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Beltane Yoga retreat

Such a refreshing and invigorating feeling to work with Aurora Yoga studio NI!

It brings me back a few years (11 years ago now!!) when Shauna was working as a lifeguard on Corralea’s waterpark team. It is lovely to see her pursuing her interests in sports & well being, qualifying as a Yoga teacher and now running her own business. We are so happy to work with her again, this time as a partner.

I have attended Shauna’s yoga classes for a few years now and I love the way she puts you at ease and is always full of encouragement. Her lovely personality makes her such a popular yoga teacher with children too. Our grandchildren, Marley (almost 5) and Lola (9) thoroughly enjoy her Child-Partner yoga sessions and her interactive themed teaching with her special helper yogi Caolan! Shauna quotes Jigar Gor: 'Yoga is not about touching your toes, it's about what you learn on the way down'. So true!

Last weekend Shauna organised her first themed Yoga Retreat in Corralea: Beltane Yoga and Nature Retreat.

What is Beltane / Bealtaine?

Beltane is an ancient Celtic festival that falls on the 1st of May. Beltane has been mentioned in Old Irish literature as far back as the 4th century AD and was traditionally seen as a time for communities to cleanse and re-new in preparation for brighter, more abundant days ahead, after having spent the dark winter months indoors.

Flowers are at the centre of the May celebrations

In France, on the 1st May, you give a sprig of Lily of the valley (“brin de muguet”) as a lucky charm and a token of appreciation to friends and family. (The French government even allows the sale of the flower free of tax on that particular day every year to promote this tradition and ensure its continuation!)

In Ireland, May flowers were picked on the evening before May Day. Yellow flowers, such as primroses, buttercups and marigolds were the most popular, possibly as they reflected the sun and summer. The flowers were placed on the doorsteps of houses and on windowsills. This was to protect against the sídhe (fairies) and other negative energies, who it was thought were more active during the first few days of May. This tradition was most common in South Ulster. Marius remembers doing this when he was was new to me but I think we will re-introduce this tradition in our family in order to perpetuate the old celtic this case, offer luck to the house and protect from mystical forces.

Aurora Yoga studio NI Retreat on Saturday & Sunday 1st & 2nd May 2021:

Shauna and her team of experts lead us through the Day, connecting with the environment around us not only through our movements on the mat but also by looking a little closer at the nature around us surrounded by trees and water, and by enjoying food that has been specially prepared for the day.

Shauna took us through 3 different yoga sessions through the day:

  • a yoga & relaxation session to start the day,

  • a Power yoga session to warm up after our cold water dip in Lough Macnean with Clare

  • and a Beltane themed session at the end of the day.

I joined the group on Sunday and we were lucky with the weather. The morning was beautiful. It was such a pleasure doing yoga on the grass in the sunshine with only the birds’ songs to “disturb” you!!

Surprisingly enough, even though the water is still cold, between a nice cup of hot cauliflower soup and a Power yoga session, I found the dip in the lake invigorating but not all that cold...It definitely made you feel cleansed and ready to welcome the warmth of the summer.

Clare’s walk in Corralea’s woodland was all about the ecology of the area and Amy explained the mythology behind Beltane: flowers, dancing and bonfires as people sought protection for themselves, their homes and livestock against supernatural forces.

Stacey prepared fantastic mouth watering food all through the day: dark chocolate and peanut butter bites, roast cauliflower soup, flat bread with all kinds of toppings, Beltane goats cheese salad to name but a few…

Collette kept everybody on task and on time and was according to Shauna "the behind the scenes sage who knows a little bit about everything and is not afraid to tell us what to do and when…"!

The day finished with watermelon mint twist mocktails around the fire pit at the lake edge, the perfect place to unplug and chill out. Even though the afternoon got a bit chilly...we were all ready to step into Summer.

The whole event was a real success. The organisation was impeccable, the programme was varied and interesting, the food was gorgeous, everybody was so relaxed & friendly and Lough Macnean at Corralea was a beautiful backdrop.

Thank you Shauna (Aurora Yoga Studio NI) for a wonderful experience.


Photos credit: Aurora Yoga Studio NI

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