When Neal’s Yard opened a new store in the heart of Bury St Edmunds last year, not only was it a chance to be able to stock up on award winning natural healthcare and beauty products, but the shop is the first in the UK to incorporate a yoga room as one of a range of complementary therapies.
So an invitation to attend their very first ‘Retreat Day’ in Bury seemed an interesting and very welcome prospect , particularly after a couple of very stressful weeks.
Run by the lovely Jo Dennis, whose extensive background and interest in complementary therapies led her to becoming a Neal’s Yard franchisee, the company’s mission is ‘to encourage a more natural, holistic way of health, beauty and wellbeing, through their products, therapists and Organic consultants.’
Jo welcomed us to the beautifully stocked ground floor shop leading up to three tranquil and attractively beamed therapy rooms on the first floor. She talked about her passion for transforming people’s lives by empowering them to live more healthily and asked us to be open to the experiences and treatments we were about to be introduced to - to simply relax, enjoy and take in the smells, sounds and feelings of each room and therapy.
Our serene yoga teacher Birgitte gently introduced us to Hatha Yoga, a series of gentle stretching movements with simple breathing and relaxation exercises and completely allayed any fears I had of not being ‘bendy’ enough for Yoga – just about anyone can try this class. Then we got comfortable in the lightly fragranced room and Jo used her beautifully soothing voice to mentally take us through flower-filled fields and tunnels of colour to send us into a blissful meditative state. I definitely drifted off to sleep briefly and when we compared notes after, the other three in our group all did too!
Nutritional enthusiast Amanda explained the health benefits of a raw food diet and expertly whisked up some nutritious juices and smoothies for us to try, before serving a colourful array of delicious Thai-inspired and super healthy dishes.
To aid the digestion of lunch we practiced some ancient Chinese Qigong moves with the very aptly named Natalie Garden, a Clinical Aromatherapist and Perfumer. Trained ‘nose’ Natalie then introduced us to a dozen different essential oils and we chose our personal favourites to create a unique blend to take home.
Then on to our chosen treatments, my expert masseurs Swenja performed a firm yet relaxing full body massage and I sleepily joined the rest of the group for afternoon tea. Here, resident herbalist Alexandra talked about herbal medicine whist serving us hibiscus and licorice tea and a mouth watering selection of homemade treats including lavender shortbread and surprisingly healthy brownies.
Jo said that every one of her happy team at Neal’s Yard had found her rather than the other way around and I have to say they were certainly some of the most friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable therapists I have come across. I left the Retreat Day feeling calm, relaxed and rejuvenated having experienced some new therapies, with an increased awareness of raw food and herbs and the desire to definitely book another yoga class.
Neal’s Yard Holistic Centre
34 Abbeygate Street
Bury St Edmunds
Tel: 01284 706004
Member since: 10th July 2012
hello there, I am the owner of the Best of Bury St Edmunds and my aim is to keep all local people informed about the better businesses in our lovely town and make sure the businesses on this directory...
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