From little things, big things grow
Healthy life. A partnership between Stanley’s Jess Maguire and Cassie Thomas is moving islands.
The pair has hosted Women’s Retreats in Stanley and are now taking on a bigger platform with their first ever Bali Retreat set to be held in May next year.
The likeminded individuals say the retreats – whether local or international – are an ideal way to make positive changes to one’s health and wellbeing in a nurturing environment.
“We wanted to offer something that would give a holistic way to help with managing stress and improve their health,” says Jess, “but also to offer a unique experience that helps people feel better by using the tools of movement, mindfulness and meditation.”
The Stanley retreats, held as half or full days at Highfield House, have welcomed locals, others from across the state and are now attracting interest from mainlainders.
“It’s so good to have an interstate market where we can showcase things from Tasmania, it’s a really beautiful and unique place,” Jess said.
She said many people were looking for a different way to improve their health and wellness and remove themselves from the daily grind.
“It’s important we take that time out for self care and take a break from our busy environment and lifestyle. We have an increase in time demands with many of us taking work home.
“The more often you become stressed, the more those patterns – or fight or flight responses – are ingrained in the brain.”
She said that mindfulness, achieved through meditation, has been shown to change the structure of the brain.
“Because the brain is ‘plastic’ meaning you can rewire or strengthen it, you can also learn to access those parts of the brain and not react with fear.”
She said the brain’s prefrontal cortex helps with self-regulation of moods and emotions, which also affects our decisions and choices and the way we interact with others.
“It’s also the area where we can learn to have more compassion for ourselves and others, and more empathy. Self compassion can help improve relationships and also help us to make more positive changes in our lives.
“By using these practices, you can become more aware of patterns of thinking that may be hindering progress, and then make decisions that will serve your greatest good. This is different to making reactive choices in times of stress.”
For Cassie, it’s all about the fun.
“I love working with Jess, we were friends before we started dong this [but] it’s just grown our friendship.
“We bounce off each other, she inspires me, I inspire her.
“It’s definitely not work, we joke all the time that it’s not a business – it’s a creative extension of ourselves.”
Cassie said clients were also seeing the benefits.
“They all claim to have the best night’s sleep ever after having been to one of the retreats,” she said.
“In fact some even fall asleep during meditation.
“The fact that we keep getting return customers . . . I think that speaks for itself that people are coming back again and again.”
The duo will also host their first Girls’ Retreat this Sunday.
Bookings for the May 21-27 retreat are now open.
The getaway is six nights and seven days with an itinerary including Jess’ specialty of pilates and Cassie’s yoga.
Meditation and relaxation in an open air pavilion on the Indonesian island will feed the soul, while healthy and nourishing meals will feed the body.