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Fiona Hoban stretches and unwinds in great surroundings and the best of company.

I worked up a proper sweat at the Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre - not from the Yoga, but from the realisation that there would be no TV, alcohol or mobile phones during the weekend retreat!

Of course, I needn't have worried: the weekend is laid out in a way that is both relaxing and stimulating while catering for all levels, including reluctant beginners like myself.

David Brocklebank set up the purpose-built Burren Yoga and Meditation Centre in 1999 and runs weekend and week-long eco-friendly yoga holidays all year round. It's located at the foot of the Burren hills on the Galway-Clare border in a tranquil environment and is about five miles from the picturesque seaside village of Kinvara.

The weekend retreats start with arrival at 6pm on Friday - dinner at 7pm - and finish after lunch on Sunday. No surprises that the food is vegetarian, and it is superb. I particularly enjoyed the scrummy desserts and freshly brewed coffee.

Guided outings to special places in the Burren and along the sea ensure that you don't end up feeling "yoga'd out". The centre has ceiling to floor windows to provide natural light and spectacular views of the Burren hills. The under-floor heating ensures the centre is warm and comfortable throughout the whole year.

The accommodation is clean and comfortable, and ranges from single rooms to dormer type rooms as well as double rooms suitable for couples. It is obvious that attention to detail is valued at the Centre (what a difference lighted candles make at dinner time) and there's a real openness to feedback and suggestions for the future.

I'd highly recommend this retreat holiday. It may sound like a cliché, but it truly is a fantastic way to meet really nice people from all walks of life. Don't worry about feeling shy or left out: most people travel solo and a great sense of camaraderie builds up from the get-go. There's an abundance of fun and laughter as well, which is often just as therapeutic as the yoga and meditation.

For more details go to: or call David on: 091 637 680.

Fiona Hoban

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