I had quite a different spa experience on Friday. My sister is a medical doctor and practices at a spa, or wellness centre called Woodlands. When she sent me a flyer about a workshop including yoga, an “understanding your body” dialogue, lunch, spa sessions and “breathwork” I immediately agreed to go, despite not having a clue what “breathwork” is.
Now I know you may think I am going to give a biased review because my sister is involved, but hopefully you’ll have realised by now that I try and keep this blog as honest as possible. Else, what’s the point, right?
Woodlands is in Muldersdrift, about 30 minutes away from where I live in Rivonia.
I’ve been there a couple of times, and keep telling myself that I need to spend more time there. It’s incredibly peaceful and scenic.
|The entrance to Woodlands|
Woodlands is more than just a spa. It’s also a yoga studio, with classes during the week and on weekends, as well as a healing centre. They offer integrated medical consultations, stress and burnout workshops, counselling and breathwork, which I’ll explain a bit later on.
As it was Freedom Day, we aptly started off the workshop with each of us saying what Freedom means to us. I said that it means living life without constraints imposed by your job, family, partner, friends or whoever else… it means just BEING.
We then did some yoga. I usually do yoga twice a week at work in a poky little room at our offices. This was a completely different experience- the entire yoga studio has glass walls overlooking the Crocodile River and the gardens. I loved the yoga session, it was more about connecting with your body rather than just going through the motions of the stretches, which is what I usually do.
After the yoga, we had a bit of a discussion about our bodies and the relationship we have with them. Specifically, we spoke about food and the reasons we eat. This really resonated with me, as I always seem to be trying to lose weight and I know it is a result of the food I put into my body.
Now, I don’t want this post to get too “deep”, but I’ve already revealed my (lack of) belief in religion- read here for that (controversial) post. What I am still uncertain about, is spirituality. I almost feel disjointed from who I am, my inner core. This question was recently posed to me: If you think about who you’d be without your job, your car, your clothes, your partner, friends and family- who are you? Not easy to answer, but I really think that once you connect with and understand yourself, everything else becomes easy. You’ll know what you want to do with your life in terms of career, you won’t be eating badly… and I could go on forever.
The discussion gave me lots to think about. We then went into a “breathwork” session. We lay on our yoga mats and the session was facilitated for us. We were instructed on how to breathe for about 30 minutes. For me it was a bit weird, I followed all the instructions but it felt like I was just breathing, nothing else happened. I had millions of thoughts running through my head (as always), so I couldn’t really focus on my breathing.
It’s weird because the first thing anyone tells you when you’re anxious is- BREATHE.
I learnt that once you get the breathwork right, the benefits are physical and emotional. You increase the oxygenation of your body which regulates blood pressure and assists with insomnia and burnout, generally improving overall wellbeing. Emotionally, breathwork empowers you with the skills to understand feelings and release and channel emotions.
Even though I didn’t think I had done anything different, I left the session feeling invigorated and calm. I also felt more centred and in touch with myself. So often we are trapped in routines, going from work to gym to home to bed.. and so the cycle repeats. It was really good to just push pause for a bit and reflect.
After that, we had a yummy healthy spa lunch, and then it was time for some pampering!
I had a hot stone back massage and dry body brush. Once the day was over, I felt different. It wasn’t the relaxed feeling I usually get after visiting a spa, it just felt like I had started a thought process I probably should have begun a while ago. Who am I, and what do I believe in?