When my friend Kelly told me she was planning a DIY yoga retreat with a couple of mates, I was intrigued. The idea of a peaceful yoga weekend has always appealed to me, even more so since the kids came along, but I’d just assumed it would cost too much. It had never crossed my mind to do it myself.
All three of them had kids and had decided that taking two days to relax and focus on themselves would not only benefit them, but their families.
Kelly has a caravan with an awning, which was a perfect base for their DIY yoga retreat. You could also use a tent on a quiet campsite, and prepare most of the recipes below in advance, or if the kids are away use the house.
So one cold Friday night in January, Kelly and her friends drove 25 minutes to a rural caravan site and started their DIY yoga retreat. The rules were: no alcohol, healthy food and lots of yoga and time for reflection.
There was no fancy equipment. All they had was a mat each and they used Yoga with Adriene tutorials on YouTube (on a propped-up phone) for their exercise sessions.
So if a DIY yoga retreat is something that appeals to you, here’s how to get started:
DIY yoga retreat itinerary
Box of bothers. Each person writes down anything that is worrying them so they don’t overshadow the weekend.
10-Minute Yoga For Self Care
Evening meal – Sweet Potato and Chickpea Buddha Bowl
Self exploration books/Reading/Discuss plans/lists/goals for the year
Yoga For Bedtime – 20 Minute Practice
Wake up naturally! Wahoo what a luxury
Yoga: True Day 12 – Centre
Breakfast – Poached eggs with smashed avocado and tomatoes
Snack – walnuts/protein balls
Plans/lists/goals for the year
Lunch – The Ultimate Detox Salad
Craft session. Making peace rocks (writing positive and inspiring messages on stones to leave for people to find).
Meditation For Inner Peace 11 minute practise
Silent Time/reading/connect time
Evening meal – Speedy Cauliflower Salad
Mocktails and DIY beauty treatments- foot mask/face mask etc
7 Minute Bedtime Yoga
Yoga: True Day 13 – Strength & Harmony
Breakfast – Sweet Potato and Corn Breakfast Hash
Walk – distribute peace rocks
DIY yoga retreat recipes
2 carrots, peeled
2 oranges, peeled
1 apple, peeled
1/4 tsp fresh ginger, peeled
1 green apple
1 celery stalk
Handful spinach leaves
Quarter of a lemon peeled
Ingredients (Serves 2)
400ml almond milk or brown rice milk
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
sprinkling of black pepper
Measure 400ml or almond milk or brown rice milk.
Add 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a sprinkling of black pepper.
Heat gently and stir.
Froth with a handheld frother.
Serve and enjoy.
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 30 mins
2 Tbsp olive, melted coconut, or grape seed oil
1/2 red onion, sliced in wedges
2 large sweet potatoes, halved
227g tender stem broccoli, large stems removed, chopped
2 big handfuls kale, larger stems removed
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
400g chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp each salt + pepper
optional: 1/2 tsp oregano
optional: 1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 lemon, juiced
2-4 tbsp hot water to thin
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and arrange sweet potatoes and onions on a bare baking sheet. Drizzle both with a bit of oil, making sure the flesh of the sweet potatoes are well coated and placed skin side down on the sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven flip sweet potatoes and add broccolini. Drizzle broccoli with a bit of oil and season with a pinch each salt and pepper.
Bake for another 8-10 minutes, then remove from oven and add kale. Drizzle kale with a touch more oil and season with a pinch each salt and pepper. Bake for another 4-5 minutes then set aside.
While vegetables are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with seasonings.
Once hot, add 1 Tbsp oil and chickpeas and sauté, stirring frequently. If they’re browning too quickly, turn down heat. If there isn’t much browning going on, increase heat. 10 minutes total at slightly over medium heat should be perfect.
Once the chickpeas are browned and fragrant, remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare sauce by adding tahini, maple syrup and lemon juice to a mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Add hot water until a pourable sauce is formed. Set aside.
To serve: Slice sweet potatoes into bite size pieces. Divide vegetables between 3 serving bowls and top with chickpeas and tahini sauce.
Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge.
Speedy Cauliflower Salad (Deliciously Ella)
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 large avocados
1 tsp tahini
Roast cauliflower chunks on grill setting for 10-20 mins at a high heat with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and a pinch of cumin.
Add chickpeas and roast again with a pinch of cayenne.
Toss with chunks of avocado, fresh coriander and a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, a drop of maple syrup and a teaspoon of tahini.
Serve with brown rice
For the dressing:
70ml grapeseed or olive oil
2 lemons, squeezed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp pure maple syrup, optional
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
For the salad:
134g kale, tightly packed and thinly sliced
1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced
144g broccoli florets
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
2 avocados, peeled and diced
12g fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing (or put everything in a small blender and blend) and set aside until ready to use.
Add the kale, cabbage, broccoli, bell pepper, and carrots to a large serving bowl.
Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss until everything is coated.
Add the parsley, diced avocado, sesame seeds and walnuts and toss again.
Serve as an entrée salad or as a side salad to your favorite meal.
2 tomatoes, halved
½ tsp rapeseed oil
1 small ripe avocado
2 slices seeded wholemeal soda bread
2 handfuls rocket
Heat a non-stick frying pan, very lightly brush the cut surface of the tomatoes with a little oil, then cook them, cut-side down, in the pan until they have softened and slightly caramelised.
Meanwhile, heat a pan of water, carefully break in the eggs and leave to poach for 1-2 mins until the whites are firm but the yolks are still runny.
Halve and stone the avocado, then scoop out the flesh and smash onto the bread. Add the eggs, grind over black pepper and add a handful of rocket to each portion.
Serve the tomatoes on the side.
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 red onion, chopped
200g can sweetcorn, drained
Pinch of cumin
Handful of fresh chives, chopped
Optional: pinch of chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
Dollop of natural yogurt (I use coconut)
Preheat oven to 190C, fan.
Cut your sweet potatoes and onion into small cubes and place them in a baking tray with the drained sweet corn. Drizzle over some olive oil, a sprinkle of cumin, salt and pepper and give it all a really good mix to make sure everything is coated. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden.
When cooked, remove from the oven and stir through the chopped chives and chilli flakes. Serve with some sliced avocado, toasted bread and coconut yogurt.
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