Girl goes on a fitness retreat by herself and leaves with lasting relationships.
Amansala was everything I didn’t know I needed. I’ve been struggling with extreme overwhelm and needed to hit the pause button big time. Coincidentally the last AMRAP that I pushed out on social media was about burning out and what that picture truly looks like. To say I was past that point would be an understatement.
Amansala is an eco-chic resort, retreat, and spa located on the beach of Tulum, Mexico.
With a nightly price tag comparable to that of the Four Seasons or the Ritz Carlton you may expect lavish accommodations, a house car, widescreen televisions, a toilet that you can flush toilet paper down, 24-hour room service, a welcome cocktail, and precise punctuality.
While none of that exists as Amansala here’s what does:
FITNESS: Bikini Bootcamp offered a daily fitness & activity schedule that consisted of guided morning meditation overlooking the ocean (before sunrise), a walk on the beach with members of their team, yoga, circuit training, and some sort of activity. There was a minimum of five fitness activities offered daily.
LIMITED WIFI: We’re so connected that when the opportunity presents itself to disconnect we don’t know how to do it successfully. While the lack of connectivity may be viewed as a downfall, this is (at times) exactly what was needed; a chance to actually disconnect. I wasn’t able to aimlessly scroll through social media on a consistent basis, text my friends throughout every second of my vacation with “wish you were here” or receive work-related emails. Actual data issues definitely helped me with that and forced me to stop scrolling and start living in the moment.
CONNECTION: I took this time off from work months ago, but didn’t put all of the vacation pieces of the puzzle together until about a week prior. I didn’t exactly know that I signed up for a full-on fitness retreat. I’m a solo traveler by nature and thought that having a few fitness classes included in my daily schedule would be a nice addition to my daily routine. After my second day at the resort, I learned of a welcome ceremony. Wtf? Insert all retreat goers that arrived on the same day (I clearly missed that memo) sitting in a thatched Shala in a circle stating their names, where they’re from, what they’re hoping to get out of the experience.
I began my introduction with: “Hi, I’m Jayel and I’m from Philly. I have a stressful job and tell a lot of people what to do. I’d like to be able to disconnect and have people tell me what to do, so I don’t have to think for a week.” Awkward much?
HEALTH: After giving up alcohol over a year ago, I wondered what my social life would look like, what my definition of fun would become and how I’d actually be able to disconnect while still living in my anxious body. Insert Amansala, a fitness retreat with strangers from all walks of life with very similar mindsets, goals, and openness to new things. Our morning meditations were filled with early risers, our comfiest pair of Lululemon joggers and morning cups of ginger tea. Our meals were around a table filled with connection and conversations, minimal alcoholic beverages (if any) and healthy food that I always asked for more of. We talked to one another on a daily basis, shared stories, similarities, vulnerability and created lasting friendships. We tried to understand tic-tock, talked about our jobs, our relationships, our dogs, children, and other places we’ve traveled. Mind you, there were participants from all over the world: Germany, the United Kingdom, Connecticut, Texas, Philly, Scotland, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.
Amansala was basically the most fun adult camp I was fortunate enough to attend. The time away allowed me to put a few things into perspective, to connect with actual human beings, not human doings, and re-connect with myself.
I work in fitness, am a fitness professional, and am passionate about my career yet I lost a little bit of that fire that once fueled me, that excited me about movement, and would allow me to disconnect from my fitness work-life and tap back into my fitness fun life. I needed to get it back because that’s not just what I do, it’s a part of who I am.
Amansala, thank you for giving a piece of that back to me.
A major thank you to Kate, Ryan, and Damien for reminding a fitness girl that accidentally joined a fitness retreat that I am 100% exactly where I need to be. That the fitness industry can be weird, confusing, and complex, and yet so rewarding, so monumental, and life-changing at the same time. Thank you for the fire playlists, the belly laughs, the tears, the fitness routines, the choreography, the heart to hearts, the beach walks that meant more to me than you’ll probably ever know and the AMRAPs.
Until next time, Amansala.