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December 24, 2014 by Julie Weber
A Q&A with New York-based Yoga Instructor and Lifestyle Guide Julie Weber,
Julie helps busy professionals create more space, harness more strength and find more presence and ease—in their bodies, their minds, and their lives. A former dancer, Julie's love of movement naturally led her to yoga. Simply a hobby at first, over time, yoga became a passion and a way of life.
1. Your upcoming retreat is called a ‘360-degree pampering of mind, body and soul’. Tell us why you’ve called it this?
We’re really adamant that true and lasting health must take into account all aspects (360 degrees!) of a person. So, our retreat reflects this philosophy and our goal is to provide luxurious experiences on all levels – for mind, body and soul. We offer a range of activities and services to pamper our guests. Candlelight meditations to calm and still the mind; daily yoga to get the physical body moving, breathing and flowing; healthy and delicious meals prepared by a private chef to nourish ourselves from the inside out; and unique healing experiences like acupressure and Reiki to relieve stress and soothe the soul. This all takes place at an exquisite, private five-star luxury villa, with panoramic views of the Costa Rican rainforest. It was really important to us that the location itself embodied our 360-degree philosophy. We want our guests to feel immediately at ease, inspired, cared for and nourished from the moment they arrive.
2. What can people to gain/learn in the week retreat?
The benefits of this retreat are so wide, and I think each person will take something different from the experience. We recognize the individuality of our guests, and that each person will come to us with their own unique goals and expectations. As much as possible, we want to honor these individual experiences, so before we leave for Costa Rica, we’ll have a 45-minute one-on-one phone session with each guest to learn more about them, about their wellness goals and about what benefits they’re looking to gain from the experience so that we can support them in the best way possible. Based on this session, we’ll be able to cater our activities, teachings and wellness workshops to the needs of both the individuals and the group as a whole.
Overall, we’re hoping that our guests leave feeling nourished, inspired, refreshed, realigned, and refocused. We hope that, after a week with us, they realize how wonderful and liberating (rather than restrictive) a healthy lifestyle can be. For many of our guests, this retreat is a turning point in their health. We hope that they learn something new about themselves, that at some point they step outside of their comfort zone, that they make deep and lasting connections with other guests, and that they find or renew a commitment to themselves and their own wellbeing so that they can go back to their lives as the very best version of themselves.
3. Can you explain a little more about what the yoga classes will be like and what levels of experience people will need to have beforehand.
All levels of yogis are welcome! The classes will be taught in a Vinyasa Flow style, which focuses on the connection between breath and movement. My goal as a teacher is to get my students moving, breathing and flowing in a way that feels natural, authentic and fun – to find freedom and ease in the body, which so beautifully translates to freedom and ease in the mind, and then freedom and ease in other aspects of life. Last year we had a very wide range of yogis – from absolute beginners to advanced practitioners. We’ll be sure that no matter what, our guests will feel both nurtured and challenged in their practice. We also offer an Introduction to Yoga workshop at the beginning of the retreat for those interested in learning more about the foundations, principles and philosophy of yoga.
Yoga is a very personal practice, so no matter your level or your experience, you are sure to reap the incredible benefits in a safe space. Our classes take place on a terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which makes the practice even more magical. All this said, yoga classes (and everything else offered during the retreat) are completely optional, and there’s no pressure at all to practice every day. Your retreat, your experience, your yoga, your choice!
4. If you could describe what the ‘ideal client’ would be for this retreat, what would you say they are looking for?
Quite simply, this retreat is for anyone who wants to commit to and invest in their own health and wellbeing in a beautiful and luxurious environment. People come on our retreats for a variety of reasons—to learn, to be inspired, to relax, to be nourished, to connect, to reflect, to grow. The list goes on, as do the benefits. Sometimes our guests aren’t even quite sure why they’re there…. but they come because they know there’s something more, and they’re ready to find out. Making the initial commitment is the hardest part. There are so many reasons not to go now – not enough time, not enough resources, maybe next year, etc. Our retreat is for people who are ready to take action, to make their health and wellbeing a priority, and to do this in a luxurious and exquisite environment.
