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Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui Thailand
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“Wealth is like Sea Water:The more you drink the more thirsty you get.” ~ A.Schopenhauer

Pilates and Body Movement at Samahita Retreat

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When it comes to Yoga, there is no shortage of tempting and inspiring retreats, lead by outstanding teachers. Finding a retreat focusing on Pilates is a much harder task, especially in Asia. Meet Mareile Paley, founder of Pilates Retreat Asia who will be leading a Pilates and Body Movement Retreat at Samahita Retreat from June 23rd – 30th 2012:

How does a German Graphic Designer who’s lived in New York and Istanbul, on a Hong Kong beach and in mountain villages in Pakistan end up teaching Pilates in Thailand?

The answer to this question would probably fill a book, but in a nutshell I’ve always had a deeply engrained passion for travel. After the birth of my first son my love for the Pilates method motivated me to become an instructor and wanting to find a way to combine Pilates with travel, I founded Pilates Retreat Asia.

What’s the difference in leading a retreat as opposed to teaching in a studio?

Leading a retreat is an absolutely magical experience. The people who join often come from all walks of live, but they are all so open and ready for the experience that the learning curve is incredible. It has something to do with being taken out of your known environment, to be surrounded by nature, healthy food and the possibility to be whoever you want to be for a week. The exercise is just a part of a much more holistic and often very spiritual and cleansing experience. This often surprises people (especially coming from the Pilates community), but because everybody is usually so positive during a retreat, the power to change stagnant energies in life is incredible. People might sign up for the ‘active holiday’ or a ‘week of being good to yourself’, but at the end we often laugh when we realize how much more has come of it – from new friendships to complete changes in lifestyle.

In most of your retreats you combine Pilates with another form of movement or body work. Is there a reason?

There are several reasons and many benefits. First of all, it gives me as a retreat leader a chance to learn something myself while I lead the retreat. This keeps me passionate and passion is so important. I am like a child, I always want to grow and I want to discover. Combining Pilates with Yoga or Rolfing like I’ve done in the past, helps to get a deeper understanding of what we are trying to achieve as we can work on multiple levels. It also adds excitement and a new focus to each retreat. Combining Pilates with Yoga might emphasis the spiritual side, while co-hosting a retreat with a nutritionist might put the focus on a holistically healthy lifestyle.

Tell us about your upcoming retreat in Koh Samui

Each day we will explore one of the 6 Pilates Principles gradually increasing challenge and flow, building strength and finding a deep connection to our core. We will also have the opportunity to practice someFletcher Pilates, which adds another dimension to the classical Pilates I teach. My hope for this retreat is to get teachers of other forms of movement, such as Nia, Chi Gong, Zumba or Capoeira to join us as well, so we can further explore how to integrate the ideas of Pilates into our moving bodies and into our daily lives.

What are the challenges in leading a retreat?

The biggest challenge is probably to lead the classes in a way that everybody gets the most out of it, no matter their level of experience. As a teacher I thrive to understand every participants needs – their physical as well as their emotional state. That’s why I make sure to always spend some one-on-one time with each of my students. This helps me in the group classes to feel like I’ve known everybody for more than just a few days.

What is the best part about leading a retreat?

You mean besides great food and hanging at the pool? I would say it’s the people I meet. Each participant is so unique, so dedicated and works so hard. We usually stay in touch and it’s great to see people connect and become friends who would have never met otherwise.

What does the future hold for Pilates Retreat Asia?

I just moved to a small village on the Agean Sea in Turkey, so it looks like Pilates Retreat Asia might be branching out from one to the other end of Asia. But I love Thailand, Bali and Malaysia, so I will continue to lead retreats there and hopefully come back to Samahita as well.

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