Coming across Silver Linings Retreats was a magical moment for me. Just like the rest of us, I lead a busy life juggling lots of plates. Some of those plates revolve around the kids; school runs, thinking of their mealtimes, rushing back for bedtime, school work, swimming lessons and dentist visits. Other plates spin around work; emails, commuting, meetings, phone calls, writing and more emails. Always emails. And then there are the plates that spin around family and social life; weekends filled with birthday parties, brunch, exercise, visiting family, spending time with my husband. Any plates that spin around me often fall to the floor within moments of trying to get them up there. For years I have been trying to find a way to squeeze in a wellness retreat – each time I get round to booking one I tell myself it’s too tricky to work out all the logistics and that next year it will be easier. Enter Silver Linings Retreats and their incredible [email protected] retreat!
Known for their holistic wellness retreats in some of the most beautiful corners of the world, Silver Linings Retreats is committed to helping their clients achieve their wellness goals. Founded by Chrissy Sundt, a classical Pilates, Yoga and Barre instructor with an impressive clientele, the Silver Linings Retreats technique is a fusion of all her movement disciplines that focus on strength, stamina, stretch and soul. Once offered in exotic and far-flung places such as the Bahamas and Menorca, [email protected] brings all the expertise and the same experience to the comfort and flexibility of your living room, bedroom and even kitchen! Choose from either a three- or five-day retreat, which will take you on a journey of wellness transformation built around the four pillars present in their destination retreats; mindful movement; nutrition; rest/recovery; and sleep. And the best part is once you’ve bought [email protected] you can build the classes around you – it is the most flexible and yet most rewarding retreat you can possibly ever do – not just in Corona times but also as a new way to see the whole retreat experience. Plus, a donation from each retreat purchase goes to the WHO, United Nations Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Forever grateful that I get to try these things out for myself, I was given exclusive access to their three-day retreat, which I incorporated into my life and here’s what I found…
Super easy to access – after purchasing the three-day [email protected] retreat it’s all there on my computer ready for me when I want it. The classes are not live which makes them super flexible to fit in with your schedule. Eagerly, I watch Chrissy’s welcome video which reminds me that this is not suitable for under 16s and also tells me to build a beautiful space at home from which I can do the exercises and meditations. I take this a little far and turn my bedroom into what can only be described as a zen den filled with just about every “wellness” item I own. My husband comments that it is like sleeping in a yoga studio – goal achieved. Worth noting though, that something amazing about this retreat is you don’t need any apparatus or equipment. Just a yoga mat (if you have one) and your body!
After a broken night’s sleep with both boys at one moment or another ending up in our bed, I feel less than motivated. I begin the day with hot water and lemon (can’t possibly have a coffee on the first day of my three-day retreat) and after setting the kids up with breakfast, I return upstairs to do Early Morning Qi Gong with Tallulah Rendall, an expert in Chinese Medicine, Qi Gong practice and Sound Therapist. Qi Gong is not something I am used to and I am grateful for the privacy of which I am able to try out my first session as it involves lots of audible signs and body shaking. As I follow Tallulah’s lead, I instantly start to notice the areas in my body that are holding lots of tension and I am so pleased that I have taken out the 15 minutes to do this video, knowing how much better it will make my body feel in the long run. I am on a roll now and instantly go straight into the morning yoga flow with the amazing Vanessa Michielon, who is brilliant at helping clients cultivate a much deeper mind and body connection. The class is 45 minutes long and the perfect antidote to lots of desk working!
I then head back into being with the kids – feeling like a much calmer and more patient version of my former self. This is a good feeling. After the kids have lunch and they have about an hour and a half of rest time, I take this time to do the mindful eating workshop with Clarissa Lenherr, a registered Nutritional Therapist passionate about educating clients on delicious and nutritious food that will help you reach an optimum state of wellbeing. Clarissa takes me through the benefits and practice of mindful eating. She finishes on how best to enjoy chocolate – something I am willing to try as many times as needed to get right! Since all the videos are a very achievable 15 to 45 minutes they are easy to slot in.
The rest of the afternoon is spent doing a concoction of lockdown related activities; washing clothes; entertaining the kids; firing off a few emails; cooking; and cleaning… So. Much. Cleaning. I am almost giddy to get the boys in bed knowing that an Evening Sound Meditation with Tallulah awaits me. This is when my bedroom-cum-yoga studio really comes into its own and I light every single candle I own in the hope that it will transport me to another place free of chores, dishes and laundry. As soon as Tallulah starts speaking I realise that her voice does the transporting needed and I slip into another zone. I start to feel my whole body relax, my mind calms, and the sounds begin to penetrate me on a frequency I am not used to. There is something so soothing about it that afterwards, I make a note to incorporate evening meditations into daily life. Delighted with myself for completing the first day and making the time for me, I sleep very well, and with no little midnight visitors – bonus!
Kicking off today with Tallulah’s 20 minute Self Healing video, before the kid’s wake up – this level of productivity makes me feel on top of life. And, once again I feel like a calmer more present version of myself as I head into the day. The pace is taken up a notch as I manage to do Chrissy’s Silver Linings Technique Class, whilst the kids play around me. Chrissy is excellent at taking you through each of her exercises, it’s almost as if she can read your mind when she comments on how you might be feeling. Afterwards, I feel the burn, and love it! With the kids resting at lunch again, my husband and I take the opportunity to do the ten-minute breath workshop with Vanessa. It instantly presses the reset button. Breathwork is something I have recently really gotten into due to the incredibly short and long term effects it has on my nervous system. We finish today with a 20 minute stretch session before relaxing on the sofa putting yesterday’s mindful chocolate eating exercise to good use.
I am so happy to see that the final day of my at-home retreat begins with one of Tallulah’s Qi Gong sessions again. Since I am able to go back to these videos whenever I want, I am going to really try and keep this up as a daily practice as I find it really helps energise me and helps me to be far more present throughout the day. I’ve asked my husband to be with the kids this morning so I can really dedicate the time to myself and my yoga and breathwork practice. After a smoothie for breakfast, I start the Yoga Flow with Vanessa again. There’s nothing like a Sunday morning Sun Salutation! I instantly transitioned to the10 minute breathwork class. I spend the rest of the day making sure I eat really well and drink lots of water – it’s amazing how much better I feel for just taking some time out to look after myself. After the kids go to bed I convince my husband to join me for Tallulah’s 45 minute Sound meditation. It makes a change from the usual way we spend our evenings working our way through Netflix and we both feel so much better for it.
What does the 3 or 5-day retreat include?
Daily movement classes
Daily morning Qi Gong Sessions
Breath Technique Sessions
Mindful Eating Workshop
Evening Stretch Sessions
Sleep and Anxiety Workshop
3 Day [email protected] Retreat, £75
£25 per day with access to x4 pre-recorded classes, workshops, meditations a day.
5 Day [email protected] Retreat £100
£20 per day with access to x4 pre-recorded classes, workshops, meditations a day.
Click HERE to book & view the day-by-day guide
words by Sadie Reid