By Shenda O’Hare, travel agent with Travel Secrets in
Warrenpoint, County Down
One positive thing to come out of the lockdowns is more people are focusing on their mental health and wellness. As a yoga retreat in India is out of the question, where can you find inner peace and be at one with ourselves and nature? The answer is, not far away at all.
In and around the beautiful border area of Carlingford Lough there are all manners of wellness therapies, from yoga practices to sound baths, meditations, to forest bathing to be found.
Up with the Sun in Rostrevor
Starting in the east, with the sun rise, in the village of Rostrevor, the Sisters by the Sea run sunrise mini retreats. Kellie and Aisling set up their business at the start of 2020 with the mission to inspire women of all ages to take time out to reconnect with themselves and nature.
On a mini retreats, you will rise with the sun for a gentle hike through Kilbroney Forest. It will be followed by a soothing yoga practice and sound bath. It will have you feeling all kinds of zen. ‘Move, Breathe, Nourish, Believe’ is the girl’s motto. The retreat ends with a plant-based picnic supplied by local vegan café, Leafy Greens. The mini retreats will return from June 26th.
Holistic Therapy in Warrenpoint
In Warrenpoint, right on the sea front you will find the The Zone Tearoom, where you can indulge in tasty treats taking in the view over Carlingford Lough. You can also take advantage of treatments on offer.
Paula, who runs the tearoom, has created a community hub for practitioners of holistic therapies allowing them a space to have one-on-one treatments. As well as group sessions, there is reflexology, Reiki, massage, energy therapy, and guided meditations provided by qualified therapists.
An Infrared Sauna, unlike a regular sauna, directly heats your body without warming the air around you, and for me, is the next best thing to a massage. All you need to do is get in, get comfortable and enjoy the warmth.
With meditative music playing in the background and the dimmed lights it’s easy to feel your stresses melt away leaving your body and mind feeling relaxed. Afterwards you can indulge in a homemade treat with vegetarian and vegan options.
Forest Bathing in Meigh
Just west of the lough is the village of Meigh in the Ring of Gullion. At Xhale the focus is on immersive and mindfulness experiences using the gifts of meditation and the landscape. Accommodation can be arranged nearby in Bluebell Lane Glamping.
Ann has been practising meditation for over 20 years and as a certified Forest Bathing Guide and Forest Therapy Practitioner. She leads individuals and groups through the practice of Forest Bathing or as it is known in Japanese, Shinrin Yoku.
This practice is about opening all your senses to the natural environment around you in the forest. It is great for stress relief and results in feelings of peace, contentment, and connection.
Ann has a natural calming and grounding presence and helps you with simple breathing techniques that you can repeat at home or out on your own walks in nature.
Retreats will be restarting from the 19th June with the Awakening Your Senses retreat. So it will give you the opportunity to experience forest bathing while you rest, reconnect and re-energise.
Further Information, Sisters by the Sea – mini retreat £80 (about €93) per person The Zone Tearoom – Facebook @thezonetearoom – Infrared Sauna 1hr Session £20 (approx. €23)
Xhale ‘Awakening Your Senses’ in the Magic of the Ring of Gullion £72 (approx. €83) per session.