If you live in St. John’s chances are you have heard of Winterholme as a bed & breakfast/spa. Recently Winterholme made some major changes and is now the Winterholme Wellness Centre. What does that mean, you may ask? It means that now you can go to Winterholme for massages, acupuncture, personal work-out sessions with a physio or kinesiologist, yoga, pilates, and spa treatments. And then if you meet a really nice person during one of the yoga classes and you guys hit it off in a big way, you can even get married at Winterholme. It’s a one stop feel-good shop!
My massage therapist Rebecca, who you may remember from such classic posts as “An Illustrated Guide to Massage Therapy,” merged her business Thrive Therapeutic Massage with Winterholme which turned it into the Winterholme Wellness Centre. Rebecca is some sort of massage therapy guardian angel sent from the heavens to help cure people of muscle spasticity and soft tissue injuries, so I was beyond stoked to find out that she would be making the big move to Winterholme (which is super close to my house). When I found out that I could do yoga in a gorgeous heritage house and then stroll down the hallway and get a massage I was immediately like “WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!”
Speaking of yoga, this is now the part in my blog where I smoothly transition into discussing yoga. As you are undoubtedly aware by now, I have a love/hate relationship with yoga. I love doing yoga and pretending I’m a seasoned yoga practitioner, and yoga, just like any sort of physical activity, hates me. I know that the more regularly I practice it the easier it will be on my body, and the less my body will feel like it’s slowly trying to kill me. But I keep doing that thing where I only practice it about 2 months out of the year and spend the other 10 months just wearing yoga pants to make it look like I’m someone who works out and because let’s face it, no one wants to wear pants that have to button up. Last week I was visiting Winterholme to get a tour of the facilities and found out that they offer an introductory 30 day unlimited yoga pass for just $40. I am a sucker for a good deal and it’s been about 10 months since I’ve practiced yoga so it just made sense to buy the intro month on the spot.
I told Clare about the intro month pass and she was super excited to sign up with me. Clare loves trying new things with me and I love trying new things with Clare because I’m not embarrassed to make a fool of myself in front of her. And that’s essentially what yoga is for me: me making of fool of myself but also becoming slightly more flexible and less stressed in the process. So we booked a reservation online for Saturday morning fireside yoga and braved the cold to go practice some good old fashioned
self deprecation self care.
My favourite thing about doing yoga at Winterholme has to be the intimate atmosphere. We rang the doorbell and were greeted by a very friendly receptionist who said “you must be Lisa and Clare!” Right away that made me feel like a celebrity, and you all know how much I love feeling like a celebrity. Also I noticed as soon as we entered that there is a table in the front lobby with a dish of Werther’s Original on top, which happens to be my favourite candy because I’m an old lady. “You’re 2 for 2, Winterholme!” I thought. We took off our shoes and made our way up the Titanic-esque staircase, which also makes me feel like a celebrity. If you walk down that staircase and don’t hear the song The Dream from the last scene of Titanic in your head then there’s something wrong with you. Anyway, we made our way to the yoga room, which is this deep burgundy room with a beautiful historical looking fireplace. Our instructor, Susan, welcomed us into the room. She was such a lovely person and I think it’s important to note that she was wearing the prettiest yoga sweater ever.
We spent an hour practicing Hatha Hridaya with Susan. If you’re like me and have no clue what that means, the internet will tell you that it’s a “contemplative style of yoga that aims to purify our physical and energetic selves and develop awareness.” I can vouch for the fact that we indeed did, or attempted to do, those things. We practiced next to the warm fire focusing on our breaths, trying out some very relaxing poses, and being told wonderful things that made me feel really good about myself. I felt so relaxed and peaceful and really loved this idea of doing yoga alone with my friends. Even though I was supposed to keep my eyes closed for most of the hour, I often kept looking over at Clare because she looks like a yoga model (check out the above pic of her for proof) and it’s fun to watch her do her yoga poses and to pretend she’s one of those background yoga extras on a Jillian Michaels dvd. She seriously looks like such a pro. I don’t just peak so I can fangirl over Clare, I also like to look around to see if I’m doing anything remotely related to an actual yoga pose. Usually the answer is no. I realized while I looked around this time that I was in a room with people who knew what they were doing and moved in and out of poses with such ease, while I was there on my mat not even able to sit with my legs crossed during “easy pose,” but I didn’t feel judged or self-conscious at all (which is usually how I feel during any sort of activity that asks me to attempt flexibility in front of others). If I was having trouble with a pose, Susan would swoop in and lay some blocks under my hands to help me out, which is one of the great things about such small yoga classes. The instructor has the time to focus on you and ensure that you aren’t hurting yourself (which I desperately need). At the end, while laying in savasana (my favourite pose) and mentally picturing every muscle in our body relaxing itself, I could hear the crackling of the fire and I could feel the warmth of it on my skin and I seriously just wanted to stay there all day. Clare even fell asleep for a little bit. I don’t know if I was supposed to tell you that or not.
Despite being unable to do a pose titled “easy pose,” breathing louder than an 85 year old chain smoker, and revealing to my friends that I still can’t tell the difference between turning to my left and turning to my right, it felt like a very successful hour of yoga. Clare and I can’t wait to go back and try it again, and we’re hoping to bring a few more friends next time.
If you’re interested in giving Winterholme yoga a try, you can get an introductory 30 day pass here. When you show up just tell them “that weird blogging girl Lisa” sent you. That won’t really benefit you, it will just make me seem way more popular than I actually am. Maybe we’ll even be in the same yoga class and you can watch me flail around like a fish out of water in person. I bet you would enjoy that.