We did it again! Gold for Mellulah WOOHOO!

Spa Wellbeing Dorset

Mellulah won Gold again for Spa and Wellbeing in Dorset.

It was a wonderful night at the Dorset Tourism Awards last week. Held at the Lighthouse in Poole,  over 200 guests enjoyed a delicious 3 course meal, entertainment and then lots of cheers as awards were presented and businesses were recognised for their contribution to tourism in the county.

It was great to see so many really small business being awarded for their achievements, lots of one man bands and family run organisations. The awards are all about recognising the little guys, not one big corporation or large chain to be seen! This was the second year that Mellulah made it to the final and Saira went along with her husband Stoo for a night of serious nerves and extreme delight!

Mellulah won Gold for the second year running in the Spa and Wellbeing Experience category.  We also won Silver at the regional South West awards in February 2018 so we are on a roll it seems.

Judges for the Dorset Tourism Awards said their day with Mellulah was ‘an inspirational visit, we can not wait to go back’. As an entrant of the tourism awards, candidates go through a rigorous process. Last year Mellulah was invited to enter and we decided to go for it again this year. Firstly a lengthy entry form is filled out. Saira spent a few long days during the June heatwave, sat in the garden under a tree writing, deeply from the heart about the ethos of Mellulah and what it is all about.

As a very small spa and wellbeing business run by Saira and a team who come in to help on retreats when needed, Mellulah is all about LOVE. Saira didn’t hold back when she shared this ethos with judges, when asked why customers keep coming back to Mellulah, she wrote “

“Each guest who comes to me is important in a way that goes beyond my business mind. I have a real passion for the work I do and simply love the life I have created around Mellulah. This energy of passion comes across to all my yogis and clients, they all know I really care about their wellbeing and want to bring true and lasting change into their lives. I believe that my own experiences in life have taught me how best to help others, I have worked through some very difficult issues in my life with the practice of yoga, meditation, healing and participating in retreats. This makes me authentic in everything I do, I am not reading from a text book, I am a living example of how these can help a person to turn their life around. I believe that I empathise hugely with the people who come to me and they feel this, they feel loved, cared for and nurtured and I trust that by giving them tools to help them find harmony, they can do the same as I have and deeply heal.”

Saira shared her own story within the entry form, how she went from a young drug addict falling into abusive relationships to an older, happy, fulfilled yogi, it seems she won the hearts of the judges as well as those of many of her loyal retreat guests and therapy clients.

After the entry form has been read by judges, a short list is made and ‘mystery shoppers’ are sent out to check businesses in secret. Ours was sent during our August retreat at Middle Piccadilly near Sherborne. We found out at the end of a fabulous weekend that we had been shopped!  Judges also go through all social media presence, read every review and all press attention. Then a long wait until October to find out if we made the finals and a heart pumping end to the process at awards night.

Saira was over the moon to win Gold again for herself and the wonderful spa and wellbeing team in Dorset who work so hard to support her on retreats. Its also great news for all the guests who will hopefully feel even more confident about joining a retreat, a yoga class or coming for a therapy appointment with Saira. The best way to find out why Saira keeps winning is to come along and find out for yourself!

In need of a de-stress? A retreat could be just the answer

wellness retreat

In need of a de-stress? A yoga and wellness retreat could be just the answer

The Winter months can take their toll on many of us, the dark, cold days offer little opportunity to de-stress out in nature, bathing in the sunlight and warmth that can be such a tonic during Spring and Summer. Now could be the time to think about a Wellness Retreat to de-stress and have the kind of break that leaves you feeling refreshed and full of energy.

A yoga and wellness retreat is a chance to switch off from life for a day, weekend or longer if you are able. We live in a society that can feel stressful and often overwhelming. We have responsibilities at work and to our families. Finances and health issues can be a constant concern and then to add to that we are bombarded daily with negativity from newspapers, radio and television, often making us feel fearful and anxious.

A retreat can be described as a place of refuge, offering seclusion or privacy. Time spent on retreat is an opportunity to switch off, no wifi, no news, no responsibility, focussing on ourselves and enjoying anything from yoga, meditation, sound healing and mindfulness to hiking and paddle boarding.

Stress is a major cause of illness and disease in the West, causing serious health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, as well as  sleep disorders, anxiety and depression. A retreat can give us a nurturing environment to change the perception that life has to be busy and stressful.  On a retreat we can learn new skills that will help us cope better with day to day life. Yoga is a great way to stretch out the tension in the body, meditation helps to empty the mind of worry and mindfulness is a spiritual practice that assists us to become aware of our thoughts and how they affect us. We may learn about nutrition, juicing, also having fun getting out into nature to enjoy the surroundings of the retreat venue.

