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New year, new you

It's 2019, it's our January Wellness Month, and it's the perfect time to look after yourself with these inspirational wellbeing retreats, courses, spas and festivals in Glos and Wilts

It’s early 2019 and for me, time for a reboot. Health, life, fitness, wellbeing…it’s the perfect chance to think about how you’d like to focus on wellness for the next 12 months and beyond. What do you fancy? A personal trainer who works with the whole ‘you’? A spa day with a difference? A festival dedicated to wellbeing and mindfulness? A yoga retreat in Thailand? Whatever your goal, we have scoured Glos and Wilts (and a little bit beyond) for our favourite courses, classes and spa weekends to help you superboost your motivational mojo. Here’s to a happy 2019, because frankly, we’re worth it.


The Personal Trainer

Lucy Askew at LA Movement, Glos/Oxon

Photo by Hayley Hawn

Forget six million sit ups and busting through your burpees to burn off a few pounds, the latest personal trainer looks at the whole you, treating the body and mind holistically (and ideally in some gorgeous location in the Cotswolds.) Lucy Askew is one of a new breed of super-trainers, helping you become happier, healthier and stronger through movement of all sorts. In her words, taking action and moving your body, be it a walk in the fresh air with the dog or killing yourself on a Crossfit workout in the gym is highly correlated with happiness. And as we know, becoming happier helps motivate you to make healthier choices, leading to growth in self-esteem and confidence. Which in turn means you become stronger in body and mind – a virtuous circle!

Lucy works with her clients to develop simple strategies to help them move more – strategies which can be incorporated into your life with ease and a sense of fun. She will also help with weight loss, toning, and more specific performance or health goals, plus healthy eating and nutrition. Beyond the gym, she helps clients edit out the ’noise’ in the wellness environment, to recognise the good information from the bad and so adopt healthy new behaviours. Apart from having a blooming good laugh with her, she will make you realise you are absolutely capable of achieving more than you think, and if there is one thing you do for yourself this new year it’s to get out there and Move! She’s a good motivator, this one… Email, Instagram @la_movement


The outdoor swim
Explore Glos and Wilt’s crazily wild outdoor swimming places, even in the freezing cold. Our rivers and lakes are cleaner, safer and more accessible than at any time in living memory and the health benefits of a wild swim or natural dip are also now well known, so take the plunge and dip in. That’ll be you, obvs. Not me. There are some amazing spots along the River Windrush, and in Cotswold Country Park.
The Spa

Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, Malmesbury


Looking for a Cotswold retreat where you can leave the world behind? Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa aces every base. The hotel’s impossibly lovely Aquarias Spa oozes wellness from its pores, with a hydrotherapy pool complete with airbed, air tub, neck massage jets and air bench; a tepidarium with heated stone recliners; salt scrub and experience showers; thermal cabins including a calidarium, steam grotto, laconium and sauna; a wave dream sensory room; and a VIP suite complete with its own hydrobath. There is also a a gym with fitness classes by arrangement (personal training, tai-chi, pilates and yoga classes on specific evenings in the spa lounge). Plus, if you need some serious pampering, you can have a facial in the spa’s exclusive Natura Bissé Bubble Suite, a 99.995% pure environment which provides the next level of plumping, rejuvenating and purifying.


Spa days, half days and evenings are on offer, and with a spa membership to the Aquarias Spa you have full access to all of the facilities plus an opportunity to combine wellness, fitness and socialising with member-only benefits and discounts across Whatley.


Cowley Manor Spa, Cowley, nr Cheltenham

Treat yourself this January at a contemporary take on the Cotswold country house hotel where chic modern interiors and stupendous surroundings equals 21st-century nirvana. Cowley’s amazing spa, C-Side, is an indulgent space with pools both indoors and out, with holistic and cutting edge treatments and a range of organic wonder products. Their fab Spa Days include Daylight Relax or Sunset, each with a treatment of your choice, plus lunch or dinner and use of all the gorgeous facilities. Their Pregnancy Spa Days are great, too. New for January is a Revitalising Spa Day, all about detoxing and revitalising. Membership at C-Side gives access to the pools, gym, sauna, steam and treatment rooms, with discounts on all C-Side treatments, Green & Spring products and dining.


New at C-Side is Proverb for Men, focussing on spa days, new treatments and products especially for your other half. Designed by Proverb, their Men’s Day Spas include Proverb treatments and Proverb product starter kits, and the days are tailored to individual needs.


A Muddy mention must go to Cowley’s products: Green & Spring use the abundance of natural resources to be found locally at Cowley Manor and the surrounding British countryside to create gorgeous organic skincare treatments. Also hand blended in England, Pinks Boutique offer incredible pregnancy treatments and products that deliver results without the use of chemicals and fragrance, toxins or mineral oils, putting the health of you and your bump at the fore.


