2008 Event Reviews

Domus Mariae - November 2008
Haybergill Remedial - April 2008

Domus Mariae Residential Weekend 14th – 16th November 2008

My Yoga teacher waved a form in front of us and asked if anybody was interested in a Residential Weekend. Being a fairly novice beginner (only 9 months into Yoga), I found myself a week later arriving at the Domus Mariae Convent in Woodford Bridge, Essex. I thought, “Why on earth am I doing this? I am on my own and I don’t know anybody, I must be mad, but let’s give it a try!

After arriving at the Reception Area, I was given the keys to a compact but cosy single room. There were shared bathrooms and a kitchenette nearby for us to help ourselves to breakfasts stocked with cereals, bread, fruit, tea, coffee and snacks. Everything was spotlessly clean and the people we met in the Convent were all extremely kind and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. Access for the disabled was provided by slopes to some external doors as well as lifts on each floor. There were 3 steps down into the yoga hall.

Our programme for the weekend promised a range of activities and the Yoga teachers who took us through our paces over the weekend all practiced in their own varied styles. Some gentle, some challenging, some thought provoking, but all extremely enjoyable. They left us invigorated and relaxed. Les Hummel, Tim Francis, Paul Blissett, Gregg Shaw and Ann Schooling all contributed with their vast experience and originality.

Tim Francis and Les Hummel led the twenty minute Meditation Sessions. This was a completely new experience for me and having learnt to find a ‘comfy ’position, it was a revelation to think that I could find such peace and relaxation. Definitely something I should do more often!

An afternoon walk led by Helena Read, took us around Woodford Bridge and across the Village Green, complete with resident ducks in the duck pond. We rounded off the walk with a visit to a beautiful estate nestled in a parkland setting. A nice place to live in if your lottery number comes up! After tea we had a choice of free-time or a relaxation session led by June.

In between breakfasts and coffee and tea breaks, lunch and dinners, we had other activities on offer. The food, by the way, was plentiful and delicious, with vegetarian and other options on offer. We also had home-made soup, salads, a choice of puddings, yoghurts and fresh fruit salads. One tea time treat ended in scones to die for! He (who shall be nameless) ate 3 at one sitting!

After supper, those who wished joined in Circle Dancing, which was led by Marion Parmenter. This again, for me, was another ‘first’. With an Autumnal display and candlelight in the centre of our circle, we moved together learning a variety of steps. We practiced eight dances in all. Nobody minded if we went wrong and laughter was the order of the day. It was such a lot of fun, I can’t wait for a chance to join in some more another day. I am definitely a convert

Another activity led by Bernard McHugh was a Words and Music session, greatly enjoyed by all who attended. Bernard had produced the most amazing prose and poems from his collection, both soul-searching and enlightening. These came together with a few thought-provoking sentences which he christened ‘Seeds’. It was light and original and set to a variety of beautiful music.

Finally, after a delicious Sunday dinner, we said our goodbyes. I came away having made so many new friends that I now look forward to meeting again.

My thanks to the Yoga for Health and Education Trust for providing me with the chance to experience such a wide variety of activities and for giving me the opportunity to share new experiences and to meet so many lovely people. Also, to Helena Read, the main organiser of this event helped by Ally Francis. Thanks also to the two Trustees that I met, June Skeggs and Paul Blissett for helping to make the weekend possible.

I am proud to say that I am now one of their newest members and I can’t wait for the next weekend. Yes please!

Davina Zafar - participant

Remedial Yoga for MS & Allied Conditions, Haybergill 10th – 15th April 2008

Haybergill is a wonderful place. The food is fantastic, the building offers splendid facilities, the staff are friendly and helpful and the wildlife is varied and fascinating. The drive there is through beautiful scenery and the M.O.D. firing range is much less intrusive than you would expect. It was good to return to Haybergill to meet old friends and new and look forward to regular and well structured yoga.

Deborah repeated her routines so that we would be able to remember them when we got home and this was very helpful, as was the attention to breathing.

Helpers were very much appreciated by those not able to move independently, and this selfless giving of time and effort makes a great deal of difference to badly disabled people.

We had talks about the progress of the Trust and it became clear the work and effort that is being made by a number of people on our behalf.

We have much to be grateful for and sad though it is that the Bury is no more, there is much to look forward to. We also had a talk on Kinesiology and this proved to be interesting and surprisingly helpful, not necessarily in the way that you might expect.

I understand that there is to be another event at Haybergill next April (3rd – 8th). I will make sure that my name is down for that.

Susan Calvert - participant





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