Book & Bee Illustration at Restoration Yard

Happy New Year & a Happy you for 2020

Hello and happy new year from all of us at Restoration Yard. Here's my take on a happy you for 2020. I'm Jen Wood, a wellbeing consultant, therapist, coach and mindfulness teacher and I help people get back into balance and live life to the full. I have worked as a therapist for almost 20 years and find Restoration Yard is the ideal place to practice. As well as seeing clients in the serene surroundings of The Sanctuary in Restoration Yard’s Laundry House, I also manage Restoration Yard’s wellbeing programme.

wellbeing Lab at Restoration Yard

At Restoration Yard we are looking forward to 2020, to helping you to being a happy you and to starting as we mean to go on. Wellbeing and restoration of self is at the heart of the philosophy here at Restoration Yard in Dalkeith Country Park. We understand that often people start the year full of optimism for positive change and by February we are feeling disappointed with ourselves for not being able to stick to our goals. However, if we balance some of our competitive instinct with compassion, we can live a happier and more connected life.

The importance of wellbeing at Restoration Yard

For us at Restoration Yard it is all about creating a connection between ourselves and nature; creating a connective community and offering a space and place that allows people to step off the world for a little while. A place that allows them to restore themselves.

Our plans for the year

On a wider focus for 2020, we will have an emphasis on connection and compassion here at Restoration Yard and Dalkeith Country Park; connection with family and friends, new experiences, nature and with the fact that you already are enough and you don’t need to force yourself to change. That’s not to say that a little movement away from less nurturing habits to more nourishing ones isn’t a good idea, but it’s the intention behind it that matters. And how you talk to yourself. When we connect with others and give and receive compassion, we activate a part of our brain and release chemicals that dramatically improve mental health.

The expertise within our wellbeing offer

Carol McFarlane started her yoga practice after retirement, as a way to maintain her joints and movement after being diagnosed with arthritis. Her Slow Flow class at 10am on Mondays focuses on the mind, body and breath. It is ideal for anyone with similar problems, or just looking for a gentle class. Carol trained as a teacher to encourage more people in her position to take up yoga.

Nina Goldberger’s Energising Flow class at 7pm on Mondays is a great way to start the week. Nina believes wellbeing in body & mind, which she knows can be achieved through yoga. She overcame her own challenges and is an inspiring and skilful teacher.

Tess Johnson teaches Forrest Yoga at 7pm on Wednesdays, after her day job as an occupational therapist at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. “Forrest Yoga is based in the rich practice of yoga from the east, but applied for the western lifestyle." According to founder Ana Forrest. Tess has a gentle and encouraging style and is skilled with her hands on ‘assists’.

Alis Atilan Yoga Teacher at Restoration Yard

New For 2020

Alis Atagan will offer a new Monday morning yoga class at 8.45am, Morning Flow, which is a fantastic way to start the week. Alis will skilfully guide you through an enjoyable hour and end with a deeply nourishing relaxation.

Declan Mair will introduce a new Beginners Yoga class at 6.30pm on Tuesdays. His classes are relaxed and fun and an ideal choice for anyone wanting to explore yoga for the first time.

Suzanne Maynard is a qualified and skilled pre and postnatal coach, personal trainer and mum. She will be offering three new classes at Restoration Yard, on Thursdays. Her Postnatal class in the Wellbeing Lab at 1.30pm on Thursdays is for new mums up to 12 months post delivery. Classes are gentle and babies are welcome to cheer from the side. Suzanne will also be offering two outdoor Buggy Train classes, encouraging groups to train outdoors with baby in buggy. There will be a buggy train class for men, offering an opportunity to meet and get to know other male carers at a similar stage in life, while spending time with their children and keeping active. Suzanne’s husband James was primary carer for her children. He searched in vain for a dads group such as this in Midlothian. He said “Male specific exercise classes are so important for mental and physical health once baby arrives, as men also suffer from postnatal depression. It’s an opportunity for dads to get together and have male conversation, while giving your partner time to themselves and an opportunity to bond with your baby.”

Dalkeith Palace in Dalkeith Country Park

Nature is our source

We are blessed with an amazing natural environment here at Dalkeith Country Park, and we encourage you to connect with it. Take a class and if you have the time prolong the goodness by enjoying a little external goodness. There are waymarked walks around the park to enjoy and especially during the darker months, it is so helpful to get outside in daylight as we are often low in vitamin D, which we all need to thrive. As you discover the stunning woods, feel connected to the earth and notice the little things around you. As you breathe deeply, filling your lungs with oxygen, expand your diaphragm and you will activate your vagus nerve. This switches on your relaxation response and is a quick and effective way to de-stress.

It's an exciting year for collaborations

Dr Charlie Heriot Maitland of Compassionate Mind Training

This year I am appearing at the Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival and will run a workshop on How to Create a Compassionate Brain with my colleague, Clinical Psychologist Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland
It’s fantastic to be back at EWF2020, and being able to bring the benefits of Compassionate Mind Training to a wider audience. The ethos of the festival is so in tune with our wellbeing strategy at Restoration Yard, that we are in discussion with the organisers to develop our own health and wellbeing festival to Restoration Yard at Dalkeith Country Park.

Even more to come...

This year we will launch our Wellbeing Conversations, where we help you live your best life by inviting experts to share their knowledge and experience, and give you the opportunity to ask questions. We will look at Sleep, Getting over Grief, Stress, Body Image, Mindfulness, Compassion, Anxiety, Depression, Menopause and much, much more. If there’s an area that you would like to see covered in our Wellbeing Conversations series, please get in touch as I’d love to hear from you. Email me at

We hope that we can offer lots of different ways to connect in 2020, and beyond.
Jen Wood