Founded in 2014 by sisters-in-law Karla and Natasha Moutran The Retreat Collection is a boutique travel agency that specialises in organising wellness retreats in some of the world's most desirable destinations.
The trips are designed to allow yogis of every skill level to participate and a loose itinerary – with classes in the morning and evening, long lunches and time built in for exploring local towns or meditating in the sunshine – means you can relax knowing that everything has been taken care of. Previous locations include Mykonos, Morocco, Ibiza and weekend stays at Tilton House in the Sussex Countryside.
I caught up with Natasha to talk about yoga practices, travelling to
escape, health, happiness and more...
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST START PRACTICING YOGA?
I started practicing yoga about fifteen years ago at my local gym when my mum asked me if I wanted to join her. I had been meditating for years before that and yoga seemed like a natural progression and a way of moving my body in a mindful way. My yoga practice was sporadic for years but gradually became more regular which led to exploring different disciplines as well as developing a personal practice at home.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE THE PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF A REGULAR YOGA PRACTICE?
A regular yoga practice has had a positive effect on absolutely every aspect of my life. Physically, I would say it has made me stronger and more flexible, but more importantly it has allowed me to feel connected to my physical body. Yoga helps me stay grounded and calm and helps put things into perspective which allows me to feel more relaxed and at ease in stressful situations. I'm more in tune with my emotions and able to process them and I feel more authentic in who I am and what I stand for. It clears the fog!
HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRACTICE AND HOW DO you fit IT INTO YOUR DAY?
I meditate daily and in an ideal world I would practice yoga every day, but it usually more like four times a week. I tend to vary it between a dynamic practice and a more yin or restorative practise depending on what I need physically, mentally or emotionally that day. I'm very fortunate that I work for myself, so often I'll fit in some yoga at any random time when I can, whether it be a quick ten minutes to get me in the right head space to write a blog post, or maybe getting in thirty minutes while my dinner is in the oven. I make my practice fit into my life and schedule, and shut down my computer so I can be present in my practice.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START THE RETREAT COLLECTION?
The Retreat Collection was inspired by our personal life experiences and journeys. Over the years, both Karla and myself learned the importance of connecting to yourself and making time for self-care, finding stillness and recharging your batteries. Through yoga, and meditation I found a real healing and together we wanted to offer others the same opportunity and experience in a beautiful and open environment.
YOUR FAVOURITE RETREAT THUS FAR:
Oh that's a tough one. I love them all and actually after each one I usually come home and say, "...that was the best retreat so far and everyone was amazing!" Ha! I think our Mykonos retreat is very special for me because it's somewhere I have been visiting since childhood, so it's definitely an honour to bring retreaters there and always a treat to spend time there.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE RETREAT COLLECTION?
We have a retreat in Ibiza in September and one in the UK in October. We're really looking forward to offering some more unique retreats with combinations of activities, some new locations, and bringing on board some fantastic instructors and healthy foodies. We're definitely still growing as a business and we're excited about where it is going in the future.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?
The most valuable thing I've leaned about food is to listen to your own body and eat a balanced, varied diet of real food that works for your body.
BEST MEAL YOU'VE EVER HAD:
That is a tough one as I do love my food. I'm definitely a breakfast person, so it would have to be a great brunch of poached eggs with avocado on toast.
ASIDE FROM LOTS OF YOGA, WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?
I like mixing things up so I regularly go spinning, running, barre classes and so on... I enjoy anything that gets me moving and is fun, so at any opportunity I'll going skiing or wake boarding or trying something new. I also find that unwinding and self-care is a vital part of health and well-being, so aside from meditation I often have sports massages, body work or acupuncture.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
My amazing family and wonderful friends. Dancing like no-one is watching (this happens daily). The sea. Being in nature. Strangers smiling at each other.