The Festival

Verve Festival, Ebbesborne Wake, Sat 7 – Sun 8 Sep

Get your tickets now for this fab new wellness festival in Ebbesborne Wake, Wilts on 7-8 Sept, celebrating health, fitness and the great outdoors. All ages are welcome for a weekend of yoga, meditation, Pilates, exercise classes and guided farm runs in the most picturesque location imaginable in South Wiltshire, plus a full education programme, covering health & wellness, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness, life coaching, children’s health and much more. Enjoy mindful activities such as foraging, bushcraft in the woods, silent walks or landscape drawing with a local artist. Reconnect with yourself and your surroundings in workshops that celebrate the beauty of The Chalke Valley and promote mindfulness and wellbeing. Oh, and there is a Zest Spa, too.

On Saturday night there will also be an outdoor cinema for families, and a DJ for those wanting to dance the night away under the stars.


The Yoga Studio

One Grove, Cheltenham

There’s something a bit different about Pilates and yoga studio One Grove in Cheltenham. You feel it as soon as you walk through the door when it’s like you’ve turned up for lunch with your bessies – everyone is so friendly and the reception space is more like someone’s living room! But this warm atmosphere belies the serious mission that One Grove is on: to help everyone who comes to them to achieve a strong, supple and balanced body. As they put it: “We are not a gym, we are an education.”

And at the core of that education is intelligent exercise. Former City worker Lucy Whitehead opened the studio in January 2017 and she’s passionate about inspiring everyone to better movement and health. In One Grove’s Pilates Reformer and Equipment sessions, there are only four people in a class to ensure you get targeted, personalised care. The Pilates Mat and Barre classes use a specialised range of small equipment to ensure your body is in the right position, and there are dedicated classes for Pre & Post Natal clients and the over 60s.

From gentle Pilates to Jump HIIT Express classes, beginners and advanced yoga to ballet barre workouts, all levels of intensity are on offer with a team whose impressive skills and experience (there are on-site physiotherapists and a massage therapist) will ensure you stay out of trouble, while you hone that super bod you’ve been dreaming about!

NEW for January 2019 is a bumper schedule with now 60 weekly classes Monday to Saturday that you can attend as and when you wish on a fully-flexible basis  – there’s no termly payment or commitment necessary at this gaff. Classes include Mat Pilates, Reformer Pilates, Rehab Pilates, Yoga and Barre classes. Trim up after all that Christmas excess and sort out any hip/back/knee/shoulder niggles you have. Bring it on, we say! Email to have a chat.


Stroud Yoga Space, Stroud

We love this oasis of calm where you can practise yoga, meditation and Pilates with some of the area’s best teachers. Oh, and there’s an utterly fab shop for retail therapy nirvana, too!

The brainchild of Dru Yoga teacher Rachel Mellish, Stroud Yoga Space embodies yoga, which means ‘union’, in its fullest sense, bringing together a broad range of teachers all with their own styles to teach under one roof. And what a space under that roof! For anyone used to draughty village halls, the two studios, Earth, downstairs, and Sun, upstairs, are a revelation. Beautifully calm, they have bamboo floors with underfloor heating, plenty of light and room for 10 to 12 people, which keeps classes nice and intimate. Everything you need is on hand – mats, blocks, blankets, cushions and bolsters – and both studios feel very nurturing.

The range of classes is properly impressive, too, drawing as Rachel does from the local teaching talent pool, all of whom are highly qualified. There are up to nine classes a day, seven days a week, and as well as the usual Vinyasa Flow and Pilates sessions, you’ll find Yogalates, a blend of yoga and Pilates, Dru Yoga, a gentle Tai Chi style of yoga, Egyptian Belly Dancing, Pregnancy and Mother and Baby Yoga, Teen Yoga, Family Yoga, Yoga for children with special needs, and a Friday Lunchtime Power Yoga Nap to get you ready for the weekend.

And don’t forget about that shop! It stocks the most amaaazing gear. You can read about it


The Holiday

Kaliyoga Retreats in Andalucia and Puglia

The experts at Kaliyoga will take you to your happy place (and keep you there after your return) at their truly transformative retreats in Spain and Italy. Yoga, meditation, holistic therapies, workshops, swimming, walks, delicious food – and more – at two picturesque farmhouses in the Alpujarra foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia and in Puglia in southern Italy.  Week-long retreats run throughout the year but we’re liking the sound of the Menopause & Hormone Balance (April),  Yoga and Walking (Feb to April), both in Andalucia, and Yoga and Cycling (May to October) in Puglia.  From £875.


The Orange Grove Clinic Yoga Retreats in Thailand, Sardinia & Tuscany

Gift yourself the ultimate bit of ‘me’ time this year and join ZenMuma – Jackie Heffer-Cooke for one of her fabulous yoga retreats in Thailand, Sardinia or Tuscany. Beaches, forests and beautiful sunsets will be the backdrop to your downward dog as you discover your inner peace. The Yoga is a blend of Hatha, Vinyasa with a splash of sunset Yin and is suitable for all levels including beginners. If you fancy taking the kids with you on a retreat this summer holiday (they’re not mutually exclusive we promise) Jackie runs a family camping retreat in Tuscany. Wild play, family yoga, traditional Tuscan cooking, river swimming and gorge trekking fill the five days and it’s a breath of fresh air to watch the kids get back to nature.

Find more ideas here

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