Kaliyoga’s brand new Hormone Balance retreat is devoted to nourishing the Naturopathic ‘golden triangle’ of thyroid, adrenals & ovaries. These hormones shoulder the heft of organic health during hormonal epochs of a woman’s life, including puberty, pregnancy, post-partum, peri-menopause and post-menopause. I arrived only 5 hours ago and I can already feel it working.
“Notice how grateful your organs feel now that you’re finally giving them permission to relax” intones the honey-voiced Lelly (Kaliyoga’s top in-house yoga teacher) as ten retreat guests sigh in unison, our bodies luxuriating over bolsters and under blankets, intoxicated by infusions of lavender and lime flower, beckoning us to surrender further.
“My teenage daughter would love this hormone balance retreat” enthuses Jane, a menopausal fitness instructor from London “coz she’d finally realise how much we actually have in common!”
That evening, over a glass of fizzy Kombucha (a.k.a. Kaliyoga champagne) we bond over our shared symptomology, collapsing into giggles over some of the more intimate challenges that we face during this magical mystery tour known as The Change : volcanic sweats during power point presentations, bewildering hair growth in non-designated areas, uncontrollable sobbing over John Lewis commercials and the grossly unjust ‘desertification of the nether regions’.
Kaliyoga’s nutritional therapist Rebecca and Sophie the herbalist (who happens to be blessed with the facial architecture of Nefertiti) offer their top-est tips to guide each woman through her unique hormonal reckoning to the emotional and physical equilibrium that awaits her.
“It’s not that far to feeling OK again..” says Rebecca. “So long as we avoid the Evil Duo – sugar and stress – that send our cortisol levels soaring and our immune systems tumbling. Equally important is a balanced gut biome, as a happy gut boosts our serotonin levels and puts paid to depression, anxiety and that most pesky of hormonal phenomena – brain fog.”
Amanda, Kaliyoga’s twinkly-eyed kitchen manager, teaches us to nourish our bodies with rotated seeds, bone broth, wild fish, fermented foods, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables to ditch chemically harmful cosmetics & domestic products, and to quaff a tincture of sage, damiana & gingko to get our sexy on.
There’s even a raw chocolate workshop with a chilli, rose and cardamon pay-off that has us dancing around the living room to deliciously naff hits of the 80’s.
Each morning we welcome the sunrise together, wrapped in blankets on the wooden swingseat, a motley band of random women sipping cups of nettle and horsetail tea and knocking back shots of chlorella and camu camu. “I feel like I’m in a Netflix box set called “Women who howl at herbs” says Clare. Then someone actually howls.
Our Vitamin C levels boosted, blood cleansed and bones fortified, we float down to our heavenly yoga where Lelly leads us through a pleasurable (and easy to remember) yoga sequence designed to challenge our addiction to intensity and re-program our nervous systems towards profound daily relaxation.
Long sun-drenched walks through olive and orange groves help to bed down the wisdom gained by sessions with Kaliyoga’s talented healers, designed to help us silence our ‘would’a should’a could’a’ inner critic and allow ourselves to follow the dreams that may have lain dormant for decades under layers of financial and emotional obligation.
On the last day, over chia and almond porridge with superfood topping, we bask in the glow of each other’s reflected happiness, receiving luxurious hugs and vowing to return towing friends who long to stop trying so hard, daughters oppressed by exam stress and Insta-perfect imagery, and younger sister-mothers whose sole ambition in life may simply be a good nights sleep.
Hormone Balance: Women on the verge of a nervous breakthrough
by Rosie Miles, co-founder of Kaliyoga Retreats