The Resident escapes to Oxfordshire with south west London yogini Charlie Morgan to find out why a country yoga retreat is yin and tonic for mind and body
Yoga teacher Charlie Morgan studies constantly. It’s perhaps this, her relentless quest for wellness wisdom since giving up her job as an assistant buyer in 2011, that has led to her astonishing success as yoga instructor to the Harlequins rugby team.
Initially trained at The Wise Living Yoga Academy in Bali after a life-changing trip to the Himalayan Yoga Institute in 2011, she has taught across the globe, privately all over London, and at top yoga studios including Hotpod Yoga, Heartcore in Notting Hill and Evolve in South Kensington. You’ll find her running workshops at Yogahaven in Clapham and at Sweaty Betty on the Northcote Road, as an ambassador for the branch.
Now, she is turning her hand to country weekend retreats beyond the city, at the idyllic, homely Poundon House in Oxfordshire. Morgan’s collaboration with fellow yoga lover and friend Alicia Roscoe, who co-founded the &Sister retreats at her family home along with her sister Natalie, has given her the opportunity to share her knowledge with others on a deeper level than is possible in an hour snatched after work in London – as I was lucky enough to experience for myself at their inaugural autumnal retreat, Autumn Light.
‘A lot of people are living in the fast lane, even if they’re not always aware of it,’ she tells me before the other guests arrive. ‘A retreat is an amazing opportunity to make a lasting difference, and to take a step back and see how far you’ve come. When you’re more relaxed, you’re more open to learning. In London, people want to work out and leave, whereas in this environment, I can really start to show people how beneficial things like daily meditation and little affirmations can be.’
When you’re more relaxed, you’re more open to learning. In London, people want to work out and leave, whereas in this environment, I can really start to show people how beneficial things like daily meditation and little affirmations can be
Just an hour from London, the retreats cater for complete beginners through to advanced practitioners, while men, women, couples and groups of friends of all ages are all just as welcome. As well as yoga practise, there’s plenty of time to relax in front of the log fire, chat over dinner and to go for walks in the surrounding Oxfordshire countryside.
The retreats are themed around the changing seasons, and are geared towards helping people through the transitions that come with different times of the year. As 2017 rolls around after the indulgences of the festive season this January, now is the perfect time to plan ahead for the coming months and book on to the Wild Spring or May Bank Holiday retreats.
Alicia Roscoe’s other &Sister offerings include the likes of a three night New Year retreat with Mischa Varmuza, Soul Dive, with a three course banquet on New Year’s Eve. She offers a slightly different experience at each and every one – whether by introducing sound healing or Tibetan bowls, or mixing up the itinerary with special guests. Though this year is already sold out, it’s not too late to book onto Varmuza’s new Awaken Your Heart retreat at Poundon House from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 February 2017.