5. The retreat is not just a yoga retreat but a total health experience. Can you share a bit more about the programme and the team who will be leading it?
Yes, you’re absolutely right - this is much more than a traditional yoga retreat. As we discussed earlier, our goal is to pamper the mind, body and soul. We do this not only through yoga, but also by focusing on health and nutrition, delivering informative wellness workshops with tangible and actionable tools that guests can take with them, providing energy healing and other options for additional fun and relaxation like zip lining and on-site massage.
Ashley, my fellow Co-Founder, is a Naturopathic Doctor and not only has she helped shaped this retreat to make it holistically comprehensive, but guests will have access to her and her wealth of health knowledge for the entire week. And as I mentioned before, because this is a small and intimate group, we are able to give more one-on-one attention and guidance, not only during the personal health session, but throughout the entire experience.
We also have an incredibly talented energy healer, Erin Oglesby, with us for the whole week. Erin will be offering Craniosacral Therapy and Reiki sessions, which are two very gentle yet powerful energetic healing modalities that are administered through light touch and help remove blockages to balance the body and spirit.
And then there’s me. I lead the yoga classes, meditations and some of the workshops and also help to make sure that everyone’s needs are being met and that all runs smoothly. Our team in Costa Rica also includes a massage therapist, a chef and a house manager.
6. The venue and location look amazing. Can you share a bit more about this special location and what people can expect from the venue/surrounding area?
Yes! We are so enamored by this incredible location! We stay at a private five-star luxury villa that sits on 36-acres of untouched rainforest - literally right in the middle of the tropics! Wildlife like toucans and monkeys sing all around us, and we’ve got our own private hiking trails and waterfalls to explore on the property. There are three villas all together – two that house the luxury King and Queen rooms, and the third is the main house, where we gather as a group to enjoy the gourmet kitchen, open dining room, large deck, infinity pool and spillover Jacuzzi. A variety of room options are available for various budgets – from smaller clubhouse rooms to large King rooms with outdoor showers and spectacular views. This is truly a magical oasis and from the moment we found it, we knew it would be the perfect place for our special retreat.
7. We'd love to hear more about what are people saying about it. Can you share some of the experiences from previous clients?
Sure! Here is what some of our guests from the 2014 retreat in Costa Rica had to say:
“Not only did I find mental clarity & peace throughout the week, but I learned a lot about myself, my intentions and areas of focus that have now become a center point in my life since I have returned home. I took away not only amazing memories, experiences and friends from Costa Rica, but also lifelong teachings, practices & lessons that to me are invaluable.” – Wendy
“These ladies truly provided an experience of a lifetime. Julie and Ashley are classy, intelligent, professional, nurturing, loving women who sincerely care about people. The food was amazing, and I especially enjoyed the fresh juices in the morning and the creative, delectable dishes prepared by our chef.” – Gwen
“What a truly amazing and refreshing week. I came back feeling purified and restored in both mind and body. My week in Costa Rica was a turning point for me and my health.” - Jennifer
8. A big part of holidays, whether health focused or otherwise, is the food! Can you share a bit about the menu/food people can expect to enjoy?
Yes! We are foodies and strong believers that healthy and delicious go hand-in-hand. We work directly with our chef to ensure nutritional value as well as taste. All meals are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and caffeine-free. The menu includes lean protein sources like fish and chicken and local, fresh and organic ingredients are used to create a variety of delicious and dynamic flavours. We serve fresh veggie juices and/or smoothies every day as well as a variety of herbal teas. Guests can expect to try tasty things like quinoa, egg and spinach muffins, chilled avocado and cilantro gazpacho and grilled snapper with spicy pineapple and plantain salsa. We’ve included a sample menu on our website if you’d like to learn more about the cuisine. We can happily accommodate food allergies, sensitivities and other dietary considerations.