Introducing &Sister at Poundon House
Introducing &SISTER – by Alicia Roscoe, yoga teacher and co-founder of &Sister
&Sister specialise in producing unique yoga retreats and well-being events. Our philosophy is three-fold: one, to collaborate with leading lights in the well-being world; two, to create unique retreats and events that, three, in turn establish a long-lasting ever-evolving community (an &Sister &Brother-hood).
&Sister grew out of my own life-changing retreat experiences that kept me sane during my stressed-out periods as a lawyer in my 20s, combined with Natalie’s eye for luxurious detail and loving desire to help guide and support her little sis – hence the name!
The idea burst into my mind whilst on a yoga mat several years ago (the best ideas always do!). Natalie and I subsequently set up &Sister in July 2015 and began to plan our first retreat. Natalie and I are passionate about what we do and adore working together. We are usually found in Charlotte’s in Ealing, lattes in hand, plotting our next conceptual retreat experience (while entertaining two toddlers!). The best thing about running our company is the chance to connect with like-minded people, whether they be our collaborators or our retreat guests or in some cases both – like in October 2016 when Sarah Mac, Manuka’s creative director, retreated with us on Indian Summer. Spending time with Sarah on the retreat, specifically chatting on the long countryside walk has led to &Sister now partnering with Manuka Life. In fact, if you are reading this and are tempted to retreat with us, we are offering Manuka Life customers a 30-minute complimentary treatment on any of our upcoming retreats. All you have to do is quote MANUKA30 when you book.
Your next chance to retreat with us, and explore your wild side, is Wild Spring (28th April – 1st May 2017) at Poundon House in Oxfordshire. Poundon, our ‘flagship’ venue, is our family home and provides the perfect sanctuary for our guests. Natalie brings abundant creativity to the table as she works as an interior designer and house stylist in London. She also has a decade of experience in events and marketing and is definitely the organised and sensible half of the duo!
My love of yoga saw me downward dog out of corporate law and flow my way first to a career as a sports agent and then into life as a yoga teacher. I trained in ashtanga yoga in India four years ago and, in between becoming a first-time mum, have developed my teaching with classes and clients around Oxfordshire. I’m lucky enough to return to India – the birthplace of ancient and modern yoga practices – each year to study and practice. My travels to the subcontinent are also the perfect excuse to discover inspiration for our retreat themes and production. Last year I trained as a children’s yoga teacher and, alongside my long-standing love of yoga, I have discovered a true passion and calling to teach yoga to kids – watch this space!
We spend our time seeking and collaborating with the most inspiring yoga teachers, like Mischa Varmuza, who launched &Sister for us with Autumn Light in November 2015. Not to mention fellow Manuka-lover Saskia Price and we are currently conspiring (our playful amalgamation of ‘connecting’ and ‘inspiring’) closely with Charlie Morgan on our next retreat, Wild Spring. Charlie, who is taking London by storm with her truly inspiring classes is also a fellow soul-sister to both sisters. We are lucky to work with incredible chefs with a passion for delicious, healthy vegetarian and vegan food – on Wild Spring, we are thrilled to have input from Maaike from the Re//store Kitchen.
Another vital component of &Sister retreats is our highly experienced and calm-inducing therapists that give beautifully relaxing treatments from hot-stone massages to shiatsu and Neals Yard facials. Don’t just take my word for it, come and experience a treatment for yourself, I promise it’s a muscle-melting, magic carpet ride!
The only prerequisites for working with us are passion, experience and a kind heart, and there is absolutely no prerequisite for retreating with us!
All of our hard work in the production results in a beautifully experiential, fun, yet deeply connecting and effective retreat. Guests often arrive from a full-on week of work like shadows and leave like flowers in full bloom with big smiles and open hearts! After Autumn Light 2016 with Charlie (Morgan) I invented a word for it ‘brimbling’, a combination of bubbling, bursting and brimming with love, joy, energy and happiness!
Poundon House – our family home, inspiration, flagship venue and headquarters!
Poundon House is &Sister’s flagship venue and a never-ending source of inspiration to both of us. We hold our four annual seasonal-inspired retreats; Wild Spring, Indian Summer, Autumn Light and Winter Glow here as well as New Year Soul Dive and an advanced retreat for teachers in the Summer, when we make the most of the swimming pool and being in the nature with outdoor practice.
Poundon House has been owned and loved by our family for 40 years. As a family and a business we have hosted many events over the years, from sprawling house parties to 300-strong Asian fusion weddings! The aim for our &Sister retreats is to share the experience of being in a beautiful country house for the weekend, away from the city, surrounded by nature and, in this case immersed in yoga, meditation, delicious nourishing food and like-minded souls. A recipe to ensure our guests reach and remain at maximum brimble-point.
What to expect on an &Sister retreat
We provide an escape from the hectic hullaballoo and grind of daily life with the chance to return to that life with a renewed energy and sense of calm and control. A warm welcome and cosy atmosphere is key on our retreats. In Autumn & Winter, a roaring fire, aruvedic chai and home-baked healthy treats greet guests, then it’s into the yoga shala for the opening ceremony; a chance to meet your fellow retreatees and set or share your intension for the retreat. Our retreats are full of warmth and laughter but the deeper and spiritual side of yoga is always explored by our teachers with meditation, chanting and philosophy as integral parts.
Poundon House and, in fact all of our &Sister retreats, become a known sanctuary to our metaphorical sisters and brothers (the ever growing &Sister community) a home from home, a safe place to retreat to once, twice or, in the case of some of our special guests, many times a year!
Wild Spring with Charlie Morgan – 28th April – 1st May 2017
Inner Silence with Magda Procner – 20th – 24thAugust 2017 – Five day meditation, pranayama and asana development course
Indian Summer with SallyAnne Reynolds – 29thSeptember – 1st October 2017
Autumn Light with Charlie Morgan – 18th – 20thNovember 2017
New Year Soul Dive with Mischa Varmuza – New Year 2017
Goa Retreat with Charlie Morgan – March 2018
Quote MANUKA30 when you book your retreat and receive a complimentary 30 minute treatment.
Photos courtesy of Eneka Stewart & Martin Price