Tamsin Wressell stretches out in the New Forest on Daisybank Cottage’s first ayuverdic yoga retreat
Boutique Hampshire B&B Daisybank Cottage teamed up with ayurvedic nutritionist Tina Tuft for a weekend retreat that’s slated to return later this year. It included a morning yoga class, a mindfulness walk in the New Forest and an ayurvedic cookery class, plus two nights’ B&B accommodation.
My friend and I arrive on a Friday night to find herbal infusions next to the kettle in our room. We’re in the Brightiff Suite, complete with high wooden ceilings and an original Arts and Crafts fireplace. A super-size bed draped in Egyptian cotton dominates, overlooking the front garden.
No expense seems to have been spared with the marble bathroom and giant volcanic limestone bathtub. French shutters separate the room from the view outside, but — this being such a quiet area — when open, privacy is assured. Toiletries are locally made using natural ingredients and the cushions and art have all been specially commissioned or created nearby. There’s a large stock of DVDs, plus wellies and tote bags are available for guests to borrow during their stay too. We make use of all these things with enthusiasm.
Food and drink
Breakfast includes a selection of comfort dishes, including boiled eggs and ‘soldiers’, all cooked on the AGA. Plus, there’s a cabinet filled with cereals, homemade granola and spreads, including some of the best almond and coconut butters I’ve had. Everything about Daisybank seems to champion local produce, and, of an evening, there’s an honesty bar to dip into, showcasing all the best locally made spirits.
Before we stretch out for some yoga in what was earlier the breakfast room, there’s a brief introduction to Tina and to ayurveda. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a distracting view of the gardens as Tina takes us through the benefits of each position — where it’s working, what it’s doing and why we should do it. It’s a small class, giving it a more personal feel. The resident cat weaves between our legs as we’re in downward dog and everything feels very relaxed and informal.
Once the class is finished, there’s a chance to seek more personalised ayurvedic-based advice. As part of the itinerary, Daisybank’s owner takes us on a drive through the New Forest. There’s usually time for an afternoon mindful walk through the forest, however, with temperatures dropping, we opt to settle in a cosy pub in the nearby centre of Brockenhurst — well, ayurveda is about balance, so we’ve been told.
Suitably balanced, we return to Daisybank for an ayurvedic cookery class. This evening, we’re making a lentil dhal using some of the spice blends from Tina’s brand, Yogi Health. Every ingredient placed in the pan has a purpose — we’re cautioned to not blend ingredients that are counterproductive to each other. The demonstration is interspersed with tips and advice: the best almond milk to buy; how we should never cook with honey (according to ayurveda it becomes toxic when heated); how turmeric needs a carrier, such as black pepper, to help break it down in the body.
Post-demonstration, we sit down with a glass of coconut water and bowl of dhal — it really is so tasty.
Ambling along the New Forest’s Rhinefield Ornamental Drive route among the wild horses.
An ideal remedy for my hectic city life — the setting itself is enough to push you into a calm state. The slowed-down pace of yoga and cooking just tops it off.
A two-night Ayurvedic Yoga Weekend, led by expert Ayurvedic Nutritionist Tina Toft of Yogi Health, costs from £195 per person based on two sharing, including overnight accommodation, breakfast each morning, a yoga session, a mindfulness walk in the forest and an Ayurvedic cooking demonstration with participation.
The next Ayurvedic Yoga Weekend will take place in autumn 2018. Mid-week Ayurvedic yoga workshops will also be introduced.