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REVIEW: A retreat for body and mind at Rufflets Hotel St Andrews

Rufflets have yoga retreats.

After a year which saw lockdowns, home working and restrictions on our everyday lives, the idea of a retreat and an escape seems even more welcome – even on our own doorstep.

Rufflets Hotel has launched a new series of Emerge and Immerse Yoga Retreats, designed to rejuvenate the body and mind.

The family-run hotel in St Andrews has added the retreats recently and invited us along to try their first one.

Rufflets in St Andrews.

A warm welcome

The small group of participants, including Health and Wellbeing journalist Cara Forrester, met for the first time in the reception of the hotel and were given a warm welcome.

From there, it was a short walk through the beautiful gardens to the studio where the day’s activities were held.

With ample space and beautiful views out onto the wooded gardens, it is the epitome of peace and tranquility.

Yoga instructor Naomi Watson.

Cara said: “The location is so quiet and peaceful. You can hear the birds singing and the trees moving in the wind.

“I instantly felt at ease as I took my place on my mat. And little touches like the fragrant oil that filled the room and the small gift bag of fresh lavender were thoughtful and helped everyone relax.”

Cara Forrester.

The day begins with an introduction and the opening session is a mindful immersion, led by mindfulness instructor Claudia Ortiz.

Cara added: “This is perfect for anyone new to mindfulness practice and within the session, we learned the basics of bringing our awareness to the breath, being present and noting thoughts and feelings.

Mindfulness and yoga classes form part of the retreat.

“Afterwards there was a yoga asana workshop which helped energise us all – Naomi was a fantastic teacher and guided us through even the more complicated poses, giving us variations for all levels of ability.”

Nourishing Ayurvedic lunch

After the yoga class, those on the retreat made their way across to the main hotel building and the dining room for a Ayurvedic three course lunch.

Cara added: “We all felt very spoilt – the lentil soup was delicious and was followed by a beautifully light and nutritious quinoa, sweet potato and chickpea ragout.

“Dessert was Chia chocolate pudding which everyone enjoyed.”

Mindfulness instructor Claudia Ortiz and yoga instructor Naomi Watson.

After lunch, it was back to the studio for a post-lunch class on guided breath work to aid digestion – called Pranayama.

Then it was time for the next session of restorative Yoga and Nidra before a tea break.

Cara added: “The post-lunch programme was perfect timing and very well planned as it gave us all a chance to relax and digest the meal.

“Nidra is fantastic for relaxation and is often referred to as ‘yogic sleep’ because some who practice it – even for only 15 to 20 minutes – find it as powerful as a good night’s rest, even although you are conscious throughout.

“It brings the body into a state of awareness and is brilliant for relieving stress and anxiety.

The studio is light and spacious.

“Then we enjoyed a closing meditation from Claudia and afterwards I felt as though I was walking on air – completely relaxed and ready to tackle the challenges of the week ahead feeling full recharged.

“It was a delightful escape and felt like I was a million miles away – even although I never left the Kingdom!”

The next retreat is planned for the 5 and 6 November and also has the option of a residential package including two night’s overnight stay in the hotel, dinner and breakfast.

Further dates are also planned for dates for February and March 2022. All retreats are available to book as residential packages or as a day guest.

For more information go to the Rufflets website.