Take a look at the inaugural year of this festival in picturesque Freshwater on the Isle of Wight.
I’ve recently been getting more into self care, as I’m prone to neglecting myself and letting life get on top of me. I’m actively looking for activities and events that counter this and stop me from feeling totally overwhelmed. Talk about timing!
Travel to the festival
Travelling over to the island is so easy and always makes you feel like you’re escaping, like a little mini holiday right on your doorstep. Wightlink, the local ferry in these parts and how just about everyone gets to and from the island, offer a convenient service from Lymington to Yarmouth, so I popped myself with my car on a very early morning trip to attend The Awakening.
The journey is quick, around 40 minutes and being able to sit with a coffee and look out across the Solent was a very relaxing start to the day.
Arriving at the festival
After a short drive, I found myself heading up a country track following the cutest bunting and home made signs that had been carefully tied to the trees.
Once I’d parked up I headed to sign in and that’s when I saw the beautiful Weston Manor House, our home for the day, for the very first time.
What an incredible setting for a wellbeing festival, it is stunning, there’s plenty of space and the organiser had set up beautiful outside locations for the workshops, places to just hang out and rest and a beautiful tent for classes.
Signing in was simple and well organised, once I’d exchanged my ticket for a wristband and itinerary I headed to look around the house and plan what I was going to do that day. Isn’t it beautiful, what a great place to have planned a wellbeing festival.
A warm welcome awaited attendees in the main hall way of the Manor House. Lots of stalls selling crystals, jewellery and herbal teas – I wish I’d had more time to look around this bit, I packed my schedule for the day full of back to back classes.
Saturday’s line up
The weekend had everything you could imagine – in fact it covered so much that just mentioning two or three sessions doesn’t cut it.
- Inspiring Talks
- Mindfulness, Meditation & Breathwork
- Sound Experiences
- Astral Projection
- Story Circles
- Conscious Living & Conscious Business
- Creativity Workshops
- Self Care Rituals and Lessons on Self Love
- Spa sessions that you could book for additional money including Reiki, Massage and Reflexology
And, this wasn’t everything, there was so much more!
Like the Olympics, The Awakening had a really cute opening ceremony where everyone attending gathered on the lawn for a talk from the founder Kate. She gave focus and intention for the day in a beautiful opening talk about how the festival came about and why looking after your own wellbeing and mental health is so important.
She handed out roses to everyone with labels and we had to put our intentions for the day on the label and tie it to the rose. They were then put in a bucket for a local artist to be make all the roses and intentions into a mandala.
The resulting art work looked so pretty in the summer sunshine. It’s such a sweet concept and set a lovely tone to the day as it made you really think about what you wanted to achieve from the day.
Yoga classes, talks and workshops
I wasn’t sure what to pick so I tried to cover a wide variety of classes to get a real feel for the festival. It was a nice approach as I didn’t agonise over what I was doing or worry about what I was missing out on.
It did take me a little while to decide as there were lots of interesting choices but I finally settled on Yoga Dance, Restorative Yoga, a Sound Bath, Qoya and to an amazing talk by Jessica Huie MBE.
Some of the classes I took were definitely a little wackier than I am used to. Yoga dance and Qoya were the two that really pushed me out of my comfort zone.
The sessions required you to be very free with your movement. Being able to let go and not care what the other people attending thought of you was really hard. But, it was a great opportunity to try – letting go doesn’t come easily to me and practicing made me feel silly bit also very free and I guess that’s the point. By the end of the day I felt relaxed, nourished and in a very safe non-judgemental place.
Here’s a little bit about three of the classes I took, these were real highlights for me from the festival.
I wanted to just focus in on a couple of my favourite parts of the day, one of which was the Qoya class with Meghan. Until this class I’d never heard of Qoya, so this was a learning experience for me as I had no idea what to expect from the class.
It involved so many different elements healing crystals, dance, yoga, meditation and picking a card with meaningful intentions on it were just a few of the elements of the class. It was part meditation, part dance class, part yoga and part workshop – a tricky one to explain!
The class combined the best bits of several practices to show you how you can alter and change your mood through a few simple techniques. It was really eye opening, and while it was definitely one of the more ‘hippier’ classes it was one of my favourites. I felt so happy when I’d finished the class – the ending was so joyous and had us dancing in a meadow to Avicci – I kid you not!
My other new experience was a sound bath, and this was something that I’d wanted to do for a very long time. While these are popular in London and outside of Hampshire, I haven’t really seen them advertised in my local area.
I wasn’t sure what to do but it was clear as soon as everyone entered the tent that this class was about true comfort! Everyone brought in lots of pillows and blankets and they were getting very snuggly. Once everyone had laid down and were settled, the teacher played the two massive gongs in the corner of the tent.
I’m not going to lie, I thought I was listening to a recording, the gong playing, ringing, bashing (Is there a word for that?) was incredible and so immersive. I very quickly zoned out and let the music wash over me – there’s a reason they call it a sound bath!
After an hour of lying there I was really rested and couldn’t believe the time had gone so quickly.
Jessica Huie MBE
While the two classes were incredible new experiences that relaxed and revived me, it was the talk from Jessica that really resonated with me.
Jessica talked all about Purpose, finding your truth and embracing your calling and she spoke with such clarity that I couldn’t help but be bowled over by the insights I gained from it. I definitely had a few revelations and it felt like nourishment for my mind allowing me to better understand how I’ve been feeling lately.
I love finding incredible people who have the power to change your perception and open your heart and mind. It’s such an amazing quality and you need it to push your boundaries sometimes. It was the perfect fit for a festival about wellbeing too.
Snacks and Lunch
My mid-morning snack was a fresh green juice full of freshly whizzed fruit and vegetables. Accompanying it was a homemade nutty snack bar which was very tasty.
I thought there might be a lot of food choices for lunch but there was one vegan noodle salad sushi bar. It would have been good to have had a couple of other options and I was thankful that I liked the majority of things included. At first I was a bit worried as I’m allergic to onion, but thankfully they made the box of salad up in front of you and were really accommodating with my allergy! The meal was so delicious, fresh and not heavy so you didn’t feel sick afterwards when doing some of the more active classes.
At the end of the day there was a closing ceremony that featured a reading set to music which was a powerful ending to such a wonderful day. The entire festival tried to cram into one room, so I was a bit cramped trying to see from the back. You didn’t really need to see as you could hear the words and music bring the day to an end.
I had the best day and came away feeling lighter, less stressed and revived by the day’s activities. There’s so many things I haven’t even covered, there were book signings, discussions, a spot for beauty and sanitary donations and a great goodie bag at the end of the day.
I think the next festival has been announced for 2020 and I’ll be keeping my eye out for tickets as it did me the world of good!
If you want to find out more about the festival visit awakeningfestival.co.uk
*AD – Wightlink and The Awakening invited me to experience a day at the festival with no obligation to post – I decided to share the festival and my trip as I had a wonderful day. All opinions are my own, otherwise what’s the point?