It’s not often we find a family weekend where everyone completely relaxes without the need or desire for more fulfilment. Where each of us has time to do exactly as they please and no one feels the need to rush around or take time out with screens and distractions.
This weekend we attended the first ever Yoga Camp at The Macs Farm in Ditchling, Sussex. Although it was just a small gathering of around 200 people, we probably chatted to more new friends than we have at most big festivals we’ve been to. The kids certainly made lots of friends and enjoyed the freedom and pleasure of a simple weekend in a field somewhere.
YogaCamp is a new idea to bring together people of all ages who love camping and food and want to try yoga. There were clearly some life-long yoga experts at the event but as a novice, I never felt out of place and even the kids were welcome to join in the sessions, and they certainly did!
I have tried yoga in the past but am certainly not a regular yogi. My 10-year-old Daisy, who had perhaps tried it a couple of times at odd festival here or there, is now an avid fan. She absolutely loved it and fully immersed into as many of the sessions as she could.
The YogaCamp included amazing vegetarian communal meals which brought all the guests together around the central fire pit. The food was fabulous, and although Hunny (now 6) turned her nose up at some of the meals, it made for a really easy weekend not having to think about food. Predicting my fussy children I packed plenty of snacks and the odd (non-wholesome) treat for them.
For guests looking for a full detox weekend of goodness there was healthy snacks and food available all day from the awesome Jhal Muri Express, The Whirled Espresso Bar, and the lovely ladies from Brighton’s own You Juice (excellent brownies guys)
The Mac’s Farm itself is well worth a visit. Literally 10 minutes from Brighton (unless you pick 5pm on a Friday like us – bad move!), The Mac’s is a family run organic egg farm in Ditchling which has recently added the most wonderful boutique camping. It’s a quirky little spot and easy to see the owners absolutely adore their animals and surrounding and share it sympathetically with nature. Guests at YogaCamp were allocated their own mown out private pitches amongst the long swaying grass, each with its own fire pit. There is a brand new eco shower and toilet block and a huge yoga marquee at one entrance with another path leading off to a second communal camping field and lovely walks around the fields of animals.
If you want to see happy chickens – check out The Mac’s Farm!
As we were in the van we were camped in a difference field past the giant daisies and a cute little pond with guard geese.
The kids were busy making friends all weekend and they also tried circus skills, crafts, den building, bow and arrow making forest school and outdoor activities from the Outdoors Project. I was really surprised how they engaged with the different types of yoga. They clearly felt safe around such a nice group of people and trusted those around them to freely express themselves and join the group sessions.
For adults, there were plenty of massage sessions available and some talks and group sessions of on nutrition, healing, mindfulness and parenting discussions.
Personal favourite of the yoga festival for me was the Shakti Dance on Saturday evening which started as a slow yoga session and built into a high energy free jump around for young and old. It was so lovely to see the smallest yogi’s watching the adults letting themselves go to the dance. A special moment in my memory that will sit with taking part in the partner yoga with my daughter Daisy and laughing about our difference in size and difficulty getting into some of the yoga poses.
We all really loved YogaCamp and not once did the kids moan or feel the need to escape to the van with an iPad or movie. We arrived home on Sunday and they happily took themselves off for a bath and chatted about the weekend. No arguments, hangovers or tantrums. A successful weekend in our house!
See you next time YogaCamp.