Yoga retreats at Ockenden Manor in Cuckfield

Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa

Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa - Credit: Archant

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

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


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