We know that a retreat can be a life-changing and transformative experience. Yet we absolutely love it when guests contact us to share how their lives changed after their retreat at Escape Haven. We were so touched by April’s story that we wanted to share it with you also.
If you are an alumnae and have a story to tell about your Bali retreat with us, feel free to get in touch, we love hearing from you and we also know your stories have the power to change other peoples lives for the better also.
Read on to meet April and hear about her brave journey to self-love and following her passion in life. Her website is an inspiring place for all women, so don’t miss checking that out too!
What inspired you to come to Escape Haven?
It sounds super cliché, but I watched Eat Pray Love and felt a pull to come to Bali. I started researching and found Escape Haven. I wasn’t looking for a retreat, I didn’t realise how much I needed one at the time. I simply thought that surfing looked fun and yoga would be “relaxing”. I’d only done yoga in the past as a way to stretch off after going for a run, so I really came to the retreat thinking I was just going to have a great time, I didn’t realise how much I needed to heal until I arrived at reception!
What was the highlight of your retreat experience?
Other than the fact it changed my life, which I’ll come onto in a moment, I would say the daily spa treatments – though the daily surfing was also a highlight, and the delicious food of course! And the fact that the rooms were beautiful and you could have a bath run for you whenever you wanted! It was luxury unlike anything I’d ever experienced!
What was the most unexpected gift you gained from your time at Escape Haven?
My most unexpected gift was the healing that I didn’t even know that I needed. I’d suffered for many years prior with eating disorders, and although I’d had therapy which had helped me get back to “semi-normal”, I had never mentally and emotionally recovered from the experience. I still had cripplingly low confidence, hated what I saw in the mirror and had no self-esteem. The problem was, I’d never been exposed to the self-help/development world before – I had no idea it was even possible to feel better than what had become my “normal”.
Stepping on the yoga mat, I finally dropped down from my anxious mind into my body. It was like my body said “there you are!” after so many years of me feeling completely disconnected from it. Our teacher was Laura and her energy and presence were calming and supportive. I had a couple of private classes with her where I was able to fully open up about my past (something I’d only ever shared with my best friend), and start the healing process. It was not just the yoga classes, but the entire healing environment of Escape Haven that really facilitated my transformation that week.
What was the greatest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
My greatest challenge was allowing myself to be open and talk about my struggles. At the start of the week, everyone shared why they were there. Some really deep, emotional stories were presented to the group, and even though by then I had realised why the universe had brought me there, I didn’t open up about my own reasons why. It took a few days for me to open up to Laura, which I did by giving her a letter then proceeding to break down in tears while she read it! Then I finally told the rest of the wonderful ladies on retreat with me at our final dinner what had happened for me that week, and they fully embraced me and were supportive in my sharing. I had been so scared all this time to tell anyone about my issues with eating, not even my mum knew, but with their help, I realised that I would actually be able to help other women overcome their own struggles, but I would need to be honest about my experience to do that.
So, when I got home, one of the first things I did was tell my mum everything, something I’d been terrified to do. I would never have been able to do that without the wonderful staff and fellow retreat guests at Escape Haven.
What is one lesson you took home with you from your retreat?
A problem shared is most definitely a problem halved! Our minds can conjure up all sorts of situations and stories about what will happen when we open up about our struggles – that we’ll get rejected, or laughed at, or the other person will get angry. But I learned, first from Laura, then from the other women, that actually when you open up to someone who cares about you, whatever the initial reaction is, if there is love there you will be supported. And having support is so important for dealing with the things life can throw at you at times!
Is your day to day life any different because of your time at Escape Haven?
My day to day life has completely changed. When I went to Escape Haven, I had been in the military for 6 years! Whilst on retreat, I realised that I was doing the wrong thing with my life, so when I got home, I handed in my notice and left the following year! I went on to do my 200HR Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India, as well as becoming a health coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a Personal Trainer!
What are you most passionate about?
I discovered my passion for yoga at Escape Haven, and also a passion for helping make other people’s lives better. I got so frustrated that I’d wasted so many years worrying about food, exercise, and weight when there is so much more to life. Yoga was a vital step for my recovery, and now, through yoga, I help other women improve their body confidence and live fulfilled, vibrant lives!
What does a ‘regular day’ look like for you?
I don’t really have a regular day anymore, which I LOVE! I live with my partner Lucy and our beautiful Sprocker Spaniel, Ruby. Every day I am teaching yoga, or recording online classes for my membership. As well as this, I’m managing the everyday tasks of running a business, enjoying a variety of exercise and walking our dog of course! I cannot begin to describe how different life is after Escape Haven. Everything I learned there and continued to learn after, has not only helped me improve my confidence and let go of my issues with food & weight, but it has also helped me deal with the stresses of day to day life, and feel more capable to handle what life throws at me in the future. I am now also a completely open book and know the importance of talking about mental health. I can’t thank all the staff at Escape Haven enough for the experience.
Your Escape Haven Bali Retreat offers a luxury wellness experience for body, mind and soul
We invite you to experience our award-winning Bali retreat. If it’s time to fill up your cup and reconnect with yourself on a deeper level, we’d love to help you rejuvenate, unwind, reawaken and experience the very best of Bali. Dive into transformational yoga and meditation classes, exhilarating surf lessons in the warm waters of Bali, fun fitness classes and restorative healing sessions. How much or little you do is all up to you.