Couples Retreats: The Honeymoon Testers at Samahita Retreat Koh Samui
The Perfect Detox Experience
By Mark and Denise Duffield-Thomas
In October 2010 Mark and Denise Duffield-Thomas from the Honeymoon Testers enjoyed a couples retreat at Samahita Retreat. Read on to learn more about their adventures in Yoga and wellness in Koh Samui.
The Samahita Wellness Centre provides an authentic yoga retreat and impeccably managed detox programme against an inspiring tropical island backdrop.
We were so thrilled to be invited to the first residential Samahita Yoga and Detox retreat on the beautiful tropical island of Koh Samui. The centre has always offered yoga residentials, but this is the first time the centre has run a dedicated detox stay.
We were perfect candidates for a detox, and we were definitely in need!
At home, in our normal routine, we would practise yoga almost every day and eat quite well with salads, fruit juices and smoothies. During our trips through the best 4 and 5-star resorts around the world, our diet and lifestyle has been... less than ideal. It's quite hard to resist a fantastic buffet or to reject dessert every day. It's been a case of too many calories in and not enough exercise.
To be honest, we were both feeling pretty rough when we arrived at Samahita Retreat. Not only were we in need of detox, but our clothes were straining with the effort of all that champagne and wedding cake. Mark and I had put on quite a few extra pounds! I also had a nasty cough courtesy of almost 40 hours on a plane within four days, and Mark had some spotty skin on his face and back.
Introduction to the programme
Our first meeting with the group gave us an idea of what was to come. Claudia Jones, the Wellness Director was to be our guide and yoga teacher for the next 7 days. We were given our goody bags, containing presents such as a branded water bottle and loofah, all of our pills and potions and less sexy equipment such as an enema kit!
Everyone was there for different reasons, a busy lifestyle, stress or diet related problems leading them to seek a detox. Several people were travelling through Asia and wanted to use this week as a special treat in between roughing it at youth hostels.
The programmes at the centre are designed to...
...help one release tension, detoxify unwanted waste, personally empower and educate so that your onward journey in life is full of true growth and satisfaction.
As the week progressed, we settled into a daily routine built around the twice daily yoga classes as well as the detox practices and support meetings.
The morning yoga class starts with an hour of pranayama, the art of controlling breath work. I have to admit that I found it difficult to focus my mind for the first couple of days. My brain was going crazy with thoughts, ideas and to-do lists, and unused to being still and quiet. Luckily, it got easier as the week progressed.
The yoga class is more dynamic and is a medium paced vinyasa flow class. Claudia changed the pace each day depending on how the group was feeling on the detox programme. The evening class was a much more relaxed and restorative class, designed to calm and de-stress.
Daily detox practices
Our day started very early around 6am to do our daily rituals, all designed to aid detoxification and cleansing. First up was vigorous body brushing with a loofah sponge, followed by the use of the neti pot to clean out the sinuses. The neti is a tiny genie lamp pot that you fill with warm, salty water and then tip gently into each nostril. It took some getting used to, especially to get the right salination, but definitely clears you out!
Afterwards, was perhaps the most delicate of processes, a self administered coffee enema. Well, that's one way to get your caffeine in the morning! Colon cleansing is one of the most effective detoxification procedures and it's very easy to do.
There are two detox meetings each day. Once after yoga in the morning and a second meeting in the afternoon with different seminar topics taught by Claudia, or videos explaining different detox techniques. These meetings make you feel very supported and you can request changes or tweaks to your meals or treatments.
A personalised dietary detox programme
Everyone had slightly different daily meals depending on their programme and how deeply they wanted to detox, or to tackle specific health challenges such as candida. I was very impressed about how organised the kitchen was, as every meal and every different option turned up exactly on time and freshly prepared.
Breakfast for us consisted of water keffir (an enzyme-rich probiotic drink), water from a fresh coconut and a shot of gotu kola (juiced medicinal herb). Others had steamed vegetables with lemon and olive oil or simple fruit such as papaya.
Lunch for us was a simple raw salad, while others had soup or steamed vegetables. The afternoon had more coconut water and wheatgrass, as well as a detox fruit and vegetable shake. Dinner was usually miso soup, vegetable broth, mung broth or kitchiri (a soup made with ghee).
In between meals were a special Ayuvedic blend of herbs, as well as vitamins and probiotics. Despite such little solid food, there's very little chance to get hungry, as every hour or so there is something new to consume.
There was also the pool and beach to keep us occupied during the day, as well as a stocked library, health and wellness books and wifi throughout the centre. The wellness centre also offers massages, alternative therapies and treatments.
Additional options to the detox
In addition to the detox programme, the centre offers two additional add-on packages. We opted for the Essential Detox Package, which offers a session of each: colon hydrotherapy, infrared sauna, Chi Nei Tsang reflexology massage, and a Body & Soul therapy such as a body scrub. The Complete Detox Package offers multiple sessions of each and is designed for the ultimate detox experience.
I've done detox and yoga retreats before and what really distinguished Samahita is the level of personal attention from the team, and the support from the rest of the group. Everyone had a great time together, commiserating about the detox or talking about food and sharing our experiences and knowledge. Every evening we watched a DVD together in the main lounge and really enjoyed each other's company.
After the detox...
With strict instructions to ease back into a normal diet and to take it easy, we feel like we've really kick-started a new healthier lifestyle.
Yes, it's a cheesy "after" shot of me jumping ecstatically into the air, but it was a great experience and I definitely felt "lighter" in many ways after the week.
I lost almost 2kgs of physical weight, but it was more than that. I felt cleaner and more determined to carry on these new healthy habits, despite another month of travel ahead of us.
We highly recommend the Samahita Wellness Centre for anyone who wants to deepen their yoga practice in a stunning setting, look after themselves and detox from a busy life, and be inspired to live a healthier lifestyle. It's a truly fantastic wellness experience.
Thank you to Claudia Jones for guiding us through the detox so beautifully and being such an inspiring and informative teacher. Thank you to the staff and team at Samahita for your professionalism and support.
Thank you to Mark and Denise for their in-depth review of their Samahita Retreat couples retreat experience!