03 Dec A Fierce Mind, Body and Spirit Retreat in Sayulita Mexico
Whoever coined the phrase – do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life – got it oh so right. Helping companies define their digital brand and tell their stories through visual content isn’t just a passion of mine, it’s also my privilege. One of the services we provide at Brand + Bash is Event Coverage and Digital Storytelling. Event Coverage and Digital Storytelling helps to market future events, engages your attendees, strengthens your brand and entices prospective sponsors.
This past September I had the esteemed privilege of attending Fierce45’s first ever Mind, Body and Spirit Retreat at the Haramara Resort in Sayulita Mexico. Fierce45 is a fitness studio based in Denver, Colorado. Torrey Newman, a classically trained ballerina and the mastermind behind the popular studio chain, utilizes a one-of-a-kind resistance machine and body weight exercises, to bring you the best full-body workout ever. Fierce Coaches, many of whom are also certified yoga instructors, work alongside you encouraging you, empowering you and mentoring you. Torrey launched Fierce45 Retreats earlier this year to bring this full body, mind and spirit philosophy to an audience outside of the Denver metro area who are seeking a wellness experience, relaxation, and rejuvenation in a retreat setting.
I was obviously over-the-moon when Torrey’s team hired me to come help them capture their event and tell their unique retreat story.
The five-day yoga and meditation retreat featured movement for the body, rest for the mind, and nourishment for the soul. Each day was filled with a balance of guided classes and free time to roam. Attendees enjoyed 3 healthy clean meals per day prepared by the resort chef, there were spa services like massages and acupuncture accompanied by ocean views and sounds of waves crashing (swoon); they welcomed both moments of solitude as well as party time by the infinity pool; there were daily surf lessons, yoga classes, and as much shopping in town as your wallet would allow. Yours truly got to go along for the ride to cover each of these experiences and I have to say that never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such a magical place filled with such unforgettable moments. Let’s begin with the Shala below where we began each day with movement, meditation, and yoga surrounded by breathtaking views of the jungle and ocean.
Torrey Newman (Fierce45 Founder and Queen Badass) guided us through Lagree-based classes with sliders and bands. Jen Ibanez (Fierce45 coach and Surrender in the City Founder) led each mindful movement, yoga, and meditation classes. Their attendees, all women, ranged from early 20’s to late 60’s. They were busy students, executives, moms, and business owners, from all different walks of life, each on their own path, seeking distinctive and personal goals for the week.
Now let’s talk about the sponsors and swag. The Fierce Retreat organizers provided a plethora of gifts on the daily for each attendee. From athletic gear to water bottles, healthy munchies, and luxe beauty products, each made to make you feel like you were the only girl in the room. The Fierce Retreat organizers also teamed up with one of their students, Amber Betts with Esteem Journeys LLC who is a professional travel consultant specializing in wellness and retreat travel. She helped coordinate the planning which added an extra layer of elite service and professional attention to the entire process for both the retreat leaders and the attendees.
From the moment you arrive at The Haramara Retreat, you feel cared for and loved on. Think the Ritz meets 5-star glamping. Each hand-built cabaña is thoughtfully situated to provide privacy and seclusion while still allowing guests to take full advantage of the exceptional views. Upon arrival, the first thing I noticed was how incredibly inviting it felt. Gauzy sheer curtains tied back into a bun-like knot were all that stood between me, the ocean and jungle canopy. The very next thing I fixated upon was the attention to detail. Cozy comfortable beds with hand-woven sheets and sheer curtains that moved ever so slightly to the ocean breeze; monogrammed waffled towels lined the open-air shower; beautiful Indian rugs covered the rustic wood planked floors, and vintage looking oil lamps sat atop each bamboo dresser. This reminded me that I had been told there would be no electricity in the cabañas, or easily accessible wifi or cell service for the next 5 days. I got a warm sensation in my belly at the thought of just how challenging my job would be as a digital storyteller without these commodities I am so used to having access to. And then I heard the light tapping of rain on the thatched roof just above my head and was immediately transported to a place of serenity. Remember, do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
While the mindful rest and soulful rejuvenation are plentiful on Fierce45 Retreats, so is the movement and body strengthening. Remember, this is a full body, mind, spirit and wellness retreat like no other. There is no one focus as these are all equally important areas and to feel balanced they must all be aligned. So in addition to the spa services and shopping extravaganzas, there was also beach body boot camp. It was no joke. My buns are still burning. But it was so incredibly rewarding. The cloud coverage on this day was welcomed with open arms.
