‘We find inner peace at healthy house party of Mellulah Retreats in Dorset. 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 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…..’
Good food, of course, is an essential part of any trip away. In the wellness community, there is an emphasis on wholesome fayre that is sometimes described as ‘clean eating’ and is usually vegetarian. With the right approach, it can be a real draw.
‘It’s nice to be able to say that this bread is from down the road, and the stew was made from veg in the farm shop,’ says Saira Francis, who organises the retreats. ‘People enjoy that, especially when they come down from London. They really like that everything’s local and healthy.
Guests can take part in on-site therapies and yoga retreats, and enjoy superb vegetarian food. Working with a local caterer and farm shop owner enhances the experience.’
The Vinyasa flow was perfect, well paced, offered the right amount of variations to allow you to deepen the pose to your own ability. Saira was an excellent teacher, explained it well, filled me with confidence that she knows her stuff and was very welcoming. The setting was beautiful, I loved it. Preet – well, what can I say, I’m in love!!! Her sound healing was something new to me but I adored it! I could listen to her singing and banging gongs all day long (in fact I can now, I bought a CD from her website) And such a great bunch there on the day too, I didn’t feel at all scared being there on my own. I will be back. Rachael Gilles, January 2019
I just wanted to say how I’ve had hip issues for the last year and half (linked to my running and cycling) but since starting yoga with you, my hip is the best it’s been for a long long time and i’m walking up and down stairs without a horrible pain /discomfort and clicking! AND…. despite the viruses I’ve had of late, I’m running better and faster than ever before! Half marathon now booked in for March (alongside duathlons through the year) and I’m excited about all the goals I may achieve this year! I’m sure it’s the yoga that’s helped me! Sarah Wise, December 2018
Sarah is a pro! Very well organised, super chilled and delicious food. A perfect break from city life. Zoe B, November 2018
Thank you so much for the yoga retreat at Symondsbury. Helen and I really enjoyed it once again – your wonderful yoga sessions, the food and smoothies, the gong bath and meditation, the amazing location and the walk on the beach. It was all very memorable and we returned to work feeling much refreshed. We do hope you weren’t too tired afterwards and would like to thank you so much for all you excellent teaching and organisation. Also please say thank you from us to your lovely daughter who worked so hard. With love and thanks, Mary and Helen Gryspeerdt, November 2018
A BIG thank you for such a wonderful retreat last weekend. It was a wonderful experience and it totally exceeded my expectations. The food was lovely, the location perfect and the yoga was wonderful. You have mastered being totally in control whilst it all looking effortless! Your daughter Betsy was a star too. She worked very hard all weekend.
Thank you for a wonderful experience and one that I will never forget.
I hope to see you on another retreat soon. Rachael Giordani November 2018
Still processing last weekends three day retreat, such a magical weekend of natural healing, incorporating yoga, meditation, sound and energy work, and rest, lots of rest! Delicious food and laughter, Saira is a real life angel if/when you are ready to look inward, I highly recommend having her by your side, I am blessed. Sally K, Lymington, Sept 2018
Thank you for providing a wonderful day for the team on Monday. We all benefited positively from the experience and it was also good to be together somewhere and not talk about work the whole time. I certainly felt taller the next day and have been more aware of my posture and balance, internally as well as externally. Will H, Senior Lecturer, Bournemouth Arts University, Dorset, July 2018
Thank you and your wonderful team for a truly inspiring weekend. Never having been on a retreat I really didn’t know what to expect but it didn’t disappoint! The weekend had a very calming effect, helped by our silent day of reflection. I found the noises/demands of normal life at home quite disturbing and so I hid in my book for a few hours more! Thank you for your generous offer of discount on your next retreat, I will give it some serious thought. Thank you all again for a spiritually uplifting weekend with the most delicious food. Jill D, Dorset, March 2018
Thank you for a wonderful weekend, I do feel restored and refreshed. I feel that your retreat will become an essential part of my diary over the next few years. Tamsin A, Bristol, March 2018
My Mum kindly booked me to have a ‘ Soul Replenish Massage’ winter special with Saira and it was incredible!!
The treatment was incredible, I have never ever felt so relaxed in my life. Saira herself is also genuinely a really wonderful person and helped me in so many ways.
I highly recommend and thank you so much and I will be returning for sure at a later date! 🙂 Lucie R, Dorset, March 2018
Had another great retreat day at Mellulah, this time at the gorgeous Whitemoor farm Hazelbury Bryan.
Loved it, so cosy in the converted barn with the wood burner, great yoga, 3 meditations , a sound bath & chanting . I’ve been to about 5 soundbaths but not with Preet who has the most amazing voice for the chants.
