Yoga wellness retreat centres started to become fashionable some time ago, and they’re ideal for people wanting to switch off from their everyday lives, recharge their batteries and acquire new healthy lifestyle habits. These centres provide tools through the practice of yoga, meditation, bioenergy therapies, mentoring and Ayurveda, all in a natural setting full of energy.
To find out more about this type of centre, we interviewed Sonia Ferre, founder of MasQi, The Energy House, a boutique resort set in the Sierra de Mariola Natural Park in Alicante.
What prompted you to set up a centre like MasQi?
MasQi was a personal project. I come from a business background and ten years ago my work meant I lived a stressful life, always trying to do everything, something that gave me severe exhaustion and eventually making me ill. It was then I decided to start doing yoga and this led me to beginning meditation and mindful eating.
I soon began noticing changes and I was surprised by the positive effects, I started recovering the peace I so badly needed, finding a connection with my inner self and I learned to live better, to the extent of wanting to share the experience with other people who were going through the same situation.
It was then I had the idea of MasQi, combining my home, a farmhouse set in idyllic rural surroundings, with the teachings I could pass on. So I became a “yoga evangelist”, which is as beneficial for me as it is for the other people to whom I have the opportunity of showing this lifestyle.
What type of people come to this kind of centre?
All kinds of people come here, couples, groups of friends, families and even people who decide to come alone. I see people of all nationalities and from a range of ages, but perhaps the most frequent age range is from 40 to 60 years old. They are mostly women, as they tend to be more aware and familiar with the practice of yoga and with the activities we offer.
What reasons do people have for visiting the centre?
A lot of people decide to come here because they’re going through a difficult time in their lives, perhaps because of a broken relationship, because they’ve been diagnosed with an illness, because they’re under a great deal of stress at work or simply because they want to take a break from their busy everyday lives.
The main reason is to switch off, recharge batteries, find inspiration and learn by embarking on a process of introspection that helps them to improve, introducing healthier habits in their routines and above all, to reconnect with their own lives.
We run a variety of programmes, ranging from an express weekend getaway to practise yoga for the first time, through to a journey of profound transformation lasting up to 21 days.
We also have a schedule of daily activities and everyone is welcome to come and take part in any session without needing to stay in our accommodation.
What activities can people do?
The programmes involve different types of activities such as various kinds of yoga practice, meditation, mentoring and healthy eating workshops. Guests can also enjoy bioenergy therapies, body and facial treatments and all kinds of massages with different intensities and effects.
Diet is another of the core values at MasQi. At our restaurant we offer a BIO gourmet meal regime based on fresh seasonal produce, prepared in accordance with macrobiotic principles.
What exercises do you do and what results do you get?
Yoga, rather than being classified as a sport or physical exercise, is a lifestyle we incorporate into our healthy living routine.
This means that practitioners achieve a mind-body-spirit connection and they see a significant change in their way of thinking.
In addition to yoga, the natural environment invites people to practise other open-air activities, like hiking, and some people even bring their bikes and enjoy the countryside while they pedal along.
What benefits do people get from attending the centre?
People usually leave feeling more rested, with lots more energy, transformed and with a clear vision of what they want to do. After spending a few days here they’re able to see life very differently.
Do they come back?
We have a very high return rate and in most cases our programmes exceed people’s expectations and they go away very happy with the results they achieve. Plus, they recommend us to other people.
D.ª Sonia Ferre García
Founder of MasQi, The Energy House