Yoga Retreat on Skye with Daniella Arin
A ten hour drive from Cheshire, brought us to Quiraing Lodge in time for dinner on Sunday night. The lodge is nestled by the beach in Staffin Bay with fantastic views over Staffin Island. I shared a large room with two others with windows overlooking the mountains and sea.
Dinner was fish pie made with local fish, as, although the food was mainly vegetarian, everyone present was happy to eat fish. Throughout the week the meals were wonderful and Suzy tried out several new vegetarian recipes on us – all resounding successes.
After our meal we had our first ‘Coming Together’ session. Danielle asked each of us what we hoped to gain from the week. She took notes which she referred to throughout the week to help us all achieve our aims. About half the group of thirteen had been to Danielle’s courses before, although only two of us were regular students of hers. Several of the others were beginners at yoga.
We had agreed to be silent before morning meditation, so getting up was a very peaceful time. The room we used for our practice was at the top of the house and has been used for meditation for many years, so has a very special atmosphere. The casement windows brought us close to the elements so that at times we were being rained, snowed or hailed on. The sound of the waves was the constant background to everything. Each day Danielle picked an Angel card for the group - the first was Transformation, which in many ways, summed up the whole week for me.
Breakfast was at 8am each day with porridge and home made bread which Sam, our host, got up at 6am to bake. Afterwards we had some free time to go out, whatever the weather, for a short walk along the bay. Just up near the jetty is the ‘Dinosaur Footprint’ beach where there are fossilized dinosaur footprints buried in the sand, but they are generally only uncovered by the tides in the winter months. There are plenty of other fossils to be found on the beach and interesting volcanic rocks.
Danielle teaches Iyengar yoga, which demands very precise practise of the asanas (postures). Beginners found the physical yoga strenuous, but it was adapted to an individual’s abilities. Several people found themselves in postures they had never thought possible! This gave us all a great sense of achievement.
In the afternoons there was time to explore the island, to go for walks, or to relax. At 5 o’clock there was a gentle yoga session with pranayama (breathing) and meditation. This took us deeper into our yoga practice than is possible in a weekly class.
Each evening we talked about what the day had meant to us. This involved much laughter and some tears, with input ranging from dream interpretation to the effects of eating too many beans! These sessions were very supportive and really helped us to come together as a group of diverse individuals.
On the final night we shared a bottle of malt whiskey and described our overall impressions of the week. I felt that I had come away much stronger, calmer and more connected with the world – truly transformed
Julia is a qualified Iyengar teacher
For more information about yoga with Danielle, see her webpage or write to her: Danielle Arin, Yew Tree Cottage, Spinfield Lane West, Marlow, Bucks SL72DB