I cannot recommend anything as potent as taking the time to meditate. for many years I have dismissed it as hippy nonsense. but as we lead a more stressful and fast pace of life, I’ve realised that being ‘mindful’ and taking the time to meditate are indeed great tools for calming, controlling, and rejuvenating one’s mind. I used to do yoga as a form of exercise – stretching, keeping the body supple and gently toning , but now I choose yoga classes that not only achieve those things, but also help calm the mind and cultivate well being. Susan Nove at triyoga has a lovely sense and spirit; she runs 6 week evening courses on mindfulness, that teach you how to incorporate mindfulness in your every day tasks, meaning that you don’t have to just sit still to practise. her half hour classes also help you maintain what you have learned. Anna Price is also a great teacher and can personalise methods to help you get through more difficult times. my favourite yoga teacher is Erika Tourrell – she has the right balance between yoga for revitalising the body, but her words and spirit really take you to the next level of self care and appreciation of life. last weekend I did a 2 day meditative yoga stay at Sharpham House with Erika, accompanied by the haunting music and soulful singing by Mike Stanton; not only is the location a paradise, but the whole experience is so detoxifying and renews your energy for life; there are always a group of likeminded people and listening to the wise words and thoughts of others is always so engaging. the whole weekend is scheduled for you, but its not all like school – you can take part in whatever you choose to participate in. the surroundings are idyllic and comfortable and the food is delicious, vegetarian and plentiful and mostly grown in the walled garden. I highly recommend, especially in such a beautiful setting that brings you back in touch with nature. the estate has over 500 acres of walking areas – its own vineyard and walled garden makes them self sufficient; they even make their own cheese. if you are brave enough, you can swim in the river, which a couple of my companions did. if you don’t want to do a retreat there, you can always rent the bathing house which is ideally situated by the waters edge of the river dart.