We’re all on about balance right now, the hashtag punctuates thousands of Instagram posts every day, we use it every Monday morning to excuse overly indulgent weekend ‘slip-ups’, signing up to a class then hitting ‘snooze’ instead, and yearning for some on Fridays whilst lamenting the fact that we worked overtime for another day in a row.
Despite knowing we need more of a balance between healthy and indulgent, work and life, nights out and nights in, few of us seem to actually have the whole concept sussed. Because attaining balance is more than just allowing yourself a pizza on a Friday and trying not to feel guilty about it. So what exactly is balance and how do we implement it?
Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and have some time out to really find that sweet spot between extremes. Often, it’s not until we truly unwind that we’re able to acknowledge where imbalances lie and really appreciate how important it is to complement our manic lives with some old fashioned down time. From an evolutionary perspective, it means offsetting time we spend our ‘fight or flight’ response (which in our modern day is triggered incessantly by work emails, traffic jams, tight schedules, dwindling bank balances, diets, exercise, waking up with an alarm, etc.) with periods of calm and growth (seeing friends, watching a good film, yoga, having a bath, laughing, reading, nourishing food, a lie in, etc.).
Cecilia Clarke, the face behind Nature With Nurture, acknowledged this disparity in our inability to chill the hell out and launched Bend and Bubbles weekend retreats as a means of offering weary, hardworking, worried, tired bodies and minds a chance to unwind in a calm-promoting setting, with all the comforts and treats necessary to endorse growth. In essence, it’s a health retreat which doesn’t ask you to compromise on the good things in life! Not everybody has the inclination to dedicate time out to schedule-led, emotionally challenging, life-altering retreats with stringent rules, diet and exercise plans. Many are simply seeking an obligation-free environment with the space and comfort to recharge and return home ready to spring easily back into normal life, just with an added twist of balance. And this is the gap Bend and Bubbles fills beautifully. Balance means something different to everyone, and Cecilia invites you to use your stay as a chance to work on your own concept of balance, to be as involved as you wish – to sip on champers if that’s what fills you with happiness, or shut off completely and snuggle up in bed for the weekend.
The retreat is the conduit to finding equilibrium between stress and growth, being an angelic devotee to the green juice and loving a good-old silly night out with the girls. Bringing together countryside serenity, greenery and fresh air, twice-daily yoga classes, meditation, massage, low-impact yet energising workouts, walks in the great outdoors, wholesome, healthy, comforting home-made organic food, chocolate, wine and champagne. All of this is united in a two day and two night retreat, which in itself is a perfect representation of balance – as a weekend getaway within easy travelling distance from London and major cities, a stay with Bend and Bubbles is easily fitted into a week without having to take time off work or weekdays away from the kids. Cecilia’s approach doesn’t require adherence to strict schedules and multiple compulsory workshops leaving lots of lovely, novel, space and peace and calm to gain perspective and indulge in some truly restorative respite and the chance to breathe, be present, and have a few giggles, too!
As proffered by its name, yoga practice is central to the Bend and Bubbles experience. Headed by Aggy Piech of London’s Yaur Yoga, guests are invited to practice before breakfast and dinner, and to gather for evening meditation in the form of yoga Nidra, to fully bring tranquillity to the body and mind before a full night’s sleep and a lie in! Yoga on the retreat is accessible and unintimidating yet pushes individuals to fully embrace their abilities with their practice. Bending also comes in the form of a daily Callanetics class. A fusion of Pilates, ballet and yoga, the class gives guests opportunity to challenge their bodies, keep energy flowing and get hearts pumping in a low-impact and fun workout. The ‘Bubbles’ represents the indulgent side to the getaway, complementing the yoga flow with flowing champagne, after dinner chocolate, cosy cups of coffee, massage, and conversation with new friends to nurture the soul.
Ultimately, the Bend and Bubbles experience is the epitome of Danish hygge – the practice of truly nourishing both the body and soul in veritable unrestrained cosiness, resulting in total and inevitable relaxation and a return to natural, harmonious balance – whatever that means to you.
words by Rachel Bednarski
For more info on future Bend & Bubbles retreats, click here!