Can’t wait to go again in the Spring with friends & hopefully yoga class mates from Bournemouth. Sharon E, Dorset, February 2018
I really enjoy Saira’s yoga classes and find them so beneficial. Sometimes I arrive absolutely exhausted and by the end of the session feel as restored as if I’d had a good night’s sleep! I find Vinyasa flow yoga perfect for me, I have attended other classes over the years and Saira’s are undoubtedly the best. It is the combination of the mindfulness meditation, the flow, the breathing and the relaxation at the end that I find so beneficial. I come away rejuvenated and calmer which helps me deal with the pressures and stresses of everyday life. Saira is a wonderful teacher, she explains and demonstrates what we have to do so well and varies the sessions. I find a real sense of continuing development and improvement during the classes, so I find it challenging which I enjoy. In addition, Saira is empathic and calm and the whole atmosphere in the room with fellow yogis is one of calm and peace and we can each work at our own pace. Also the venues are restorative and in lovely places. Thank you so much Saira! X Sarah Thomas, Dorset, November 2017
I recently attended a one day retreat. I have very little experience of yoga. Saira was fantastic and offered a whole body holistic experience for the day. I felt I had my eyes opened on vegan food, loved the energy balls and home made chai tea. The vinyasa flow yoga felt amazing and the next day I ached in all the right places. An afternoon of meditation was interesting, it definitely requires practice, we went through chakra meditation and yoga nidra. As a beginner I found chakra meditation easier to follow. Would I do another retreat with Saira?……YES! Vix Gillet, Sturminster Newton, July 2017
So yesterday 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 (by the amazing Feed The Soul), meditation, mindfulness and yoga nidra. Time to switch off and just be for 6 whole hours. If you haven’t heard of Mellulah check out the website http://mellulah.co.uk and upcoming retreat days and weekends. I totally recommend. Saira teaches from a place of experience and dedicated practice – conveying both the depth and the simplicity of yoga, mindfulness and meditation in her words and teachings. Yoga with Alice, Bridport July 2017
What a great retreat day at Ibberton . Everything was perfectly planned, really enjoyed it & such great food too! Friends who have been to similar events said we were spoiled at they’ve not had such good value /varied days. A friend & i went to a yoga & sound healing /gong last week locally & definitely did not compare! Hope to see you at another event soon. Sharon Etherington, Bournemouth, March 2017
Singularly we both made the exceptional choice of an Holistic massage, an Angel aromatherapy massage and Archangel Healing.
We loved the way Saira spent plenty of time getting to know us individually, no rushing, so we received the very best out of our treatments.
We would have no hesitation going back and we will definitely be doing so this year.
Saira has a beautiful soulful way, with magic hands! See you soon Saira. Love ‘n’ blessings Lisa & Adrienne, London, February 2015
Saira is more than just someone who can deliver a wonderfully relaxing massage or treatment (which she does), she has an energy that heals you from the moment you first see her. Saira has the ability to gently understand what you need and give you more than you could ever expect. I have had both massages and healing with Saira (sometimes both) and I always come away feeling like I have been given a wonderful gift. She is skilled, empathetic, knowledgable and intuitive. You always feel like you are in the safest hands possible with both your body and your spirit. it’s like stepping into a space that safely cocoons you and then sets you free as a butterfly. Nova Woodrow, Herts, December 2013
Nicky from Suhka Yoga recently sent a newsletter to her clients mentioning us, thank you Nicky!: I have been privileged to take part in two autumn retreats with Saira over the past couple of years. The weekends are filled with yoga, meditation, gong bath, Ayurvedic treatments, long walks and this year we were treated to Spiritual Balance Counselling. The food is wonderful and the welcome is as warm as Saira’s wood burning stove. I would recommend anyone wanting to escape the hustle and bustle for a couple of days to take a look at Mellulah. A real gem 🙂
Thank you for a lovely yoga retreat at Mellulah. It was really special – the location, setting, buildings, treatments, yoga sessions etc. etc. You have created a lovely, spiritual sanctuary and gathered around you some very special people to facilitate all the treatments and sessions you offer. The weather also decided to play it’s part, so my memory will be of beautiful golden days that soothed jagged edges in peaceful surroundings. P. Dealtry after her Stillness Retreat in October’13
Spent last weekend on a Mellulah Yoga Retreat and it was very special. Everything was wonderful – the yoga sessions with Sharon, the treatments, Marcia’s food and the accommodation. I hope to be able to return before too long. Sandy Heady after her Stillness Retreat in April ’13
Thanks Saira for a great two days doing Reiki I training. It has been really beneficial and lots of things have been happening in only 24 hours! xx
George McBurney after her Reiki Workshop in March ’13
Look Magazine November 2012 said of a residential yoga retreat ” Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been standing on your head for years, this is amazing….”
