Category Archives: Healthy Lifestyle Retreats

Join us in 2016!

Join us in 2016!

Swimming Pool

The Old Rectory’s ‘Hands on Life’ programme has been the backdrop for some truly inspirational retreats over the last few years, all hosted in this wonderfully tranquil environment in the heart of the west country.

Leonie Nanassy founded Hands on Life in 2014 with the pure intention to offer a luxurious yet approachable space for people to experience personal transformation.

Leonie met Anya Hawkes in St Lucia and LOVED her style and approach to Yoga. She invited Anya to host a retreat with her at the Rectory…since then she has become one of the primary retreat teachers at The Old Rectory.

After much success and incredible feedback from retreat guests, Leonie has invited Anya to become a partner of Hands on Life.x-anya-leonie

Pulling together their skills and many years of experience, passion and dedication we have created the ultimate in transformational luxury retreats.

Our inspirational 2016 schedule of events features our Yoga & Ayurveda retreats in addition to Youthful Living Programmes and Core Connection retreats to reclaim your core vitality, and our very special Sleep Retreat…there really is something for everyone!

Take a peak at

We invite you to browse over our offering for 2016.  As a warm welcome, and our gift to you, we are offering £100 off retreat prices for bookings taken before the end of January 2016 so there are no excuses but to give yourself a well earned break in the new year.

Nothing is more important than learning to live with more ease and kindness. Book yourself a very special gift… we look forward to seeing you soon…

the Hands on Life team


Our dedicated retreat team
Leonie Nanassy host & bodywork expert 
Anya Hawkes yoga & wellness expert
Carrie Allcott vitality chef & culinary expert


All of our luxury retreats are 3 nights and include stunning accommodation in one of our unique ensuite rooms, at least two classes and workshops per day and an abundance of deliciously healthy food and drinks everyday.
*some retreats may include treatments & consultation, please see individual listings for details.  

and receive £100 discount per person 

*50% deposit payable on booking & balance due 2 months prior to retreat start date

 Youthful Living Retreat
Jan 22nd & April 22nd 2016
Join our latest rejuvenating retreat and we’ll help you to feel youthful on the inside and out! In just 3 nights we’ll give you your va va voom back!  You’ll feel pampered, refreshed and ready to take on life (you’ll look fabulous too)

Strength:Core Connection
Feb 5th & Nov 18th

Lost your connection to your core? The place that keeps us feeling centred, powerful and courageous?


 Sleep Retreat
March 11th & Dec TBC
We are in the midst of a sleeplessness epidemic. We are incredibly excited to offer this unique sleep retreat to ease you back into a healthy pattern of rest and slumber, harmonising you with your pillow again.

Alkaline & Energise
Yoga & Ayurveda May 6th 2016May is the perfect time to put the spring back in your step! In this wonderful retreat you’ll be expertly guided through yoga and pranayama workshops designed to uplift, empower and gently detoxify you. You’ll feel energised and AMAZING!

The Winds of Change
Yoga & Ayurveda Oct 7th 

A beautiful, inspirational, autumnal retreat sowing the seeds for positive change.




That feeling
That feeling

So we were thinking, how do people feel when they visit our website, does it give them a sense of what the retreats we offer and the care and love that we put into organising and running them?

There is a tricky balance, you need the information, you need the pictures and you need that… charisma – can a website have charisma, spirit… yes I think it can… and does ours?? Well maybe that is what it is lacking! SO over the coming weeks we will be trying to add that charisma, that sense of spirit that will help engage our audience and so help them to understand the spirit we use when creating our retreats and workshops…

Wish us luck x

Need a free therapy session?

Need a free therapy session?

Winter has so definitely arrived now, I’m looking out of my window at grey drizzle and my toes are cold. It doesn’t feel good does it? It doesn’t make me feel like pulling my wellies on and getting wet for a second time today, which would be my preferred method of  taking a brain break in the middle of the day… so what to do?

Well I feel I am in luck, I have a very lovely friend to whom I can tell all these worries (other than you of course!)… there is definitely something to be said for animals and their natural ability to inspire playfulness & calm the mind for a moment, without words…

A dogs life

A free therapy session,  eye contact, a soft touch, smelly breath !!
Keeping it real… Animals we salute you!

And if you need more help getting through winter why not join us for a nourishing weekend yoga retreat this February. This blissful weekend is the perfect Winter getaway, letting you relax after the busy festive season, nurture your body and soul and switch off completely.
Dogs just want to get you out of the house though, I’m getting pressure on me right now to get out and give him a walk …I really don’t want to go, but I have too… and once I’ve done it I’ll feel great… another free therapy session, off we go!!!


Putting it all together

Putting it all together

A fantastic retreat week at The Old Rectory
A fantastic retreat week at The Old Rectory

Putting the plan together for next year’s workshops and retreats is the best part of my job. Talking to the teachers, arranging the best dates, thinking about how best to use the beautiful space at The Old Rectory, Chulmleigh and then publishing our dates for the world to see…

Then there is the anticipation, the early bird bookers, the old names and faces who visit every year, the new comers as yet unsure, to answer their questions and give them directions… then there are the last minuters, the “do you still have space for me..”. so wonderful that we are all so different… and yet all so ready to work, live and grow together.

Only two retreats left for this year,

‘The Winds of Change’  Yoga & Ayurveda Retreat

October 9th – 12th 2014
prices from £320 full details workshop details contact questions & bookings

Personal Retreat, Yoga , Meditation & Esalen Massage

November 7th – 9th 2014
prices from £320 full details workshop details contact questions & bookings

and then yes, all of next years set… I’m sure there will be some tweeking along the way, but I look forward to seeing some of you then!

Much love x

Couldn’t be more perfect….

Couldn’t be more perfect….

And that is from one of our inspiring teachers that run the workshops and courses at The Olf Rectory, Chulmleigh.

We are going through adding Testimonials from teachers and participants to our website, so that you know what other people think who have visited… it should give you a better feel for what to expect and letting others have their say will probably paint much better pictures for you than we could!

Here is what a couple of our teachers have said…

“The Old Rectory is one of my top retreat venues ever! It’s so beautiful and welcoming that everyone feels instantly as ease. With amazing hosts, retreats days flow seamlessly from delicious mealtimes to workshops to wandering in the gorgeous gardens. Couldn’t be more perfect.” Anya Hawkes

“Being of Scottish descent, I experience a deep sense of ‘home’ when I’m in England, and this is especially so when I am in Chumleigh. The Old Rectory is a lovely old home and retreat center, in a stunning setting. The salt water pool, and endless rolling green meadows beckon me outdoors, while the kitchen and dining room lure me to savor delicious, nutritious food, and then to the studio to Dance, Touch, Heal, Sing, Play and Pray.” Ellen Watson

Energise and learn at our Yoga Retreat

Reawaken your senses, revive your body, energise your spirit, and restore calm and peace to your soul.

Engage your senses

Touch with soothing, nurturing, revitalising massage
Smell the power of essential oils as you prepare your own therapeutic blends
Hear the power of music through yoga and dance, and share in conversational therapy
Taste delicious hormone-balancing, energising food
See and create your own expressive art, and experience the luxurious, homely venue of The Old Rectory.