Aluna Healing, Scotland
Heal body and mind in the spectacular Scottish Highlands
Best for: Those who want a spiritual retreat to cleanse, renew and immerse themselves in nature.
Not for: Those who are uncomfortable around a spiritual approach to life and ritual.
Aluna Healing is the creation of experienced yoga teacher Daniela Lanaia, who lives in the Scottish Highlands and runs spiritual retreats to help you reconnect with nature and your body based in woodland cottages near Loch Torridon. Retune and unwind amongst mountains and waterfalls with gentle yoga, healing practices and walks in incredible surroundings, and detoxify and nourish your body with organic foods, juices and the cleanest of highland air. Days begin welcoming the light in a Lochside ceremony, and each evening there’s a sharing circle. 6 night group retreats are held each Spring, Summer and Autumn, or book a bespoke retreat for you and your friends.
With little light pollution in this remote part of Scotland the night sky is a wonder to behold. It is the perfect backdrop to put into context your relationship to the universe on this carefully curated spiritual journey.
All bathrooms are shared, and sharing a bathroom, particularly on a detox, won’t be within some people’s comfort zone. The focus of the retreats is life-change over luxury.
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Cleanse your body whilst spending time walking in nature, practising yoga and meditation, and getting back in touch with what you need in life through journaling. Ritual is a large part of the retreat, and on some evenings there are documentaries to watch about the planet and indigenous cultures which set a tone and talking point around life choices.
Experienced yoga teacher Daniela Lanaia lives self sustainably in the highlands and is a deeply spiritual and softly spoken yogi who has been mentored in the celtic shamanic ways and native traditions of the Americas. She has experience and qualifications in Altai massage therapy, energy healing, detoxification, fasting, herbal medicine and natural remedies, sound healing, holistic voice work, organic gardening and biodynamics.
8-10 am each morning is spent on yoga, meditation and breathwork. Retreat host Daniela is an experienced teacher heavily influenced by Vanda Scaravelli, whose classes combine hatha, yin, and kundalini yoga techniques. They are relatively gentle, thoughtfully crafted classes suited to all levels, and they work on a different element each day to support your journey throughout the week. Allow the vibrations of crystal signing bowls to draw you deeper into meditation during a sound healing session.
Daily walks of two or more hours provide an opportunity to connect with nature and the remarkable highland landscape. You’ll explore a new area each day, sometimes with guidance on sacred sites and advice on the healing properties of certain plants and sometimes in quiet reflection or spiritual practice. A day-long silent medicine walk is organised to dive deeper into union with the awe-inspiring surroundings.
Guided journaling sessions to gain insight into your life and your patterns of behaviours follow each morning talk. You’ll be working on carefully structured questions which build awareness as the week progresses and feed into the other aspects of the programme. This quiet time for self-inquiry could also be used for sketching, creative writing or resting.
This retreat pivots on rituals, bringing into focus our connection to nature and to one another. The day begins with a ceremony to welcome in the light, offering gratitude and rose petals out into the loch. A nightly sharing circle encourages participants to open up and speak honestly. On one of the evenings there is a fire ceremony on the beach, where you can burn a list of things to be released and forgiven and make a pledge for a new way forward.
The day begins with oil pulling, orally swilling coconut oil for twenty minutes to cleanse and detoxify the mouth. The detox is managed for you, simply eat and drink the light lunches, smoothies and juices provided and top up with plenty of water.
All bedrooms are bright and basic with shared modern bathrooms. Spacious double bedrooms with views of the Loch are available in Corrie Lodge, where the main kitchen and living room can be found. The further shared bedrooms in the slightly smaller Gardeners Cottage are pared back but adequate. Everyone has access to the beautiful roll top bathtub in Corrie Lodge where magnesium flakes or Epsom salts are on had to ease away post-walk aches.
Other spaces to be:
The cottages are set amongst woodlands, within just a couple of minutes stroll down to the breath-taking Lochside. Alternatively wander inland, exploring pathways into ancient woodland to reveal streams and waterfalls. If you’d like some time and space amongst nature there is plenty of opportunity. If you are feeling brave, or have brought a wetsuit, one of the larger waterfalls has a pool perfect for a dip.
Twenty minutes from Loch Torridon is the Whistle Stop Café in Kinlochewe, a great place to eat on your way to or back from the retreat with exceptional food and super friendly staff. Pack layers and sunscreen, for the weather in the highlands can change quickly and surprisingly our reviewer got slightly burnt in April. Bring a body brush for daily dry skin brushing to aid detoxification, stimulate lymphatic drainage and circulation.
When to Go
Highland retreats take place spring, summer and autumn. The weather tends to be very changeable on the north west coast, so expect cool temperatures and a range of rain, sunshine and all that’s in between, whatever the time of year you go. Each of the changing seasons are showcased against this dramatic backdrop, whether you are looking to lift your mood in the spring sunlight or blow away worries in the autumn winds. Bespoke retreats can run anytime throughout the year.
Get ready to rid yourself of toxins, for only the cleanest organic local produce is served here, mainly just vegetables and a little fruit. After starting the day oil pulling you’ll drink hot lemon water to kickstart the metabolism and alkalise the body.
After the morning’s yoga session you’ll get your superfood smoothie in the yoga room, lovingly prepared by your host Daniela – even the nut milk is freshly homemade. In the light and airy main kitchen, a beautifully presented lunch of soup, salads and some lightly cooked vegetables will have you set for the afternoons walk. The evening vegetable juice is a portable affair depending on where the evenings activity is taking place. You are advised to drink lots of water and herbal teas. There is no caffeine or alcohol, most offerings are vegan except for the use of a little honey. Despite the small amount of solid food most participants are surprised to report they don’t feel particularly hungry.
Spiritual Ecology, the recognition of a spiritual facet to conservation and environmentalism, is at the heart of these retreats and Daniela’s teachings. Individuals are asked to explore their relationship with the planet and how they are living from food production and preparation to sustainable clothing. All food is as far as possible organic and locally and ethically sourced, and minimal plastics are used.
Torridon Estate, Torridon, Wester Ross, IV22 2HE, Scotland
Train station: Strathcarron
Transfer time: 40 minutes from Strathcarron station and 90 minutes from Inverness airport