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/:    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….

Saira’s blog on Elephant Journal

Elephant Journal

Saira’s latest blog post has been published online on the fantastic site Elephant Journal. Take a look if you have a minute and please like and share the post if you enjoy it. Elephant Journal is a great site that I go to all the time for interesting and unique reads about life, love, yoga and everything! I am sure you will enjoy many of the articles on there.

Here is the link to my post on Elephant Journal, thanks for taking a peek!

Elephant Journal: ’28 Reasons Why We Love You’. From Three Children to their Single Mum


I awoke this Valentine’s Day morning to a pink glittery bag next to my head on the pillow.

I have three children: Libby, 16; Tallulah, 11; and Phoenix, 9, and they had crept in and left me the gifts whilst I slept. They came running in when they heard I was awake.

I opened the bag, surprised to be given anything by them and feeling blessed that they had been so thoughtful. I found sweet little presents and a hand written booklet titled “28 Reasons Why We Love You.”

I read each page, sobbed emotionally and hugged them tightly, leaving them all stunned as they really didn’t expect this kind of reaction!

But after 11 years living alone as a single mother, having had more than our share of ups and downs, their abusive fathers, the freak outs, melt downs, stress, anxiety, love, joy, let downs, teenage depression and all the unconditional love a mother and her children can muster, a list like this is possibly the most loving and kind thing that anyone or anything has ever given to me.

I share with you the “28 Reasons Why We Love You.”

1. You are never too busy to solve my problems. ~ Tallulah
2. You just love us. ~ Phoenix
3. You always believe in me and you’re understanding. ~ Libby
4. Eeek, eeek, eeek. Translation: You move us from the cold, into the warm and from the woods to the grass! ~ The guinea pigs
5. Meow, meow, meow. Translation: You always give me catnip when I want it! ~ The cats
6. You don’t get angry when we are naughty. ~ Phoenix
7. You let us have days off school when there is no real point. ~ Phoenix
8. You don’t get angry when I come home late on school nights. ~ Libby
9. You are very understanding. ~ Tallulah
10. You always help me make the right decisions. ~ Libby
11. You help me with my craft/projects no matter how crazy they are! ~ Tallulah
12. We always gossip together and you give me the best advice. ~ Libby
13. You know me better than I do. ~ Tallulah
14. You let me borrow your clothes. ~ Libby
15. You helped me deal with my anxiety. ~ Tallulah
16. No one would know you are a single mum, you cope as if you have a maid! ~ Tallulah
17. You buy me my favourite foods even if it is expensive. ~ Libby
18. You got me awesome Birthday and Christmas presents. ~ Tallulah
19. Even when Tallulah is having a massive tantrum, you are still lovely to us all. ~ Libby
20. Eek, eek, eek. Translation: Because you are you!  ~ The guinea pigs
21. You taught me how to draw really cool designs and patterns. ~ Tallulah
22. You have  helped me so much since the beginning of last year and it has all been totally worth it because I am very happy now. ~ Libby
23. You help me with my homework. ~ Phoenix
24. You gave me a wholesome childhood. ~ Libby
25. Your hugs heal me better than medicine. ~ Tallulah
26. Meow, meow, meow. Translation: You let me sleep virtually on your head while you’re asleep. ~ The cats.
27. Even though we are not well off, we still have lots of luxuries which you provide for us. ~ Libby
28. Because you made us how we are!! ~ From us all!!

After everything my children have been through, to know that they have so much love in their hearts, so much compassion, so much forgiveness for all my faults as a parent, a regular single mum who loses it sometimes and has frequent melt downs over the dishwasher or the packed lunches, who has made lots of mistakes, big and small…it makes me happy to know they found such a special way to let me know it’s okay.

We are all just trying our best to cope with life sometimes, none of us have a charmed life, it isn’t easy for anyone. But if we can raise our children to love, then we are doing a little something towards making a huge difference in the world.



Mindful Breathing and Meditation Workshop Notes

Here are the workshop notes from last weekends retreat day here at Mellulah. A workshop on Mindful Breathing with
further practical exercises for Mediation. Feel free to share. Kens next workshop with us will be on Sunday 22nd March as part of our Yoga & Sound Healing Retreat Weekend.


