Silence, spirituality, stress management or getting in shape, there are numerous reasons for a retreat. Some want to disconnect, do a digital detox, take a step back or go beyond their limits. Others need a real spiritual experience to connect with the great mystery of life. The essential point is to define the way you want to recharge yourself in order to find a retreat that fits your needs. Read on and find five high-vibration escapes handpicked by Judith Ritchie, founder of www.joliesoul.com and holistic beauty expert.
By Judith Ritchie, wellness expert and founder of joliesoul.com
A MYSTIC GARDEN OF EDEN IN MALIBU
Aja is one of the most prestigious wellness retreats at the moment. Situated on top of a hill in the mountains of Malibu, California, sprawling over 23 acres with beautiful ocean views, this property once belonged to President Roosevelt. Australian mystic and artist Inannya Magick spent seven years transforming the property into a true sanctuary, a “Garden of Eden” with seven guest rooms and seven gardens. The retreat “The Magick Process” combines spirituality, digital detox and healthy nutrition to renew the vital energy. The principle of the week is to focus on the alignment of the chakras, the seven energy centers of our body. Each day is devoted to balance and strengthen one of the chakras, starting with the root chakra and finishing with the crown chakra. Also on the program: tai-chi sessions, a fire ceremony guided by a Guatemalan shaman, dharma workshops etc. Everything takes place in the gardens to connect with the elements of nature.
SILENCE AND HEALING IN QUEBEC
What is better than silence to refocus and reconnect with the immense wealth of our inner world? Silent retreats are abundant in the wellness universe around the world, but you can also visit one very close to here, at the Monastère des Augustines in Old Quebec. In all of the most beautiful spas on this planet the following rule applies: Silence is golden. As soon as you walk through the front door, you step into a quiet and extremely soft atmosphere, where laptops and other electronic devices are prohibited. To remain silent is a challenge for many, it is as if speaking fills the void and allows emptying, one by one, the incessant stream of thoughts. Finding oneself in total silence is frightening to a lot of people, but living without pronouncing words can be learned and be appreciated. It is a privilege, a gift of life. Nicole Bordeleau organizes silent retreats at the Monastère des Augustine in order to discover the benefits of silence. On the program: guided meditations, periods of silence, solitary relaxation sessions as well as silent Qi Gong Yoga sessions. The next retreat takes place from June 2 to June 4, 2017. Retreat rate: $359 (taxes not included). Please note that in order to fully benefit from this retreat, all participants have to stay at the Monastère. To get in touch with the Monastère call (418) 694-1639 or visit the website at monastere.ca.
STRESS MANAGEMENT IN PORTUGAL
The founder and managing director of Working in Balance, Toby Maguire, organizes retreats for those who want to take back the control of their lives, manage their stress and create a better balance between their work and private life. Throughout the program, he provides the participants with practical and instructive information, both individually and in groups, on how to focus our attention on the aspects of life that are beyond our control, as well as on how to improve our physical and psychological well-being. The “Stress Free Success” retreats take place in a unique setting at the Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal. The retreat costs $1595 per person (a little over $2200 Canadian), based on double occupancy, including four nights with breakfast, special lunch and dinner menus, a wellness evaluation, six “Stress Free Success” sessions, all wellness activities and group classes, as well as three 60-minute signature massages. Flights to and from Porto and transfers from the airport to the hotel and back are not included. To check out the dates visit www.sixsenses.com
SURF AND WELLNESS IN PERU
Being active and doing sports is now more than ever a way of life and the mission of yoga, pilates and surf retreats is to integrate fitness in a global context. Sport is also a way to get to know yourself and during the retreats, it’s used for the greater purpose of personal development. It is a tool that allows us to be a better version of ourselves. Some of the fashionable fitness places even offer very strict boot camps, for those who wish to exceed their personal limits, tone their body and let go completely. This is the case of the famous Ranch at Live Oak Malibu in California. There, you lose pounds, gain muscle mass, and the sports activities allow you to completely let loose. Bootcampers are people who have a real need to let go and to find physical sensations and mobility. For those who love waves, Soul and Surf organizes retreats that combine meditation, yoga and surfing in India, Sri Lanka, Portugal and now also in Peru, Chicama. This region is home to one of the longest waves on Earth! A typical day of a “Pop-up” retreat begins with a pre-surf coffee or tea and bananas before jumping into the zodiac and leaving for the surfing spot for two to three hours, followed by yoga and meditation sessions. Watch out for retreat dates on www.soulandsurf.com.
EMOTIONAL BALANCE IN THAILAND
Chiva-Som, Thailand, is the detox sanctuary of celebrities such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Maria Sharapova. This place, which is very well known for their detox program, also offers different retreats. One of those retreats is focused on the emotional balance, a determining and essential factor of our psychological well-being. The difference between this holistic retreat and others is that here they approach the human in its entirety and help to master your mood and your general well-being. Created for guests who feel depressed, anxious or are lacking energy, this retreat is designed to rejuvenate the mind and body in a holistic approach that includes acupuncture, mind and body therapy, a healthy diet, regular physical exercise and a stable sleep pattern.
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