Yoga in a yurt is inspired by Nina’s love of nature

The Yoga Garden
The Yoga Garden

NESTLED at the foot of the South Downs in Sullington lies two yurts that make up The Yoga Garden.

Owner Nina Fowkes set up the business in 2009 after being inspired by a love of practising yoga in nature.

She said: “I used to practice yoga in my own garden but I never really expected it to become a real business.

“The garden location was wonderful during the summer months but I knew the good weather would not continue so the yurt developed from there.

“I thought rather than having a treatment room I would have a yurt big enough so I could hold a few classes.

“The yoga side of the business soon took off which surprised me considering that we are out in the sticks.

“However, that is what I think appeals to people and now we get people coming here from quite far afield.”

Nina, a mother of three, fell in love with yoga when she lived in California, where she also began to take an interest in alternative health and meditation.

She said: “I have practiced on and off since my late teens but it was while pregnant with my first child that I started to understand the more profound benefits.

“I see yoga as a bit of a toolbox. There is always an aspect that can help you with whatever you may be going through at a particular time in your life.

“A lot of people think of yoga as tying yourself up in knots but that is only a fraction of what yoga means.

“I think that whatever age you are, whatever is going on in your life, there is always something you can do.”

Fifteen different yoga classes are now held at the yurt ever week, including teenage yoga and mindfulness, hot yoga, where focuses on a flowing sequence of postures, practised in the heat, pilates, children’s yoga and restorative yoga.

Last summer, Nina opened a therapy yurt and has seven therapists offering a range of treatments from massage to reflexology and Reiki.

She said: “I think this type of thing has become more and more popular over the years as people seek alternatives to modern medicine.

“A treatment is the perfect complement to a yoga session and really helps to create balance.

“We also offer organic facials and use natural organic products.”

It is not hard to see why people are drawn to The Yoga Garden.

I arrived on a sunny evening and was immediately impressed by the beautiful surroundings.

The yurt that holds the yoga classes was deceivingly spacious and inviting, adorned with authentic little touches, the smell of intoxicating essential oils and a cute wood burning stove to keep people warm in winter months.

Yoga teacher Emily Evelyn started the sports yoga session with gentle stretches to relax all the joints and muscles in the body.

The main bulk of the hour was dedicated to a combination of robust and gentler exercises, working on the core and teaching us how to be in control of our bodies and aware of our breathing.

Finally we practised some meditation and I completed my yoga experience with a fantastic Thai massage that really worked on any remaining tension.

The next yoga teacher training programme will start in September.

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