Individuals who are feeling a bit frazzled at this time of the year could take their Yoga equipment for a weekend break in the countryside.

The York Press reported that Yoga retreats "are a brilliant way to beat stress and bring on a sense of well-being", with writer Maxine Gordon trying one for herself at The Retreat at Split Farthing Hall near Thirsk.

She explained that after just one hour of sitting on her Yoga mat and getting stuck in with the first session, the retreat was "already beginning to work its magic".

As well as doing Yoga classes, the journalist learned about following the raw food diet, which involves eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and nuts but no cooking.

She also took part in several visualisation exercises designed to help people work out how they can achieve their life goals, which retreat owner Claire Maguire says are "about helping women become who they deserve to be".

Although those who go on the weekend break spend a lot of time with their quality Yoga mats and do meditation, Claire states that The Retreat is not a spiritual getaway.

"It is a bit unusual, but when women have been here for a weekend they don’t really think of it as something weird or strange. With the yoga, on the first day, they might laugh about it, but by the next day, they might get something more out of it," she told the writer.

Meanwhile, Daily Telegraph reporter Paul Clements tried out a Yoga class in London to find out how the sessions can help men become stronger and fitter.

He spoke to founder James Muthana, who told him that males have "realised that Yoga is great for keeping trim, sculpting the abs, as well as providing that calm but focused mental attitude that’s useful at work and play. They see yoga as part of their general conditioning".

Posted by Freya Harper