There are an abundance of yoga and wellness retreats to choose from around the globe, you can book a retreat here in the UK, in Europe or further afield for a real adventure and one that is perfect if you are single and unsure about travelling alone. Retreats offer an opportunity to meet like minded people, some of whom may stay friends for life, all in a safe, supportive environment where you can feel cared for and nurtured. Take your time to choose, read through the website of a retreat organiser you are drawn to, check their reviews and perhaps give them a call to speak to someone directly and get a feel for whether you connect with them.

A yoga and wellness retreat could be just what you need to start the new year with an intention to look after yourself and create time for your health and wellbeing. Life doesn’t have to be stressful, we just need to find new ways to deal with all that gets thrown our way.

See our Yoga Retreat Dates in Dorset and abroad.


yoga for busy people

Read Saira’s blog, recently published in the Country Child Magazine Blog. Is it possible to sustain a practice in sometimes crazy world? Saira offers some tips – yoga for busy people!

There are three words that tend to apply to most parents, busy, tired and stressed.

Bringing up children is demanding and more and more people in the West are turning to practices rooted in the East, to help them cope with the demands of our busy family lives. As parents, looking for tools to manage being a full time, part time, single or married mum or dad, many are finding yoga can help to fulfil the need for relaxation and re-energizing.

Finding a yoga class that offers a good physical work out and deep stretch, along with a sprinkling of buddhist philosophy and a nourishing Savasana (relaxation), could be just the antidote we all need. After a manic day rushing from school runs to work, trying to fit in chores and look after everyones emotional needs, its not uncommon to feel that we are neglecting ourselves.

Yoga has many benefits for body, mind and spirit, from helping the body to cleanse toxins, encouraging mindful awareness of the breath, to finding our core peace and stillness, yoga feels good!

So how do you fit a yoga practice into your already crazy, busy life?!

Here are a few hints  – yoga for busy people!

  1. You don’t need to get to a class to practice yoga. There are now an abundance of resources online, free videos on Youtube, or sign up to Gaia or Eckhart Yoga for high quality streaming videos from teachers around the globe.
  1. Get up early. Just 15 minutes of morning practice can make a huge difference to how you feel during the day.
  1. Practice after bedtime. If an early start isn’t your thing, try getting on to the mat after the children are settled, instead of reaching for the wine or replying to emails, take some time for yourself to unwind.
  1. If you used to practise yoga before children, forget how it used to work out for you then, now is the time to embrace a new way and find the flexibility to make this work around the children.
  1. Do yoga with the children. There are lots of parent-children yoga classes popping up and they are great fun, or try to find something online. Yoga is really beneficial for children and can help them calm down after a tiring day, making life easier for you too.
  1. Learn a few asanas (poses) and roll out a mat and stretch even if its just for 5 minutes during the day. Put off chores or phone calls and squeeze yoga in whenever you can, even if it is just Savasana!
  1. See if you can get to a class while the children are also doing something fun. If your local gym or wellness centre offers yoga, check if they have a creche or perhaps the children could join a swimming class at the same time.
  1. If you and your partner are keen on yoga, take it in turns. Commit to giving each other one evening a week each to go to a class or perhaps a Saturday morning.
  1. Schedule a class, just like any appointment you might make during the week. Put it in the diary, on the calendar and if anything else crops up, tell people you can’t make it.
  1. Remember yoga isn’t just an exercise. Yoga is hugely helpful in alleviating stress, so even if you feel unfit, inflexible or overweight, give it a try and see what it can do for you. Find a beginners class, speak to the teacher on the phone beforehand if you feel nervous and ask them for reassurance. Its important you find a teacher who resonates with you, so don’t be put off if the first class you go to isn’t right, keep trying.
  1. Don’t be discouraged. If you are trying everything you can to bring yoga into your life and it feels like a battle, don’t let it. Yoga is all about having unconditional love for who we are, complete acceptance of life as it is and a letting go of the expectations we set for ourselves. Don’t beat yourself up, being a parent is challenging and trying to do yoga isn’t meant to add to that. Relax, the space will open up in time and in the meantime 5 minutes a day is all you need.

Following these ‘yoga for busy people’ tips will help you begin to incorporate yoga into your life, allowing the benefits to help you to cope better with your little ones and feel better both inside and out. Enjoy!

