‘Retreat’ is such a buzz word at the moment. As someone who has participated in and run retreats, whether it is for a day, and long weekend, or a full week of retreating, I have seen a real spike in interest for this kind of ‘retreat’ holiday.
It got me thinking, ‘what is a retreat, and why do people pay a lot of money to attend them?’
After having a think, I decided that, to me, a retreat is the chance for someone to exchange their day to day life with something that they hope will inspire them, so that when they return to the ‘ordinary’ things seem better than before.
Whether that is to take time to slow down and reflect, to learn something new, to dedicate time to focus on something they really love, to get out of their comfort zone, or possibly offer them the comfort that they are missing. A retreat can be just what someone needs, and maybe sometimes (although I’ve never heard of this!) exactly what they don’t need! My point is, a retreat can be different experience for each individual.
When I am trying to attract guests to my retreats there is a clear message that they’ll be a whole lot of Pilates, sometimes yoga, and always a chance to explore the part of the world that we’ve all journeyed to. Although the Pilates and yoga industries are rapidly growing, this is still quite a niche demographic to draw from, and a yoga and/or pilates retreat might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
When thinking about why guests had attended my retreats in the past I realised what a huge range of reasons had come up. There have been lots of pilates instructors looking to take time to deepen their own practice rather than always giving their energy to clients and employees. There have been couples who wanted to spend time together learning something new, or lovingly showing an interest in what their partner is passionate about. There have been mothers looking for a little space to put themselves first, even if for the briefest of moments. There have also been guests at significant junctions in their lives; changing jobs, end of relationships, new careers.
I am currently teaching at Niyama Private Islands in the Maldives, and to be perfectly honest I think I have found the place where you can create your own ideally unique retreat where without a doubt you would return back to the ‘ordinary’ inspired and invigorated.
I have only been here for two days, but already I have experienced what a true ‘retreat’ this place is. Ok, it’s in the Maldives (it’s as good as it looks in the photos!), it’s a private island (as cool as it sounds!), you have your own personal butler (how will I ever survive without our dear thakuru?!), and yes all of this creates an environment that is peaceful and rejuvenating. But on top of this Niyama can offer you the adventures and experiences which sets it a part from other luxury resorts.
There is every fitness class you could want, crafts in the afternoon, a games suite, live bands, DJs, glow parties, a fantastically equipment gym, a spa to die for, restaurants for everyone’s taste, water sports galore, snorkelling and diving, and very significantly this is the only luxury resort in the Maldives where there is surf breaking on the shores of the island.
I mentioned mothers earlier, and although many mums have come and enjoyed my retreats alone, some have really struggled with being apart from their families. This is where Niyama have really thought of everything. Currently there are over 100 children staying on the island (don’t worry honeymooners, it’s the school holidays, this isn’t normal!) and it is as much of a retreat for them as it is for the adults. The kids club has packed days of activities, chill time, and I’m even teaching some yoga and Pilates to the various age groups which I’m really looking forward to. Although I am not a mother myself, I can see the value in knowing your children are having a great time, so you can really get the opportunity to relax and retreat.
In summary, I can not recommend Niyama highly enough. If you are seeking somewhere to retreat, this might just be your cup of tea!