Signature Retreat March 2020
A few days before opening the retreat we welcomed our first retreaters Jo, Julia and Tonia with cake, a sparkler and song to celebrate the special day of a friend who was made in 1970! We were thrilled that our beautiful Jo decided to invest in herself with a trip to Maldives after many moons of putting others first.
Self-love is of great importance; it involves integrating self-compassion into your life and is crucial for physical, emotional and mental well-being. This can be any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health and although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something so many people often overlook.
Yay today we got to finally meet the rest of our guests. We love welcoming new friends to Maalhos ~ their island home.
Once everyone was settled it was time for our sunset yoga practice. As the night drew in we got to relax to the healing vibrations of the gong, just what everyone needed after months of being on overdrive.
Receiving vibrations from the gong is a powerful way to shift from suffering and surviving into thriving. This sacred and ancient instrument creates powerful multi-dimensional ripples of sound that grow into waves and bathe your entire body in streams of vibrations influencing the surface of the skin and every cell. The listener becomes part of the energy field of the gong and can be electromagnetically charged in a positive, benevolent and holistic fashion.
As the sun rose over Maalhos and with the group complete we were ready to glow and radiant from within.
So how do people live on an island? Dhaanu kindly showed us as he toured us around the local community. We also got to contemplate the jungle in a silent walking meditation. Something so simple as walking through nature can be so uplifting, and in our busy days we often forget this.
Our island tour continued underwater. For many of the group it was their first time snorkeling. Maalhos house reef is great as there is plenty to see and it is so accessible, this makes the first time easy and fun.
We hopped on a boat to spend the afternoon on the uninhabited island opposite Maalhos. With the whole island to ourselves we opened our hearts in a circle, drank cacao as the sunset, chanted mantra and as it got dark let go of what felt right on the bonfire.
We are designed to function in the most optimal way only when we are in our natural environment. Being in nature forces us to become aware and develop our senses : the scent of nature, the observation of the sea, the view of the endless sky, the colors of the trees, the sound of the birds, the feeling of the wind in our skin, these experiences have a relaxing effect on our nervous system. The power of natural surroundings is ‘alive and present’ and offers us inspiration. Nature calls us to experience ourselves more in depth and to practice ‘feeling one with our true nature’.
After sunrise yoga and a hearty Maldivian breakfast we were off to snorkel on Dhonfanu reef for a morning connecting with the ocean and our water element. When our face touches water, our heart rate immediately slows down, and blood moves from the extremities to the brain, heart and vital organs of our body. It wakes us up and makes us feel vibrant and alive.
The sunset was enjoyed together cruising the Indian Ocean on the lookout for our Dolphin friends who were a bit shy to make an appearance tonight. The ocean is a happy-zone! It carries us to new lands, and connects us with nature and each other. We love to practice yoga by the ocean.
The roar of crashing waves, the fresh ocean air and the humbling sight of an endless blue horizon – there’s no denying the restorative effects of the ocean. On a biological level, this audio-visual stimulus incites our parasympathetic nervous system – that activates ‘rest and digest’, as opposed to ‘fight or flight’.
With the rising sun we started our breathwork journey on the sandbank with ecstatic dance to get out of our head and into our body. We breathed deep, opened our senses, and built new neural pathways. We warmed up the lungs and accessed the “now”. Next, as we laid down for the hour-long, guided breath journey we accessed expanded states of consciousness. Diwa’s Breath of Bliss ceremony guided us to breathe with the waves, dance in the morning sun and connect to source it was a truly a blissful unforgettable morning.
After dinner the very rhythmic and pounding beats of the Bodu Beru music was our invitation to dance again. In Dhivehi – “Bodu“ means Big and “Beru“ means Drum. These impressive “Big Drums” are widely played everywhere in the Maldives and can often be heard from far away, from island to island. Songs are sometimes very old, transmitted from generations to generations on the islands during festive nights. As the rhythm of the drums took on the night, the scene and the music quickly become hypnotic as we increased our dopamine levels.
Today we really got to connect to our breath and to also dance allowing us to connect to a higher sense of being. The experience of ecstatic dance, which has been around for thousands of years, can actually be incredibly beneficial for the mind, body, and spirit. It happens to be a whole lot of fun as it gets the endorphins flowing.
We were greeted with another beautiful sunrise energising us for another exciting island day.
Over our time together we saw our snorkelers go from novice to pro. This morning Tracy, Joana and Egle tried their first bubbles underwater, Mazzy did a Try Scuba Dive while over her stay Jo got Open Water Certified! Big thanks to Dhaanu, Hussain and Haami the team from Maldivers Diving Centre for their care and attention along with their awesome skills at capturing these memories. It is pretty common that when guests arrive they hold with them a degree of fear of the water; and it’s such a pleasure to aid them past this and to even inspire a passion for it.
During the coconut oil workshop the local ladies demonstrated to us how to make pure, unadulterated liquid gold. The tradition of making oil at home goes back years and is still alive in many island nations. Due to commercialization and the need for convenience, most of us have switched to packaged factory-made refined oils that can contain emulsifiers, additives and hydrogenated fats so watching the simplicity of the process of handmade coconut oil was a real treat.
A golden sunset completed our day.
We nourished ourselves with sunrise yoga, house reef snorkeling…
….and a cooking class.
In the afternoon we gave back to nature with a karmic yoga beach clean…
….and enjoyed the magical sunset with good friends.
Start living, stop existing: Life is a precious gift. So why waste it when we have the choice to have a more meaningful existence? Yes, you have a lot of responsibilities— fixing the dryer, mowing the lawn, paying bills. But it’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is also your responsibility. Little things like sipping tea while looking at the raindrops racing down the window glass, enjoying a bubble bath, or reading a book are essential for your daily happiness.
Today some of the group visited a nearby resort after our sunrise yoga.
In the afternoon before sunset yoga we had some sun, sea and sand playtime together. Just Being
Our moments together were full of laughter and colour until the last minute, thank you to everyone for sharing their love & light. Thanks Diwa for the beautiful energizing classes, Maldivers for showing us the beauty of your home and Madi Finolhu Guesthouse for the great food & comfy rooms
We will miss these radiant smiles!
We feel so blessed that we raised our energy with a group of beautiful souls at the beginning of this month filling us with an abundance of joy and providing us with inner strength and guidance for the upcoming times.
The earth supports us, shelters us, feeds us, yet sometimes we lose our sense of connection with it. During these challenging times as we are forced to slow down, let’s collectively root deeper and stronger, be more compassionate and act from a place of love rather than fear. Connect back to our deeper selfs and to the very earth that nourishes us.