Saira Francis runs Mellulah Therapy & Yoga Retreats offering yoga classes, holistic therapy and award winning retreats in beautiful rural locations around Dorset. Saira recently married, but for 14 years prior to that she was a single mother to her three children, yoga was without a doubt her saviour!

yoga for busy people

yoga for busy people

The practice of Loving Kindness

practice of loving kindness

How a simple practice can transform our lives.

Loving kindness is an act that brings joy and pleasure both to the receiver and the giver, it has a double effect. We all know how good it feels to see the eyes of a child, lover or friend light up when we give them a special, thoughtful gift or make an effort to do something to help them. We also know how good it feels in our own hearts to know we showed love and kindness to someone we care about. It works on strangers too, it feels good to buy from a Big Issue seller in town or help an overloaded mother with her pram, an elderly person cross the road. The more we practice kindness the better we feel and we are doing a service too, helping bring a little light and love into the world everywhere we go.

Taking this simple act a step further and looking at the Buddhist practice of Loving Kindness, helps us to deeply heal and release suffering from our present and our past.

This spiritual practice isn’t just about material giving and receiving, it is about feeling loving kindness to all living beings no matter what. This isn’t always easy and in our society we are conditioned to feel that we should hold on to grudges, to be unforgiving to those who have hurt us and to build a wall around our hearts to prevent future hurt or suffering. Deep inside us there is a wisdom that is calling us to let go and find love, forgiveness, compassion and kindness and that by doing so we will be released from our pain.

Here is a meditation on Loving Kindness that you can do quietly with yourself to help to clear your heart of old burdens, unleash love and bring a smile to your face:

  • Find a quiet place to sit, make sure you won’t be disturbed for at least 10-15 minutes. Repeat each line of the meditation out loud or mentally to yourself, the first time say the words using ‘I’ directed towards yourself and each subsequent time use ‘you’.
  • Second time think of someone you like and respect a great deal.
  • Third time think of someone you feel fairly neutral about.
  • Forth time think of someone who really irritates you.
  • Fifth time someone who has really hurt you either recently or in the past.
  • Finally think of your village, your country and then the whole world and all who live in it, particularly those in cultures that we do not know or understand.


  • May I/you be well, healthy and strong
  • May I/you be happy
  • May I/you abide in peace
  • May I/you feel safe and secure
  • May I/you feel loved and cared for

If you find it difficult to say these words whilst thinking of someone who has deeply hurt you, just make a resolve to try again another time in the future and leave it there.

Enjoy this meditation and bringing the practice of Loving Kindness into your life.

practice of loving kindness

Mellulah wins Silver in SW Tourism Awards

Dorset based Spa & Wellbeing business wins Silver in SW Tourism Awards

Mellulah wins Silver at the SW Tourism Awards - Spa & Wellbeing Experience Dorset based Yoga teacher and Holistic Therapist Saira Francis had reason to celebrate on Thursday night (1 February 2018) when her business Mellulah Therapy & Yoga scooped the South West Tourism Silver Award in the Spa & Wellbeing Experience of the Year at the Riviera International Conference Centre, Torquay.

Mellulah, which offers retreats across Rural Dorset, was the only Dorset business in this category to have reached the SW Tourism Awards final and was up against some very well-known names in the Spa and Wellbeing sector.

Running since 2011, this approachable business won Gold in the 2017/18 Dorset Tourism Awards, a particularly impressive feat as it was the first time Mellulah had ever entered the Awards. The judges made a special mention of Saira’s ability to create a warm and inviting environment for retreaters to relax and let go of daily stresses.

They were really impressed to discover Saira’s “holistic and traditional approach to yoga that caters for all abilities alongside healthy, locally sourced vegan meals and blissful meditation and relaxation, in beautiful quiet settings around North and West Dorset.”

With five businesses vying for Gold, Silver and Bronze in this popular sector, including Peter de Savary’s Cary Arms in Devon and last year’s Silver winners Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa in Wiltshire, Saira said she was honoured to be among such well-known names.

 The judges will have examined all aspects of what’s on offer, and with glowing testimonials from clients like Catty Lowsley-Williams from Blandford who commented, “Mellulah yoga is some of the best yoga I have found anywhere. I have been lucky enough to practice yoga all over the world with some wonderful yogis. Saira is unquestionably one of the best teachers I’ve encountered. She has huge integrity and humility. How lucky I am to have found her,” there is no doubting that Mellulah provides a fantastic customer experience.

