and Pilates with some of the area’s best teachers. Oh, and there’s an utterly fab shop for retail therapy nirvana, too! The brainchild of Dru Yoga teacher Rachel Mellish, Stroud Yoga Space embodies yoga, which means ‘union’, in its fullest sense, bringing together a broad range of teachers all with their own styles to teach under one roof. And what a space under that roof! For anyone used to draughty village halls, the two studios, Earth, downstairs, and Sun, upstairs, are a revelation. Beautifully calm, they have bamboo floors with underfloor heating, plenty of light and room for 10 to 12 people, which keeps classes nice and intimate. The range of classes is properly impressive, too – there are up to nine classes a day, seven days a week, and as well as the usual Vinyasa Flow and Pilates sessions, you’ll find Yogalates, a blend of yoga and Pilates, Dru Yoga, a gentle Tai Chi style of yoga, Egyptian Belly Dancing, Pregnancy and Mother and Baby Yoga, Teen Yoga, Family Yoga, Yoga for children with special needs, and a Friday Lunchtime Power Yoga Nap to get you ready for the weekend. And don’t forget about that shop! It stocks the most amaaazing gear. You can read about it here. www.stroudyogaspace.com
The Personal Trainer
Lucy Askew at LA Movement, Glos/Oxon
Forget six million sit ups and busting through your burpees to burn off a few pounds, the latest personal trainer looks at the whole you, treating the body and mind holistically (and ideally in some gorgeous location in the Cotswolds.) Lucy Askew is one of a new breed of super-trainers, helping you become happier, healthier and stronger through movement of all sorts. In her words, taking action and moving your body, be it a walk in the fresh air with the dog or killing yourself on a Crossfit workout in the gym is highly correlated with happiness. And as we know, becoming happier helps motivate you to make healthier choices, leading to growth in self-esteem and confidence. Which in turn means you become stronger in body and mind – a virtuous circle!
Lucy works with her clients to develop simple strategies to help them move more – strategies which can be incorporated into your life with ease and a sense of fun. She will also help with weight loss, toning, and more specific performance or health goals, plus healthy eating and nutrition. Beyond the gym, she helps clients edit out the ’noise’ in the wellness environment, to recognise the good information from the bad and so adopt healthy new behaviours. Apart from having a blooming good laugh with her, she will make you realise you are absolutely capable of achieving more than you think, and if there is one thing you do for yourself this new year it’s to get out there and Move! She’s a good motivator, this one… Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Instagram @la_movement
Cowley Manor Spa, Cowley, nr Cheltenham
Treat yourself at a contemporary take on the Cotswold country house hotel where chic modern interiors and stupendous surroundings equals 21st-century nirvana. Cowley’s amazing spa, C-Side, is an indulgent space with pools both indoors and out, with holistic and cutting edge treatments and a range of organic wonder products. Their fab Spa Days include Daylight Relax or Sunset, each with a treatment of your choice, plus lunch or dinner and use of all the gorgeous facilities. Their Pregnancy Spa Days are great, too. www.cowleymanor.com
Wanderlust, 27 July
A dedicated one-day wellness festival in Battersea Park, London, where you can do a “mindful triathlon” – a 5k run, yoga and meditation. There’s also craft stalls galore, healthy food, an intention setting ceremony, music and dancing. Want to learn for fly? Try aerial yoga!
Soul Circus, Yoga & Wellness Festival, Elmore near Gloucester, Glos, 16-19 Aug
The ultimate wellness festival, Soul Circus promises to blow your mind, body and soul, show you a good time and leave you feeling balanced and Zen-like at the end of it. Now in its fourth year, expect sunrise sessions with masters of yoga and sunset kickback parties, with a menu of healthy food and drink (yes there’s booze!). Tickets are going quick, so book now – it’s good for you! soulcircus.yoga
Into The Wild, 23-26 Aug
There are over 200 workshops over the weekend at this festival in West Hoathly, Sussex, with, as the name suggests, an emphasis on all things outdoorsy. Fairy den making, foraging, shamanism, chalk carving, Mongolian throat singing (it’s a thing!) – you name, it’s there. We particularly like the sound of the hip hop Shakespeare workshop.
Get your tix now for this fab new wellness festival celebrating health, fitness and the great outdoors. All ages are welcome for a weekend of yoga and meditation, Pilates, exercise classes and guided farm runs in the most picturesque location imaginable in South Wiltshire, plus there will be a full education programme, covering health & wellness, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness, life coaching, children’s health and much more. Enjoy mindful activities such as foraging, bushcraft in the woods, silent walks or landscape drawing with a local artist. Reconnect with yourself and your surroundings in workshops that celebrate the beauty of The Chalke Valley and promote mindfulness and wellbeing. Oh, and there is a Zest Spa! What’s not to like? www.feeltheverve.com