The Science and Art of Breathing

Breathing is something we can all too easily take for granted. After all, we don’t have to consciously think about it, because its normally handled for us by our subconscious. However, whilst many of its effects are quite subtle it has a profound influence upon our physical and mental well being.

The In-Breath and the Out-Breath are quite obviously two very different actions. It is easy to understand the simple process of breathing in fresh air, and then breathing out any stale air to make way for more fresh, but in reality breathing is a very much more complicated activity. So much so that the In-Breath and the Out-Breath are handled by completely different parts of our autonomic nervous system (the part of the body’s communication and control system that influences the functioning of our internal organs).

Anxiety / Relaxation and the Nervous System

Our autonomic nervous system has two branches, the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Para-Sympathetic Nervous System (PNS). They use different chemicals to send signals to various parts of the body such as the heart and the digestive system and they usually function in opposition to one another in order to create a balance within our mind/body system.

The functions of the SNS include the Fight-or-Flight response, which is designed to energise us when we are faced with extreme danger and we need to act instinctively without thinking too much, because in a true life-or-death crisis we don’t have time to stop and think.

On the other hand the functions of the PNS include what has been called the Rest-and-Digest response. This calms us down and helps us to think more clearly.

Problems occur when the SNS/PNS system is out of balance. Over activation of the SNS can lead to problems like anxiety, panic attacks, high blood pressure (hypertension) and digestive disturbance. Over activation of PNS can result in excessively low blood pressure and fatigue.

It is important to understand the link between the way that we breathe and the way that the two halves of our nervous system operate. This gives us a vital tool that we can use whenever we need to calm ourselves down and take back control of our thoughts and feelings.

Breathing and the Nervous System

The In-Breath is associated with the Sympathetic side of our nervous system and the Out-Breath with the Para-Sympathetic.

When we are anxious our system is being strongly influenced by the SNS. Our breathing is rapid and shallow as we use just the upper part of our lungs, high in our chest. Our heart beats faster, and this raises our blood pressure.

In contrast, when we are calm our system is being more strongly influenced by the PNS. We breathe more slowly and deeply, down into the lower part of our lungs which means that our belly expands/contracts rather than our chest. Our heart beats slows and that lowers our blood pressure.

Knowing all this means that whenever we find ourselves becoming over anxious we can counteract the over-activation of our SNS by deliberately slowing down and deepening our breathing and in particular by prolonging each out-breath. This increases the supply of the calming chemicals released by the PNS, which counteract the stimulating chemicals released by the SNS. This can take a little while to master, but once we learn to control our breathing in this way we are able to free ourselves of feelings of anxiety and panic.

There is another very important way that this method of using our breathing reduces our levels of anxiety, and that is the link between our thoughts and our feelings. When we begin to feel anxious our thoughts naturally turn to things that we may feel threatened by. In other words we begin to think negatively, which all too easily results in a vicious cycle of anxious thoughts, leading to anxious feelings, leading to more anxious thoughts, leading to more anxious feelings and so on. Round and round we go, feeling steadily worse and ever more out of control.

However, when we take control of our thoughts and deliberately start to change our breathing, to slow it down, deepen it, and prolong the out-breath, then we give our mind something positive to focus on. This naturally interrupts any anxious thoughts and stops that vicious cycle of anxious thoughts and feelings.

Prolonging the Out-Breath in particular increases the calming effect of the PNS, which allows us to begin to think more clearly and to see the bigger picture, with everything in its correct proportion. This stops us making mountains out of mole hills!

The human mind is prone to negative thinking. As the philosopher Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) once said, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never actually happened”

The good news is that we are not powerless to stop a runaway brain! With just a little daily practice we can learn to instantly interrupt any negative thoughts that are leading us to feel anxious, depressed, helpless, and to take control of our thoughts and feelings so that we are able to think more clearly and to cope better with whatever life requires us to deal with.

So take a deep breath in now, allowing your belly to expand, pause, and breathe out long and slow, and notice how good it feels to be in control.

Ken Huggins
Clinical Hypnotherapist MHA METSI
01258 818223




Mellulah in Arkadia Magazine

We have a great write up in the latest issue of Arkadia Magazine, the Souths very best bespoke artisan title on a shelf near you.

Mellulah in Arkadia Magazine

Pick up a copy where you can or take a look at the online version by following the link below.



