This past Sunday, 1st October, we were delighted to welcome back Catherine Forrester, yoga teacher and mindfulness extraordinaire of Helix Yoga. The day retreat was attended by a mix of local people and previous students of Catherine’s from Bristol and London (including me, Anna – Managing Director of Highway Hill). The event was seasonally themed for the autumn, and started with a 90 minute practice of active but gentle and nurturing yoga, followed by a short mindfulness meditation focused around simple everyday joys (inspired by the excellent Small Pleasures card set by The School of Life). We then stopped for lunch and enjoyed a hearty and nourishing autumn soup with fresh cheese scones, all made by Catherine.
Continuing the autumn theme, we set out on a post-lunch walk with our bellies full and our eyes peeled for gorgeous autumnal goodies to bring back to the yoga studio with us. Sure enough, Highway did not disappoint: we found trees heavy with apples and sloes, vibrant autumn leaves on the ground, wide open skies, plenty of mud and fresh air, and the sense that the woods and fields were settling down for the winter in their own natural cycles. By the time we made it back down to the Barnyard, my mind and soul felt as nourished and expansive as my body after the morning yoga!
Over a cup of tea, we laid out our seasonal finds on a blanket together and left it in the middle of the room as a focus for our thoughts on the changing seasons. We finished the day with a restorative and supported yoga practice, inviting our attention inwards towards deep rest and relaxation, followed by a seated meditation practice to wake us up a little before going our separate ways. Overall the day was a huge success and I personally felt that it was a wonderful way to make space for the changing seasons in a way that felt welcoming and nurturing, rather than resentful.
Catherine’s successful week-long yoga retreat in July marked the public launch of Highway Hill, and her patience, flexibility and willingness to take a chance on us has been greatly appreciated by everyone in the team. As a personal friend and long-time devotee of Catherine’s style of teaching – which I find to be grounded, down-to-earth, accessible, and a fantastic way of helping me feel connected to myself and my body – I am so thrilled to be able to host her events at Highway Hill and I urge anyone who has not yet had the pleasure of one of her yoga classes to seek her out as soon as possible. Catherine’s winter day retreat on December 10th is already almost full and I can’t wait!