A Mindfulness Retreat That Doesn’t Take Itself Too Seriously

BINTAN ISLAND, INDONESIA—While most people think of a mindfulness retreat as a time for practitioners to focus on the inner self with silence and calm, without any indulgences, The Sanchaya here is changing that attitude with one that still involves silence and calm, but offers a focus on great food and fine wine.

“We knew we wanted to do something in this realm, but we also wanted to do something true to The Sanchaya—a retreat that is also indulgent, fun and focused on good conversation with like-minded people,” said Jared Green, director of sales for the resort. “Too many retreats focus on abstinence, but why feel bad if you want a glass of wine on holiday? We believe mindfulness need not always be accompanied by abstention, and we also didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously during the process.”

The beachfront estate has teamed with Australian Pilates specialist and personal trainer Rosie Gregory and app-based lifestyle and fitness platform GuavaPass to introduce the inaugural “The Sanchaya Sangha – An Indulgent Mindfulness Retreat” from June 4-8 this year.

“As we are situated less than an hour’s ferry ride from Singapore, we’re connected with the Lion City and what’s happening there,” he said. “GuavaPass is really exciting—it’s one of the fasted growing lifestyle and fitness platforms in Asia. I approached Rhyce [Lein], GuavaPass’s general manager for Singapore and a friend of mine, about our idea for a retreat; The Sanchaya and GuavaPass worked together to develop it. Rhyce connected us with Rosie, who is perfect to lead our retreat with her focus on strengthening the mind-body connection as this is crucial to sustainable and long-term lifestyle change. GuavaPass has also sent news about our retreat to its large database of fitness enthusiasts.”

The intimate four-night retreat, catering to a maximum of 10 people, balances morning beach boot camp sessions, meditation workshops and afternoon yoga and Pilates with spreads from the resort’s kitchens, premium vintages from its cellars, European cheese and conversation.

“We wanted to create an experience where you can choose to be truly kind to yourself,” said Green. “We don’t think mindfulness and wellness are born out of strictness or punishment.”

He continued, “The Sanchaya is such a stunning estate, it does help bring you back to the present moment and savor your surroundings with all of your senses, whether you’re engaging in a workout on what we think is one of the world’s most beautiful beachfronts, relaxing by our infinity pool or enjoying a glass of wine at our glass-walled wine cellar, Decanter, with an ocean view.”

All of the elements of the program are optional. “If you don’t feel like beach boot camp one morning, you can sleep in,” said Green. “We’ve also built free time into the program for retreaters to attend to their emails and anything else they need to sort out as we appreciate it may be impossible for them to go off the grid for four nights.”

Gregory, who helps clients worldwide develop and strengthen their mind-body connection, said participants would tune into themselves by combining muscle and mental training to boost healing, stress relief and health. “But we won’t take ourselves too seriously,” she said. “All too often, we try to change our habits drastically in the continuing mayhem of our everyday lives and soon discard our well-intended goals into the ‘too hard’ bin.”

Green hopes that retreat guests have several takeaways from their participation. “We’re sure it will be different for each and every one of our retreaters, but we hope that we can support them in developing a new state of mind, help to equip them with the tools to further strengthen that all-important mind-body connection and, importantly, to appreciate the finer things in life and not to take things too seriously. “