Online wellness retreats have become more popular than ever amongst healthy holiday hunters, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have been confined indoors for months and taking time to reflect on personal growth, learn new creative activities, and meditate from within. Launching its online Silent Retreat, Re:Well Rebels aims to empower individuals, and encourage wellness at home. Compare Retreats’ Editor and Business Development Executive Faye Bradley tries the Guided One-Day Retreat for a moment of calm and self-reflection.
Founded by Anastasia Ling—also known as the “walking director” and connector” in circles of influence—Re:Well Rebels is a platform where ancient wisdom meets modern science. Anastasia’s journey began with regular tai chi and yoga practice, which then progressed to meditation, movement, and moving to a plant-based diet. Launching Re:Well Rebels in 2019, Anastasia realised that there was a growing need for home-based wellness via online retreats.
The Silent Retreat is led by an experienced mindfulness practitioner, Subba, who has over 20 years of personal experience in yoga and meditation. He is the chief programme architect of mindfulness-based programme Being, and runs his own retreat centre in Bali (BeingSattvaa) with his wife. Together, Anastasia and Subba combine their extensive knowledge of meditation and wellbeing to provide online wellness retreats around the globe.
A Day With Me Retreat Programme Review
I tried the one-day retreat programme with Subba, for a guided session which focused on inner strength, self-reflection, and meditation. There are three retreat programmes to choose from—the DIY One-Day Retreat, the Guided One-Day Retreat, and the Guided Three-Day Retreat. All are conducted at home, with clear instructions from the retreat on how to plan the day. The purpose of the retreats is to be away from any external communication (including phones and emails), thus having a full silent retreat—much needed at a time when a lot of us are working from home, and get caught up in spending too much time indoors on the computer.
After signing up for the retreat online, you can pick a day that suits you best—a day which you are able to commit entirely. I picked a Friday, as the weekend would give me time to recover and slowly get back into the norm—as opposed to a weekday, which would require me to get straight back into work the next day. Once I signed up, I was granted immediate access to all the resources required for the retreat. These included PDF instructions and audio meditations. The PDF requested to start my retreat the day before, or at least prepare for it in advance. This included winding down the night before (sleeping early, refraining from electronics), and preparing wholesome, light meals. I also prepared a journal, told my family and friends that I wouldn’t be available to contact for a day, put any distractions away, and jotted down a to-do list of what I needed to do after my retreat—this cleared my head from anything which was bothering me.
I slept at 10:00 pm the night before and woke up fresh and ready to start the retreat officially. The morning started with a 6:15 am wake up, and a candle-lit self-meditation. I went for a walk around the nearby waterfront from my house—to immerse in nature and watch the beautiful sunrise. At 8:00 am, I had a scheduled Zoom meeting with Subba for an introduction to the retreat. Although we had a few technical errors (it’s important to check your computer is functioning and able to use Zoom before), we started the call a little bit later than scheduled. Subba outlined the process of the retreat and what to expect. He made several comments about the importance of realising that everything was about me, and my own personal goals—which need not be shared with anyone. This was a comforting thought and led me to relax for the rest of the day. Attitude is everything.
My day followed with a light fruit platter breakfast, then the first meditation. Throughout the day, Re:Well Rebels provides you with four meditation audios to listen to for guidance. Although there is a schedule to follow, Subba mentions that there’s no need to use it exactly as it is—do whatever feels most comfortable at the time. I spent the day free from distractions, people, and electronics and was left completely alone with my thoughts. Activities included gratitude journaling, mediation, nature walks, and meditative movement. At the end of the retreat, I spoke with Subba again at 6:30 pm to talk about my experiences and ask any questions.
At the end of my retreat—with after-effects which lasted throughout the weekend—I felt more at ease and stress-free. Being with my own thoughts for a prolonged period of time allowed me to really reflect on what I was thinking about, and what I was concerned about in my life. I allowed myself to let go of these negative thoughts, and to think of ways to overcome them. The journey left me feeling restored. Being my first meditation retreat, it was, however, difficult to be away from my phone and from people for so long, so this is something I would need to work on being okay with. My favourite part of the retreat was the art of journaling, which, with me being such a to-do list type of person, was very helpful—and a change from only work-related to do-lists. I took the time to apply my thoughts into writing and this has really encouraged me to continue to do so.