As well as running day and weekend residential retreats, Saira Francis offers regular weekly yoga classes in and around the Blandford area and additional holistic therapy and spa days

Further press information and hi res images: Jane Adkins, A Head for PR, E/: jane@aheadforpr.co.uk    or T/: 01935 813114

Mellulah wins Gold at the Dorset Tourism Awards 2017/18


Mellulah Yoga Retreat wins Gold at the Dorset Tourism Awards 2017/18

Last week, Mellulah Therapy & Yoga Retreats, won a Gold Award and was crowned Spa & Wellbeing Experience of the Year for Dorset, at an exciting and inspiring ceremony a the Lighthouse in Poole.

Mellulah’s Founder, Saira Francis, is making yoga more accessible by providing retreats for people from all backgrounds, age groups, budgets, gender and experience. Saira’s holistic and traditional approach to yoga aims to take her clients back to the roots of this therapeutic practice. Her groundedness, and focus on the health benefits of yoga, ensures that everyone feels comfortable and welcome at her classes and retreats.

Dorset Tourism Award judges were impressed by Saira’s ability to create a warm and inviting environment for retreaters to relax and let go of daily stresses. Offering yoga for all abilities alongside healthy, locally sourced vegan meals and blissful meditation and relaxation, in beautiful quiet settings around North and West Dorset.

This is the first year that the Dorset Tourism Awards has included a Spa & Wellbeing Category confirming the growing trend towards yoga, meditation and holistic health within the tourism industry in the UK.

A retreat with Mellulah offers an opportunity to step away from the hurly burly of modern life. Recent guests certainly agree:

“I gave myself a treat. I gifted myself a retreat day with Mellulah in North Dorset. It was blissful time to switch off, a day full of Yoga, nourishing food, meditation, mindfulness and yoga nidra. Time to switch off and just be for six whole hours. I totally recommend. Saira teaches from a place of experience and dedicated practice –while conveying both the depth and the simplicity of yoga, mindfulness and meditation in her words and teachings.” Alice Chutter, Bridport.

“Mellulah yoga is some of best yoga I have found anywhere . I have been lucky enough to practice yoga all over the world with some wonderful yogis. Saira is unquestionably one of the best teachers I’ve encountered. She has huge integrity and humility. How lucky I am to have found her.” Catty Lowsley-Williams, Blandford

The whole of the Mellulah Team including therapists, workshop facilitators, caterers and helpers would like to thank you all for your continuing support, do come and see us again soon!

Namaste, Saira xx

Mellulah Retreats featured in Metro Newspaper


Mellulah Retreats have been featured in the Metro National Newspaper this week. A lovely review of our May residential retreat at Springfield, Stoke Wake, Dorset.

Read the full article here….


Huddled around a countryside kitchen table with my fellow retreaters, I’m cooing over a mug of infused stickyweed. I found this hedgerow herb, reputed to remove toxins from the blood and ease skin irritations like eczema, in the sprawling garden just minutes ago. I do wonder, though, if I’m only enjoying this bitter herbal elixir because it’s the last morning of our retreat and I am marvelling at the beauty of everything.

Mellulah Retreats, near Blandford Forum, is the work of yoga teacher and holistic therapist Saira Francis and I’ve joined her first retreat at the delightful seven-bed Springfield cottage, surrounded by green hills that roll through to the Dorset Gap, a track crossing dating from the Middle Ages.

The owner, an artist called Caroline whose art fills her home, has joined us on the retreat and by the end of the first day it feels like we’ve stumbled into a gem of a healthy house party where our new friends Ken, Preet, Finola and Saira take us into meditative states through gongs, Tibetan bowls, massages, facials and reflexology.

There are more of these long weekends planned throughout the year but in November, Saira will also launch an exclusive retreat for 16 guests in Symondsbury Manor in Dorset. This bohemian spot, home to an 18th-century panelled ballroom, is where 16 detoxers will learn about plant-based diets and how yoga cleanses toxins from the body. She will launch another first here too: a silent Saturday, which will allow her guests time to reflect and detox the mind.

The plan: The focus of my retreat is, in short, to heal the heart. Saira tells us it’s rare not to have at least one toxic relationship, or trauma from childhood, and that yoga, meditation and sound can help heal those wounds.

We also have plenty of time for treatments, walking and napping — it turns out this countryside bolthole even has a small infra-red sauna hidden in the house. During one gong bath, I feel sound waves wash through me — it’s a sonic detox.

During the afternoon yoga session in the gardens, we melt into the grass. One evening we participate in a fireside drumming workshop in the garden. Once we relax, we find our rhythm and release any pent-up anger we feel.

The food: Smashed avocado and fresh eggs from a nearby farm set us up nicely for the day. Chai tea and a show-stopping gluten and dairy-free carrot cake see us through to dinner.