Unconditional Peace, Love & Happiness

We are all searching for inner peace, love and happiness. Is it possible to feel all of these joys entirely unattached from needs and wants?

Rather than asking for something to happen in your life to bring you positivity and joy, try asking to have it within yourself.

Rather than having it manifest in your life, ask for it to manifest in you?

Rather than asking for a relationship to fulfil your need for love, ask for your own heart to fill with love so that you can feel it every minute of every day. You don’t need a person to fulfil the dreams of your heart, it is there inside you. Make your affirmation be ‘Help me to feel the Love inside my heart, a Love that will help me feel Whole.’

Rather than asking for a particular person to be in your life, for a certain person to leave you alone or a negative situation to disappear so you can feel peace, ask to feel peace within yourself whatever is happening externally. Create an affirmation ‘I feel peace and serenity at all times, in all situations and no matter who or what is bothering me.’

Rather than needing something to happen in your life to make you happy, ask to feel happy unconditionally. Try to feel happy as life is, without anything having to change. Never mind if that person loves you, or if you get that job, move to that house or buy that car, be happy with no attachments. Try affirming ‘I am happy always, what ever happens today or tomorrow I will keep my heart open and feel loving happiness constantly.’

Rather than asking for money and wealth, can we ask to be happy and comfortable whether we have or have not? Can we be rich in self-love and inner happiness, rather than with material wealth but spiritual poverty? The idea of the law of attraction, often suggests we make a visualisation board, full of pictures of all the material things we wish for, why not a board covered in smiles that we will be wearing no matter what? An affirmation ‘I have all I need to feel full contentment and joy, I thank the Universe for all I have been given, I am blessed,’

Lonely? Ask to feel happy and whole by yourself.
Depressed? Ask to find a glimmer of hope and joy in your heart.
Broke? Ask to feel inner contentment with all that is.
Unwell? Ask for the grace and dignity to accept what is happening. Surrender.
Happy? Ask to be given the opportunity to share your blessing with others.

May you too be blessed with Unconditional Peace, Love and Happiness, Saira xxx


Yoga classes starting Monday 28th April 2014

Regular weekly, blissful and chilled out yoga classes with Saira Francis will begin from Monday 28th April 2014.Saira Francis

Monday evenings 7-8.30 pm

Tuesday mornings 9.30-11 am

The cost of a drop in class will be £7.50. All levels welcome, classes will be mixed ability, some level of physical fitness required but experience of yoga not necessary.

Classes held at Mellulah, Luccombe Farm, Milton Abbas, DT11 0BE, for directions and parking instructions please call us on 01258 880505.

Our yoga room overlooks the orchard here at Luccombe Farm and the animals, donkeys,sheep etc. The peace and serenity of this special, tucked away place is quite magical and the perfect environment to practice yoga, meditation and relaxation each week as a part of your journey to health and wellbeing. The heated pool and sauna can sometimes be used before or after class for an added £5, please contact us for details. Holistic & Ayurvedic Therapies can booked by prior arrangement to ensure total bliss and relaxation!

Classes will be of a traditional Hatha style combined with influences from Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow, combining breath with movement. We will spend time meditating and relaxing at the beginning and end of each session. We will also explore Pranayama, breathing techniques to lower stress levels and encourage serenity and mindfulness in your yoga practice both on and off the mat.

Other yoga teachers currently working with Mellulah are Jodi Sanders, Jill Booth, Saira Francis and Finola Brennan.

Contact us today to book your yoga class and sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear of new class dates and times.

Yoga Classes Starting Soon


I’m very excited to let you know that I will be starting regular yoga classes here at Mellulah, Luccombe Farm, Milton Abbas, Dorset from Monday 28th April 2014.

Classes will run on Monday evenings from 7-8.30 pm and Tuesday mornings from 9.30-11 am. The cost for a drop in class will be £7.50 and class cards will be available to buy at reduced rates for blocks of 5,10 or 15 classes.

If you would like more information please contact me call 01258 880505.

Places for our yoga day retreat on Saturday 26th April are filling up fast with only 3 places left. £40 for the day, £5 extra to use the heated pool and sauna. More details here.

I hope to meet more of you soon!


Saira x

Newsletter signup

Stay in touch for updates and offers on all Yoga Classes, Retreats & Therapies