Over the 6th, 7th and 8th November weekend, members of the Newcastle University Yoga Society held their retreat on the outskirt of Newcastle, in Gibside- a country estate. The Gibside estate, previously owned by the Bowes-Lyon family, is now a National Trust Property located at Gateshead. This estate is set amongst the peaks and slopes of the Derwent Valley and is a nature reserve that offers miles of woodland and riverside walks for visitors.
The Yoga society members resided two nights in dorms that were converted from stables. The accommodation also had a massive kitchen where meals were prepared together by members during the evening.
The members got access to the communal space where the Yoga sessions were held of which a total of three Yoga sessions were practiced over the retreat with the society’s regular instructors, Conrad and Thereza, who led the group during the sessions. Meditation, which is an essential element of Yoga, was also practiced during the retreat. The Yoga Society committee invited instructors from the Hare Krishna Centre as part of the retreat to introduce to the members the Kirtan Yoga, which is essentially another form of Yoga. According to Yoga Society’s Social Secretary, Lauren, “The Kirtan Yoga principally involves the use of Mantra Chanting of the Hare Krishna verse and this Mantra Chanting eventually leads to the engagement of the group to meditate as one. Also for most people this was the first time they had experienced this type of yoga so it was really exciting.”
"The whole idea of the retreat was to allow people to get to experience different styles of Yoga, and to go deeper with their practice"
During spare time where members were not practicing Yoga, meditating or spending time doing team activities in the stables, they went for hikes and tour the wilderness of the Gibside estate. Lauren commented, “We had all of the estate to explore, so we went on some lovely walks visiting the orangery, the old ruins all dotted about the site.”
Lauren wanted the Newcastle Yoga Society members to be able to practice Yoga together as one body and that was the reason the retreat was planned. She added, “The whole idea of the retreat was to allow people to get to experience different styles of Yoga, and to go deeper with their practice. We also wanted people to feel more a part of the society so they get to know other people coming to the sessions, and to feel more a part of a 'group' as the nature of yoga practice is that it is often a very individual practice.”
The £40 retreat had a total of 18 society members turning up and the members got to know each other in a comfortable group size.