Way back when I decided it would be a great idea to spend some time at a health retreat while I was in Mexico. I found The Sanctuary, worked out I could stay for 268 pesos a night (£12.50) if I volunteered there for two hours a day and booked it right away.

A few months later and here I am.

Sanctuary Living Room

  • No Wi-Fi after 10pm.
  • Silence after 9pm.
  • No meat.
  • No bread.
  • No sugar.
  • No alcohol.
  • No snacks.
  • Morning meditation.
  • Daily yoga.

The Sanctuary is in a beautiful house right by the beach in Puerto Escondido. There are 10 of us staying here, some for a few days, others for months, but the premise is that we’re a community and will share our talents and passions to enrich each other’s lives. The founder Peter set it up to be ‘a space for education and exploration’.

I’m going to keep a daily diary of how I get on…


5pm Arrived to an empty house ‘Gone to the Beach’ – luckily Sia (a French lady staying for three months) let me in and left me to shower and short my stuff out. Much needed after 7 hours along a route on a coach known as ‘the Vomit Bus’. My planned pre vegan week taco binge was thwarted by the nausea from the bus. No lunch.

5:45pm Everyone’s back and it’s time for meditation. Don’t admit that I’ve never meditated. Don’t know what I’m doing. I sit cross-legged and look out of the slits of my eyes – it’s exactly like you see in the movies. You sit there with your fingers forming an ‘o’ on your knees. I enjoy the silence. ‘Must Google how to meditate’, ‘my back is killing’, ‘what’s for dinner’ and other distractions fill my brain, I try to get rid.

6:45pm End of meditation, so tired. Day of the Dead Festival has worn me out. Pete, the retreat founder is on a day of silence, so no chat there. The rest of the retreat is on a juice fast. Weigh myself, hate myself.

7:30pm Dinner arrives. Some sort of beetroot juice. Enjoyed it actually and knocked it back. I’m glad I didn’t eat anything for lunch, but happy I had that croissant for breakfast.

8pm ‘Breathing class’. Intrigued, and we get to lie down so all is good. Feel uncontrollably itchy, but try to scratch my feet quietly and concentrate on the words and my OTT breathing. Surrounded by candlelight and incense, so sleepy. A voice is telling me to love myself, I am loved, I’ve done nothing wrong, let it out – I actually feel a tad emotional when the music builds up. I stop breathing so heavily, must be because I’m tired. Don’t like having to tell everyone how I felt after the class – ‘itchy and inspired’ seemed to go down ok.

9pm Silence in the house to think about the practice.

9:20pm Conked out into what I’m sure was one of the best sleeps I’ve ever had.


Day 2 at a Hippy Health Retreat in Puerto Escondido
Xoxocotlán Cemetery: The Place to Be for Day of the Dead Festival