As the Co-founder of Mauli Rituals, I am fortunate to have the knowledge to lead a balanced life through following the principles of Ayurveda. Just as we have a yearly spring clean, so too panchakarma offers an excellent means to cleanse physical and emotional toxins. Yet, sometimes the most rejuvenating thing is to simply be and I did just that, through Wellbeing Escapes Ki-Ra retreat in the Dominica Republic. It was here I met the divine Naturopathic doctor/yoga teacher/compassionate soul, Kyra Montagu and it’s clear that running retreats is both her passion and purpose.
Being at home in insolation, we may question what we’re doing with our lives? Many of us know what we want but fail to take action. Kyra is proof that following a path and putting one step in front of the other is slow and steady way. There are no quick fixes and with patience we can build our dreams. As I write this, I’m comforted by memories of my welcome committee at Ki-Ra – Simon, a theologists and husband of Kyra, their 5 utterly delightful children, 10 devoted staff (more like family), 2 cats, 2 dogs, 4 stray puppies, 1 goat and pig Charlotta. Imagine the joy of being in that kind of isolation, with ocean to one side and abundant nature on the other.
Ki-Ra is not your typical retreat, so if you’re looking for a hardcore detox retreat and if you can relax expectations, you will be transformed. There is a naturopathic consultation, daily massage, hip baths by the ocean but there is also Simon offering freshly brewed coffee of a morning. And let me tell you, I travelled home lighter and brighter in every sense of the word, having lost 5lbs simply by eating fresh food and having regular massage. In all my adult years, I’ve spent less than 2 weeks travelling solo and it makes this experience all the more delicious. Sitting at a table beautifully laid for one, lying in a hammock watching the sun glisten from above the palm trees, walking along the ocean, delighting at the soulful melodies sung by grounds men and even dancing under the stars with headphones are all memories I savour.
While I spend most my days sat by the ocean, my nights were spent in the blue room, which is elegant, spacious and simply decorated by Kira herself. This room forms part of the tower and also has a pink room, with a softer bed and is large enough for a family of four. What I loved here is that there are very few rooms, but acres of land, so I’m free to enjoy the company of the other guests or escape to my own little hideaway. One of my favourite spots is the huge roof top area above my room, with views out to the ocean. The staff even climb the steps of the tower to serve my breakfast here. I then sit on my laptop and check in with the emails for a couple of hours a day. Sat here, I never felt alone as the motherly staff would bring me freshly cut fruit and the children would pop in to invite me to share their homemade brownies.
When I visited, the selective solitude was broken by one of Ki-Ra’s regular yoga retreats. Those lucky enough to live a few hours’ drive away regularly come here for three-day retreats and as a guest, I am welcomed to join in. Sitting together with strangers feels a bit of an effort after my quiet time and conversation feels unnecessary. The next morning saw the start of a juice fast and silence day – some people choose to keep switching on their phones and reading, while others colour mandala drawings and put all other distractions away to become fully present and it’s all perfect, as there is absolutely no judgement. The day ends with Kyra’s amazing nidra yoga class and a bonfire ritual, where we burn our negative emotions and then sit down to a feast – with no words spoken, the ten guests feel deeply connected. The next morning, we are slathering each other with local clay, giggling like little children and sharing Instagram accounts. We then enjoy the most blissful sound bath and head to the ocean for lunch. That’s the beauty of this place. Everyone is free to create their own version of contentment. You can ask to be on a juice fast or eat whatever you desire – all local, seasonal and fresh, cooked by loving hands.
The plentiful food and the ceremony of eating by the ocean three times a day is so wonderous and when retreat guests leave, I return to my solitude. As I packed my bags, I left feeling lighter and brighter, knowing I would return one day to my family on the Island. To book a stay at Ki-Ra when all this is over – head to Wellbeing Escapes