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What happens at a Retreat?

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

Hello Lovely,

I am writing to you today from just outside my flat, watching the sun go down behind the trees while I watch the cats exploring the gardens. Every now and then they come over for a little cuddle and it warms my heart!

I wanted to jump on today to share a little bit about my experience with retreats. Very timely as I have released the tickets to my first ever Self Love Retreat Days this week. What a pinch me moment that I get to live IN my vision board, hosting a retreat and sharing the magic of Self Love and Energy work with beautiful souls.

"Retreat - an act of moving back or withdrawing."

Courtesy of google

Retreats do allow you to withdraw from the day to tasks and the routines we have in our everyday lives. This in turn allows you to heighten the attention, time and focus you can give to yourself. To treat yourself to this time and give yourself some love.

If you are someone who has come across retreats and always wondered what goes on you are in the right place! Now for a little disclaimer, I can't tell you what every retreat out there will be like of course. What I hope to share with you is my experiences and what I have planned for mine.

Travelling back to 2019 I attended my first retreat in Ibiza with one of my best friends and absolute soul sisters all rolled into one gorgeous package, Linda. We had been speaking for a while about doing a retreat as we found ourselves deep in the self development world and, if you have been there or are there now you will agree that when you are in this space there are retreats advertised grabbing your attention all around.

Energy work and self love where not fully in our fields yet. But we were both living in a new area and navigating change in our worlds, and enjoying the escapism of yoga and nature walks. From this place we began to look into yoga retreats. Ibiza came up as a firm favourite from a location point of view for the following reasons;

  • There are LOT of retreats to chose from here

  • It is close to the UK for flight times

  • We had both been here before numerous times and love the island

That, was the easy part. I remember us looking at quite a lot of retreats and trying to navigate what would be best for us after this. There were quite a few that we could tell were going to be a bit too much for us just stepping into this world. Some that had full schedules planned out, and some a lot more yoga that I think our bodies could of handled - considering we were also hopeful it would be a relaxing trip too.

Then, we stumbled on the perfect retreat for us - Ibiza Funky Yoga Retreat with Antonella. The word funky added a cheeky edge and made us both smile, it had a fun and relaxed vibe attached to it. The schedule was quite relaxed with breakfast, morning yoga activities and a beautiful vegan catered lunch. The afternoons were free for down time, exploring and evening meals you could plan yourself (hindsight now tells me that this time was really for just allowing all the energy to settle in the body and rest!) We were in...

Arriving at the retreat we were so amazed at the beautiful venue and the welcome from Antonella and Benoir our lovely hosts. It was a small group of women just 7 of us, and we were flying in at different times from different countries so the arrival day was really chilled and everyone got greeted with big hugs and warm vibes through the day.

Over the course of the next few days, well unpacking it I could probably write book but I will try to keep this short-ish, it was amazing. It was; eye opening, healing, expansive, connective, loving, edgy, emotional - and that's just what comes to mind straight away. I remember the first morning we all had a sharing circle to introduce ourselves and what called us to the retreat. This will always be a key memory for me, the first real sister circle I had sat in with women I didn't know. The immediate respect, love and sisterhood held in that safe space will forever remind me of the power we have as humans to be compassionate and form instance bonds and understanding as some shared from a really emotional place.

We of course did lots of different yoga across the 4 mornings, each based on a different theme. One of my favourites was blind fold yoga! I had never experienced it before and am yet to experience it again but it was incredible. Now I have delved deeper into my yoga journey I understand this to be Pratyahara, a limb of yoga meaning removal of the senses that heightens your focus on the internal rather than looking for external signs (looking to see what everyone else is doing!) Antonella may well of told us this at the time but it just didn't get absorbed by my brain at the time. I suppose this bit just shows that you will learn and take away what you are ready to learn and take away..

The food we ate was INCREDIBLE. I wasn't fully on a path of plant based eating at the time, I had dabbled because I am intolerant to milk so buying vegan in the shops and opting for the vegan option in restaurants was the safest bet and I didn't mind missing out on meat. I had never ate food like this though, we all sat around the table at meal times so incredibly grateful and in awe of the chefs. I must also say, that for each plate that was presented the chefs came out to explain to us all what was in the dish and where all the ingredient have been sourced from. Their passion just oozed out and this made the experience of eating the food all the more special.

And the magic. Well... I don't quite know where to start. The Reflexology turned Reiki, the hot wind storm on our balcony or the Tarot Card reader (that didn't show me any cards) ... I now look back on these memories with perhaps a deeper awareness of the energy that was around us and the shift that were taking place.

I booked the reflexology session as an afternoon treat to myself during the retreat, reading the description online ahead of time it sounded lovely and relaxing - well, it was certainly not quite what I expected. The healer ended up spending a lot more time with me than she had planned too, moving into using reiki to help unblock my energy centres. This is where my journey of unblocking my chakras came from, a lot more self discovery as well as the biggest emotional release I have ever experienced from an energy treatment - to date. Although it wasn't the relaxing massage I had imagined, it is one of the best things I have ever done to allow me to grow and move forward as a person - in the best possible space, with the best possible people.

The hot wind on the balcony is probably a moment that we be forever in mine and Linda's memory, but very difficult to convey... Just imagine dancing in a hot wind storm, laughing so hard, and not caring at all if anyone is watching. THAT was a much needed energetic release.

At this point I would even like to remind myself that all of this happening in just 4 days. So much to experience! Needless to say when I went home and back to work where everyone was keen to ask how 'zen' I felt and what the retreat was like, I couldn't even think straight. I actually needed a few days afterwards to allow myself to rest, and reflect and let everything settle in.

So, to summarise .. I found our Ibiza experience to be amazing and came away with the following tips;

  • Travel with someone you know incredibly well and trust wholeheartedly or try a solo trip

  • Make sure you allow yourself rest and integration time, this is important as the time you spend in the activities will allow you time to really think and be alone, this is where the healing comes up

  • Don't head straight back into a busy day at work the day after!

  • Don't make any plans the night you come home - you will need space and sleep

  • Be openminded, and surrender to any emotional flows. It is safe to release

  • You will take away what you need at the time, trust in this

  • It will be amazing, and such a gift to experience

So as you can imagine I could not wait to be able to share this magic with more women, holding retreats went straight on my vision board.

When I came to planning my first retreats this year I have taken into account some of my learnings and tried to build in as much goodness as I can fit. I have planned day sessions only at first to allow people to dip their toe in and figure out what they like. I have a mix of options and activities for people to experience self love and energy work and see what resonates for them. I have followed in the steps of our Ibiza retreat to offer plant based food, from amazing local sellers too! I will also be doing an opening and closing ceremony for the women in the circle each day, as well as ending on a relaxation practise to give everyone some time to rest before they head home.I absolutely cannot wait to hold the days, and to witness everyones journeys.

If you are interested in coming, the tickets are on sale in the Goodies section of the website. Please also feel free to drop a comment in below and send me an email if you have any questions.

Love of Love

Han x

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