So much love and fun was shared throughout November as we held three retreats almost in a row. Here are the highlights of our first retreat
Arrive and Revive Yoga Retreat with Shifana Ayogafitness
As always there is excitement in the air on arrival day and Maalhos greeted us with one of its beautiful sunrises….
…..as the final touch, our handmade yoga mats are placed in the rooms – we are all ready!
There is a new wave of excitement in the air for our first Yoga and Dive guest, the radiant Chantal (an inspiration who travels around the world to pursue her passion for diving in between her hectic job as a midwife in Switzerland). We can’t wait to show her what the Sunny Side of Life looks like underwater. As soon as she arrives we whisk her off for her house reef check dive. We have got a lot to fit into the next 8 days ~ yoga, dive, rest, repeat #thegoodlife
With more guests arriving we relax into the day exploring our island home and getting to know each other. In the afternoon there is time to snorkel at the house reef before sunset yoga. After dinner, we shared our intentions and had our first group meditation during the opening circle.
Our daily meditation the Mangala Charn Mantra is chanted for protection:
AD GURAY NAMEH,
JUGAD GURAY NAMEH,
SAT GURAY NAMEH,
SIRI GURU DEVAY NAMEH
and it surrounds the magnetic field with protective light, and means I bow to the primal Guru (guiding consciousness who takes us to God-Realization), I bow to wisdom through the ages, I bow to True Wisdom, I bow to the great, unseen wisdom.
Sunrise yoga led by the awesome Shifana awakened our bodies to prepare for the busy day ahead of swimming, snorkeling, yoga and meditation.
We got into some acro play, which gave us a good giggle, and while our spirits were high we attracted dolphins on our post-yoga swim – bliss! After breakfast, it was time to venture out into the beautiful blue Baa Atoll to Dhonfanu Bayru to snorkel with turtles
Raising body awareness, relieving stress, reducing muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpening attention and concentration, and calming and centering the nervous system ~ we love Yoga and all its benefits. We also love you Shifana for guiding us on our journey through your beautiful classes. Today we started with sunrise partner yoga followed with acro yoga play where we balanced together using a combo of strength and flexibility to create fun shapes.
It’s not every day you get to see multiple mantas dancing together, but we can say the chances are much higher in Hanifaru Bay. Today we encountered 3, coming, going, circulating. It was an awesome day but seeing one of the mantas was injured broke all our hearts. We have been following his progress and seems that he has made a good recovery. It reminds us – we must protect what we love. It is always a pleasure to swim with these majestic giants and to connect with nature ~ it’s beautiful, it’s magnificent
After a busy day of snorkeling in the Indian Ocean we found time to relax in a hammock while doing our favourite thing – yoga!
Aerial yoga ables us to move more freely, with less effort, by counteracting gravity. Being suspended in the air releases tension on the bones and muscles it allows us to go deeper into the practice.
Since breathing is something we do on a daily basis we incorporated breathing exercises into our daily island routine. Today we did it at sunset and it really helped centre us after such an active day.
The body, in a living state, breathes involuntarily whether we are awake, sleeping, or actively exercising. As breathing is living, it is a vital function of life. In yoga, we refer to this as pranayama. Prana is a Sanskrit word that means life force and ayama means extending or stretching. Thus, the word “pranayama” translates to the control of life force. It is also known as the extension of breath. Every cell in our bodies needs oxygen to function properly. So it’s no surprise that research shows that a regular practice of controlled breathing can decrease the effects of stress on the body and increase overall physical and mental health.
Sunrise yoga, acro fun, manta snorkeling, aerial yoga, sunset pranayama and meditation. We love you Maldives.
To practice yoga totally surrounded by water on the sandbank can make us feel free and light. Remote and untouched areas still exist in nature ~ welcome to Anga Faru Sandbank
It was beautiful having sisters Alex and Zlatka retreating with us and when asking if we could get a picture of them both together Alex gave Zlatka a big hug and a kiss as if to say ‘of course!’ Watching Zlatka care for her younger sister as we went on our adventures reminds us that it is love that can guide and protect us. When they did a tricky acro yoga pose together Alex exclaimed: “our father will be so proud of us”. There is an abundance of love between these two…. any parent would be proud!
Camilla who we met on our last retreat joined us too and took some beautiful pics and vids of us with her drone. Lucky us!
After yoga it was time for our acro play and swims… you know it’s got to be done.
In the afternoon we watched how the locals make coconut oil. Our locally made Maalhos coconut oil is the perfect organic way to nourish the skin after long days in the Maldivian sun.
During our afternoon yoga session, we were blessed with a beautiful rainbow reminding us it takes sunshine and rain to make a rainbow
To end our day we watched ‘Our Blue Planet’ the last episode of the Blue Planet II series – an unflinching look at the impact of human activity on marine life. David Attenborough delivers a powerful rallying call to do more to protect the environment.
“The future of all life now depends on us,” the BBC naturalist said in his closing speech.
Sandbank yoga, acro fun, coconut oil workshop, sunset rainbow yoga, movie night… it’s been a full on day of connecting to nature and to ourselves
The day begins with yoga flows on the beach while listening to the sounds of the ocean.
In the afternoon we each got an empty sack to fill with rubbish to join with Maldivers Diving Centre beach clean up in association with Parley MV. As we did this we discussed the practice of karma yoga—selflessly serving others. Getting outside of ourselves by offering help to others is a guaranteed way to feel happy. Making others happy makes us happy, too. It’s a most beautiful win-win situation.
It was so much fun to share our experiences in the closing circle and then enjoy BoduBeru the local music and dance. We had a chilled day which ended with a bang. Love these yogis.
This morning we got our balance on, on the beach, with a little help from a friend again in partner yoga.
In learning to trust another person, we can deepen our ability to trust ourselves. Partner yoga practice reveals the beauty of our interdependence. We see that when we take the risk to become vulnerable in the presence of another, we are empowered to go much deeper with much less effort.
This is also true in life. We can accomplish much more, with much more joy and ease when we support each other.
After spending 6 days with the locals some of our retreaters took the day out to visit the luxurious Dusit Thani resort. For those who didn’t go to the resort it was free time to rest, relax and reflect. In place of sunset yoga, for our afternoon activity, we went out on a local dhoni in search for dolphins. As we watched a mother protecting her baby we are again reminded how precious the ocean is.
We found time for a quick refreshing morning session along with our last group meditation before the journeys home.
As always it is sad when our retreat comes to an end but we can feel happiness in the thoughts that the journey of self-healing and re-connection has just begun.
To Shifana AyogaFitness who guided us Thank you.
To our new found friends, it wouldn’t have been the same without you and we will see you soon ~ The coolest of the cool retreaters. How the time flew when we had fun and the best bit was it was all healthy, nourishing and enriching fun. A beautiful rainbow of different people united in a shared and loving space where self-care could unfold. Miss you all so much, so happy to know you will be taking a little bit of Island Spa Retreats, Maalhos, Baa Atoll with you in your hearts while Maalhos holds your footprints in the sand.
To the magical island of Maalhos, Maldives Thank you for holding the footprints.