Saturday 22 October 2016

Delphi Resort: At peace after banishing my fear of yoga


Elle Gordon

Published 23/11/2015 | 02:30

Delphi Adventure Resort Wellness Room
Delphi Adventure Resort Wellness Room

An entire weekend of yoga. Sounds like a dream to most people. However, I felt chills down my spine at the thought.

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That is because I'm just not . . . how do I put it . . . bendy. I had visions of myself sweaty and frazzled, surrounded by a room full of smug people smoothly moving into pretzel-like positions. Yet my weekend of yoga turned out to be among the most enjoyable and peaceful few days that I have had in a long time - stiff limbs and all.

I arrived in Delphi after an early-morning start and was greeted by the friendly staff, whose warm welcome instantly put me at my ease. The rest of the guests were due to arrive that evening so I relaxed in my room for the afternoon.

Many of you will know Delphi as an adventure centre, keeping school tours, hen and stag parties gloriously muddy and thoroughly entertained over the years. You might envision sparsely furnished rooms with bunk beds. But the wellness weekends are all about comfort and pampering. Any tiredness or stress faded away as I pushed open the door to my brightly lit room with breathtaking views.

Delphi is situated in Leenane, in Connemara, Co Galway. Phone signal is practical non-existent so you are forced to switch off from your normal routine with nothing more to do than take in the scenery. The Killary Fjord is a view not to be missed, with other must-see beauty spots like Ashleigh Falls and Doolough Valley.

Later that day, guests of all ages gathered in the beautiful Delphi library for Kenneth Ryan, our yoga instructor, to brief us on the weekend of relaxation. The itinerary included particularly appealing slots called 'Me-time' and 'Sleep relaxation yoga' (yes please).

Then we all made our way to the yoga centre, another room with a spectacular view. The first session was all about getting us to relax. I wondered whether I was the only one who didn't believe I could truly switch off, or what it was Kenneth wanted us to achieve.

"Is this mindfulness?" I thought to myself.

"This is not mindfulness," Kenneth said. He instructed us to leave our mind with our shoes - our shoes were out in the changing room and I was certain my mind hadn't stayed there. But with the lilting music, deep breathing and the general atmosphere of well-being, gradually I felt myself unwind. As this was the first yoga class we did not do anything crazy or complicated. Some gentle stretches while lying down was the remit for the session.

A delicious dinner and great company gave everyone a chance to get to know each other. There were couples, groups of friends, mothers and daughters and some solo travellers like myself.

When it came to yoga, some of the guests were beginners, some more experienced and others avid practitioners. However, with over 20 years of yoga instruction behind him, Ken was able to cater each session for the needs of the individual; this included people with injuries, who were given simplified or safer versions of particular yoga poses. I woke up on the second day, surprised by just how relaxed I was.

During the enjoyable two-and-a-half-hour morning session, we tried a variation of techniques, including Tibetan yoga. This, Kenneth informed us, is a practice which Bruce Forsyth credits with keeping him young.

Breakfast was another tasty meal, where Kenneth encouraged us to eat light. This apparently would make our yoga sessions a deeper and more effective experience - but I was unable to resist tucking into the homemade brown bread.

The day continued with three more yoga sessions. Those who wanted to could do more, but for me it was time for the spa. Delphi spa is one of Ireland's hidden treasures, where you emerge, post-luxurious treatment, into a wellness room that looks out onto the most beautiful mountain views. It has all the facilities you might need, including steam room, sauna and a particularly gorgeous jacuzzi.

The final morning was filled with more yoga, followed by a juicing demonstration from Kenneth, who worked for years with juice guru, Jason Vale.

Everyone had arrived with a similar goal, along the lines of 'I'm here to unwind'. And if it's a rejuvenating holiday you want, then this is the weekend for you.

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