About 6 weeks ago my swimming mojo went on sabbatical along with my health. The highs of racing with Team Melanie C were a long way away.
Suddenly all the things I said I would someday do more of; might change in my life at some point; became imperatives.
Along with regular physio, acupuncture and bowen massage, the little bit of yoga I was doing became a committed daily morning routine. And, having always been more veggie than not, I finally committed to a plant based diet (no dairy) and a life beyond saturated fat.
I was also in desperate need of a holiday.
To my delight I discovered The Zest Life and headed off to the Welsh mountains, lakes and sea for their ‘Dive Into Yoga’ retreat: A long weekend of yoga, wild swimming, vegan food, massages and other good stuff.
Whilst we can all get thrown some pretty nasty curveballs, the universe also has a habit of bringing wonderful things into your life; and often, exactly when you need them the most.
This weekend was one such wonderful thing.
Laura’s yoga sessions were beautifully multifaceted, combining traditional philosophies and a superb breadth of knowledge of her art, with a contemporary wit and sensitivity that was completely in tune with the pace, progression and personalities of the weekend.
From peaceful meditation and breathing exercises, entwined with inspiring poetry and music, through to crescendos of physical movement, where I discovered strength and power I never knew I had.
On the Sunday evening we even got outside in the beautiful gardens of Plas Cadnant and had lots of fun doing yoga in pairs…
It was a revelation to be doing something so physical, strong and active, that was also restorative and bringing energy and peace to my body and mind – A complete antidote to the training pattern I have been at risk of falling into: Pushing myself to the limit in an unhealthy cycle of exhaustion and recovery.
Having paid lip service to the virtues of yoga and nodded intently when friends sung its praises, I am now, finally, an official convert.
Thank you Laura.
What a variety!
After the hot, physical morning yoga sessions (and before breakfast), we jumped in the waterfall at the bottom of the beautiful gardens at Plas Cadnant.
It was bloomin’ freezing, but utterly delicious!
Then it was over to the lovely Dan and Gabs at Gone Swimming for our daily swimming adventure.
Our swimming adventures were not about distances or times etc. In fact temperature readings were guided on a “brrr” to “brrrrrrrrrrrr” gage.
It was joyful; and on the Saturday I found myself swimming with a seal at Yyns Lladwyn, and on the Sunday, in the beautifully cold and invigorating Llyn Idwal.
Whilst Dan and Gabs kept a close eye on us all when in the water, it was also pretty wonderful to be greeted with hot fruit tea and vegan cakes on our exit.
As well as all that, and perhaps most importantly, Dan and Gabs really know their swimming stuff and Dan kindly took the time to talk to me about other swimming spots in the local area: There is so much to explore – and thank you for helping me rediscover my swimming mojo!
I didn’t take any pictures of the food as I was too busy stuffing my face. It was delicious.
Fruit salad, muesli mixes, soya yoghurts, salads, homemade soups (thanks Laura’s mum!), avocado ‘cheescake’ (awesome), vegan chocolate mousse (ditto), sesame and something I can’t remember how to pronounce – sweet and savoury – all-at-the-same-time-things – which were just delicious.
Having changed my diet, it can sometimes feel isolating, especially when you are eating out with friends or at a mate’s house. You feel like you have to explain yourself. But here there were no such worries – it was lovely!
Positive kind-hearted people
Some of us were drawn to the weekend primarily for the yoga; for some of us it was the swimming.
I am new to yoga and other people were new to open water, but we all dived in!
Thank you ladies.
芙蓉出水, ‘Fu Rong Chu Shui’, Out of the water a lotus rises – And we did.
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At A Lotus Rises we’re celebrating women in open water, from your first splash, through to wild swims and even swimming marathons.