Life, health, happiness, yoga, style, travel, sunshine and endless possibilities…
Continuing my quest to practice what I preach and to have a healthy work / life balance, last month I was invited to the foothills of the Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park & Biosphere Reserve in Andalucia, Spain where the gorgeous Shanti-Som Wellbeing Retreat is located. Surrounded by nature yet only twenty minutes’ drive from Marbella, and 45 minutes’ drive from the nearest airport (Malaga), Shanti-Som is a seamless mix of part spa hotel and part boutique hotel.
Inspired by the wellbeing retreats found in Asia, Shanti-Som has been designed using Feng-Shui principles. The entrance to the retreat is a beautiful large circular room furnished using Balinese sofas and tables, with large floor to ceiling windows which look out into the surrounding pine forests and mountains. From the moment I arrived with a warm welcome from the Shanti-Som staff, I felt peaceful, the retreat is a series of relaxation spaces, from the rooms, to the courtyard, the terraces, the pool and the spa, there was always somewhere to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
Shanti-Som Detox Programme
Prior to my arrival, I was advised to try the Shanti-Som Detox programme and sent a health questionnaire to complete, along with a pre-detox guide. The Detox programme is ideal for those who want to kick start a healthier way of life, so it was perfect for me! The programme is a juice detox with nutritional support (supplements and light vegetable broths) and gives your body a chance to rebalance and improve any long-standing health problems.
On my first evening, I was given a pre-detox welcome dinner of vegetables and quinoa, setting up my body for the delicious, fresh, cleansing juices and broths, which were to follow. A sample day of juices and supplements looked like:
– 10:30am: Grapefruit and orange juice / probiotic and psyllium
– 12:30pm: Cucumber, basel and celery juice / aloe vera shot
– 02:30pm: Broccoli, carrot, bell pepper and lemon juice / aloe vera shot
– 05:30pm: Apple, celery, parsley and ginger juice / aloe vera shot and ground chia seeds in juice
– 07:00pm: Vegetable broth with chilli, ginger and coriander/ psyllium
Prior to the first juice of the day, I was encouraged to follow a morning routine which involved drinking some lemon and hot water, followed by tongue scraping as many of the body’s toxins are released through the tongue, and dry body brushing to promote healthy blood circulation and wake up the skin.
Each morning at 9am, I attended a 75 minute yoga class with resident yoga teacher, Sara, in the retreat’s beautiful wooden yoga pavilion. The classes were a peaceful way to start the day and open up the body. Sara’s style of teaching was very laid back, the classes were rejuvenating with many restorative poses practiced. The yoga pavilion was really special, I felt like I was practising in Bali or somewhere equally exotic. There was also an indoor yoga space but with the beautiful July sunshine, there was no need to go indoors! Although, that said, the temperature was around the 36 degrees Celsius mark – so if you’re not a fan of the heat, you may want to practise yoga in the indoor studio.
After the first juice of the day, there was an option to conduct a self-administered colonic around 11am in order to encourage a deeper cleanse, however, I wasn’t keen on it. I have had a colonic cleanse previously at a spa in London, while I thought it was a helpful treatment, I decided to let my body administer its own natural cleanse – safe with the knowledge that our bodies are intelligent and naturally capable of maintaining themselves, with several organs dedicated to cleansing the blood and the gut.
The juices were all really tasty – I could tell that they were freshly pressed and full of goodness. The fruits and vegetables used were expertly blended to ensure that they tasted as good as they were for me! Surprisingly, I wasn’t as hungry between juices as I thought I would be as they were scheduled every few hours and the psyllium supplement, which was high in fiber, helped me to feel full.
Unlimited Ways To Relax
When I wasn’t drinking juices or practising yoga, I spent most of my time either by the pool, in the gym or at the spa.
The gym was small but equipped with everything I could need; treadmill, cross-trainer, stationary bike, power plate machine, Pilates table, kettle bells, Swiss ball… Best of all, it opened out into the gardens so it felt like I was exercising outdoors.
Sara, who led the yoga classes in the mornings was also one of the massage therapists in the Shanti-Som spa. She gave me an excellent 1 hour deep-tissue full body massage, she was very intuitive and kneaded out all of the knots in my back and shoulders.
When I left I was given a post-detox guide to help me maintain my healthy habits, full of useful wellness and nutrition advice, and recipes to try out at home.
I would return to Shanti-Som in a heartbeat, it’s the perfect place for those who need a break from the city, to unwind and recharge. The staff at Shanti-Som were all incredibly friendly and helpful. The stunning mix of Balinese architecture and Oriental gardens, create a slice of eastern style and serenity.
Prices for a six-night Detox programme retreat start from 2,325 Euros for a single room or 3,560 Euros for a double room. Book online here.