Workout of the week: A weekend of yoga with Pure Balance Retreats

26 July 2017By Elizabeth Finney

In our workout of the week series we delve into the newest fitness trends, classes and technologies and explores the latest wellness movements to help you get ship shape for your next superyacht vacation. For some, getting a mental workout is just as important as getting a physical one. Elizabeth Finney heads to Hillerson House in Devon to try out a Pure Balance Retreat.

The basics: Opt for a weekend, five-day or private yacht wellness retreat and enjoy multiple yoga classes, meditation sessions, one-to-one coaching, sound healing and carefully crafted nutrition. This is for those dedicated to total body rejuvenation, perfect for getting Med season ready.

What they say: "We will begin with a personal discovery session to identify the areas you want to focus on. From there we’ll select the right practices and techniques, using a combination of classes and one-to-ones to work with any challenges, through a unique combination of yoga, meditation, sound healing, nutrition, hypnosis, health coaching and creative expression."

What's it like: Combining the traditional stylings of an English stately home with ancient healing practices and extremely modern wellness techniques created a medley of experience that won't be easily forgotten.

I arrive in the early evening on a Friday and am welcomed through the enormous front door to the foyer, where herbal tea and healthy bites are waiting – notably, the diet for the event is both vegan and teetotal, which is an adventure in itself.

After a light yet delicious and filling supper, I embark on my first yogic session of the weekend. The small group settles down in a cosy side chamber and, surrounded by historical artefacts, paintings and décor, partakes in a deeply relaxing yoga Nidra session, where the aim is to reach a calming state somewhere between waking and sleeping.

Instructor and nutritional therapist Kathryn Fielding practising yoga in the beautiful grounds of Hillerson House. Picture courtesy of / Kathryn Fielding.

The morning brings a revitalising meditation session followed by a Vinyasa flow series. Practising in such a tranquil environment allows me to really feel the physical and mental benefits – there's nothing better than working on your Chaturanga biceps with a calm and present mind. I rest my quivering arms by moseying around the idyllic grounds, where I meet a tame deer called Hazel and marvel at the stunning green British landscape.

The daily yoga classes are wonderfully varied, ranging from dynamic morning movements to gentle evening sessions. Within two days I'm feeling stronger and more grounded thanks to a combination of consistent yoga and being cut off from my biggest vices: sugar, Netflix and caffeine. Though tough to bid these things farewell (albeit just for a weekend) the fact that I was removed from my day-to-day life made this easier to cope with.

Additionally, my experience is peppered with one-on-ones with various professionals; a nutritionist, whose vast knowledge and health detective work leaves me feeling extremely positive, a life coach who gives me valuable tips for stress and sleep management and an Alexander Technique practitioner, who was able to show me ways to improve my back health and posture.

I leave Hillerson House well-rested, well-fed, more educated and with a sense of peace that only a stint in the English countryside and yoga can bring.

A weekend retreat at Hillerson House start from £895 (based on two sharing a room) and include luxury boutique accommodation, transfers, meals and supplements, daily consultations with your personal nutritional therapist, Stress Management Assessment including one further mind and meditation consultation, tailored long-term wellbeing programme to take away afterwards.

For more information on booking a private retreat, visit