With its soothing natural environment, the serene Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana is the perfect relaxation destination, and guests staying at the resort from September 17th – 23rd are in for a special wellness treat. Those who have booked their Caribbean getaways during this notable week, which marks a New Moon during Yoga Awareness month, will have the opportunity to embrace ultimate relaxation by participating in Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana’s first-ever Holistic Wellness Retreat.
Led by Marianne Wells, the retreat will include four unique activities each day, allowing guests to meditate in some of the most picturesque locations the resort has to offer, horseback ride on the beach, practice yoga with renowned 3 Minute Eggs yoga blocks and experience Marianne’s personal approach to reaching a meaningful state of holistic wellness.
To learn more about Marianne and her one-of-a-kind methods and beliefs, we sat down with her to hear her story firsthand.
What exactly is Really Real Yoga™? How did you come up with the concept?
Over the years, my students have told me that my style of yoga is somehow different. I’m told that they feel more content, relaxed and connected after my yoga classes. I have always taught the cues — “heart to head and head to heart” as my way of leading classes more from love and connection to my students. Really Real Yoga™ focuses on observing the unlimited potential in each of us, connecting breath with movement, reaching each student on a very personal level while simultaneously leading the entire class. It is less about the style of yoga and more about helping each feel the action within the pose and to remove the barriers that we often create, inspiring each student to give to themselves in order to give to others.
The words of a poem I’ve read really touched me. “If my heart could do my thinking, and my head could truly feel, then I would know what is really real” arose from this mind, body, spirit awareness. More and more people became attracted to this approach. I’ve been blessed by the positive words my students have shared with others over the years, drawing more to both their teaching and my teacher training sessions.
What would you say to someone who would love to try yoga and explore a wellness-based lifestyle, but is afraid of judgement as they may not know exactly what they are doing?
Hearing that someone is interested in learning more about yoga excites me! Simply making that statement to the universe can put action into motion, for there is something that is drawing them to make changes in their life. Most people who pursue a physical yoga practice on a regular basis, naturally seem to make healthy changes in their lifestyles.
Fear is based on the unknown. I would say to enroll in beginning yoga classes where basic concepts, movements, and physical directions are introduced over a period of time. Find a trained yoga instructor from an accredited yoga school. This shows they have both the knowledge and skill to help others enter yoga safely and in an accessible manner.
I have had many students over the past decades who could not touch their toes or did not have awareness of their body in space — who made tremendous progress in flexibility and health in a very short period of time. One must have courage to take the first step, and willingness to continue until changes in the body, energy, and outlook take place. In my experience, by the teacher meeting the student where they are at versus asking them to adapt to the teaching style. This change occurs more rapidly since they look forward to rejoining the group at the next class.
What is the significance of this retreat being held during the week of a new moon?
In yoga, we honor the phases of both the full moon and the new moon. The moon is representative of the reflective and calm aspects of our existence. The full moon corresponds to the inhalation — expansive, upward moving — helping us feel more energetic but not well-grounded. The new moon corresponds to the end of the exhalation — a downward force that calms and grounds us. By understanding the phases of the moon, we attune to our natural cycle and learn to live in greater harmony with ourselves, nature, and in this world.
This week is designed to honor the new moon energy at Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana — a location with mood, setting, and staff that supports healthy relaxation.
What do you hope guests will learn from this retreat?
The retreat is designed to show our guests how to bring the Six Pillars of Holistic Wellness – Movement, Spirit, Serenity, Appreciation, Love and Nourishment — into their everyday lives with practical tips and experiences that all can have.
How are you hoping the activities will impact them?
Most illness occurs when the individual experiences stress for prolonged periods of time. Through a mindful approach to lifestyle, making the right choices each day, it has been proven that yoga and associated healthful impacts will reduce stress. As one realizes a calmer life and improved health, they tend to impact the lives of others around them. We hope for a growing echo of health and happiness that extends far beyond our limited time together at Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana.