Many of us live in wild and wonderful urban jungles, and are completely saturated by the speed, the high levels of sensory information and pollution of city life. We become so a part of what surrounds us, so fully an extension of our environment, that too often, we forget to stop. And to breathe.
When Jayne (whom I mentioned last week in the post Eat Whatever The Fuck Your Body Wants When It Wants) first told me that she holds bi-monthly urban retreats, I was fascinated. I mean, the retreats I’ve been on so far were usually in some tropical place, far from any skyscrapers. Such as my week-long detox in Ko Phangang; and the 100 hours of meditation at my Vipassana course in India. So to take a day out of our busy lives, without ever having to leave the city of London, sounds almost too convenient.
I was late on the morning of the She Is Wild Urban Retreat, but luckily was not the only one, and within a few minutes of arriving, a small group of relatively exhausted women in need of some real body and soul nourishment, settled down on our yoga mats, cocooned in our blankets, encircling a golden shrine, which we were asked to each place a special something onto.
I spoke about the crystals that were given to me on my travels from various women, and how the topic of sisterhood and my own journey of healing all of my feminine connections was highly on my mind at this time. Others spoke of needing help, or rest, or simply permission to ask for more peace in their lives. One by one, we placed our favored talismans into the centre, along with our words, our wishes and our intentions.
Jayne led us through a gentle Kundalini yoga chakra balancing sequence, taking care to give each area of our body some attention and stimulation, to call in the peace, the tranquility and the harmony back into ourselves, that each one of us craved, followed by a short relaxation.
Shortly thereafter, an amazing lunch was served. All vegan, all allergen-free, and highly nutritious, healing and simple. Jayne is not only a gifted Kundalini teacher and wordsmith, but has also spent many years working as a vegan chef in various kitchens in London and around the UK. I was incredibly impressed with the starter, a hot pink Beetroot, Coconut + Lime soup, sensationally garnished with chives, which I loved so much, that Jayne has ever so kindly shared the recipe with you and with me below, at the close of this post.
Once we had all eaten, Jayne gently encouraged us to one, by one, go to a table in the corner of the room and choose one of the many beautiful cards sitting in a cardboard box, and to write a letter to our future selves. I loved this idea and penned down all the love and gratitude for what I’m doing in my life right now, and the intentions that I’m setting to lead me in the direction of a life well lived. I want to live both the width and the breadth of life. And do so with spaciousness, with a sense of abundance and love in everything I do, and an unwavering, innocent curiosity. We completed the cards with self-addressed envelopes and then were called back to our circle.
More relaxation, yoga, an angel walk and amazing conversations led by prompts from the infamous book ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’ led to quite animated discussions on what women want, what they deserve and what kind of freedoms we allow ourselves. Do we allow ourselves to be truly wild? Do we even know what we need and what we want? Why are we still afraid to ask for those thing? And so on. It’s amazing how fast time flies when you’re feeling über-relaxed and completely accepted and nurtured into a space like I felt here. Jayne gently closed this beautiful one-day urban retreat with a yoga nidra relaxation, that most of us fell asleep to. A sure sign that many of us are not giving ourselves the time to rest that we all sorely need.
Once we were ready to leave our circular sanctuary, she invited us back to the kitchen for home-made almond and date milk and amazing chocolate, which I had far too much of, because it really is THAT good. A few more conversations and final goodbyes were said, before each of teared ourselves from the healing space that Jayne created.
I noticed that night, as I went to bed, that I felt sweeter, kinder and more loving to myself than I had for a really long time, and it felt so good. When I mediated before I drifted off to sleep, I noticed certain parts of my body shift into a deeper relaxation than I have known for longer than I care to recall, and I recognised the importance to take days like this, for yourself, more often. Even when these retreats aren’t on, I am inviting into my life a weekly ‘self-love day’ where I do exactly this. Nourish and nuture my body with gentle stretching, good food, plenty of rest and soul-stimulating insights.
Jayne’s She Is Wild Urban Retreats are held every two months in North London, in an incredibly beautiful photography studio in Stoke Newington and the next dates are: Saturday 11th January & Saturday 8th March, pre-booking available right now via the website at She Is The Revolution.
BEETROOT, COCONUT & LIME SOUP
• coconut oil
• 1 red onion
• 1 stick celery
• 75g creamed coconut (the boxed kind)
• 1.5 pints veg stock
• 400g cooked beetroot
• juice 2 limes
• salt n pepper
• chives to top
1. Cook onion & celery until soft.
2. Add stock, beetroot, coconut cream.
3. Blend until really smooth, then add lime juice to taste, salt n pepper.
4. Heat & serve with chive garnish.
Around here, we do things a little differently...
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