I just wanted to say thanks so much for a lovely weekend at Mellulah. I have never done yoga or practised meditation before and it was a revelation to me, I think it will really bring some peace into my life. I’m about to sign up for a yoga course near me and I am using the meditation I learnt with you, it really helps me sleep. Thanks again to all at Mellulah.
Andy Whale , Dorset after his Stillness Weekend Retreat November ’12
Just wanted to say a big ” Thank you” to Saira for a simply Amazing 1-1 Meditation & Angel Aromatherapy Healing day. True heaven to be so still, calm and totally safe and nurtured. The day just flowed effortlessly and I loved the sauna! Can not wait to do it again it was sublime. Much love for your time and energy xxx
Samantha Scarr, Dorset after her one to one day retreat July ’12
Thank you for a wonderful weekend, I have already started to recommend you to my patients. I have a sense of inner calm that I do not recall having felt before. With a little effort every day I hope that I can carry this forward to my next retreat. Thank you for a lovely time.
Richard Southam, Aquea Solis Chiropractors Dorchester June ’12
Prediction Magazine April 2012 said “Saira is the queen bee when it comes to creating a relaxing, healing environment, we are counting the days until we go back. We all commented on how amazing it is that you can feel so blissed out in such a short space of time.”
I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved, for the yoga, the meditation, the therapies and the peace we all experienced, especially to you Saira. love Sarah x
Sarah Hatwell, Taunton, after her Stillness Retreat Weekend in Feb ’12
Thank you Saira, Jodi and team for such a wonderful Stillness Weekend. It was a perfect combination of healing, relaxation, great yoga, amazing food, beautiful surroundings and laughter! I look forward to the next time x
Nicky H, Surrey, after her Stillness Retreat Weekend in Feb ’12
What a fantastic day today. Lunch was amazing and the hot stones treatment was just wonderful. Thank you Saira I had a lovely day… what a great team you are 🙂 x
Vicki Martin Lewis, Spetisbury, after her Light & Healing Day in Jan ’12
I just wanted to thank you, and all others involved for a lovely retreat weekend. Laura and I had a wonderful time, the massage was great, the walk uplifting, yoga wonderful and meditation calming. Once again thank you!
Carole Archer, Isle of Wight, after her Stillness Weekend Retreat in Nov ‘11
I enjoyed a wonderful day at the beautiful setting of Mellulah Retreats. The yoga and meditation were calming and relaxing, and together with my excellent aromatherapy treatment, delicious homemade veggie lunch, swim and sauna I was totally chilled and relaxed when I left. I would recommend anyone to visit Saira at Mellulah, I will definitely be going back for more.
Liz Duquenoy, West Berkshire, after her Day Retreat in Sept ‘11
I have simply never felt more relaxed…
Sarah, Luccombe Farm Holiday Guest, after her Angel Healing session, August ’11
My day with Mellulah Retreats was great. Lovely company, calming yoga, delicious food and a very healing treatment. The setting is really peaceful and it would be lovely to stay there. I’m definitely going back for more xxxx
Kate, Hereforshire after her Day Retreat August ’11
I arrived in a rushed and stressed state with a dozen To Do’s in my head. I left in a peaceful, relaxed and energised state with a Who Cares attitude to my To Do’s!!! The only disappointment was leaving at the end of the day! I thoroughly recommend and am looking forward to September. Thank you…Thank you…Thank you…
Suzanne, Dorset after her Retreat June ’11
I had a wonderful day with Mellulah Retreats in Dorset. It is a beautiful setting and Saira and her colleagues really made up feel at home. With a really good yoga session, a choice of treatments, a pool, sauna and yummy home made lunch, I went away feeling super chilled and renewed.
Jo Bridger, Bath after her Day Retreat July ’11
I originally went to see Saira with Sinus problems but then returned because of some big life changes and issues that were coming to the surface. I had several different treatments and found that I feel so much better and Saira has given me great strength at a difficult time in my life. Saira has a natural gift to connect with her clients and really help them.
Susan, after her Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Healing sessions, Feb ’11
I have found the Aromatherapy with Saira amazing. I feel more at peace and relaxed and I have found that my asthma has significantly improved. Since having treatments I have barely used my inhalers at all. I feel that these sessions have been so beneficial.
Katie, after her Aromatherapy sessions May ’10