Recently, I was asked to think of an epic experience and adventure I would like to embark on. One that would personally push a boundary for me, and one that would quite literally ‘Bend The Rules’. After a lot of thought about adrenalin filled adventures and out of this world experiences, I honed my thoughts into something a little bit different. How about an experience which focuses on sending my body and mind on an unique experience? How about forgetting about me personally and all the fun filled, extreme activities and trips I could venture on, and instead think about sending my mind and body into it’s own epic experience?
I was challenged by HP to come up with an exciting and intriguing idea as part of their #BendTheRules campaign, armed with my brand new HP Pavilion x2 to document my experiences using my fantastic new device to assist me during the challenge. So after careful consideration, I finally found the idea: I would embark on an epic adventure to take my mind and body to unknown levels. I would take myself off to a remote, secluded yoga and detox retreat weekend, to push my body and mind to its limits via extreme yoga and meditation practices. As I am a complete stranger to yoga, meditation and detoxing, I’ll be going completely out of my comfort zone, sending my body and mind into a mental state I have yet to explore. The experience will also improve my physical side, working on my muscles, stretches and general fitness, plus improving my health with a diet of organic and locally sourced foods and juices.
A retreat is quite an extreme adventure, and after a lot of research I managed to find one taking place at Braziers Manor Park in Oxfordshire. Completely secluded in the middle of the countryside, I would have no access to the internet (a bloggers nightmare) and spend three days on a strict yoga, meditation, and breathing exercise schedule, eating a vegetarian and detox focused diet. I’d be there with a number of people I’d never met before, sleeping in an old, slightly spooky looking Grade II listed building.
So I grabbed my yoga mat, my work out kit, my HP Pavilion x2 Detachable Laptop and a bag of anxious feelings, and headed down to the body and mind retreat…
As I am a ‘newbie’ to yoga and meditation, I was a little bit worried about how my body would feel being put into some flexible positions and stretches, and learning the art of chanting, breathing and meditation is something completely new to me. For the sessions, I was grouped with another 14 people, so I chose to situate myself towards the back incase I was showing myself up with my lack of knowledge. Also, what I wanted to do was to capture every moment of the adventure I was taking, and to capture the moments of the yoga practises with images and video footage so that I could take the practices away with me, to have a go in my own personal time.
Luckily, my HP Pavilion let me do just this – it is an absolutely fantastic device that was able to sneak into the yoga studios with me and film/snap away and capture the action. There’s a number of reasons why it helped me hugely on this #BendTheRules experience, mainly because:
– It’s detachable, with a magnetic hinge, meaning I can detach the keypad away from the touchscreen and use as a tablet whenever I desire.
– Due to being able to ‘pull it apart’, the HP Pavilion x2 can bend into a tent format, meaning I can view my images or watch videos with the screen propped up
– The battery life is fantastic. 12 hours of amazingness in fact. It lasts for so long that I was able to record the scenic walks, followed my head stand tutorial classes, followed by an evening of chanting. Everything captured, without even having to bring along a charger.
– During the evenings, I could attach the keyboard back to the screen to create a notebook, where I could draft up some blog posts ready for when I could be reconnected to the real world back home!
During some alone time on the retreat weekend, I gathered together my video footage and images from a range of yoga, meditation and chanting classes, and focused on practising everything I had learnt on my own. For someone not very flexible, some of the positions were quite hard to get into and a real strain on my body. But once I mastered the balance and the routine, I actually started to warm into the routines more, and my body started to get used to it a little. Slow steps and all…
I have to say that although I thought I would love being away from ‘the connected world’ for a weekend, with no internet and social media distractions, I actually missed it a little and felt totally cut off from the world at some points, which was incredibly difficult for my social media and blogging loving self! That aside, the experience in general was an eye opener, and one I’ll never forget. I found myself learning extreme yoga stretches and positions I didn’t even know my body could fold into, and I learnt so many various of breathing techniques linked to clearing my mind and de-stressing. I am such a stressed out person due to the nature of my work, that it was so impressive learning how to control my breathing and use it to feel completely relaxed and as ease.
We also started each class at 6.45am in the mornings, meaning this was by no means a lie-in weekend!
Meditation on the other hand was something I was really looking forward to learning beforehand. I never give myself ten minutes ‘time out’, to just sit and clear my mind and get rid of any negative thoughts and feelings. During the meditation lessons, I learnt how to effectively use inhaling and exhaling techniques along with the power of the mind to bring myself into a state of complete calmness. No stressed out thoughts, no anxiety, and no worrying.
Another activity I was tasked with carrying out was to take myself on ‘silent walks’ – trekking around the fields in complete silence, taking in only the noises of nature around me. With a number of people doing the walk with me, it was incredibly difficult to now start chatting away or making little conversations. An hour walk in complete silence is much harder than you think! The views were incredible, and it made me really think about how to incorporate this type of activity into my own daily life. How it clears your mind from worries and lets you consider things from a clearer head space truly is amazing, and I genuinely enjoyed giving myself the opportunity to do this.
It was nice to be able to take away everything I learnt from the weekend by my simple recordings and image galleries taken on my HP device. The fact that my HP Pavilion x2 comes in four versatile modes, with one irresistible price (£229) makes it fantastic product for me to own, and one that certainly has let me take my experiences away with me to continue back at home, in Manchester.
I have put together some video footage which I captured on the HP laptop which takes me through the chanting lessons, simple yoga warm-ups, tours of the scenic routes around the manor house and some little clips of the silent walks. I’ll pop all these together and feature in a separate post so you can tour around Braziers Park Manor House too. Overall – an epic experience!
* I was gifted the HP Pavillion x2 device in order to carry out my epic adventure.