I have generally observed, and most of you will agree, that the most transformative and developmental phases of our lives happen when we’re away from the daily grind. While most of you have heard of the distinction between “working IN vs working ON your business”, it occurred to me recently that exactly the same contrast applies to life as a whole. You spend so much time in the day to day details of life that there is little time leftover for reflecting on the “big picture” questions about what direction you’re going in, how you feel about that and what you might change. For that reason, I am a huge fan of regularly leaving the natural habitat (whether it be continents or simply hours away), not least because of the amazing perspective it allows you when looking back at the life you left behind.
Add to that a breathtaking location like Uluwatu in Bali, a solid ten degree increase in temperature, an amazing fitness program incorporating high intensity group and personal training, surfing and yoga as well as an epic crew of humans from all different age groups, backgrounds and walks of life? I’d call that the most INCREDIBLE seven day stretch you could possibly sign up for that Nic and I were honoured to experience at the inaugural Journey Retreats retreat run by the Functional Group at S Resorts Hidden Valley this August. The schedule was perfectly balanced between organised group activities and personal down time, physical rigour and spiritual development, #cleaneating and #yolobeachclubvibez and even included a hike up Mt Batur volcano (during the full moon, I might add, for my fellow woo woo lovers) to witness the most beautiful sunrise together. The retreat offered something for every level of fitness, eagerness and intention and I know I am not alone in saying it was one of the best things I’ve done.
On a personal level, any kind of break would have been a nice breather as I had fallen back into my bad overworking habits and Nic and I hadn’t had the chance for much “us time”. But this seven day stretch of consistent movement building on the previous day had an added benefit for me, given the long hiatus I have had from intense physical exercise after the recurrence of my adrenal fatigue last year. With a typical day consisting of an F45 style workout, a surf, some yoga, 3 nourishing meals, and plenty of relaxation, I was able to fast forward myself back to a great baseline fitness in terms of cardio, strength AND mobility. While training 3-4 times daily might seem intimidating, there was huge support for ALL levels of ability with variations always available and many sessions being optional or able to be modified to suit everything from the abtastic energiser bunnies to those requiring rehab for injuries (plus a free massage included = a very happy body!)
I was also lucky enough to host the Wellness Workshop which featured in the schedule, the preparation before and feedback after for which sparked a lot of reflection for myself (and I hope everyone else too). I could go on forever, but I’ll finish with a few of my “retreat revelations” as I have come home with so many:
- Sometimes the best way to speed up is to slow down. Nothing like a break to reset the body and mind – you’ll come back even BETTER than before
- It is important and wonderful to spend time with people completely outside your network – you can learn so much from new perspectives and ideas
- It is important and wonderful to spend time in nature – all our sessions were outdoors and it was SO good for the soul. I don’t do it enough at home
- You can ALWAYS go further than you thought you could, just push a little harder (i.e. 1km burpee challenge – don’t even ask)
- Don’t do it for comparison though – the grass is greener where you water it! Compete only with yesterday’s self and no-one else!
- You are much more likely to achieve greater heights with the right support network around you – surround yourself with people (or put yourself in environments) that are supportive and encouraging
- Seek out discomfort and you will reap the biggest rewards – comfort zones are great but no magic ever happens there
- Consistency is key – it was so interesting to see how much change you can effect in seven days if you stick with something every day. I have been very sporadic with my fitness efforts then wondered why the results aren’t blossoming out like rainbows and unicorns. Der!
- Physical and emotional tiredness are very different (it was SO nice to feel physically tired for a change rather than just mentally drained but totally unexercised because I let myself get stuck at my laptop all day.)
- Yang exercise is best when complemented by yin – my body recovered so much faster and felt so supple and strong when the high intensity sessions were followed by yoga and stretching
- Everyone is completely unique and all you should worry about is what YOUR body needs – listen to what it is saying, not what others are
- You get the best perspective on your life as a whole when you step away from your usual environment and observe from a distance (especially with a fresh coconut in hand!)
There are so many more but I’ll stop myself before this turns into a novel. The retreat has been so popular that dates have already been announced for round 2 for this year, with more to come next year!
See here for details!