At the end of August, I went with Pilates Lounge on retreat to Begur, on Spain’s Catalonian Coastline. I’m no stranger to a Pilates Lounge Retreat, having two years previously gone on their retreat to Casperia, a hill top village in the Sabine Hills of Italy.
The new venue, Villa Pi Blau is an eco-lodge, only a few years old. The owner, Carmen, has thought of every last detail in making the house as stunning as it is practical – the high ceiling and wide bi-fold doors of the studio make the most of the stunning coastal view, but also harness the sea’s natural cool breeze, negating the need for air conditioning. It’s a beautiful space to start the day!
The retreat this year was all inclusive; with dishes prepared by the Villa’s chef. The fare here is mostly vegetarian, with a few fish dishes thrown in at our request. The produce is organic, and much of it home-grown in Villa Pi Blau’s extensive gardens. It was so lovely to walk around the vegetable patch to see tomatoes, courgettes and melons that would be shortly making their way to the table.
Clare guides the retreat through Pilates practice before breakfast and dinner each day. The focus on this retreat is classic mat Pilates, particularly the original 34 exercises favoured by Joseph Pilates, the man behind the method.
The classes are initially split into skill sets; allowing the participants to focus on some of the key skills developed by Pilates exercises. Stability and balance, movement and articulation of the spine are all covered across the first few classes.
The focus of the retreat then shifts to Pilates education; Clare names the moves through the classes, and you slowly start to pick up some of the terminology. The last couple of classes are a bit move interactive, asking you to draw on the knowledge you gained quite passively though the week to name the moves in the class, or perform them (almost) self-directed in a circuit style flow class.
The atmosphere on the retreat is very laid back, allowing time in the middle of the day to explore the surrounding area. Begur and Girona are both easily accessible from the Villa, and make for lovely days out. There are ample cliffs and coves to explore locally on hiking trails, and many unspoilt sand and shingle beaches.
All in all, it was a beautiful, relaxing way to spend a few days – and as Pilates Lounge have now announced the dates for their 2019 Retreat to Villa Pia Blau, one that I would highly recommend!!
You can find out more at www.pilateslounge.co.uk