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A place for deep healing and change

As I walk through the flourishing gardens that surround the Byron Yoga Centre, I take a deep breath. It’s perhaps my first conscious breath for the day, maybe even for the week. I exhale and let it linger, noticing that my lungs feel full and healthy. I look around. The banana trees have almost doubled since I was here last, the spring flowers are in full bloom and the butterflies flutter happily in the breeze.

Passing the 25-metre magnesium pool, I am warmly greeted by Elise, the retreat manager, and offered a brewed chai with nut milk. Lunch, Elise informs me, has just been served: a black rice salad, scrambled tofu and sweet potato fries. The food is delicious and fresh. With most of the produce grown organically on site, the centre focuses on wholesome, vegetarian meals with a sattvic approach.

After my lunch has digested, I explore the gardens before an hour-long Ayurvedic massage with Mariana. Eagerly, I leap onto the massage table and check in with myself. Again, it’s for the first time that day … perhaps even for the week. I can feel the tiredness of being a new mum seep through my pores as I sink into the table. My right shoulder is knotted from breastfeeding and the muscles in my lower back feel locked up. As instructed by Mariana, I take a few more deep breaths and my senses are delighted by an essential oil blend. Her melodic, therapeutic touch softens my body and I drop heavily into relaxation. It is here that I realise how important it is to be cared for, especially when you become a mum. I set an intention to book myself a treatment each month, and that decision, along with Mariana’s healing touch, allows me to slip into desperately needed sleep.

After my massage, I find a daybed on the pool deck and recline. I feel relaxed and, at last, taking up space in my body. Unexpectedly, my mantra appears between my thoughts, so I begin to meditate. I notice the stories playing out in my mind. Usually, when I’m in my busy everyday mind, these stories dominate. They shout and deafen. They speed up time. But not now that I have some space. Some time to process. Some time for stillness. I doze in and out of slumber, enjoying the sun on my skin and the much-needed solo time.

My tummy rumbles so I wander into the kitchen and grab some fresh organic fruit. I sit outside and listen lightly to Ross, a senior yoga teacher, and Elise chatting about literature, authors and writing books and I can’t help but sit back and enjoy the conversation. That’s the thing about Byron Yoga Centre. Inspiration lingers in the air everywhere. The place is like a chasm for change — a honeypot of transformation. It is here, held by the teachers and guided by your intuition, you can choose a new path forward, pave a new way. Moments of transformation are not solely found in the many workshops, meditation and yoga classes on offer at Byron Yoga Centre, although they can be found there too. There is wisdom and wonder to be discovered all around the grounds, and that’s why I continue to return to the tranquil eco-haven.

I walk to the garden yoga shala and am greeted again by Ross. I set up with two bolsters, two blocks and three blankets and realise it’s been a while since I’ve been on the mat. It’s been a while since I’ve had some time for just me, my body and mind, a thought that has occurred a lot today.

Ross brings the room into unity and single-pointed focus with a few rounds of breathwork. This time my breath, I observe, hasn’t escaped me; I’ve been consciously breathing in and out since my meditation. My body and mind are slowly recalibrating and reconnecting.

Using the props, Ross guides the class towards a state of deep restoration. We fold gently and move slowly through a handful of supported postures that offer my body and mind the stillness it is craving.

Transformation awaits

There are plenty of unique retreats on offer at Byron Yoga Centre. You can join a three-, five- or seven-day retreat or a three-day transformative women’s weekend.

It is also known for its teacher training program. On offer is a 200-hour level one or a 300-hour level two yoga teacher training course as well as speciality courses in yin, remedial yoga, restorative yoga, trauma-aware yoga or meditation teacher training.

Byron Yoga Centre is buzzing with life and creativity. In the space of a day, I’ve returned home to myself. I’ve recalibrated and set new intentions. I’ve re-energised my body and mind. I’ve found deep relaxation. And, most importantly, I’ve realised that in order to be the mum I wish to be, a mum that has presence, patience and playfulness, I need to take care of me first. Looks like my next visit to Byron Yoga Centre will be a five-day retreat. I can’t have too much time for me!

The writer was a guest of Byron Yoga Centre.

For more information visit byronyoga.com

Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan is the Editor of WellBeing and WILD. She loves surfing, creating raw desserts, flowing through nourishing yoga sequences and spending time with her new pooch, Maribou.

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