The tribe: We are a mix of city and country folk, taking a break from the demands of running busy households and overflowing inboxes.

The real world: I leave with recipes and foraging tips in hand. While I may not keep up the stickyweed, I’ll cherish my new-found inner peace.

Day retreats from £50 per person, residential from £229 per person.’

Read the full article here….

Symondsbury Manor Autumn Retreat


Friday 17th – Sunday 19th November 2017
Stillness Yoga, Meditation and
Sound Healing  Retreat
Plant Based Cleanse & Juice/Smoothies

Symondsbury Manor nr Bridport, Dorset DT6 6HD From £229

Yoga Retreats Dorset

A blissful weekend retreat in Dorset, giving you time and space to reenergise and relax in this stunning historic manor house close to the Jurassic Coast. Symondsbury Manor is located a few miles from the coastline and the nearest station is Crewkerne 2 1/2hrs from Waterloo. We can arrange for a taxi to collect you or we will pick you up ourselves on the Friday afternoon.

Contact us to Book Now

£150 deposit secures your place now. Balance due 6 weeks before the retreat. 
Payment can be made by card on 01258 880505
BACS to Mellulah, 82611963, 51-81-01
Please email us with your details and room choice when you transfer funds

What you get:
5 Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes with Saira
3 Meals a day plus Juice, Smoothies & Raw Treats
Kundalini Sound Healing Gong Bath with Preet Kaur
Silent Meditation
Silent Day for serious mind detox! 
Holistic Therapies to indulge in
Guaranteed head space and blissful chill time.

4-5.00pm Arrive at Symondsbury Manor, DT6 6HD. Energizing Juice!
5.15-6.30pm Vinyasa Flow Yoga with Saira in the ballroom
7.15pm Delicious Plant Based Supper
8.30pm Silent Meditation with Saira in the ballroom

Saturday (Silent Day)
7.30am Super Juice & Fruit (granola available)
9.00-10.30pm Vinyasa Flow & Meditation with Saira
11.00am Plant Based Brunch & Smoothie
12.00-2.00pm Treatments and Chill Time
2.00-4.00pm Sound Healing Gong Bath with Preet Kaur
4.00-4.30pm Chai Tea and Raw Cake
5.30-6.45pm Vinyasa Flow with Saira
7.15pm Delicious Plant Based Supper
8.30pm Silent Meditation

7.30am Super Juice & Fruit (granola available)
9.00-10.30pm Vinyasa Flow & Meditation with Saira
11.00am Plant Based Brunch & Smoothie
12.00-4.00pm Treatments and Chill Time/Walk on the Beach
3.00-3.30pm Chai Tea and Bliss Cacao Treats
4.45-5.45pm Vinyasa Flow with Saira
6pm Retreat Ends!

Accommodation options: Please contact us for help in choosing your room, there are 4 bathrooms for those that are not ensuite.

♥ Four poster with roll-top claw-foot bath in room, shared toilet £529pp or £479 to share as a couple
♥ King Size Double with roll-top claw-foot bath in room, shared toilet £529pp or £479pp to share as a couple
♥ Four poster with shared bathroom £499pp or £449pp to share as a couple
♥ Double with Garden Terrace Room and Ensuite Toilet, Shared Bathroom £499pp or £449pp to share as a couple
♥ Small Double with Shared Bathroom £449pp or £399pp to share as a couple
♥ Shared Twin room with ensuite £399pp
♥ Shared Twin with shared bathroom £349pp
Large Twin Shared Attic Room with Shared Bathroom:
♥ Double Bed £299
♥ Single Bed £249
Interconnecting to Double with ensuite bathroom £329



Contact us to Book Now

£150 deposit secures your place now. Balance due 6 weeks before the retreat. 
Payment can be made by card on 01258 880505
BACS to Mellulah, 82611963, 51-81-01
Please email us with your details and room choice when you transfer funds


Yoga Retreats Dorset

Monday Morning Meditation Group


The retreat in Winter

If you’d like to try meditation in a beautiful setting, with a lovely, friendly group and our great teacher Ken Huggins join us on a Monday morning in Stoke Wake, nr Ansty, Dorset. We hold the group every Monday morning at our new beautiful venue, hosted by Caroline Judd who welcomes us into her stunning home.

Arrive from 9am for herb tea to begin at 9.30am prompt, £5 for one hour. Our meditation group is very relaxed and informal, a heavenly way to start the week. No experience is necessary, the session involves both guided and silent meditation plus blissful sound healing from the Tibetan Singing Bowls. It would be lovely to have you join us here soon.

Contact us here or Ken on 07850 697084 for details and directions to the venue.