Did someone say fruity, rum-infused cocktail? Ahhhh…I do believe sipping, sunning and relaxing poolside is my love language. The infinity pool area featured plush towels and stylish seating, fire pits, and breathtaking views of the ocean and jungle. And those cabaña bartenders mixed up one helluva pina colada.
This was my massage experience. This gentleman’s name was Miguel and his hands were made of magic. So naturally, I’ll refer to him as Magic Miguel…not to be confused with Magic Mike.
Haramara Retreat prides itself on their Wellness Center staff. Each therapist is experienced, skilled and highly professional. Their hands are eager to communicate to you the benediction of the “Haramara Healing Power”. The treatments are effective and work together with the rest of the staff and nature to contribute to your overall health and well being during your stay.
“You can’t stop the wave, but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Okay, I have to brag on this badass below. Yes, she is as boss as she appears, and also embodies what I refer to as a pure spiritual gangster. Her nickname is Mama Jen because she is the go-to for all things nurturing and all things nourishing. She has a servants heart and a healers touch. She believes in love, light, the sun, the moon, and the stars. Trust me when I say you want to know her. I’m so proud to also call Jen a client and will be launching her new website Surrender In The City in a few short weeks! In the meantime, fill up your soul with what it craves and follow Surrender In The City on Facebook here and on Instagram here.
I’m just a girl, standing in front of a salad, asking it to be a donut. I didn’t make this up, but I can definitely relate.
When I hear no gluten, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, I immediately think, no fun. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat the salad but I do so half-heartedly because what I really want is chips and queso. I’m here to tell you now that I had to eat these words. (and I’m so punny!) The chefs at the Haramara Retreat are so pro at cooking healthy, clean meals, you have no idea they are healthy or clean. I never found myself miserably full, or hungry, or craving chips and queso. The saying, you are what you eat must have come from an experience like this. At the end of my stay, my mind felt more clear, my skin glowed, and my eyes brighter. I felt so good that I took some of these eating habits home with me. So now when I wish my salad was a donut, I imagine dunking my donut in something non-dairy.
Surrender In The City sponsored stunning spiritual mala necklaces and bracelets that were gifted to each person on the last day, reminding us to take our fierceness home with us and into our everyday lives. Assembling these bracelets in a cabana, by dim candlelight, surrounded by jungle creatures (one of which stumbled into our room this night) challenged us in ways we won’t soon forget.
The most treasured moments for me came on the last day. On this day, I felt so connected to each person. I had the honor of listening to their stories. I knew where they come from, what brought them to Sayulita and heard stories of both triumph and pain. In my line of work, I’m typically the one collecting stories. My absolute favorite question of all time is “what is your story?” I ask bank tellers, Uber drivers, and bartenders. I’m drawn to stories and always have been. However, on this work trip, I found myself at the other end of this question and was challenged to share my story. Sharing my story meant being vulnerable with perfect strangers. It meant trusting them and allowing them to see me as naked as the day I was born. It meant risking appearing weak. It meant shedding the walls and layers that comfort me and keep me warm. It was like coming out on stage when you’re so very used to being the one operating the lights behind the scenes. Instead of running for the hills or artfully dodging these questions as I normally do, I decided to lean into them, and from this gained a superhuman sense of strength.
So on this last day, as I captured images of mindful meditation, group yoga, and fierce movement, I found myself feeling emotional. I was emotionally connected to these women and it was a great lesson for me. A lesson in learning to be vulnerable, going first and being brave. The reward far outweighed the risk and the by-product is not only building a foundation for lifelong friendships, but also a better interpretation of my work which as I’ve explained is both a passion and privilege of mine.
While I was hired and brought by my client to Haramara Retreat for the purpose of working, I am so thankful I was gifted so much more. This experience has forever changed me. Listening to the stories of each woman who attended reminded me that we are all on a different journey, each one equally as important as the next. I am honored to be a dream defender and storyteller for these fierce women I will forever feel connected to and empowered by.
*While I was contracted to attend this retreat these experiences and opinions are my own. These images were all taken by me and are subject to copyright laws. If you would like to use this article or any imagery you must site the following: